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Pastor Luther on Racial Reconciliation

Posted by Colby Kinser on

This morning, Jon R and I attended a webinar put on by our district (the Midwest district of the EFCA) on racial reconciliation. The speaker was Pastor Luther Eatman of Bridge of Hope Church in the urban core of KCK. Most of you know Pastor Luther.

The content was rich and too much to include here, but I note some highlights below:

  • The Church has gotten into trouble in the race issue when it takes its cues from society more than from the Bible. The Bible addresses issues of discrimination and the Gospel includes a message of freedom from oppression. The Bible is a rich source. We need to regard the social cues, but everything we think, do, and say must be grounded in what the Bible says, not our flesh.
  • We shouldn't be surprised if the world responds sinfully in this issue - they don't have Christ. What should surprise us are the sinful responses of Christ followers.
  • We start with the imago Dei, the image of God what every person bears. Because of that alone, each person should be treated with respect, and when society disregards some members of society, it's an affront to the image of God. Therefore, it is my issue and your issue even if we don't feel we have been contributing to the problem.
  • Black Christians have responsibilities to respond in a Christlike manner no different than the expectation on white Christians - no one in the Church has an excuse to respond unbiblically no matter what someone else does to them.
  • To address racism in our society, we must start in-house and address forms of racism or indifference within the Church. We cannot change society without getting our own house in order first, including any forms of indifference.
  • If the Church doesn't end up with a biblical worldview, no matter what changes we make with race relations, we haven't done anything that matters.
  • White suburban Christians can advocate better by:
    1. Putting themselves in a place to see firsthand what's going on. This may mean getting outside of a bubble that prevents them from seeing.
    2. In fact, they are mandated by God to get out of their bubbles.
    3. They need to grow very uncomfortable inside those bubbles because of what is going on outside the bubbles.
    4. They should meet people who are experiencing the problems, just spending time with them. Sending money, praying, and doing projects are all good, but more than any of that, they should spend quantity time being with people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ.
    5. The problem isn't that white Christians don't care, but that it's harder for them to see the problems that are going on.
  • Until an issue affects someone we care about, we're not likely to care about that issue very much. For example, cancer may concern you, but if your spouse gets cancer, now suddenly you're an anti-cancer advocate.
  • Being concerned about overseas missions is great - don't lose that. But don't forget those neighborhoods and cities you fly over on your way to the short-term mission field.

Here are some recommended resources that will challenge you:

(image: "Many Hands," Harvey Croze, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Tags: gospel, justice, race, racism