To say that; ‘the church is not what it used to be’ is a great understatement in regard to the condition of much of the Black Church and the White Church in America! For those who may be offended by the terms; “Black Church” and “White Church” let me remind you that historically, in America, the divided came into existence because White people did not want to worship with Black people! In fact, during those days, there was much debate as to whether Black people were even ‘human-people’ and consequently capable of being Christians at all! So it was not a case where Black Christians wanted to be separate, but more of a case where White Christians refused to be united! Apparently many White Christians didn’t give much credence to the Apostle Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28, where he said: “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.” (Gal. 3:28 ESV) And even today, after all these years, the eleven o’clock worship hour is still the most segregated hour of the week in America!
Therefore, I am writing this address to Black and White Christians because, until we can authentically, honestly and truthfully address and biblically deal with the racial (cancer) divide in the church, the world has no reason to listen to anything the church has to say about Jesus! In his high priestly prayer in the garden, prior to his passion, Jesus prayed: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:20-23 ESV) According to what Jesus prayed, the reason the world does not believe, is not because the Gospel is not being preached, but because the ones who claim to follow Jesus are NOT UNITED AS ONE! It is the unity of believers that will cause the world to believe!
But why is unity so hard? Because of sin and selfishness! Sin and selfishness is the root of all racism! Racism in any form is sin and evil! We (the church) will never have any credibility as authentic witnesses of the faith until we repent of our evil ways! I am sickened by all of the hypocrisy and foolishness that is occurring in the church today! In places where there is some semblance of racial togetherness, most so-called Black and White Christians are not united in Christ, they are united in profit: They are united in seeking blessings and prosperity! But in the real issues, they are divided as ever! For instance, just a few years ago, a White church in Mississippi refused to host the wedding of an interracial couple! Just recently, I just read of a small Christian school in Georgia that has cancelled all association with Nike because of their association with Colin Kaepernick. Many White Christian churches and pastors are all in an uproar because of Kaepernick’s protests during the National Anthem. What seems to be (purposely) getting lost in all of this is the reason for the protests! First of all, Kaepernick has stated over and over again, that the protest is not about the flag or the national anthem, but rather he chose to respectfully kneel to bring attention to the plight of Black people being unjustly treated by the police and the justice system in America! The protest is not about the flag or the military! But people have made it about those things in order to divert attention away from the real issues! People are protesting to highlight the fact that Black lives matter! On one hand, some Whites are upset because they think by saying Black lives matter, Black people are saying other lives don’t matter! But that’s not the case at all! The Black Lives Matter movement, Kaepernick’s protest started in response to an American justice system has historically operated in a manner that makes a distinction between White lives and Black lives! That is a historical and verifiable fact!
By the way, the attention and disgust many so-called Christians have shown toward Kaepernick seems to imply that they have made idols out of the flag and America! According to the Bible, the believers’ first and primary allegiance should be to his God, not his country! And if the primary allegiance is to God, than by virtue of that fact, the primary concern should also be the concerns of God! The primary concerns of God are the Kingdom of God, justice, and righteousness; not a flag or any country! For a Christian to be more concern and have more respect for a flag than for a person or a group of people (created in the image of God) is simply nonsensical, unbiblical, and idolatrous! Real Christians are motivated by love! Even if you don’t agree, your Christian faith demands you treat your adversary with dignity and respect! You can’t be ‘hateful’ and Christian at the same time! You can’t be a Black racist or a White racist, or a White supremist and a Christian at the same time; one term negates the other!
The questions all of us, who claim to be believers or Christians must truthfully answer are: Is my political association more important to me than my faith? In other words, does my politics dictate my Christian faith or does my Christian faith dictate my politics? Am I a Christian who happens to be Black or White, or am more Black or White than Christian?
But all of this has served to separate the saints from the ‘aints.’ The true people of God are not the ones who say they are, but rather the ones who prove they are by their consistent actions, as the Bible says: “A tree is known by the fruit it bears!”
There was a song written several years ago that said: “There will never be any peace until God is seated at the conference table!” In the same way, there will never be any racial equality and justice in America until all those who claim to be Christians, churches, pastors, bishops, prophets, or whatever are more Christian than they are anything else!
We are divided in this country by race, politics, ethnicity and many other things, but we can only be truly one in Christ when we are truly one with one another! It’s not a matter of one group giving up their agenda or rights for another, but rather of all groups giving up their agendas and rights for HIM!
Great message, Pastor Miller!! I fully appreciate and agree…