By Brian Chilton| This past Saturday, I returned home from our church’s annual Vacation Bible School. The topic for this year’s VBS was on putting on the full armor of God. When I sat down in my office chair, I turned on my laptop to check the website and look over a few final details for Sunday’s message. As I perused my social media account, one of the headlines told of a tragedy that had occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.
White supremacist groups, Neo-Nazis, among others gathered in the streets of Charlottesville to espouse their radical ideas. Amidst their demonstrations, counter-protestors made their voices heard. Eventually, the scene turned violent as a James Alex James, Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio plowed his car into the counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville and injuring many others.
“We don’t hate people because of their race. I mean, we’re a Christian organization,” – Frank Ancona, KKK Imperial Wizard
As a pastor, a theologian, and most importantly a Christian, I am appalled by the racist ideologies plaguing our society. Racism exhibited by any person of any race is incompatible with the Christian worldview for the following reasons.
Racism is incompatible with Jesus’s example.
Jesus ministered to many people from different walks of life. While he challenged individuals in different ways, he never turned anyone away. As Jesus said, “Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
Racism is incompatible with Jesus’s teachings.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan was a radical story (Luke 10:25-37). In Jesus’s parable, the protagonist was a Samaritan. The nature of the story is lost until one realizes that Samaritans were hated by the Jews because they were a mixed race. Jesus teaches in this story, among many of his other messages, that the believer is to love his or her neighbor. Who is one’s neighbor? The parable shows that a person’s neighbor is each person encountered.
Racism is incompatible with God’s nature.
Throughout Scripture, it is noted that God is love (1 John 4:8). In addition, God is shown to impartial to individuals regardless of race (Deut. 10:17; Lk. 20:21; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11). As a loving and impartial God, no one could justify that following God allows one to be racially motivated, an act that is unloving and partial.
Racism is incompatible with the Gospel’s mission.
Jesus did not tell his disciples to go to only one race. Rather, they were to begin with their current location and then move towards the uttermost parts of the world (Acts 1:8). Jesus told the disciples to go and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).
Racism is incompatible with heaven’s populace.
In John’s vision of heaven, he sees a “vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9). The believer will associate with fellow Christians from all walks of life, from every race, and from every language in heaven. It seems to me that we had better learn how to get along with fellow believers from all walks of life. Because in heaven, we’ll be spending a long time together!
Racism is incompatible with the Christian faith. Let us shine God’s love and grace to every person we encounter whether they look like us or not. Let us impartially love others for the glory of God and of his Messiah.