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Sermon Worth Hearing on Racism

I’m not always the biggest Jordan Hall fan but this sermon he preached on racism is worth hearing.  I subscribe to his podcast and enjoyed this sermon very much.  I agree with him.  The answer to our national troubles (and world for that matter) is simple: the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nothing else can transform like the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:17).

My prayer is that the Church will preach the gospel.  The answer is not found in summits, endless articles on race, giving in to socialists like #blacklivesmatter but rather the answer for the Christian is simple: preach the gospel.  Preach the gospel to all men (Matthew 28:19-20) and make disciples of all men.  Jesus died so that all colors of people can come and be one in Christ Jesus.  Just as the Lord divided the people because of their sins in Genesis 11 so the Lord reunited His people in Acts 2.  That is the power of the gospel.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/17/2016 at 12:43 PM

We Must See People First

This will be another short post on race before I move on.  Many others are weighing in on race here in the United States and my voice is just one among many.

I want to add that if we see race first in a person before we see them as made in the image of God as a human being, we must repent.  Certainly I agree that God made us with color.  All of us.  But that does not define us as people.  If you strip away my color, I am no different from my Japanese neighbors or my black neighbors or any other color.  We are all human beings.  We are all made in the image of God.  This is the Christian truth.  Secular humanists tell us that we are nothing more than pond scum but we are not.  We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and we know it.  We must see each other as people before we see race or culture.  God does not favor the Jew above the Gentile.  He loves both and sent His Son to redeem us all who are children of Adam (Romans 5:12-21; Galatians 4:1-6).

I love how Paul the Apostle was willing to lay down his race for Christ.  In Philippians 3:2-11 we read:

2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Notice that this Jewish man laid down his Jewish identity for the sake of Christ.  He was willing to trade in his culture, his religion, his everything for Christ Jesus.  That should be our call as well.

You see I am not first a white man.  I am not first an American.  I am first and foremost a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I am a Christian.  I happen to be white.  I happen to live in the United States.  I speak English.  That is not what defines me.  What defines me is the gospel.  I am a sinner redeemed by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).  I was dead in my sins and my color would not change that.  I was dead in my sins and my nationality would not change that.  I was dead in my sins and my parents could not change that.  What changed me was the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

If we see that people are in need of Jesus because they are human beings, that is the heart of God (Matthew 28:19-20).  People need Jesus.  All people.  All colors.  All creeds.  All religions.  There is no other way to God but through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).  He alone is our mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:3-6).  Jesus alone shed His blood for our salvation (Matthew 26:28; Galatians 2:15-16).

Let me close this by pointing out that Paul loved his race.  Paul prayed for his race to be saved (Romans 10:1).  There is nothing wrong with loving your people.  But don’t let that define you.  Don’t allow your race to define who you are.  Let the gospel inform you.  Notice that while Paul loved his race, he prayed for their salvation earnestly and he also preached to those outside of his race (Acts 13:44-48).  Paul even rebuked Peter for being a hypocrite with the Jews from Jerusalem (Galatians 2:11-14) because it hindered the gospel to the Gentiles.

My prayer is that the Church would rise up and lead the way of preaching the gospel of peace to a sinful, hateful world.  Jesus came to die for all sinners (John 1:29) and He alone can bring peace to this storm.  The hope for the races is not found in government or wars.  It is found in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel will bring true peace.  The gospel can unite sinners like nothing else.  May the Lord have mercy on the United States and send us a revival of truth.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/11/2016 at 1:56 AM

It’s Easy to Be Racist When You See Men As Animals

Racism is always a hot topic.  I grew up in the South of the United States.  As most people know (who know history), the South was mainly where many of the Africans came when the US brought slaves over in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.  The North and South fought the Civil War (not primarily) over the issues of slavery.  The US Civil War brought a new history of racism to the South.  After the Civil War, Northern leaders forced Southern plantation owners to give up of their land to the new freed slaves.  The idea was to help former slaves become independent but what it brought was hatred from the Southern whites toward their former slaves.  After the era of Reconstruction ended just a few years after the Civil War, the South created “Jim Crow” laws which ensured segregation and when the US Supreme Court upheld “separate but equal” rulings, the South created law after law to keep former slaves down.

