Racism: A Christian Response

Biblical Response to Racism

Two Calvary Chapel Pastors Share a Christian Viewpoint on the Problem of Racism

Considering the recent tragic racial incidents in Minneapolis and Atlanta, we are reprinting excerpts from two well respected Calvary Chapel pastors who happen to be African American. In Issue 63 of Calvary Chapel Magazine they commented on the heightened racial tensions that came out of the unnecessary deaths and turmoil that erupted in Ferguson and Brooklyn. They expound on how our Savior views prejudice and racism, regardless of where it comes from. It is simply SIN.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9,10

Pastors Tony Clark, CC Newport News, VA, and Robert Nettles, CC Racine, WI, comment on a biblical response to prejudice and racism. How should Christians view these events in light of their faith?

What is the biblical response to prejudice?

Pastor RobertRobert: As we see from Acts 8, the Holy Spirit told Philip to go down to the Ethiopian and explain the Scriptures to him. When it comes to the Gospel, there is no prejudice. God is desiring to reach all men. In Ephesians, Paul talks about that wall of separation that was brought down between Jew and Gentile. The Gospel reaches anyone. Christ loves and died for everyone. We are all unique, and God wants to use our uniqueness as a church to reach our communities for Christ. The biblical response should be what we see from Jesus. In John 4:1-26, the Samaritan woman reminded Him of the prejudice between Jews and Samaritans. But Jesus was more concerned with the spiritual condition of the heart and the attitude in worship than prejudices. He said that “the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23b). The Gospel has the power to save everyone. Romans 1:16 says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Pastor TonyTony: Man looks at the outward appearance, but Paul said, Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16a). So we should be looking at folks as brothers and sisters in the Lord or as in need of our precious Savior. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christ changes our desires; He works in us and changes us from the inside out. When we come to know Christ, He changes the way we feel about other people and how we look at life. To me, this issue is a spiritual problem. The Bible says that where sin abounds, grace abounds much more (Romans 5:20). This is an opportunity for us to see people brought into the Kingdom. We’ve got to introduce them to Christ, let Him change them from the inside out. Then we will see lives changed and less prejudice. In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” People are talking about how dark the world is. But could it be that we as Christians aren’t being the light that God is calling us to be? Jesus is the Light—He’s like the sun. And we are a light—we’re like the moon. The moon doesn’t have its own light; it reflects the light of the sun. The moon, however, does not reflect the light of the sun during an eclipse, when the earth gets between the sun and the moon. Has this world gotten in between us and Jesus Christ, keeping His light from reflecting to this dark world? The world is dark, but we, the Church, are called to shine the light of Christ in this world.

What can believers do to help?

Robert: We can’t be afraid to address prejudices. I can honestly say that as a black person who went to a predominantly white church, when my pastor made references to racial issues, I was not offended or uncomfortable. He didn’t shun from declaring the whole counsel of God, which made me feel even more welcome in that church. If we have biases and prejudices, we should ask God to help us see people how He sees them. But let’s be honest; even as Christians these things can hide in our hearts. In John 4, when the disciples returned and questioned among themselves why Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman, they learned an important lesson from His example and teaching: The harvest is ready. Just as Jesus associated with a Samaritan woman, He often uses us to reach people who come from a different background or look different than we do. God wants to reach all people.

Tony: Pray, recognizing people in the world are only doing what their unredeemed nature drives them to do: sin. We need to pray according to 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Healing will not come from the White House but God’s house.

Editor Note—The message of Jesus Christ and His Gospel is the only hope for reconciliation, forgiveness, and eventually, unity. Let’s pray that the churches will come together to model love, mercy, grace, and understanding to an unbelieving world.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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