Sean Hannity adds to America's national conversation on race

Race Issues
by Jarvis J. Williams

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at 3:05 pm

The New Testament suggests that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, died to reconcile Jews and Gentiles to God and to each other, and to recreate them into one new race (Ephesians 2:11-22). This does not mean He erases their old racial identities but that He transforms them by giving Christ-followers a new racial identity (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 3:28; 1 Peter 2:9). This teaching assumes that members of the human race were alienated from one another before Jesus came to accomplish reconciliation (Ephesians 2:1-22).

Genesis 1-3 highlights that sin is the root cause of this alienation. Before sin entered the Genesis narrative, God’s creation was in perfect harmony with its Creator and with itself (Genesis 1-2). But after sin entered creation, this harmony was severed (Genesis 3)—the chief example is the enmity within the human race, the pinnacle of God’s creation (Genesis 1-2). Genesis 4 vividly illustrates this point when Cain murders his brother Abel immediately after Genesis 3. Sin’s impact on the human race has manifested itself in many different ways and in many different contexts throughout history, from the murder of Abel to other examples of violence prior to, within, and beyond U.S. history. Race talk is now part of America’s national conversation.

On Friday, Fox News’s Sean Hannity devoted his entire program to the topic of “Race in America.” The program admittedly made good points. The majority of the panel was African-American instead of Anglo. The panel talked about some of the causes of racial division in the country and featured some very articulate and accomplished African-Americans. But the panelists did not explicitly offer any gospel solutions to the problem, solutions rooted in the belief that sin is the root of the problem and the bloody, resurrected, and reconciliatory gospel of Jesus Christ is the solution.

To be fair, panelists mentioned the role of “faith communities”in helping with racial strife. Hannity directly acknowledged that churches have a vital role in healing the racial wounds in the country. But terms like “faith communities”are too generic to be helpful. Instead, America and the entire cosmos need to recognize that sin affects individuals and social structures, yet Jesus Christ died and was resurrected to unify all things and all people to Himself and to one another (John 17:1-26; Ephesians 1:9-10, 2:11-3:8). If humans turn away from their sin and believe in Jesus, they can come to understand His vision for racial reconciliation (Matthew 5-7; Mark 1:14-15; John 3:16, 17:1-26; Ephesians 2:11-3:8; Revelation 5:9).

May the church of Jesus Christ look to Him and to those who imitate Him to find eternal solutions to the problem of racism.

Jarvis J. Williams

Jarvis is associate professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a former WORLD contributor.

Read more from this writer