I grew up long after the Civil War was fought of course and I grew up in a integrated society.  In the 1960’s, the Civil Rights movement begin in the South and brought down the Jim Crow laws.  This was a good thing in my estimation.  For the life of me, I can’t understand how Christians could hate people based on the color of the skin.  How in the world do you read John 13:34-35 or 1 John 4:20-21 and still approve of racism?

When I was in elementary school, my school was mainly white.  The black friends I had were great and we got along well.  When I got to middle school, they forced three schools to combine because of race (two of the schools were about 80% black or higher and the middle school I was suppose to attend was probably 80% white).  The whites who could went to private schools.  The school went from 500 students to over 1200 students (in middle school) with over 70% black.  It was here that I begin to see racism like never before.  This racism was aimed at me for my skin color.

Over the next 7 years of school (my high school today is 100% black but at the time was about 90% black), I was taught that I was guilty of many sins against the black man for it was my ancestors who had owned slaves.  I was taught that whites should be ashamed, forced to pay money to blacks for the sins of our fathers.  I was taught that the problems with the black community could be laid at the feet of whites.  I was hated for just being white.  And in turn, I begin to hate back.

Now to be fair, I played baseball in school and had black team mates and we got along great.  I also had black friends outside of sports who were dear to me.  Keep in mind also I was not saved.

At 17 I was saved.  This opened my eyes to my own racism and to my need to repent.  Our Bible study group was mainly white but we reached out to black pastors and black students to try to bring healing and show the power of the gospel to bring down divisions.  The church I attended had several black families in it and I loved them dearly.

My point here is that I saw where racism was (in our wicked hearts).  I saw how it was fed.  We were taught in school that we were products of naturalistic evolution.  We were just glorified animals.  We were not created in the image of God.  I could see how racism could grow in that environment.  We are nothing but animals.  You kill an animal, it just ceases to exist.  No right or wrong.  Only animals.  The whites use to point at the blacks and call them “monkeys” while I am sure black people called us names as well.  Racism was alive and well and why should it not be in such a wicked environment.

Look at our world today.  For the last 50 years we have been teaching nothing but secular humanism.  We have taught that people are animals, that evolution is true, that morality is based on individual liberty.  We have taught people to look to the Government for help, to fight your battles, to solve your problems, to take from your neighbor and give to you.  We have rejected the gospel as a foundation.  We have turned our back on our Christian heritage.  We have been taught to kill just for the sake of killing and there is no God so nothing will happen anyway.  And we wonder why racism still exists?  We wonder why wicked sinners kill?

When I begin to see that my black neighbors are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27 ) and that Christ died for them, that changed my views.  I would  be lying if I said that all racism is gone from my heart.  I have to fight it but I fight it with the gospel.  Jesus didn’t die for Jews only or for Gentiles only but He died for all sinners (Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 2:3-6).  The gospel goes out to all people (Matthew 28:19-20).  In Revelation 5:9-10 we read that God has His people from every tribe, tongue and nation.  God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:10).  The Bible is clear that whosoever can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved (Romans 10:13).  Thus the gospel is not for Jews only but for all (Romans 11:32).

What our society needs is the gospel.  The gospel tears down the sins of our hearts.  The gospel brings people together in unity like nothing else (Ephesians 2:14).  The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7) and Jesus shed His blood for all races.  When we see that people are created in the image of God, we see that they are truly loved by God (John 3:16).  The Chinese person.  The Japanese person.  The white person.  The black person.  The Hispanic person.  They all are made in the image of God.  They are not animals.  They are loved by God and He desires to save them by His grace.

My prayer is that the gospel will go forth and save every racist.  The truth is that Jesus died for all sinners (Romans 3:23) and all sinners need salvation which comes not by skin color or by language but by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).  The gospel is color blind.  The gospel is the cure for our society because the gospel transform a man into seeing that another man is created in the image of God.  The gospel shows us that despite our culture or our color, Jesus shed His blood for our salvation.  The gospel shows us that heaven will be full of all kinds of people (I rejoice to see that day!).  When we see people thorough the gospel, this transforms how we see people for we don’t see a person by their skin color or their creed or their language but we see them as people made in the image of Almighty God.

