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By In Culture, Family and Children, Politics, Scribblings, Theology, Wisdom, Worship

Why I No Longer Participate in Racial Reconciliation Services

Guest post by Rev Sam Murrell of Little Rock, AR

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeupSam is an Anglican Priest in the Anglican Church in North America. He holds a Bachelors in Music from Covenant College and an MDiv from Covenant Seminary.  He is currently a Biblical Worldview Teacher at Little Rock Christian Academy. He and his wife Susan have eleven children and twenty-one grandchildren.

 

 

 

Nothing that I am about state should be construed as my advocating for people of different ethnicity to worship separately. Nothing I say here should be understood as an advocating of what is commonly referred to as ‘racism’. The Body of Christ is one, and the Church should visually reflect the reality of that ‘oneness’ to the degree that the world yearns for what they observe that we are enjoying. It is unfortunate that, for far too long, the Church has followed the lead of the world when it comes to recognizing and addressing hatred amongst the various tongues, tribes and nations.

Years ago, I participated in my first ‘racial reconciliation’ worship service. It was a well-integrated gathering of black and white folk. The service, while very moving, left me feeling very awkward as white strangers approached me to confess their racism toward me and “my kind”. It wasn’t that I had never experienced unfairness or injustices because of the tone of my skin. On the contrary, the issue was that the confessions came from people who had never done any wrong towards me in particular. So, I was left not knowing what I should do for them in response to their confessions; I was young and so chalked my discomfort up to my inexperience. Since that gathering, I recall participating in at least two other instances of worship services that were focused primarily on racial reconciliation. And I have actually worked for a church where “intentional racial reconciliation” was part of the mission statement. Over the years, I have come to a greater sense of clarity regarding my uneasiness with such event. Here, in no particular order, are the few reasons that I no longer take part in “racial reconciliation” services:

Too often, the premise of the worship service is that Whites are guilty because they are White. This is evident in the fact that the white people present at such events are expected, even pressured, to confess the sin of racism even if they cannot recall any specific instances of racist action that they have perpetrated. The assumption is that because you are white then you must have knowingly, or unknowingly, caused offense towards Blacks (and maybe other ethnic minorities too). An example of this guilt-by-association is that, although you may be unable to find any instance of slave ownership in your genealogy, you are held accountable for the history of slavery in the United States of America. The black person stands as representative of the innocent victim of so-called racism and thus serves a priestly role for the white confessor who is guilty because of a lack of melanin in the epidermis. The white person’s pigmentation carries with it a privilege, and that is enough to require repentance.

In contemporary parlance, the word ‘privilege’ is employed by the offended group as a weapon against the other. Once someone is labeled as ‘privileged’ he is supposed to realize his rightful place in the ‘race’ conversation is as the silent observer whose liberty to speak has been revoked. The accused and the accuser are no longer equals. Recently, a major Reformed Seminary hosts a conference on ‘race’ and actually advertised that they were inviting Whites to come and to listen but not to speak or interact. Such is not biblical reconciliation but rather a warped form of penance and one that cannot be paid fully, thus being reconciled, as the person of whom the penance is required can never cease to be as God created them: white or black. He can never undo the fact of slavery or systemic hatred in America and, therefore, he must embrace a life of spiritual self-flagellation as a result of the unwarranted whiteness that has allowed him to live such a life of comparative ease. What is most disturbing is not that the world would think this way but that such thought has been embraced by the Church.

Words Matter. As people of the Word, language is important and I believe it is time the Church gave up the common use of the word ‘race’ and all of its cognates. They only help to perpetuate an untruth about the nature of mankind. In the anthropology of Scripture, race is an alien concept. Scripture does not speak of ‘the races’ as subsets of humanity, but it does speak of ‘tongues (which can be translated as religions), tribes and nation’. As long as the Church concedes to the terminology of a Darwinian worldview we will never get closer to modeling the oneness of the Body of Christ for the world that is spoken of in Scripture. The Church must not capitulate to the secular world on this matter and put words into our mouths, and in doing so perpetuate a false reality. God’s Word has this right; there is one ‘race’ and many scattered tongues, tribes and nations. Many anthropologists agree that the 19th-century idea of many ‘races’ is not a biological reality but rather a myth. My point here is not to argue the science but to emphasize worldview. When discussing biblical anthropology we should insist on biblical language, and there is no Scriptural basis for diving mankind among the so-called ‘races’. The illusion of racism is not where the discussion should lie, and as long as the Church discusses issues of pre-Christian tribal and ethnic allegiances from the perspective of so-called racism then we will not see any real progress as we are led by the nose by every new social-justice group that comes along to claim their place as the new prophetic voice of a downtrodden minority.

Identity madness is a current hot topic. People question their identity as man rebels against the boundaries of a biblical anthropology they seek in vain to invent their own explanation. This radical subjectivity results in daily re-definitions. God’s people need to understand their true identity. As a Christian, what is my preeminent identity? Am I a Black Christian, or a Christian who is black? We must not give priority to tribal or ethnic loyalties in place of fidelity to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have found nothing in scripture that affirms that I am allowed to believe that old tribal devotions neither can nor should take precedence over my identity as a member of the Body of Christ, the nation of the New Israel come down from heaven. We give lip-service to this reality, but do we walk in this truth consistently? The only way is to manifest the truth of the Gospel of King Jesus. The Church cannot continue to trail along behind the world attempting to sprinkle ‘holy water’ on the latest iteration of Marxism and call it ‘social justice’.

Racial reconciliation services are founded upon a lie from Satan. The whole motivation behind them is a false anthropology. Allow me to nuance my previous point. These worship services focus on corporate confessions by the white section of the congregation. And once the service has ended it is expected that the white brother will now go forth and sin against his black brother no longer. Recall here that for many they are expected to repent of being made white which is not a sin. If the white brother does eventually cause offense against black brother, and he will and vice versa, his former repentance, based upon a false premise, will then be viewed as being disingenuous. How is that justice? The line of thought is that, had his confession been genuine, then his offense would be unrepeatable. The offended Black then may accuse the White of ‘racial insensitivity’, latent racism, ‘racial privilege’ and a host of other insults. But rarely is the individual treated as a fallen human being, struggling with a fallen nature, who is wholly incapable of living up to God’s expectation of loving his neighbor as himself. If the person were to be treated fairly, we would seek to follow Jesus’ mandate that, if you offend me, I am to forgive you. Period.

“He said to His disciples, ‘It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.’
” ‘Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive
him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I
repent,’ forgive him.’” Luke 17:1-5

The message is clear that the offended brother must forgive if so asked. This is repeated several times in the Gospels, for example, Matthew 6 wherein the Lord instructs His followers to pray to God asking that we are judged as we judge others, to be forgiven just as we forgive. We can all relate to the apostles’ response, “…increase our faith!” In own of strength, we cannot possibly hope to be the people that God has called for us to be, nor can we love the way that Jesus says to love. So, when my brother sins against me in prioritizing his ethnic, social, political and economic tribes over mine I am to forgive him. It is not my place to accuse him and therefore all who look like him of being hopelessly lost, nonredeemable and less than me because of some new ‘Mark of Cain’ in his skin that looks different than mine. I pray for him. I talk with him. I seek to help him grow beyond the limitations of his tribe, ethnic or otherwise.

In Summation

The Church of Jesus Christ should stop attempting to address the mythical issue of so-called ‘race’ as to do so would be to spend time and energy chasing after an imaginary dragon. There simply is no such thing and the Bible offers our proof. Biblically speaking, mankind is of one human race. We are all saved the same way, we will all be judged by the Christ according to the same standard of righteousness that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and not one has been tested and found in the right in His eyes.

The call of the Church is to love one another. This means that I must deal with you personally when you sin against me personally. I cannot hold you accountable for sins committed by past generations, nor can I regard you as a pariah because I perceive that God has blessed you differently than He has me.

No ethnic group has the market cornered on any particular sin. The Church does mankind a disservice when she disciplines them to believe the lie that skin color makes them immune from the accusations of hating or discriminating against others of a different tribe. Many blacks have been sold the lie that their identity as an oppressed minority renders them exempt from being found guilty of tribalism. In the Marxist worldview, such may be lauded as a foundational truth, but when life is seen from a biblical perspective that simply does not pass the smell test. Christ has commanded us to love one another. That call can only be fulfilled on His terms.

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By In Culture

To the Families of the Charleston Victims

The writers at Kuyperian give our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims who lost their lives in Charleston on June 17. One might wonder if the nation even remembers Charleston. In the span of two weeks we’ve already changed topics at least three times: to the Confederate flag, then Obamacare subsidies, and now the nationalization of gay marriage. Sometimes our attention span is too short for its own good. But we know that you have not moved on. We mourn with you and are praying that the peace of Christ would continue to fill your hearts and minds during this time.

