Five Lies Christians Believe About Race

“My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness.  Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think of themselves as something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride.  For all must carry their own loads.  Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.  Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.  If you sow in your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.  So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.  So then, whenever we have the opportunity let us work for the good of all and especially for those of the family of faith.”

~ Galatians 6.1-10, New Revised Standard Version

1. God is a white/ black/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige God and Jesus the Christ is a white/  black/ red/ yellow/ brown/ beige man.  

God is not a God of race, the religious or divine representative for it or given to one socially constructed group or the other.  God does not come in social colors for us to choose from.  God is inclusive, accepting all who would accept the sacrificial death and new life provided through His Son, Jesus the Christ.  God is not, however, omni- racial, multicolored or a rainbow God.

We must also be careful not to rely too heavily upon Jesus’ earthly ministry as the means by which we identify him or make the mistake of identifying Jesus with us.  We are called to identify with him, to be like him.  Jesus is not taking on our yoke and learning of us but we are taking on his.  Taking his yoke and casting our cares upon him are not to be seen as synonymous or used interchangeably (Matthew 11.28-30; I Peter 5.7).  We do not call Jesus to our ministry and work but Jesus calls us.

Jesus was fully human AND fully divine. Our understanding of him should reflect both aspects and provide an equal balance to our perceptions and declarations about him.  Race does not influence the power of God or the presence of Jesus the Christ while on earth neither does race play a role in the relationship that either shares with believers today.

2.  Good and evil, righteous and unrighteous, chosen and heathen people are determined by the social coloring of skin.

The social coloring of skin does not place one in or outside of the will of God.  God does not endorse neither did God cast the Hamitic curse upon persons of African descent (cf. Genesis 9.18-27).  The social coloring of skin is not a indication of God’s judgment for or against a cultural group.

The children of Israel were not chosen because of the social coloring of skin and the apostle Paul tells the people of Rome and he tells us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8).  Thus, no cultural group is chosen because of race.  Our position with God and in Christ is unearned and not based on what we do or our ancestors have done.  We may credit ourselves with building a nation but God created the world.  We may be able to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” but God raised Jesus from the dead.  He is the only self- made person to have ever existed and he is a credit to no race.

3.  God supports and will honor racial segregation in the new heaven and new earth (The Revelation 21.1).

There is not a black and white or any other socially colored combination of heavens or hells for that matter.  We will live with God together or we will be punished together.  We are not in charge of or on the planning committee for either location.  It is God’s heaven and Satan’s hell.  We have no jurisdiction in either.

We may be able to segregate the Church on earth but we will not be able to divide up the Body of Christ in heaven.  We may be able to play Peter and write persons in our cultural Book of Life but we have no authority by which to judge any one’s eternal position.

4.  One socially colored group is more sinful, evil and more prone to commit sin based on race.  Consequently, they are in need of more of God’s mercy and/ or our assistance.

One socially colored group is not/ will not be judged more severely or given more leniency than another because of social oppression, marginalization or segregation.  The oppressed as well as those who oppress are equally sinners and in need of the same salvation.  There is not a separate Savior for each group and no cultural group is to serve as the Messiah for another.  The life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ was and remains sufficient.

Neither group is exempt from examination or judgment.  Because you are oppressed does not mean that you are justified in living life according to the flesh and because you are privileged on earth does not mean that God also has to render the same treatment.  Unlike too many instances in the American justice system, persons are able to escape penalty because of the social coloring of skin or based on the social privileges that are afforded them.

God also does not punish persons because of the social coloring of skin.  It is a not a mark or a strike against him or her.  God did not and does not use the social coloring of skin as a means by which to remember who is bad and who is good.  God’s standard is the same for all people and it is not based on what we have done but what Christ has done for us.

5.  God only loves people like us.  

Who are the people like you as there are no clones in our society?  They are no exact replications of any human being not even those we describe as identical.  So, what do we mean when say, “Like us”?  It is an exclusionary expression and most often means the people that we like.

This position assumes that even persons within the same cultural group are alike and that God only desires what one portion of the human population has to offer, that God creates persons that He does not like, that He takes no pleasure in and has no plan for except to support the purpose of those He favors.  Even more problematic is the fact that it assumes that we know who and what God likes.  Such a belief places us inside the mind of God whose “thoughts are not our thoughts and whose ways are not our ways” (Isaiah 55.8).  But, how can we be inside the mind of God when we are so often outside of His will?  And race is outside of His will.

Race is a lie that Christians continue to believe in spite of our experience with the unconditional love of God, the declarative life of freedom expressed through the ministry and work of Jesus the Christ and our knowledge of sacred Scripture.  It is the lie that undermines our confession of faith in an all- knowing God, that limits our witness of the life- changing power of Jesus the Christ and  that compromises the work of the Holy Spirit that seeks “to lead us into all truth” (John 16.13).

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