Sometimes I feel like a pariah when I write about social justice Christianity and the way I believe Satan is effectively using it to divide the church and drive us from our primary mission to seek and save lost souls. Even though I know there are voices like mine who are saying the same things, and saying them far more articulately, I still feel like a bit of an exile.
I hate racism. I hate everything to do with racism. My wife and I were driving the other day and were just marveling at the stupidity that existed not so terribly long ago in our country where people actually thought that black people shouldn’t use the same drinking fountain as white people. That’s not just awful, it’s so incredibly stupid. There’s a reason I say that – and it has nothing to do with my own personal preferences or goodness.
I am a Christian and therefore submit and have a mind transformed to the Biblical truths that:
- There is but one blood, one race – Adam’s race. Acts 17:26
- There is only unity and brotherhood in Christ, no Jew or Gentile. Galatians 3:28
- We are to love our neighbor as ourselves, regardless of skin tone. Mark 12:31
- Different tongues, different ethnicity, different sex are demonstrations of God’s creative majesty, not distinctions of His preferences. Revelation 7:9
I hate racism because I love God. It’s that simple, but it’s also more involved. Because I hate racism, I also hate the ideologies and philosophies that welcome it (like white supremacy, black separatism, Nazism), and those that breed it (like Darwinism).
I want racism eradicated, just as many who embrace current social justice Christianity do. But I fundamentally disagree with their approach because I believe it is built upon cultural theology that anticipates racism's eradication coming through social policy. That is wrong. I prefer an approach rooted in the truth of the Bible that reminds us racism will never be eradicated in a fallen world.
Those two fundamentally different starting points will yield two fundamentally different strategies, two fundamentally different teachings, and thus two fundamentally different kinds of disciples. The first will focus on motivating society towards manmade institutions equipped for restitution and deliverance. The second will focus on motivating society towards the cross alone for deliverance of our souls, our attitudes, and our minds.
I do not believe that preaching and teaching white guilt and black liberation theology is productive or godly. The fact that it is so evident on Christian campuses and so prevalent in major evangelical church culture today is the unsurprising fruit of Satan’s deception, intending to turn brothers against brothers, to tie us up in futile efforts at cultural reconciliation by means of social action, and to distract us from our only real hope of unity.
The only effective antidote to racism is Jesus. Preaching anything else as a cure treats racism as something other than what it is – sin. Racism is a symptom of man’s disease of sinfulness; and thus its only remedy is redemption in Christ alone. Those truly committed to combatting racism then would be wisest to dedicate themselves to converting souls to Jesus. As Darrell B. Harrison has put it,
“What do white pastors need to say that Jesus hasn’t already said?”
Precisely. Show me a church of all white people that does nothing but preach Jesus, teach His doctrines, praise His love, abide in His principles, and I will show you the least racist, purest-hearted congregation in the world. Show me a church of all black people that does nothing but exalt the King of Kings, worship His sovereignty, reverence His grace, obey His instruction, and I will show you the least racist, purest-hearted congregation in the world.
The world futilely looks to man and his institutions to solve our problems. The church must do better and point all men to Christ as Lord. What we need isn’t a purer social doctrine to save us from our racial division and strife. We need a purer focus on the risen Savior.
But once saved, isn’t social justice something we will embrace and teach other Christians to pursue? No, because Biblical justice and social justice aren't the same thing. Check out Part II of this essay tomorrow.