Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Building Bridges

I know it's not a new idea, it's just something new to us at The Road. With all the tension in our country right now related to race, we are trying to take steps to demonstrate our commitment to the gospel. It shows no partiality to any ethnicity, nationality, nor skin color. This week The Road is going to worship with a church that is predominantly African American. The language and the situation that I just described betrays our view of American Christianity and race; and also our theology of "race," which is probably the worse of the two. In thinking about this piece, and knowing that Answers in Genesis has some of the best teaching that there is no such thing as race, I went to their site, and they have a tremendous article on the topic on their home page because of the urgency of the issue. These are the best quotes from that article.

"The church is right to reject secular answers that ignore the problem’s spiritual dimension. However, the church is wrong when it refuses to demonstrate biblical answers to the same problems. While we proclaim that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people, our relationships and friendships, especially within the church, too often expose our lack of efforts to achieve this biblical diversity. The Apostle Paul eloquently summarizes a proper passion to reach all humanity (“all men”) when he writes of his desire “to become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19–22; see also Galatians 3:26–28)."
"We need to recognize that our problem is not skin color but sin division. A biblical perspective on sin and the gospel is not a trite answer; it’s the answer. No other answer will work.
May God grant us the loving wisdom to pursue “grace relations” rather than race relations. Grace relations affirm the truths clearly taught in Genesis 1–11. We are one race, Adam’s race. But we are a sinful race because of Adam’s disobedience to God’s Word. The source of injustice and dysfunctional relationship today is an outworking of our sinful hearts."
So, I don't have time or wisdom to put all my thoughts down about this issue especially as it relates to gospel-oriented reconciliation and love among diverse peoples, but as for The Road, we don't want to be among the category of churches that this writer describes in that first paragraph that talk equality and diversity and yet "make no effort to achieve biblical diversity." This is a small step, but I think an important one, especially in the southern, rural context in which we live. Hopefully, there will be many steps to follow, and biblical diversity will begin to be achieved in our congregation.

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