Why Jackie Robinson and Michael Sam Are Not The Same (And Never Will Be)

Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier of Major League baseball in 1947.  Robinson made baseball better because of it.  Robinson also was a star on and off the field even after his retirement from baseball.  His number “42” remains the only number to be retired by all MLB clubs to this day and I suspect it will forever be that way (though Hispanics want Roberto Clemente’s number retired in all clubs as well).

Today ESPN and others are pushing for Michael Sam to be hailed too for he is about to be the first openly homosexual player in NFL history.  We are being told over and over and over again how brave Sam is for doing what he is doing and how he is changing the game the way that Robinson changed baseball (and sports) for the better in 1947.  Sam is being compared to Robinson in every way.

But there are major differences between the two.

First, Robinson, before 1947, was banned from Major League baseball for one reason: his skin color.  This was nothing he could change.  Sadly, many Negro League players could have been MLB stars had they been given the right to just play baseball.  Great Negro League players such as Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige (when he was in his prime), and many others.  We also forget that Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and many other black players started in the Negro Leagues because of racism.

Racism is profoundly different from homosexuality.  A man cannot change the color of his skin.  His skin is sacred because his skin color has been given to him by God.  Underneath, a black man is no different from a white man nor a white man different from an Asian man.  Our skin pigmentation might be different but inside, we are still humans.  A black man could marry an Asian woman and produce offspring that while mixed in their skin color, they would still be human.  Skin color then is precious before God.  Racism is the sin of thinking that one skin color is better than others.  We must remember God’s promise in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you all one in Christ Jesus” (NIV).  This is not taking away our unique sex given to us by God nor our skin color nor our language, etc.  It is simply pointing out that in Christ Jesus, we are one.  God’s children are those who have been baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:26).  In reality, God sees people either as in His Son or outside of His Son (John 3:36; Colossians 1:13).  We are either sheep or goats (Matthew 25:31-46).

Jackie Robinson could never change his skin color.  But he could be a great baseball player.  And he was.  He won the 1947 National League Rookie of the Year and went on to lead the Dodgers to the 1947 World Series (which they lost).  He won the National League MVP award in 1949.  By the end of his career (10 years!), Robinson would retire with a .311 career average.  He hit 137 home runs and stole 197 bases.  His team was in the World Series 6 out of the 10 years he played and won the World Series in 1955 (by the way, Robinson’s Dodgers were 1-5 against the New York Yankees in all those World Series’).  Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962.

Now Sam has yet to play a down in the NFL so it’s actually not fair to pit stats from Robinson against him and they do play two different sports but my point is that Robinson was proving something, he was showing the world that the color of a man’s skin has nothing to do with his talents.  Robinson was showing that a black man could play with the white players in the Majors.  His skin color had nothing to do with his greatness on the field.  Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame for being a great baseball player first and foremost and not just for the fact that he was the first man of color to play in the Majors.  I suppose that would have been the case had he not had a great career but Robinson left no doubt about his talents.

On the other hand, Sam is being praised for being the first openly homosexual in the NFL.  Again, he has yet to play a down.  Most are picking him to be a mid round pick meaning that he still needs some work to become a great NFL player.  Perhaps he will be but perhaps he will not.  Yet sports writers are praising Sam as if he is Robinson, as if he has performed at the same level.  He has not.  Not yet.

Further, Robinson was a humble man.  When asked why he was trying to make it with the Dodgers, Robinson simply said, “I just want to play baseball.”  Robinson knew what was at stake but he also knew that baseball was meant to be colorblind.  After all, a box score doesn’t show a man’s color.  It only shows what he and his team did that day.  Robinson opened the door for other men of color from blacks to Hispanics to Japanese to become Major Leaguers.  He is right to be praised.

Sam has made one decision here.  He has announced he is a homosexual.  A position, by the way, that he could change (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).  Robinson never had that chance.  Sam has been praised for his sexual desire and lauded by ESPN as being so brave to go into the “manly” NFL as an openly homosexual player.  This is an issue of choice and not an issue of skin color.  To this day there is no proof that a person is born a homosexual.  It is a lifestyle choice.  It is a choice about sex.

