Here are two articles with two different perspectives on Christians and racism that are worth the time to read to help you decide where you stand on this pressing issue.
- The first article, more typical of articles on this subject generally, is entitled, “White Christians Need to Stop Being Apathetic About Racism” by Carl Lentz.
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
The pastor believes one of the reasons why many white Christians are not fighting for those who are hurting from racial inequality is that it will cost those believers money, acclaim, and power. Another is that some do not understand how to be a true peacemaker. To truly make peace instead of merely keeping it, said Lentz, “You have to go find war. You have to find trouble. You have to find the hurting in order to bridge this gap.”
He says that it would be helpful if believers fought racism with some of the principles we are using to fight COVID-19. For example, we should act as though we were all racist, just as we have been acting as though we all might have the virus. “The reality is you could be more racist than you think,” he said. “I don’t think I’m a racist man. I don’t want to be, but I love you enough as my brother to go look at it again.”
It does not help to compare ourselves to others and to comfort ourselves by thinking that at least we are not as racist as other people are. What we should do is compare ourselves to God and whether we measure up to his love for justice. In the Old Testament, we see that God wants “oceans of it.”
“So unless I’m part of the oceans of justice team, I’m not doing enough,” said Lentz. “I’m a part of the problem.” When George Floyd was murdered, the pastor asked himself if he was contributing to the problem more than he was to the solution. He concluded the answer was yes and started making some practical changes.
These include taking teaching moments with his children, as well as marching in protests. Acho asked the pastor what he would say to a white person reluctant to march with a group of black people in a protest because it feels disingenuous. “Welcome to being black in America,” said Lentz, “to being the only person who doesn’t really know if you fit in.” The fact that a white person even has the option to choose not to participate is in itself an example of racism.
- The second article posits the position that, rather than issue blanket condemnations, the more productive and Scriptural approach is to levy specific charges against specific actions. The article is entitled, “If You Can’t Demonstrate Specific Sins, Drop the Race-Baiting Rhetoric”, by Grayson Gilbert.
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
He says that racism still rears its ugly head, no doubt. It isn’t as if this sin is the one exception to the many sins which plague humanity. Yet the way many speak on issues of race in the church today is as if it is single-handedly the sin which the majority of people, particularly white Evangelicals, are guilty of committing. Rather than giving concrete examples of particular, explicit forms of racism that need to be repented of, many cite the implicit racism in place in various systems and people groups, which they argue is at fault for any number of perceived social issues.
For those unaware of what implicit racism is, the basic premise is that despite your best intentions, you hold stereotypes and assumptions about people groups, which informs every aspect of your life. You are de facto guilty of implicit racism simply by virtue of who you are as the dominate people group. The problem with this entire line of thinking is that it assumes from the start that this is the case.
My honest assessment of the movement as it currently stands is that it is designed to be an emotionally manipulative tool in order to perpetuate guilt through racial animus. The reason for this is that for one, it has become an incredibly lucrative field for those who can milk it for all its worth, but for two, nobody wants to be on the wrong side of the cancel culture.
The difficulty with implicit racism, of course, is in being able to ascribe any particular, explicit examples of this sin.
Per Scripture, sin is explicit. There’s really no way around this from the teaching of the Bible, in that while it may remain hidden for a season, it is still by nature and practice, sin, and all such sin is revealed. For the Christian, the notion of implicit racism poses some rather obvious contradictions with what the Scriptures state on the nature and duration of hidden sin, yet simultaneously, the ability one has to repent.
People are making the leap to say that they can judge the thoughts and motives of the heart by assuming as much. Yet the thing that makes such judgments altogether more perilous is that they are subjectively based value judgments.
Unless we have explicit reason to believe that something is racially motivated, we ought to be extremely hesitant to place something in that category. What happened may have been wrong; it may have even been an injustice according to the Law—but unless we can explicitly point out partiality, we ought to drop the rhetoric.
If we are to call out actual instances of partiality, we must be sure we can substantiate our claims beyond the theoretical realm of implicit racial bias. We must be able to point to explicit sins, specifically in this case, ones where racial animus is overtly clear.
One rather glaring inconsistency I see on behalf of social justice proponents is an unwillingness to give specifics; specific sins of specific people and specific ministries, or specific and current laws and practices on the books that perpetuate systemic racism.
That means if we are to come to the table with the charge of racism, we must be able to demonstrate that it is clearly so, otherwise we are slandering, bearing false witness, and likely even being found guilty of the very same crime we are seeking to denounce: partiality against a particular people group.
We are a people beholden to the truth of all things because we are a people who love the truth, which very simply means that if we can’t demonstrate actual, substantiated evidence of racial prejudice, we need to drop the race-baiting rhetoric and stick to the facts.
After having had an opportunity to consider both views, which do you think is the better way to combat racism?