In response to this tragic loss you were a witness of God’s mercy. When confronting the killer, you urged him to repent and offered him forgiveness. You followed the examples of Jesus and Stephen (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). Dylann Roof was an agent of death and yet you gave him the words of eternal life. That seems so foolish; it is antithetical to man’s every inclination. But your actions displayed the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18). You proclaimed the gospel to our nation and to the world. We are grateful for your testimony, as it encourages us to be so bold.

The nine people who died that night are playing a significant role in the growth of Christ’s kingdom. Though the killer was motivated by racial hatred we ought not forget that this tragedy took place in a church, directed towards Christians. Intended or not, this attack on race became an attack on the church simultaneously. (more…)

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By In Culture

My First Martin Luther King Day

Given the deaths of young black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and Cleveland, Ohio in the past year, it should come as no surprise that this year’s observation of Martin Luther King Day throughout the US is especially significant. It is significant for me too. I grew up and spent my college years in rural southern Minnesota, spent three years in preparation for ministry in northern Idaho, and am now in Springfield, Missouri.

If you know anything about any of those three places, they are not noted for a tremendous amount of diversity. In my small town of under 10,000, throughout my school-age days, there were maybe two black kids in my class in any given year. We were as white as white could be. But since it was public school, with its centralized educational dictates from a culturally distant capital, there were, of course, mandatory diversity assemblies from kindergarten on where speakers would come in and tell us how great an evil racism was. For little children who had never been around black people, we could not understand what all the fuss was about. As we got older and learned more and more about the history of the Civil Rights Movement, we were so far away from Jim Crow, in terms of geography, history, and culture, that it was still very much an abstract concept.

All we knew, by the time we were high-school-age through our regular diversity assemblies, was that every white person held racist presuppositions that they probably didn’t even know about and the word “n——r,” which was pervasive in the rap music we so enjoyed, was absolutely forbidden for us to say (so much so that I still can’t bring myself to write it out in this space). We were taught just enough to be trained to believe we were probably racist, but we had no idea what to do about it. Especially in rural Southern Minnesota where there were almost no black people. It is a microcosm of the culture that drives secular schooling—all the moralism of religion without the gospel. And despite the apotheosis of the (at least state-approved version) of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that took place in my 13 years of public school, I had never really fully appreciated the man and what he did until this past year. And what a year it was.

This past summer as I read stories of young black men killed (with seriously dubious justification at best) and watched riots erupt in response.. As I was seeing first-hand the anger and sorrow of African-Americans, I began to empathize with them for the first time. Though I had been through 13 years of government school diversity training, I could not help but wonder why our society is as racially-divided as it is. I was compelled to consider what it might be like to grow up in that world, and what it would be like to experience the things they have that I have not.  Of course, I understood the history all too well (albeit from a comfortable emotional distance).

Nearly every-single black person in the United States today is a descendent of people who were stolen from their homes and then sold to wealthy white people. Because of this sin, our nation was judged with the wrath of God, in an event that killed at least one of our every fifty Americans1, gave us a central government with unchecked power, and fostered even more deep-seated hatred between races. And now I have realized that this happened because the church of Jesus Christ did not condemn the sin of man-stealing and racism. She did not preach that black men and women were created in the image of God. Even worse, much of the church participated in these sins.

 1024px-Martin_Luther_King,_Jr._and_Lyndon_Johnson_2

Later, in the 1950s and 60s, when the social movement whose goal was for black people to be treated like white people began, much of the church, particularly in the South, opposed it rather than lead it. As a judgment for our complicity in this sin, since we would not deal with it ecclesiastically, God gave us over to that same central government that asserted authority it did not have over private property, a precedent which is now being used to persecute Christians who do not wish to use their property to celebrate perversion.2 This same powerful state shortly thereafter created a vast welfare state in the Great Society, a vast police state in the War on Drugs, and codified into law the dream of arch-racist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger—the extermination of “human weeds” (what she called black people) through legalized abortion. That these three things have been absolutely devastating to black families and black communities in particular is beyond dispute. And since this is the case, that these institutions are at least implicitly racist, since their destructive power disproportionately is wielded against African-Americans, the church must be committed to abolishing them. It is not enough to decry some vague concept of white privilege if we are not committed to abolishing a War on Drugs that puts tens of thousands of black men a year in cages for things the Bible does not call a crime, abolishing a welfare state that renders black fathers unnecessary and leaves families in generational poverty, and abolishing the legal protections of murder-for-hire businesses like Planned Parenthood (that especially prey on African-American communities). The church must be united in Her opposition to these evils if the races in our country are to be reconciled by the gospel.