Robinson (and others before him) were banned from baseball because of their skin color.  A fact they could not change nor needed to.  This was not a choice.  This was not a sin.  The sin was others racism toward them and not their own.

Sam has not been banned from the NFL.  In fact, the NFL nor any other professional clubs ban homosexuals or any other person from trying out for them.  They are concerned only with helping their teams win.  If you can make the team, you are in the NFL.  Homosexuality is not the same as the skin color ban of the former professional sports.  Not even close.  Jason Collins is still playing in the NBA as an openly homosexual player.

In closing, I wish Sam no ill will.  Perhaps he will make a great NFL player.  Perhaps not.  Either way, I don’t think this will be because of his homosexuality.  If Sam makes it in the NFL, it will because he played good football.  Meanwhile, Sam (who is black), will play next to all skin colors.  None of them will be banned from playing for their skin color.  Nor will Sam be banned from playing because of his sexual desires.  But Sam will play because of Jackie Robinson.  Had Robinson not done what he did in 1947, Sam would not be allowed to play in the NFL nor would he have played for Missouri in college.  He would be watching or playing in a Negro League because of his skin color.  Robinson changed that.

In the end, Sam will never be like Jackie Robinson.  Robinson’s skin color was obvious.  He represented a whole group of people who were banned from the Majors for one reason: racism.  Homosexuals are not the same.  There are black, white, Hispanic, Jewish, etc. homosexuals.  There are no people groups whom we can point to and say, “Homosexuals” like they could at Robinson.  Homosexuals are linked together by one prominent idea: a sexual preference.  Skin color is not even an issue.  These two men were completely different and represented totally different things.

Let us pray for Michael Sam.  He can be transformed by God’s grace and mercy.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/23/2014 at 7:00 PM

Review of Douglas Wilson’s Black and Tan

The American Civil War produced many different things.  The war itself would become the map for Generals to study during World War I and II.  Over 650,000 men would lose their lives in the conflict between the United States and the Confederates States.  But the war itself was over complex issues.  It wasn’t just slavery that was the heart of the Civil War.  That often takes people by surprise.  Had you told Union soldiers in 1862 that they were fighting to free the African slaves, they would have protested.  After all, even President Lincoln had said the issue of the War was the Union and to bring the states in rebellion back under Federal control.  Further, Lincoln was a loyal Whig and he wanted to see the Federal Government increase its role in American life.  The South wanted nothing of the Feds in their business.  The South wanted to live free.

This takes us to the heart of this book, written by Douglas Wilson.  Wilson looks at race relations in the United States and he shows how much of our failures in regard to race stem from the Civil War itself.  Wilson points out that the South argued for slavery based on the Bible.  The North argued against slavery based on their emotions.  Both the North and the South were racists and even Lincoln himself believed in the superiority of the white race (as did Europeans).  What both Europe and America failed to see was that Christianity is what makes nations great and not race.  As Asia is embracing the gospel and Europe is rejecting the gospel, the gospel will produce incredible results for Asians.  This was true of “Christian” Europe and “Christian” America before they both began to reject the gospel and now both Europe and the United States are falling apart.  The Civil War, writes Wilson, was the wrath of God against sin.  The South was right to argue for biblical slavery (not based on racism) but upon biblical masters and biblical slaves.  Where the gospel is preached, slavery dies.  Yet the abolitionist movement argued that slavery itself was wrong.  Southern slavery was not wrong itself (though it was practiced wrong and was evil in some cases) but what was wrong was racism.  Since the Civil War did not address the sin of racism, we are still facing the problems from the Civil War to this day.

Furthermore, the modern anti-abortion movement must preach the Word of God to see transformation.  To merely oppose abortion while not calling for the salvation of the abortion doctors or the women involved in abortions will not result in a transformed culture.  The gospel must be the focus and not merely ending abortion.  The abolitionists wanted to end slavery but they had to set aside the gospel to do so since the Bible didn’t forbid slavery but it did forbid racism.

