I’m saddened to see Christian Leader magazine promoting the so-called anti-racist movement. Racism does exist and should be confronted, but so much of the rhetoric surrounding the anti-racism movement is actually perpetuating racism by reinforcing an us-versus-them mentality. The overarching premise is that having a certain skin color gives a person inherent privileges or puts them at an inherent disadvantage.
But the suggestion that a person’s destiny is inextricably link to their race is itself racism. Additionally, much of the material in the CL articles suggested that racism is merely a passive attitude that people are often unaware of within themselves. That means that racism is primarily a matter of ignorance. But that is not true; racism is hatred, which is a matter of the heart much more than a matter of the head. A human may change another’s mind, but only Christ can change another’s heart.
We should, of course, call out racism when it occurs. Indeed, if there is a specific instance of racism, please alert me to it and I will stand with you against that act, as I believe Jesus would want me to do. But the idea that someone is perpetuating systemic racism merely by being a white person in a position of authority is simply false. Such falsehoods are driving a wedge between people in our society, and now also in the church.
Jesus is a member of a persecuted minority, but he did not make the oppression of Jews a central issue in his ministry. It would seem he tried to avoid politics in order to keep his central message in focus: “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” I do not recall him telling the Romans that they needed to “examine the privilege systemic racism provided them.”
Jesus was concerned with true justice, but quite often our modern notion of “racial justice” is not justice at all. Quite often, “racial justice” demonizes people for things they have no control over, and it encourages people to remain aggrieved about the past rather than to seek forgiveness and to love their enemies.
The articles in the January/February 2021 issue of CL were implying that white people are clueless of their own privilege, that they need to examine that privilege and repent of it. That message will make people more suspicious of one another and will do more harm to race relations than good. Let’s stick to the gospel. True equality is found at the foot of the cross, where we see that we are all equally sinful and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior.