This concluding sermon in our Race Conciliation series briefly addresses how prevalent racism has been in the history of the church. Then we hosted an extended panel discussion to answer questions we’ve gotten about race, and to discuss how to move forward as a reconciling people.
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Racism has been a huge problem in the Church from the very beginning. This was the primary point that Greg makes in this concluding reflection on what we have been talking about as a church over the last couple of months. This can be traced back to the fact that God called Israel to be a light to the nations, but the Jewish people actually used their chosen-ness not as a vocational call to bless other nations, but to cut themselves off from them.
This carried over into the early church, to the point that God had to go directly to non-Jewish people with a vision. Then, through another vision, God showed Peter that other people were included in God’s fellowship (Acts 10). Throughout the New Testament, we see the issue of racial division being addressed.
The history of the American church has continued this trend, even promoting racism to such a degree that it can be argued that the racist ideas of church leaders lie at the core of what we are experiencing today. To say that the church should stand for racial reconciliation is an understatement.
During this series, we have invested extensive time talking about issues of racism and confronting the hierarchies of power and privilege that are part of our world. This is an ongoing battle, one that we must continually confront as the Kingdom of God comes on earth as it is in heaven.
After Greg’s reflection, a panel addressed the following questions:
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- Why are we talking about changing laws and not just talking about individual heart change?
- What about Black on Black violence? Shouldn’t the focus lie more on ending inner city gang violence than on dismantling our cities’ police forces?
- Why are you buying into the race /identity politics of the world, when Paul said that there are not Jews or Gentiles in the book of Galatians?
- What about racism currently experienced by first generation African immigrants from African Americans who have been raised in America?
- Why are the racist actions of a few officers interpreted as evidence of “systemic racism,” while the many good actions of the many good officers are not interpreted as evidence of “systemic goodness?”
- Why are you focusing on racism as a social injustice but haven’t preached about the millions of babies that are killed through abortion?
- What is the Kingdom response to the promotion of violence by Black Lives Matter?
- How should a white person who is just waking up to the reality of systemic racism, often with shame and guilt, deal with this guilt and move forward?