Contrary to some reports, Wilson is not a Neo-Confederate.  He believes that slavery (while very evil in some cases) was not the issue.  Racism was.  Further, Reconstruction of the South caused the racism of the Jim Crow era.  He points out two main facts often ignored by modern historians regarding the South.  First, over 40,000 African-Americans served the Confederacy during the Civil War.  Some died alongside their Southern rebels in war.  Even abolitionist Frederick Douglas acknowledged that African-Americans were fighting for the South during the Civil War.  Why?  Some blacks were plantation owners themselves and knew that a Northern victory would end their plantations (and it did).  Some fought to preserve their lives.  They enjoyed their situations.  Very few were forced to fight.  Secondly, Wilson points out that whites reacted to blacks taking over their lands following the Civil War (forced by the Feds) with racism.  The rise of the KKK comes from the Reconstruction era.  Even men such as General Sherman acknowledged the failure of Reconstruction in the South and viewed it as a failure.

So what is the point of this book?  Is it to defend the South?  Is it to promote slavery as a good thing?  Not at all.  Wilson is simply pointing out that racism is the heart of the issue.  The gospel alone deals with the heart of racism, our sinful hearts.  The cure for racism is not forced integration or even a Civil War in which millions were affected.  The cure for racism is the blood of Jesus that unites the saints of God (Ephesians 2:14-15).  The gospel makes us one (Galatians 3:26-29).  The gospel can cleanse our hearts from sin and make us new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  The gospel, and not the Civil War, is what will transform race relations both in the United States and around the world.  In Christ, whites can appreciate blacks and blacks can appreciate Hispanics and Hispanics can appreciate Japanese.  Jesus makes us one (John 17:20-23).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/21/2013 at 9:46 PM

The Horrible Sin of Racism

Frederick Douglass wrote the following about American Christianity before the Civil War:

The Christianity of America is a Christianity, of whose votaries it may be as truly said, as it was of the ancient scribes and Pharisees, “They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. All their works they do for to be seen of men.– They love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, . . . and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.–But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.–Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides! which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but within, they are full of extortion and excess.–Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could any thing be more true of our churches? They would be shocked at the proposition of fellowshipping a sheep-stealer ; and at the same time they hug to their communion a man-stealer, and brand me with being an infidel, if I find fault with them for it. They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. They are always ready to sacrifice, but seldom to show mercy. They are they who are represented as professing to love God whom they have not seen, whilst they hate their brother whom they have seen. They love the heathen on the other side of the globe. They can pray for him, pay money to have the Bible put into his hand, and missionaries to instruct him; while they despise and totally neglect the heathen at their own doors.

Such is, very briefly, my view of the religion of this land; and to avoid any misunderstanding, growing out of the use of general terms, I mean, by the religion of this land, that which is revealed in the words, deeds, and actions, of those bodies, north and south, calling themselves Christian churches, and yet in union with slaveholders. It is against religion, as presented by these bodies, that I have felt it my duty to testify.

I agree with Mr. Douglass in many ways.  However, a couple of points are worth mentioning.  First, as I pointed out before, the Bible does not condemn slave owing.  It does, however, condemn many aspects of ill-treatment of slaves that we see in the United States regarding slavery (see Ephesians 6:9 for example).  The ill-treatment by slave owners should have been condemned and those in the Church should have been rebuked for such practices.  Secondly, Mr. Douglass fails to see the racism that was breeding the practice of slavery in the United States.  While the Bible did not condemn slavery, it did condemn racism.  By condemning the institution of slavery, Mr. Douglass set up the next 100 years of racism that was to follow (and still continues to this day).  The heart of the white man was full of racism in both the North and South and this was not preached against enough.  Dr. Martin Luther King would preach against racism but this would not be for another 100 years.  Sadly, Dr. King’s reforms, just as the Civil War reforms, turned the federal government and not the Church into the one who would do the work by starting social integration programs and affirmative action programs that in turn bred more resentment from whites toward people of color.

I see the horrible sin of racism as the dark sin of American slavery and not the practice of slavery itself.  Again, both the Old and New Testament did not condemn slavery but it does condemn racism.  Racism is what gave power to the practice of slavery in both Europe and the New World.  Racism still produces the Arabs hatred for the Jews, the Hispanics hatred for the Mayans, the Africans hatred for the white.  Racism is what gave us the Holocaust.  Racism is what gave rise to the wars against the American Indians.  Racism is what still divides the people of God today.  I did a missions trip once to the Dominican Republic and there the light skin people of the DR hated the dark-skinned people of Haiti.  We had an African-American girl with us and they despised her until they found out she was from the US and not Haiti.  This was occurring even among the Christians!

