The Gospel Cure to Racial Hurt

In the Beginning

Racial hostility didn’t begin in 1619, nor does America own the patent on it.  Many long centuries before the founding of America, sin plunged the world into a pandemic of racial and ethnic hurt.  In Genesis 10, God called the nations of the world to scatter, subduing the earth.  In Genesis 11, mankind united against God under the leadership of Nimrod and built the Tower of Babel, “lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”  At the Tower of Babel, we find the launch pad of racism. 

Genesis 11:1 tells us that “the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech” – humanity united against their Creator God. God sent them to subdue the earth, but mankind refused to be scattered. They could not forget the absolute destruction caused by the flood, and they refused to believe God’s promise, symbolized in the rainbow, that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. Rather than rest in His promise, men united to protect themselves and their offspring from such a tyrant God. They built a tower to the heavens in the vain delusion that if God again sent a flood, they would be able to escape it. As Matthew Henry explains,

God had told them indeed that he would not again drown the world; but they would trust to a tower of their own making, rather than to a promise of God’s making or an ark of his appointing.

Ethnic hostility is rooted in sinful man’s antagonism towards a holy God. When the nations refused to spread throughout the earth and subdue it for God’s glory, God introduced disunity between the different families of the earth:

Continue reading “The Gospel Cure to Racial Hurt”

How One Man Found Healing On the Race Issue, Part 2

He was a militant black activist. He followed Malcolm X and thought Martin Luther King, Jr. was too nice, compromised. He admired Nat Turner. But when he found the grace of God, he recognized the flaw in his resentment towards white people. In the first part of our discussion on race, Melvin Price shared his own experience with the race issue as a student leader at Weber State. Melvin explained what a difference it made in his thinking when he found forgiveness and pardon through the blood of Christ.

In this second discussion, Melvin offers his perspective on our current racial animosities and encourages us to talk to each other face-to-face. Above all else, Melvin and I had this discussion for two reasons: first, to share an experience from someone who lived it; second, to give an example of how to discuss these things with a desire to learn.

I hope you will find it helpful.

The conclusion of our discussion on race

How One Man Found Healing On the Race Issue, Part 1

If you read through my recent series on healing our racial hurt, you know that I think we should take the time to listen to give our black brothers a hearing on these things. It is always good to hear someone else relate their experiences and perspectives, even more so when their experience differs from yours.

As I worked through these issues on my own, I relied heavily on the help I received from a handful of black friends. One of those friends is Melvin Price, a member of our church and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Melvin and I discussed the issue at length, and he added significantly to my perspective while I was preaching and writing about racial hurt. After one particular discussion, I thought that we should sit down and record our conversation so that others might benefit from it.

I apologize for the quality (or lack thereof) of this video. I recorded it on my phone. Visually, it is a nightmare, but you should be able to hear what we are saying. I divided the discussion into two parts, both about the same length (probably an hour and ten minutes altogether). I will post the second discussion in a few days.

May you all be blessed in the Lord!

The first part of a discussion on race between Melvin Price and myself

Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 3

Now that our racial hostilities have come to a fast boil – some might argue a volcanic eruption – I believe it is time we admit that our approach to the issue has been ineffective.  I would describe my approach to racial tension throughout much of my life in terms of ignorance and apathy.  I didn’t know, and I really didn’t care.

A little more than 20 years ago, God used a visiting evangelist to expose the racism in my own heart.  It came through a discussion we were having after a chapel service in our Academy.  I was an assistant pastor at the time.  My evangelist friend had just preached a message to our teens about courtship and marriage.  Our pastor had one objection, and he addressed it after the students were dismissed.  His objection? “You didn’t say anything about interracial dating.”

Before I relate our evangelist’s answer, I should remind you that a traveling evangelist depends for his livelihood on the relationships he has with pastors and churches.  It would be easy enough for an evangelist to be a little bit craven out of fear of losing meetings.  Our evangelist friend was not.  His answer stunned me, like an open-handed slap to my face.  He did not hesitate: “I don’t have a problem with interracial dating or marriage.” He explained: “You can’t tell me that a black girl and a white boy who grow up in the same church and live a few miles apart shouldn’t marry because of the color of their skin.  They were raised in the same environment, they have the same cultural experiences, there can be no Scriptural reason to forbid it.”

I interjected. “God separated the races at the tower of Babel.  Interracial marriage blurs the lines between those races.” He looked at me and shook his head: first, nothing in the Bible commands that we maintain “racial integrity” through marriage standards.  The idea that “God set the bounds of their habitations” came from Bob Jones, and (as my evangelist friend said it), “everyone knows that the old man was a racist.” Second, nobody could give a Scriptural breakdown of what constituted a different race, or which races were forbidden to marry one another.  He pointed out that some pastors say there are three races, some say there are more – some as many as seventeen.

I respected this man for his answer, but at the time, I strongly disagreed with him.  Since then, God has changed my heart.  First, my friend was right – God has not put a restriction on marriages based on skin color.  When Aaron and Miriam criticized Moses for his Ethiopian wife, God gave no credence to their criticism at all, though He did punish Aaron and Miriam for opposing Moses’ leadership.  Second, God reversed Babel on the day of Pentecost, when the gospel was heard in the heart languages of – you guessed it – seventeen nationalities (Acts 2:8-11).  Third, God has made of one blood all nations of men (Acts 17:26).  And while it is true (as Bob Jones argued) that God has determined the bounds of their habitation, He has never restricted a nation to that boundary.  Fourth, and I think most importantly, God has made us all of one blood.  There can be no Scriptural grounds for forbidding marriage between blacks and whites.

In the twenty years Continue reading “Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 3”

Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 2

On July 4th, at least two NBA players – Chris Paul and Donovan Mitchell – posted a meme on their social media accounts.  The meme said, “Free-ish, since 1865.” Predictably, many white fans were outraged by this sentiment.  After all, these men are NBA stars, millionaires. Hasn’t America been exceptionally good to them?  When have their rights been deprived?

But they have a point.  The road to freedom has been especially rocky for black people in our nation.  As I highlighted in the first part of this series, even after slavery, America treated blacks as sub-human, an inferior race and culture.  We degraded them, despitefully used them, and persecuted them.  Though I was never personally involved in the segregation that characterized the first half of the 20th century – and neither were my parents or grandparents – I can assure you that my attitudes as a teenager would undoubtedly have supported such a thing.  Had I lived in the days of segregation, I believe I would have been a fan of it.

Out of the 150 years since the Civil War Continue reading “Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 2”

Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 1

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18)

Now that all the woke realtors have stopped using “master bedroom” and JPMorgan-Chase has dropped terms like “master” and “slave” from their internal tech code, I think we can all feel much better about our new and enlightened sensitivities.  After all, I don’t want my computer to be in a slave relationship to me.  I want my computer to master me like everyone else.  I’m not going back to Master Muffler until they get woke either.  Give me a better name, like Novice Muffler or Beginner Muffler.

Race relations is serious business, of course, and every Christian should be concerned about it.  Those Christians have it right who find the solution for our racial hostilities in the gospel.  But we should also recognize that many barriers have formed over time that make it hard for some in our society to hear the gospel preached.  Every Christian should work doubly hard to see those barriers removed so that the gospel can bring forth abundant fruit.

Even before a rogue cop murdered George Floyd, Continue reading “Healing Our Racial Hurt, Part 1”