Racism is a Gospel Issue

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On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, there are many who are rightfully considering his message today. Dr. King was far from a perfect man, but his message is one that we still need today. North America has never been more divided. For those reading that last sentence and thought, "But Canada does not have the same problems as the States," let me assure you - racism is alive and regretfully well in the Great North. Having grown up in a predominantly black and hispanic neighborhood and having spent a considerable amount of time in the South, I can say that without question Canada is the most racist place I have ever lived. 

During my ministry in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, I found racism flourishing in the hearts of what seemed to be good and upright people. Congregants, neighbors, and even strangers in the city would constantly make disparaging comments about First Nations people. Not all, but many would say things like “Oh is that Indian guy still asking for money?” or “Don’t go there, all the natives live in that neighborhood.” I even preached on the sin of racism in a straightforward and frank sermon only to have a sweet old lady came up after the service and I’ll never forget what she told me, she said “You’re right Pastor. When I see them without shoes and smoking pot. I should have compassion for them, no matter what.” I tried to correct her, but she just smiled and walked out the door. Racism is embedded in the heart of every person and it is sin. It’s not that it leads to sin or is just bad for your relationships, racism is sin. Not only is it sin, but racism is a Gospel issue. 

RACISM SAYS I AM BETTER.

This is the main concept behind racism. I, because of my ethnic makeup, am better than those people who are of a different ethnic makeup. This line of thinking must lead to the conclusion that I am worth more then they are, I have more worth then they do. The Bible is directly opposed to this thought. All are sinners, none are better, God is no respecter of persons. There is nothing within you that makes you more worthy of God’s love or attention. All are equally depraved and that depravity is total. 

RACISM GOES AGAINST THE MISSION OF GOD.

What is it that God is doing in the world right now? He is working to unify all people in Christ. This is the message of Ephesians. He has broken down the wall of hostility between Jews and Greeks and has baptized them into the same body through His Son. When Adam’s sin led to division and the failure at Babel led to confusion, Christ’s mission is leading to reconciliation. All people of all backgrounds with all colors of skin will yell out in worship in all different languages that Jesus is Lord. Revelation 5 says that redeeming and reconciling all people in Him is the reason why He is worthy to receive all of the glory and power and dominion forever and ever. For those who would try to segregate churches based on race, you are actively opposing the mission of God. 

RACISM FAILS OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST. 

For centuries, think about that centuries, the white church in the South failed their black brothers and sisters in Christ. They chose conforming to the cultural norm, rather than obey the Word of God which clearly teaches against slavery, but even more so against racism. For centuries, those black brothers and sisters hoped that we would open our eyes to the truth of God’s Word and help them. Yet, many did not. As Martin Luther King Jr. is often quoted as saying, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” And how silent we were, and how silent some choose to be even today. How can we as brothers and sisters just stand by when our spiritual kin are being abused by wicked systems of the world? When their children are not safe? When they cannot find decent employment? How does Jesus say his disciples would be recognized? By their love for one another, not by their love for same colored brothers. 

Racism is not just a social issue, but a Gospel issue. Christians must stop treating it like it is some type of extracurricular liberal agenda. A multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual body of believers is the beauty of the universal church. Glorify Jesus because He can take all different types and colors of people and make them into one church. 

- Dean