Racism is a destroyer.  Racism destroys cultures.  Racism starts wars.  Racism is found in every culture in the world.  The Europeans didn’t struggle with the African question like the people of the United States because in European nations, all races were secondary to the Anglo-Saxons.  The British are now having to deal with racism as they are having large sections of Muslims enter into their nation.  Same is true for France and Germany or Sweden.

The cure for racism is not government.  The cure is the gospel.  The gospel can take white sinners and black sinners and sinners from China and sinners from Israel and make all them one in Christ Jesus.  Jesus brings humans together unlike social programs or affirmative action.  The gospel deals with the heart of racism which is our sinful hearts (Ezekiel 36:25-27).  The gospel unites us together by God’s grace in one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6).  The Spirit of God baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) and He makes us new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This and this alone will break the walls of racism that have been with us since the Fall of mankind into sin.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/21/2013 at 9:47 AM

Posted in Culture, Racism

Tagged with ,

The Unfortunate Results of the American Civil War

I love history books.  I enjoy reading of many different time periods and biographies.  I am currently reading several different history books all at once.  One is on an escape from a POW camp during the Vietnam War.  The second is on World War II from the eastern front between the Germans and the Soviets.  The third is a book on the Civil War and reconstruction.  Having grown up in South Carolina, I have always heard much about the Civil War (or the second war of independence here in the South).  We Southerners have been told since 1865 that we were wrong, the North was right, and the South suffered for her transgressions of slavery.  To this day, many believe that the entire Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery alone.  Popular media casts the North as the valiant warriors who have come to set the African slaves free. Abraham Lincoln is portrayed as the great emancipator of the slaves and the issue of slavery takes the cake when it comes to the Civil War.

There is no doubt that slavery was an issue with regard to the South.  I would also agree that the institution of slavery is best gone.  I do think that the North’s presentation of slavery is at times a bit harsh.  In comparison to the way slaves in Cuba and Brazil were treated, the South was hardly as evil.  There was wicked abuse of slaves but there was also wicked abuse of freed slaves in the North.  The Bible itself does not even ban slavery but sets guidelines for it.  And further, if you reject slavery outright then you must reject the entire epistle of Philemon.  While slavery was not based on race in the Bible, slavery was there.  Jews were even slaves of Jews.  The most common term Paul the Apostle uses for himself is “a slave of Christ Jesus” (see Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10).  Most English translations avoid translating the Greek term as “slave” because of the practice of racial slavery in the South.  Only the Holman Standard Version translates the Greek term properly though the ESV puts the correct term as a footnote.

In every major nation where slavery existed such as in Great Britain, the practice ended peacefully.  William Wilberforce, for example, used the Bible to preach against the practice of slavery.  He preached correctly against racism.  Had the American abolitionist movement in the United States preached against racism, they would have done more good.  Racism existed in both the North and the South both before the Civil War and long after.  The Civil War ended slavery but it only created more hatred of Africans by the whites.  It did not end the harsh reality of racism which has still done more harm than slavery has ever done.  The liberal churches in the North preached against slavery.  The conservative churches in the South preached that slavery was allowed by Scripture (Ephesians 6:5-9) though the South failed to correct the harsh treatment by masters over their slaves.  The North rejected the Bible’s teaching on slavery altogether.  The South embraced it only in part.  Both compromised the Word of God and both were judged for it.  The great Presbyterian theologian of the era, R.L. Dabney, now often accused of being a racist for his support of the Confederacy until his death, believed that God was judging both the North for her sins and the South for her sins.  Dabney wrote that the South was being judged by God for not following completely through on what He has said in His Word regarding master’s treatment of their slaves.  Dabney believed that slaves should be treated with respect, with honor, and should be allowed to be given their freedom if possible just as in the Bible.

