Race, Riots and the Bible

Our country has been thrown into turmoil. How does God’s Word speak into the present situation?

There are a lot of pressing questions. Many Christians are scratching their heads as the world tries to pull them to polar extremes. In light of that pull, let’s open up God’s Word today and glean some practical theological insights.

This post is not intended to be comprehensive. However, it is going to be longer than normal. Stick around. Let’s think and wrestle with God’s Word.

Interact. Leave comments. Ask questions. Yet, be zealous for unity and peace.

History, Imago Dei, and Sin

Racism – An American sin

Our country was founded with a great sin. The constitution legalized slavery. This was institutionalized racism. The three fifths compromise was evil. For that reason, our forefathers of the faith in the RPCNA did something that did not make them popular. In no uncertain terms they declared transatlantic slave trade and American chattel slavery to be a sin. (You can read more about it in Dr. Copeland’s Article here) As a denomination, we look to that history with pride. That legacy encourages us to be bold for Biblical truth today.

But, our heritage is not our measure for righteousness. The rule for faith and life is the Scriptures. So what do they say?

Racism & the Gospel

Colossians 3:8-11 says “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” (NKJV)

It is important to emphasize the last statement. “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

There is no superior race. We are all equal opportunity sinners. However, in Jesus there is equal opportunity grace. I do not deserve grace. You do not deserve grace. None of us do. But, Jesus saves people of every tongue, and every nation, and every people. Today we would say every language, race, ethnicity, nationality, and socioeconomic class.

Racism is antithetical to the gospel. And, what is against the gospel is sin. Racism and the global scope of the great commission can not coexist. The idea that somehow one race is better than another flies in the face of Scripture.

We all come from Adam. We have one common ancestor. We are one human race. This means one race cannot be ontologically better than another.

Imago Dei

All people are made in the image of God. God made us. God knit each one of us together in our mothers’ wombs. God gave every single person the breath of life.

God is the one who fashioned our souls. God is the one who has made our bodies. God gave us melanin. God gave us our hair color and our eye color. Jesus has made us this way. God formed us and made our bodies. He cares about our bodies because we are His image bearers.

Just today there was Facebook calling rioters animals. That ought to stop one dead in their tracks. No. Every single human being has the mark of God on and within them.

Not animals. Not problems. But people. People whom God fashioned. Rioters, police, protesters, bystanders all have a soul. Everyone has a conscience. We are moral beings. Humans are morally culpable for our decisions. Humans think. Humans make decisions, moral decisions, not just instinctual decisions. This is extremely important. We are made in the image of God.

Do not murder

Christians should rightly be upset, as God is upset, when one of His images is marred.

Do not murder. This command is true for all people, of all societies, in all places, at all times. The sixth commandment demands that we must protect our own life and the life of our neighbor. We must keep the sixth commandment.

This is especially true for Christians who seek to have God’s will done here on earth as it is in heaven. The Christian heart must not become calloused to the smothering of a human life. The Christian must not be callous to somebody being murdered. The Christian can not turn a blind eye to an innocent person being killed.

It is unrighteousness. It is injustice. God hates it.