• johned@aibi.ph

Getting Racism Out Of The Church

Racism is especially disappointing in Christians because we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the ambassadors of Christ with the message of reconciliation. It is clearly inconsistent with our message of God's unconditional love. It is just not Christian. Using our religion to justify our prejudices must surely grieve God. Whether it be racism against other cultures or sub-cultures or denominational "racism" against other believers it is wrong. Lets purify our hearts and get racism out of us, our minds, and our churches and make sure Jesus, when He returns, has a truly spotless, beautiful and glorious Bride. .

Main Points

1.Heaven is multicultural. "(Revelation 7:9 NKJV) > After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands," Identifiable ethnicity survives the grave and is part of us for eternity. If God lets all racial groups share His Heaven, walk on His golden streets and feel His love then they ought to be able to share our churches, our streets and our love. God does not erase ethnicity. In fact He created it. (Genesis 10&11)

2.Standing before God is independent of race, gender or social standing.

"(Galatians 3:28 NKJV) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Thus all believers have equal access to God's throne. These categories are "abolished" as far as God goes and are insignificant compared to the distinction between a believer and an unbeliever. A believer goes to Heaven regardless of race and an unbeliever goes to Hell regardless of race. In fact, given present church growth rates Heaven may consist of mainly Asians! There are 75 million Christians in China alone. The next largest group will be Africans. (see David Barret's World Christian Encyclopedia for details)

3.Loving your neighbor means giving practical assistance even to those you are in cultural conflict with. The "Good Samaritan" acted in the context of a deep cultural enmity between Jews and Samaritans that was over 500 years old. (Luke 10:29-37) Jesus prime example of loving your neighbor was of someone who acted contrary to established racial stereotypes and prejudices. This sent as strong a message to His predominantly Jewish audience as it send to us today. You cannot be a racist and fully obey the command to love your neighbor. And this is no light thing for it is one of the two Great Commandments.

(Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV) Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' {38} "This is the first and great commandment. {39} "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

These are well agreed beliefs across all mainline churches and stand in stark contrast with the divisiveness of racism. To put it bluntly it is totally inconsistent to be both a bible-believing Christian and a racist.

Other Points

The divisiveness of racism is a "work of the flesh".(Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:.... hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, {21} envy, murders,..... of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Racism involves many of these 'works of the flesh' and this is in complete contrast to the work of the Spirit...

(Galatians 5:16 NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

which will teach us to be patient, loving and kind toward those of other cultures...

(Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

The Holy Spirit brings unity between believers. He is the spirit of peace and peace-makers, who shall be called "sons of God".

(Matthew 5:9 NKJV) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.

In contrast to the envy and self-interest that so often underlies racism Christians are called to a lifestyle of godly wisdom, reconciliation and peace-making not anger and division.

(James 3:14-18 NKJV) But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. {15} This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. {16} For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. {17} But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. {18} Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Note that the wise believer is "willing to yield" "full of mercy"and "without partiality". Finally they are "without hypocrisy" and to say one loves God and yet to hate your brother is perhaps the ultimate hypocrisy.

(1 John 4:20 NKJV) If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

I am sure every bible-believing Christian would wish to be perfect in character as that is one of our major goals in life. Jesus defined the perfect person as one that could love their enemies and do good to them. Someone absorbed in enmity and strife is far from perfect.

(Matthew 5:44-48 NKJV) "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, {45} "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. {46} "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? {47} "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? {48} "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

This means that we must work to overcome the racial hatreds that have been inculcated into all of us since birth and struggle to be perfect in our love of others. It will be worth it on the Day when we see Him!

Racism seems to go hand in glove with some rather bizarre conspiracy theories which supply the needed note of fear that justifies racism.

(Isaiah 8:12-13 NKJV) "Do not say, 'A conspiracy,' Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. {13} The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, And let Him be your dread.

Don't fear the boogie men of the New World Order -fear God!"

What To Do About It

Some of you may have realized by now that you have harbored many wrong attitudes. You may now be desiring to change and to move away from your racist past and environment. Make a start by praying the following prayer for forgiveness then try to put into action some or all of the four strategies listed below.

Father in Heaven, I want to do Your will in Your way, I want to be perfect in love. But I have sinned, I have been a racist harboring racist thoughts and attitudes. I have divided the world into races I like and races I do not like. I now realize that this was wrong. I ask your forgiveness. I ask that Your Holy Spirit may renew my heart and mind in love for the following (list the races that you struggle with) and make me a peace-maker, a son of God, an instrument of your peace and an ambassador of Christ with a message of reconciliation. Amen.

  • Study the Word of God in a group that is committed to growth and the elimination of hatreds and prejudices .Refuse to absorb any more hatred. Avoid the company of eloquent racists. Apologize to anyone you have offended and make restoration to them.

  • Make friends with someone from another race.

  • Do something good, that costs you something, for a person of another race. You can change your heart by changing where you put your treasure.
    (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV) "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; {20} "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. {21} "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • Do things that help you understand and appreciate other cultures - eat their food, listen to their music, read their stories and poetry, visit their countries to learn about them. Even go on a missions trip! Do all you can to take apart your prejudices - it can even be fun!

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.