The unfortunate results of the Civil War in the United States are still with us today.  Living in the South, I know first hand the results.  I live just a few miles from where General Sherman and his troops camped out during their campaign through the South.  Sherman looted, his men raped women, and they indulged on every form of sin you can imagine for men running wild through the South.  The city of Savannah, Georgia was saved only when the mayor “wisely” brought out prostitutes for Sherman’s men.  Many other cities such as Atlanta and Columbia were burned and destroyed.  Many of the homes had no men in them at all.  Only women and children remained but Sherman (and Lincoln behind him) believed that the South needed to pay for her crimes against the Union.  Especially South Carolina.

The results of the Civil War that are unfortunate are:

  • A destructive end to slavery rather than peaceful resulting in the deaths of over 650,000 people.
  • Millions of dollars in destruction mainly to the South.
  • The deep resentment from Southerners toward the North, the Union, and former slaves resulting in the Jim Crow era laws of segregation.
  • The liberal move of the Northern churches both before the Civil War and after only led to a demise of the gospel.  The North remains the most liberal area of the United States and the South remains the most conservative.  This was a gospel issue before the Civil War and after as well.
  • The failure to preach against racism in both the North and South led to segregation in both areas long into the 20th century and remains intact in many ways today.
  • The failure to preach against racism and looking to the federal government for answers resulted in the horror of reconstruction in the South with whites forced to give their land to blacks and resulted in groups such as the KKK rising to power.  To this day, we have racist groups such as the KKK, the NAACP, and others who fail to preach the true problem of racism as a sin against God.
  • The failure to see that sin was rampant in the North as well as the South.  Both the USA and the CSA were guilty before God.  Neither was in the right.  Neither settled the issues of slavery correctly though the South tried by ending the sale of slaves from other nations in their Constitution.
  • The Civil War resulted in a transformation in the United States that began in 1861 and especially when the War ended in 1865 with the massive increase in Federal Government and its powers.  Before 1861, the American government was controlled by the people for the people.  After the Civil War, the Government became the moral judge and begin to impose her will on the people of the Union especially in the South.  The massive expansion of government that we see today in 2013  can be directly linked to 1861.
  • The segregation of the churches continues in many ways to this day.  The failure to address the issue of racism in regard to slavery was ignored by the North and South and to this day, white churches and black churches remain separated in many ways.  Sadly, many black churches even preach “black liberation theology” or a social gospel instead of preaching the true gospel as a result of the Civil War.
  • The Civil War produced the equally discriminations of forced minority hirings.  Companies continue to receive government money who employ racial minorities which leads to companies hiring people for their color and not their qualifications.  This reverse discrimination does not help but only creates more racism.

My post is not to say that the South was right.  I don’t believe this to be true.  Even Dabney saw the North’s victory as a sign from God that the South was being harshly punished by God.  He didn’t believe the North was right or innocent but rather that the hand of God was against the South more.  He saw the sovereignty of God involved with the Civil War.  The South’s racial slavery was wrong.  The practice of slavery was not.  If we argue that slavery itself is wrong, we must argue against the Bible and this places the liberals in an upper hand for they can point to slavery and ask whether we are for or against it.  I had a black pastor point-blank tell me that he rejected the epistles because of Paul’s endorsement of slavery.  I don’t see Paul endorsing slavery but he sets guidelines for it.  The South should have abided by those guidelines and I believe the practice of slavery would have ended peacefully and not violently with 650,000 dead and countless battles to be fought by blacks for years to come.

The Church of Jesus Christ is the greatest place on earth to demonstrate the end of racism.  Can you imagine what the early church looked like with both slaves and masters serving Christ together?  This is the case with the epistle of Philemon in which the slave Onesimus had run away from his master and had become a disciple of Jesus along the way.  Paul wrote Philemon to tell him this and to return his runaway slave.  Paul tells Philemon these powerful words in verses 15-16 (NKJV):

15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

What if Southern masters had loved their slaves like this?  What if both masters and slaves had been regenerated by the Spirit of God?  This was Dabney’s view.  The South was wrong to preach slavery as biblical while basing it on color.  The Bible does not condemn slavery but it does condemn racism and the Southern church did not preach enough on this subject.  The Civil War did not end this unbiblical practice of racism and no war ever will.  It takes the gospel to break the chains of racism.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/18/2013 at 1:14 PM

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