Read Part 1.
On the topic of racism in America and in American churches, some things are debatable and some things aren’t.
Debatable: how pervasive racism is in American society and Christian churches. Not debatable: the fact that some individuals and groups do misvalue and mistreat people based on their race or ethnic background, even in gospel-preaching churches. Also not debatable: the issue continues to be a hot one in our culture.
Scripture has plenty to say against the thinking and behavior that underlies racism. But we’re not all well taught on the subject, and we’re not all as mindful of it as we ought to be. This article continues a look at biblical reasons to reject racism.
Does American society have a racism problem? Does the the church? Lately, everybody seems to claim or assume the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” but maybe those who preach, teach, and lead in churches and ministries have the same job to do either way—to ensure that the wealth of biblical teaching relevant to racism reaches the believers in their care.
To clarify a couple of key terms, I’m using “race” here in the old sense: basically a group of ethnicities from the same general geography who have some shared physical characteristics. Given the large amount of concept-overlap, I’ll treat race and ethnicity as being roughly equivalent. “Racism” here refers to devaluing and mistreating people (inwardly or outwardly) because we think they’re of a different race than ourselves.
Scripture gives us several reasons to reject these attitudes and behaviors. We’ll consider nine, with the first five in this installment.
“The Lord God looks at His creatures, created in His image, and does not judge us on the basis of our ethnicity or sex, or on our social standing. Therefore for anybody claiming the name of Christ—or really anybody at all—to treat one another differently on any of those bases is repugnant to Scripture and the Gospel.”