Racism & the Bible

You’ve no doubt heard about the White Supremacists/KKK Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the violence that ensued resulting in one death and many seriously injured. (Of note, every organization represented in the United States – regardless of how unpopular & hateful their views – has the constitutional right to assemble peacefully and benefit from their right to free speech.  But that is a topic for another article.)

As a youth pastor, I would periodically teach on the topic of racismRacism (which can originate in any race toward another race) is, in my experience, taught/passed down rather than learned inherently. Like a disease (not terminal, mind you, since it can be un-learned), racism infects the right and biblical thinking of individuals.  I use the adjective, biblical, since, tragically, I’ve visited with a few people over the years claiming to be Christians who are angrily racist.

Racism was rampant in the Bible as the biblical writers, for example, record the hatred Jews had for Samaritans (and vice-versa) as well as the Egyptians forcing the Hebrew people into centuries of slavery.  Some erroneously accuse God of endorsing slavery since we read about slavery in the Bible, and Jesus and Paul never openly condemning slavery.  That is a sorely irresponsible interpretation.  Always remember: just because the Bible records something doesn’t necessarily mean the Bible approves of what is being recorded.  There are numerous heinous acts recorded in Scripture.  Why?  Because it’s the story of God’s pursuit of fallen man – and God never sanitizes the depravity of fallen man (us).

When Jesus & Paul commanded us to “love your neighbor as your self” their clear meaning was that “neighbor” represented all humanity.  Addressing the equality of every created human being, Paul writes to the Galatians, There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. In short, racism is sin.

NYT best-selling author/historian, Eric Metaxas, one of my favorite biographers, tweeted:

“Like my heroes Wilberforce & Bonhoeffer, I see racism as the antithesis of the love of Jesus for all. So White Nationalism is satanic.”

Well said, Eric. 

Solo Deo Gloria, Nick