Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Racism and the Christian

ImageRacism has always been a problem in the United States of America. Slavery in America was a racist institution. Today, the problems in dealing with militant Islamic terrorism, and illegal immigration are compounded by racist overtones.

I disagree with the view that if one emphasizes the rule of law, or if one opposes Islam as a false religion, he is a racist (as is sometimes claimed in the national discourse). However, it is obvious that the rhetoric being used by many is indicative of racial prejudice. It is also obvious to me in my observations of God’s people that racism is present in the church. This is shameful.

There are a number of scriptures to which we might refer that clearly teach racism is sinful. We might note James’ condemnation of personal favoritism in James 2:1-13. While the specific prejudice of the chapter is a preference for the rich over the poor, the principle can clearly be applied to preferences for one race above another. “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:8-9). In fact, any scripture calling the Christian to love his fellow man, by principle, condemns racism.

In Acts 17:26, Paul (a Jew) spoke to the Athenians (Gentiles) and said, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings…” All men—black, brown, yellow, red, white—have the same blood, and are descended from the same ancestors. Physical distinctions such as the amount of melanin in the skin, hair type, or bone structure are no indication of any superiority, nor a just cause for believing one race to be superior to another.

Most importantly, there is no difference in the relative value of the soul. All men are loved by God, and in need of His saving grace. Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Any man who is God’s child is my brother, regardless of race. Any man who is lost is in need of the blood of Christ, and I must love him sufficiently to share the gospel message to the saving of his soul.

Virulent racism is evident. It is seen in slurs, hate speech, violence, and oppression. However, the Christian is often too polite to be overtly racist. That will not excuse a heart that shows a lack of love because of personal favoritism.

Christians should ask themselves: Do I have an US versus THEM mentality when thinking about other races? Do I consider myself in some way superior because of the color of my skin, or because of the culture of which I am a part? Do I feel discomfort in the presence of other races? Racism is insidious, destructive and completely unacceptable to God. You are not excused just because you “were raised that way.” Or because of a mindset you once had while in the world. Paul wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

A transformed mind requires one to purge himself of any racist thought or ideology. As Christians, we note the worth of all men, and desire the salvation of all.