Unfortunately much of the church’s response to the protests and riots that erupted throughout our country in the last year was something to the tune of “I can’t comment on who is right or wrong here, but I know that these people need the gospel.”3 Such a statement is ignorant of what the gospel really is. A statement that says “I don’t know what is right or wrong, but these people need [to learn that they can have a free ticket to heaven if they pray a prayer but not be discipled in how to live]” is not the gospel. The gospel says, “Jesus Christ is King, and He invites you into His Kingdom. Because He is King, every aspect of your life is subject to Him. Every human institution is laid at His feet and to be governed by His Law.” That is the gospel. The gospel speaks to Ferguson, Missouri. The gospel speaks to New York City. The gospel speaks to Cleveland, Ohio. It does so because Jesus Christ is King over all those places, and His Bride and Body must be His voice in those places. His gospel can undo the mess that racism and a despotic state can make. And the good news is that it will undo that and every other mess.

1 This event was the American War Between the States

2 That expansion of the central government’s power was the ruling class’s purpose behind the Civil Rights Act might seem a controversial statement, but it needn’t be. President Johnson, a onetime champion of Jim Crow, is purported to have said regarding the Civil Rights Act to two Southern Democratic state governors: “I’ll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.”  While there is a mountain of evidence to support this assertion, Johnson’s quote should suffice.

3 Credit Thabiti Anyabwile with defining the kind of statement as a “gospel juke.”<>система консультантпример пиар компании

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By In Politics

What Racism, Human Trafficking, and Abortion All Have in Common

Guest Post by Michael Graham

Racism, human trafficking, and abortion all share a common source to their evil – the fundamental denial of human dignity – more specifically the creator endowed dignity of being made in the image of God.  This is unilaterally accomplished by carving out groups of people (by ethnicity, gender, vulnerability, or age) who are classified as sub-human and therefore not treated as equal human beings.

Racism
Racism denies the image of God in a particular ethnicity, people group, or tribal affiliation.  It seeks to make the persons of such groups or affiliations lesser than your group or affiliation. In doing so it assails the inherent worth endowed by God.  There are several idols at work in racism – power, control, pride, and ironically likely both self-love and self-hatred.

Human Trafficking
Human trafficking denies the image of God in humanity by treating certain humans as not being human at all, but rather property.  All sense of dignity and worth must be deconstructed in order to justify the human as property.  There are several idols at work in human trafficking, most notably, greed, power, control, and lust.

Abortion
Abortion denies the image of God in those of a certain size, age, gestation, or relative level of “wantedness.”  The human is made to be sub-human because it is small, young, not yet viable, and has not travelled the magical 6″ journey down the birth canal that suddenly and mysteriously imbues it with life, human rights, and legal status.  Their are several idols at work here, most notably, lust, selfishness, comfort, and escape.

While perhaps difficult to personally engage heavily on all three fronts, I find it ironic that my own age demographic seem inclined to care about the first 2 of these 3 and not the third.  I don’t know if this is for reasons of ignorance, idolatry, apathy, or all of the above.  It will be interesting how history plays itself out on this particular issue… but I am willing to wager that our grand children will think of abortion with a similar disdain that our generation holds toward the Holocaust.

The Banality of Evil and Our Cultural Morass

I hope we would see ourselves as being more dignified than to cut up our children for the pursuit of the ideal body, the next ladder rung of the career, or the perfect orgasm.  I hope we would see ourselves as being more dignified than to allow persons to be treated as property for sex or for unpaid work for the pursuit of cheaper goods, uncommitted and intimacy-less sex (rape).  I hope we would see ourselves as being more dignified than to allow other ethnicities to be treated as less worthwhile, less valuable, and sub-human for the pursuit of feeling good about one’s own tribe at the expense of another tribe.

There is a certain banality to evil that lulls us into going along and getting along. It was the same banality that anesthetized the very bright German people into the wholesale slaughter of persons categorized as sub-human.

What we want is what we worship and what we worship controls us.  This is true if we are pagans, atheists, agnostics, or Christians. We are all slaves to our wants.  Those wants drive our ideas… And ideas have consequences… Often dire ones.

What the heart loves, the will chooses, the mind justifies – Thomas Cranmer

Michael blogs at Modern Pensées.<>анализ продвижения ов

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