Racism & Christianity

prejudice1A preacher friend of mine and his wife decided to adopt a child.  They had already raised children of their own, but decided they wanted to share the blessings God had given them and “rescue” an orphaned child by raising him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Noble motives, indeed.  So they went through the adoption process and expense only to be fired by the church for whom he preached.  Why was he fired?  Because he and his wife had adopted a racially mixed baby.  Rather than holding up this couple as an example of Christlike compassion and love, they were summarily fired for having a “black” child.

I was once sitting in a Bible class with a young man who had just obeyed the gospel the previous week.  No one in his family were Christians before him.  Therefore, his obedience to the gospel was without the support of his family.  He was a novice, but he possessed all the zeal in the world!  On that particular night, the Bible class teacher stated that black people have lower moral standards than white people.  You guessed it, the young man who was converted only a week before was African-American.  Not only did he overcome and conquer his own will in submitting to Jesus; not only did he overcome the lack of family support; not only did he overcome any personal feelings of racism by worshiping with an “all white” congregation, now he was being asked, as a novice, to endure derogatory generalizations concerning his ethnicity, by a leader in the church.

Then there’s your story.  You too, can probably share a similar manifestation of racism that you have seen or heard, not in the world, but in the Kingdom of God! What your stories and my stories convey is that we have unfinished business!  We have work to do, and we can’t be content until we do it.  We must preach the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).  Racism is just as much a sin as is adultery, yet I would venture a guess that we’ve heard more sermons and read more articles on adultery than we have on racism, even though far more Christians may be guilty of racism than adultery (James 2:1,9).

Friends, it’s past time for the church to stand up and confront culture, in more than a “token” fashion.  Pretending there’s no elephant in the room isn’t a solution.  Embracing the Lordship of Jesus is!  The church should be a place where the wolf and the lamb can exist together in perfect harmony (Isaiah 11:6), and where Jew and Gentile can live together in peace (Ephesians 2:11-19).  Surely, if the gospel is powerful enough to effect such changes, it can also bring peace between “black” and “white!”

May God help us to mature to the point where the only race that matters is the human race!

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Comments 7

  • Racism should not be in a Christian’s vocabulary but yet it’s pops it’s ugly head up every where. If only we would do as Christ and look at the inward man and worry more about the condition of one’s soul than the color of one’s skin we would be so much better off.

  • Thank you for this great article. Indeed, it is sad that some members of the Lord’s body have not been fully converted, because of their lack of humility and allowing prejudices to consume them. How would they ever live in heaven with people of different races? I am a proud mom because all of my children just will not tolerate racism. The teacher in your story will be held accountable on judgement day if his remarks caused the novice to turn away from truth.

  • This is a GREAT article and one that I wished all congregations would hear from their ministers, at least as much as they hear sermons on baptism, homosexuality, drinking and any other sermon. It is pitiful, shameful, indeed, hypocritical for preachers to “proclaim aloud” a whole gamut of sins and yet not mention — as you so eloquently phrased it, “the elephant in the room.” The reason that they don’t mention racism is because many of them, the preachers, are racists themselves and/or know racists, who are in their congregation and/or family members. This is not an empty accusation; this is a known and proven fact. Kudos to you, sir, for standing tall and proclaiming that which we all know — yet, few will mention, publicly.

  • Back in the early 70’s, I had lost four babies and we decided to adopt. An elder’s daughter had given her bi-racial baby girl up for adoption, and AGAPE was handling the case. We applied and were accepted by AGAPE, but our elders refused to sign the approval form. I often wondered which part of the baby they thought was bad.

    Under different elders and working in a different country we have adopted a son.

  • […] Steve Higginbotham writes, “Racism is just as much a sin as adultery, yet I would venture a guess that we’ve heard more sermons and read more articles on adultery than we have on racism, even though far more Christians may be guilty of racism than adultery.” […]

  • Great article. I’ve heard of people warning others away from racially integrated congregations.

  • I’m going to use this in our bulletin. Well said.

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