Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Racism

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.

Must Hear Debate

I highly recommend you listen to Dr. James White debating a Hebrew Israelite.  This is a subject I have never encountered.  I once heard these guys “preaching” on the streets of New York City and when I walked by one of them pointed at me and called me “white devil.”  That was my brief encounter with these guys.  Their theology is radically off from biblical Christianity as Dr. White clearly shows.

My prayer is that the Church will rise up and answer the Hebrew Israelite movement.  They are racist, anti-Christ, and false teachers.  They need to be shown their errors and I pray that they repent.  As I listened to the above debate, I prayed for God to open this man’s eyes to his sins and that he would be brought to repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

I greatly appreciated the end of the debate where Dr. White clearly preaches the gospel.  He preaches that Jesus is calling all sinners to repent (Acts 17:30-31) and He will save people from every nation as He has promised (Revelation 5:9-10).  The gospel is not just for Jews but for all people (Acts 13:44-52; Ephesians 2).

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

Philemon: A Case of Christianity and Its Power Upon Lives

American slavery ended the wrong way.  It ended with bloodshed and with violence.  It ended with whites in both the North and South turning on African-Americans.  The end of the Civil War saw the rise of racist groups such as the KKK and in turn the NAACP.  The terrible end to the slavery question in the United States gave rise to the Jim Crow era laws and would keep African-Americans in “chains” for another 100 years after the end of the Civil War.  The abolitionist movement was successful in getting both Abraham Lincoln elected and in turn passing the 14th Amendment which abolished slavery (with the Emancipation Proclamation before it) but they fueled racism for another 100 years and it is still with us to this day.

Philemon, however, shows how Christianity, when it is truly preached, changes relationships completely.  Tonight we studied Philemon with our boys in Royal Rangers.  Philemon, of course, was written by Paul the Apostle to his friend Philemon who was a dear brother in the Lord (vv. 4-7).  Philemon had a church meeting in his home (v. 2).  Philemon had a slave named Onesimus who had run away from his master.  At some point Onesimus heard the gospel and was saved under Paul (v. 10).  Under Roman law a runaway slave must be returned to his master or face the possibility of getting caught and possibly killed.  Until AD 20 in the Roman Empire, slaves had no rights but the Roman Senate passed a law that gave slaves the chance to purchase their freedom.  Onesimus had bypassed this and fled to Rome where Paul was in prison (v. 9).  Paul knew the law and was sending Onesimus back to his master but Paul pointed to the fact that Onesimus was now a brother in the Lord (vv. 15-16).  Paul asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus (vv.17-20).

Surely also Philemon would have heard of Paul’s teaching from Ephesians 6:5-9 which reads:

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Notice the transformation of the relationships between saved masters and saved slaves.  Now we must also bear in mind that slavery in the Roman Empire was not based on race as it was in Europe and the United States.  Slavery was often good for many slaves in the Roman Empire but could equally be cruel as well.  The New Testament does not seek to abolish slavery by the power of men but rather through transformed relationships.  I would think that Onesimus’ relationship with his master, Philemon, was transformed by the gospel and would have been a happy situation for him.  Often slavery provided slaves with food, water, protection, shelter, and medicine.

I do think that slavery is best gone but true Christianity can break the chains of slavery unlike anything else.  The American Civil War is a case in point.  Sadly, the Civil War saw the rise of the State becoming the factor in moral issues.  Take abortion for example.  The Church too often looks to the State to end abortion.  It should learn from the abolitionist movement of the 19th century and see that the gospel is what will end abortion.  If abortion doctors and nurses get saved or if women in our culture hear the gospel and get saved, this transforms the culture.  The gospel can transform the world!  Jesus makes all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17).  The cultural ills we see in our culture from the sin of abortion to the sin of homosexuality will only end with the gospel being preached and people repenting of their sins.  The gospel can change our world.

The gospel changed both Philemon and Onesimus.  The gospel can change our world as well.  May we be faithful to preach the gospel and see the power of sin broken over people’s lives.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/22/2013 at 10:30 AM

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

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