Racism and the Christian Church
Who is Jesus? What did He stand for? Who were the people He surrounded Himself with? Regardless of your own religious views, it’s hard to deny that Jesus is probably the most influential person in world history. However, His teachings have become greatly distorted and used to justify atrocities like racism. Without a deeper look at scripture, it would be easy to label Christianity hateful and bigotted. So how does that change? How do Christians, like myself, change the view that Christianty is riddled with white supremacy? In a time where BIPOC issues are being brought to light, how should Christians respond? The answer is written plainly in scripture.
Throughout the Bible, Christians (meaning “little Christ”) are called to be like Jesus. In 1 John 2:6, the Apostle John writes that “whoever says he abides in Him (Him being Jesus) ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” The Apostle Paul calls Christians to “therefore be imitators of God” in Ephesians 5:1. So in order to understand how Christians should respond to racism, we must understand how Jesus responded to other sins. Jesus hates sin. In Matthew 21 we read about people taking advantage of the temple by selling in it. Jesus was so angered by this act of sin that He started flipping tables. Jesus even hated sin so much that He died to destroy it. In 1 John 3:8 we read that “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” So from a scriptural viewpoint, Christians should hate racism. After all, racism, or the sin of partiality, is heavily condemned throughout scripture. In James 2:8-9, we read “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” In 1 Timothy 5:21, Paul writes “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.” So it is evident that racism is a sin. If racism is a sin, then Jesus hates it. And if Jesus hates racism, then Christians (imitators of God) should too.
But how are we to act in response to racism? In Isaiah 1:17, we’re instructed to “correct oppression.” In 1 John 3:18, John tells us to not only say that we love each other, but to show that we love each other through our actions. So it is clear that Christians should be actively anti-racist. We must show our love for others by not only fighting against oppression, but by working towards eliminating the racist mindsets of others. We need to be having these difficult conversations with our families and church communities. We need to take accountability and repent of the racist sin we commit. We need to open our Bibles and pray.
I want to end this by sharing some good news. Although racism plagues the hearts of many, hope is not lost for those souls. The beauty of the Gospel is that anyone can be saved. The Apostle Paul once led a mass killing of Christians in the early church. But on his way to kill more Christians, he received a vision from Christ. He was saved and devoted his life to missionary work (Acts 9:1-19, Ephesians 3:7-8). There is no doubt in my mind that anyone, regardless of their sin, can be radically changed. I’ve both witnessed and experienced it. But it is our job as Christians to share that good news. So please, pray for racial reconciliation, care for your friends (and those who aren’t your friends) who are struggling in this difficult time, and share the Truth in love.
Ask yourself or your friends these debatable questions to start healthy conversations:
What are some ways Christians can effectively stand against racism?
Why is it important for Christians to be actively anti-racist?
How should we approach Christians who shy away from discussing racism?
How can Christians better serve the black community?
We will be starting an online forum soon where we hope to create a safe place for meaningful conversation.
We will be announcing a GIVE AWAY. Follow our Instagram for updates on that.
Our BLM Memorial Art Exhibit is coming up later in the year and I encourage you to submit your art of any medium or even photography. Again, all info is on our Instagram.