This is one of those topics on which I can pretty much guarantee 90% of people are going to disagree with me. If I didn’t wholeheartedly believe my thoughts were 100% backed by scripture, I’d shut up and go to bed. I need more sleep anyway. But I do believe scripture states exactly what I will outline here, and ultimately it’s God’s word that matters, not mine. Of course, you may still disagree with me. So here goes.
Race, other than one human race, cannot be defended scripturally. There is one race, not multiple races based on the color of our skin. That is a construct created by society to cause division; it has no basis in scripture. As Bible-believing Christians, we believe in creation. The Bible is very clear on the matter. God created us in his image, male and female. That’s it. We were created from one man, Adam, and therefore, we are all of one race, human. Now, we do have different ethnicities and those ethnic groups are based on DNA. Ancestry.com has made millions telling people where they come from genetically, and it’s quite fun (and important I would argue) to learn about the different cultures God has created across the globe. But to promote the idea that we are multi-racial is against the Biblical account of how God made us and who we are according to Him (Genesis chapters 1, 10, and 11).
So why is there so much division among us? Why do some people segregate themselves from others, hate others, kill others who don’t share the same amount of pigment in their skin? Why? Sin.
God created many beautiful variations within the human race and it is only human sin that chooses to see one variation as better than another. It is human sin that caused and causes many horrific acts to be done because of that flawed thinking. It is human sin that is responsible for the African slave trade, discrimination against blacks resulting in the Civil Rights Movement, Japanese work camps after WWII, the Trail of Tears and other crimes against Native Americans. And those are just some of the atrocities that have occurred in the United States. Before the African slave trade to the US, blacks were selling blacks in Africa. Before we encamped the Japanese, the Jews were encamped and murdered in Europe. The list is endless. Human sin.
But so often we don’t want to address sin, even in our churches. So often we accept what society tells us instead of what the Bible says. So often we adopt lines of thinking and entire worldviews from non-Christians. So often we do this unknowingly, simply by believing what we are taught by various “experts”. And unknowingly, we are contributing to division in the body of Christ.
I listened to an excellent podcast a couple of months back. To simplify it all way too much for the sake of brevity, there are many “isms” in our society today and many of them were born out of Critical Theory, which was developed by Neo-Marxists to combat oppression by an oppressor. As an addendum to Critical Theory, there is Intersectional Theory, which says there are layers of oppression that possess a hierarchy in society. In the way it works itself out, if someone else’s oppression is greater than your own, you don’t get to speak to a problem – you don’t get to voice your opinion – you don’t get to matter. Further, it says we all need to atone for the oppression of the oppressed, which is where you see Marxism playing its role. In short, we need to make up for the wrong done to others if we are less oppressed than they are. I’ll use myself and Zeke as an example:
So, I’m a woman. Naturally, that means I’m oppressed. I’m white. I’m middle class or upper middle class. I’m educated, holding a master’s degree. I’m heterosexual and married to a man. Therefore, I’m no longer oppressed.
My child is black. He’s oppressed. He has a disability (or many). He’s even more oppressed. He’s a boy. He’s only 1/4 black because his birth mom was white and his birth dad was 1/2 black and 1/2 white. He lives with his mom and dad who are both heterosexual adults. He lives in the suburbs in a single family home. His family is middle class or upper middle class. Therefore, he is no longer oppressed.
Do you see where this is insanity without end? Do you see where we cannot allow this thinking to infiltrate our churches as it has? And if you don’t think the racial harmony services in your church have anything to do with intersectionality, think through what you’re hearing. Think through how much of the current culture has seeped into the walls of your congregation. Once you do, I think you’ll see that intersectionality is completely antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And I think you’ll see how if we take it to it’s logical conclusion, it will fail us. What do we do when there are blacks, Asians, Native Americans, Middle-Easterners, Pacific Islanders in our churches? How do we hierarchically assign oppression to them and decide whose needs get to be met because we cannot possibly meet them all? What if the Malaysians in our congregations have faced more persecution than the Japanese? What then? It isn’t sustainable, because it’s isn’t based on the only thing that can sustain us: the truth of the Word of God.
When we embrace intersectionality, even just a little bit, we actually embrace a false gospel. One that takes our eyes off our Savior and puts them on each other. One that takes something God has united (one race, one body, one church) and divides it. One that says Christ’s death didn’t atone for all sin. One that says we must atone for sin as well, either by reparation or by shutting our mouths. We must atone for sin we didn’t even commit. We must see our friends and family members who have a different skin color than we do as oppressed, even though the gospel says we have all been made new in Christ and are without distinction in the body. We are of various colors, sizes, shapes, personalities, preferences, and abilities. We are from various countries and cultures and backgrounds. But we are one and Christ sees us as one.
Therefore, if we see one color, one ability, one culture, etc. as better than another, it needs to be addressed as what it is: sin. And if we start celebrating or focusing on one culture or ability or color as better than another, that also needs to be addressed as what it is: sin.
When churches call us to collectively reconcile racially, they are not only implying that there is more than one race, but also implying we have unaddressed hate in our hearts towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. I have talked to many people who are confused about this. They walk out of sermons not knowing what to think. They have friends and family who are of a different ethnicity than they are and they love these people. Have they secretly thought differently about others because of the color of their skin? Have they been insensitive? And if so, how and when? They don’t even know what they did wrong and yet they have this overwhelming feeling that they need to repair something they have broken; they need to atone for a sin they didn’t commit. So let’s be careful. Let’s remember there is one race with much diversity. There is one body of Christ.
Just as we are created by God in his image, our churches are built by God to reflect the body of Christ on earth. He puts us where we are when he wants us to be there. We are not responsible for the ethnic diversity (or any physical diversity or socio-economic diversity, etc.) in our congregations. That said, we can pray that the Lord will build his church for his glory. We can pray that all who are there and all who walk in the door to visit feel welcomed. We can pray that they see the Love of Christ poured out among the congregation and from the leaders. We can pray that tradition does not exclude being open to new things, if those things would benefit the church. We can pray that Christ is the focus and our individual needs are set aside for the body as a whole. We can pray that our individual needs are able to be met if they would edify the church. We can pray that our hearts and the hearts of those around us would reflect the heart of God as outlined in his Word. And if they don’t we need to repent. Period.
Our son will one day be old enough physically, mentally and emotionally to understand that he is brown and we are white. I want him to see that for what it is; a beautiful thing. I want him to see that as God’s grace in giving us a glimpse of what it will be like for every tribe, tongue and nation to worship him. I want him to see his identity as a Child of the King, not as black man. I want him to see his brothers and sisters in Christ for who they are, not as black or red or yellow or white. I want him to live in harmony with them for who they are, not for the color of their skin. And I want him to obey God’s word out of his love for his Savior. I want the same things for my white girls. It doesn’t change based on their melanin.