Racism through the lens of the Bible

Church bulletin:

What a horrible thing it was to watch George Floyd suffocate under the knee of a policeman. It has also been horrible to watch endless scenes of public disorder resulting not only in damage to property, looting, and beatings but even murder. It is sinful for anyone to be ostracised or preyed upon as a consequence of colour or culture or creed. But what exactly is the goal of civil disorder; what do the rioters hope to achieve? Are they seeking to create a racially harmonious society through acts of random violence? Anger is one thing, anarchy is another. The behaviour of many of these protesters will only divide society more than it already is.

Here are a few Biblically deduced thoughts:

A. Racial identity is a human construct not a Biblical one. Obviously the world is comprised of different ethnicities, but there is only one race – the human race. We all descend from Adam & Eve. This is one reason why the creation account is so important and speaks into the current situation. Biologically we are all brothers and sisters; as such we share the same problem of sin and need the same solution in Christ.

B. There is no place for discrimination in the church. God is concerned with a person’s character not their ethnicity. Churches ideally should reflect the societies they exist in – multicultural society = multicultural church. Ethnically based churches do not demonstrate the spirit of the New Testament. Some people may find it easier to meet around language, but to unnecessarily divide along the lines of ethnicity is not helpful.

C. Racism is a societal evil which needs to be condemned. It will not however go away for the same reason that war and divorce and rape and theft and paedophilia and adultery and drunkenness and violence and neglect will never go away. Human beings are sinful. Sin in society must be kept in check as best as possible, but it will never go away. There never will be an ethnic utopia on earth.

D. The solution to racism and indeed many of our problems is not legislation; it is not educational programs; it is not secular counselling; it is not ‘harmony days’. Some of these endeavours do have a place, but ultimately the gospel is the solution. People need to be changed from the inside out; the heart must be transformed. Natural biases, fears, ignorance etc. replaced with truth and cultivating the fruit of the Spirit.

E. If we are victims of discrimination (any kind of discrimination) we are not to succumb to lawlessness. God commands us to be subject to the civil authorities and to love our enemies which can be very hard and we need the grace of Christ. In our society we have the right to appeal and seek justice, but we are not given the right to take matters into our own hands.

Thankfully God will bring justice and consolation to His people. This world will always have its problems therefore we are to commit ourselves to Him and trust that He will make all things right.