Everyone agrees there is a racial disparity problem. Only people on the fringes deny the problem.
I believe the Bible teaches that Christians who seek to follow Jesus as he followed the Father should be as earnest in doing justice as they are in preaching the Gospel. The Gospel and justice go hand in hand. The evangelical church, however, has fallen short on the justice side of the equation.
I believe the evangelical church has left a void in the area of justice that has allowed new, competing philosophies to take over the cultural space. Critical race theory has become the loudest voice in that arena.
Many Christians who are justice-minded have gravitated toward critical race theory to give a voice to the injustice they see because the church is not speaking to it. Without realizing that critical race theory may be another gospel that runs antithetical to the true Gospel, they may be embracing ways of thinking that could be harmful.
Critical race theory defines the problem and the solution in terms that do not align with the Gospel and to biblical truth. That is not to say there is no redeeming value to critical race theory, that it is inherently evil, or that people who espouse CRT are wicked or evil.
CRT is a man-made construct, and it’s not the Gospel. Inevitably it’s a solution that doesn’t get to the heart of the problem and doesn’t bring about true justice.
The Gospel offers true justice.
The Gospel says that all humans are made in the image of a holy God. All human beings, therefore, have intrinsic value that cannot be denied. We honor God and do right be each other by recognizing that in our thoughts and actions.
Love God and love your neighbor is the simple formula for recognizing the reality of human value in our thoughts and actions. This simple phrase is the summation of the Law of God boiled down to its essence. If we actually did that, there would be no injustice.
The problem with men is sin (missing the mark), transgression (breaking trust with God and people) and iniquity (brokenness). We often don’t do the right things we know we ought to do. W often want to go our own ways and to please ourselves rather than love God and love our neighbors.
The Gospel teaches that we have all fallen short (missed the mark). We have all broken trust with God and people. We are broken in our own ways, and we need help we cannot provide for ourselves.
Jesus offers the solution to the sin problem by taking on the sin of all people (of all races) on himself and setting us free (ultimately) from the consequences of sin. Jesus does that so we can have relationship with God who, then, begins to work within us to will and to act according to His good purpose.
That reality is borne out in the process of personal sanctification (vertically) and in just relationships with our fellow man (horizontally).
We do not achieve salvation by anything that we do. It’s a free gift available to all of us by grace. We simply need to embrace it. Salvation takes away the shame and the ultimate consequence of sin, which is death (physically and spiritually).
Salvation also frees us up to live as God intended by the help of the Holy Spirit who takes up residence within people who yield to Him. We demonstrate that by our love for God and our love for people. We no longer live for ourselves; we now live for God and others if we have truly been born again and received God’s gift of salvation and His Spirit.
Racism is the sin of partiality. (James 2) In Christ, there is no Jew nor Gentile; no male nor female; and no black, nor white or brown. We are all one in Christ, and the ultimate goal of the Gospel is to unite all humanity in Christ with God the Father. The picture of that ultimate goal was given to the Apostle John in a vision:
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb….” (Rev. 7:9)
Most people can see there is a racial disparity problem in the United States. We might not agree on all the causes or what to do about it. Only people on the fringes deny the problem of racial injustice.
The evangelical church, unfortunately, has had a very spotty track record on the issue of racism. A large segment of the evangelical church supported slavery in our more distant past. It was also a segment of the evangelical church who championed abolition and freedom.
Many Christians with a heart for justice are (rightfully) responding to the voices speaking to the issue of racial disparity, but many of those voices are using CRT as their guide. We have, to some extent, failed to develop a robust, biblical response to racial injustice, so people even in the church use the language that is available.
Continue reading “The Need for the Church to Address Racial Injustice”