Seven reasons why I do not join the popular, secular fight against racism!

Seven reasons why I do not join the popular, secular fight against racism!

Yes, I write this as a white man, who has been a racist in the past, who seeks to experience gospel grace to fight internal racism in the present, and who believes that the gospel alone can resolve the evil of the human heart which fosters racism. Here are seven reasons why I do not join the popular, secular, fight against racism.

  1. I do not believe we can have redeemed structures and institutions within society without having redeemed individuals. The conversion of Nicodemus, the religious leader, and Matthew, the tax collector, are good examples for me of how Jesus engaged the evil religious and political structures of his day
  2. The depersonalization of evil by focusing on systemic evil undercuts and confuses the purpose of the gospel which is to redeem sinners and bring them together in one body. Systemic evil exists only because there are individuals who embody and institutionalize that evil. Whether that embodiment of evil is depravity or demonic influence, it is still individuals who foster that evil. Temporal societies and institutions are not redeemed; individuals are.
  3. We do not wrestle with and defeat individuals, institutions, principalities and powers through political and societal means. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly uses of power through protest, riot, or legislation, but the gospel declaration, commitment, and assurance that Jesus Christ has triumphed over the powers of evil
  4. The energy and resources given to battle the symptoms of evil, such as racism, dilute the mission of the church to make disciples of all nations. I do not believe there is a better answer for racism than making disciples and nurturing churches that unite a diversity of peoples in Christ.
  5. I do not desire to promote and participate in a narrative amplified by those who reject the Lordship of Christ and do not reflect the grace of God. My narrative seeks to be gospel-centered, grace-oriented, God-focused.
  6. I am committed to the church of Jesus Christ, which is alone is a counter-kingdom with structures that should reflect the grace of God. I have the joy of being a part of Grace Church of Philly where the gospel is bringing together whites, Afro-Americans, Latinos, East and West Africans and more.
  7. I cannot join with others in a battle when we do not see a common enemy, do not have a common commander, and have a different war manual.

The Gospel for the City in Genesis 2

Genesis Two portrays the kingdom of God in its original harmony. God creates man in his own image and places him in His kingdom, a garden-temple, in which Adam offers priestly service to God by extending the garden-temple throughout creation through order and beauty and dominion in the worship of God. God graciously gives Adam a wife with whom he partners in his priestly duties of extending the kingdom of God. All is in harmony, God with man, man with the world, and man with woman.

There is only one restriction in the Garden/temple – ‘to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God lovingly protected humanity from the experiential knowledge of evil. The only way to know evil experientially was to do evil by rebelling against God and eating of the forbidden tree. Adam knew that good and evil existed because of the nature of the tree. He has only experienced good up to this point and need not experience evil, unless he rebels.

Again we are reminded as we read that this harmony has been replaced with struggle. There now exists a tension in man’s relationship with God, with the world, and with other human beings. We know not only the existence of evil, we know the experience of evil, and it has ruined us.

The harmonious world that once was is broken and cries out for a redeemer – One who can defeat the evil that disrupts the harmony of God’s creation, a redeemer who can restore humankind to the priestly work of extending order and beauty and dominion in the worship of God.

Perhaps nowhere is this loss of harmony seen more clearly than in the city. The brokenness of man’s relationship with the world is seen vividly in the plague of poverty, blighted, trash ridden neighborhoods, polluted rivers and streams, poor air quality, diminishing open space, etc. Also, the brokenness of human relationships is seen in the prevalence of divorce, single parent homes, homelessness, economic oppression, racism, and violence. But, most evident is the spirit of rebellion against God. Like Adam city-dwellers often choose the experience of evil rather than worshipful obedience to the Creator God. Rather than do the priestly work of serving and worshiping God, through extending the beauty and order of the Kingdom of God, we choose rather to idolize the created world or rape it for our own selfish purposes.