Racial or spiritual reconciliation?

Race Issues
by La Shawn Barber

Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, at 10:17 am

“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” (Acts 17:26, NKJV).

I’m going to state the obvious: Racial strife and division are the result of sin and will not cease as long as the world remains fallen. One of the many wonderful things about the Christian faith is that, regardless of race or ethnicity or nationality, we’re brothers and sisters in Christ. Through this spiritual kinship, we’re heirs of the Father and co-heirs with the Son.

You’ve probably heard the saying: 11 o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour. True or not, I don’t think it matters. The truth is, different groups tend to have different styles of worship, and what might be dynamic (in a good way) to some might be uncomfortable for others. It’s not a sin to attend a predominantly white or black church, although you might think so if you’re swayed by talk of racial reconciliation.

When I first heard the term years ago, I thought, “Oh, boy. Why do Christians need to do this?” Rudy Carrasco, a board member of the Christian Community Development Association, wrote a post for Christianity Today on the topic. His group seeks to reconcile “humanity to God through the saving work of Jesus on the cross,” while “bringing together people from different ethnic groups in relationships that reflect the vision of Revelation 7:9, a great multitude of people from every tribe, nation and tongue, united in worship of Christ.”

Reconciling humanity to God is our mission. But in Revelation 7:9 God revealed the tribulation-period future to the apostle John. In John’s vision, all kinds of believers stood before God’s throne, with Christ at His right hand, showing the breadth of salvation. But bringing all kinds of Christians together right here on earth shouldn’t involve taking white Christians on a collective guilt-trip.

I don’t share racial reconcilers’ or liberals’ assumptions that racism is the biggest problem for Christians or anyone else. The more pressing problem is people having babies outside marriage, exposing children to all sorts of risks. Fornication, adultery, divorce, the mainstreaming of perversion—these are bigger issues than an individual’s prejudices.

Coming together is nice, but I’m willing to say, out loud and without the cloak of anonymity, that although it may be politically incorrect it isn’t wrong to prefer to be around people similar to you in your personal life—and I’ll defend that statement to my grave. Racial grievances and gripes someone might have against a fellow Christian of a different race or ethnicity need to be worked through with that person, a whole lot of prayer, and bit of mirror-gazing.

Just as Christ holds individuals accountable for their sins, we’re each accountable for our actions here on earth. No group owes a debt to any other group. Such concerns are for liberal politicians trying to raise money, stir up class envy, and get elected, not for those redeemed by and reconciled to Christ.

La Shawn Barber

La Shawn is a former WORLD columnist.

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