Friday, November 25, 2022

One in Christ Jesus

During a recent "Conversations That Matter" podcast (listen to it here), the host played a tape of a panel discussion during an "Acts 29" event in which several black people, ostensibly Christians, discussed racism and their experiences growing up. There were a number of things said that, depending on your experience, where you grew up, and how you were raised, you may nod in understanding that they happened and sometimes, unfortunately still happen.

All that being said, it is a sad reality that all too often in our current climate, the church gets infected by the attitudes and approaches to problems the world has. It is not a coincidence that, just as our society is becoming more and more permeated by the bogeyman of supposed racism, the church by enlarge has also tracked after the world in appropriating this issue. The problem here, however, is that whenever the church attempts to imitate the world, things never end well.

Is the church supposed to be different or not? What did Christ do for us if not bring a complete transformation of our minds and our souls? Far too many think that all that Christ did was save us (all too often not even understanding what we've been saved from) and that He then leaves it up to us to "fix" whatever problems we may encounter, whether with us or the world. 

Getting back to the podcast, it was clear by the things that the folks on the panel said that they were convinced that there is some sort of dividing wall between white and black Christians. The underlying, assumed "truth" was that white Christians just can't understand what black Christians have gone through and are therefore not in a position to unilaterally change the attitudes they have about blacks. 

It is quite tragic that Christians are falling for such claptrap. Christ has emphatically and unmistakably said that we have been transformed from our heads down to our toes. Sure, we may still look the same physically, but spiritually we are 180 degrees different to who we were when Christ redeemed us. Either that means something, or it does not. There are many to whom that reality means little. All that matters is how we think of race and social issues or fill in the blank. To use again the metaphor about the wall, Christ on the cross brought down the middle wall of partition, for us today as much as for the Jews and the Gentiles then (Ephesians 2:13ff).

The great irony in all of this is that, in their rush to make race and other so-called social ills the central aspect of the church's mission, they have made of the church an impotent institution that accomplishes little, either socially or spiritually. While accusing the church of not being sensitive to the social problems in its midst, they have confirmed in the mind of unbelievers the mentality they already have: the church is racist and full of hypocrites. How can anyone expect that church to accomplish anything of lasting value? How can such a church bring anyone to Christ, a Christ who in their telling is impotent and more concerned about where you live than where you're headed when your life is over?

Let me say in sum that I'm not calling for ignorance of the problems that afflict our society. It is not a zero sum game. It is not choosing to care for souls or care for the hungry, for example. But there is a principle that we must uphold. And that is that the church is first and foremost about the saving of souls. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul (Mark 8:36)? Are we going to stand before the Lord on that great, final day and be accepted because we involved ourselves in every single societal issue that came along? If that is what we're trusting in then we will be sadly disappointed.

It is ironic that everyone is tripping all over themselves in order to be tolerant, accepting, and to promote equity. Yet, much of that is done at the expense of those who happen to be of the "wrong" skin color. Is there injustice today? Of course. But how is that injustice going to be resolved by making a whole class of people bear the guilt of their ancestors. There are many along the whole color spectrum that are either doing very well or are destitute. When we look at people as we look at cattle, as an unthinking class whose only important characteristic is how they look, we will not be applying the right medicine to the right ailment. And frankly, none of this is Christian. This is the same idea that BLM, for example, pushes. If you find yourself on the side of such a demonic institution, then you're in a very dark place indeed.

1 comment:

  1. It has always been interesting to me that racism is not listed as a sin in biblical sin-listings. Which is not to say that sinful abuse from a peson of one race toward another is not sin - but rather - that sin, whatever it is, is dealt with as THAT SIN. If I cheat someone who is sin (bilbically speaking) is cheating, or unfair dealing, etc.. It's not that I am a racist.