Many of you know (and if you don’t, you do now) that I am critical of the PC(USA)’s Matthew 25 initiative. On the surface, this initiative appears biblical: church revitalization, helping the poor, and addressing racism. All three of these appear in Scripture. God wants Jesus’ Bride to be active and engaged; He commands us to meet the needs of the least and the lost; He brings unity across every human division and distinction. My gripe with the Matthew 25 initiative is that it is highly political and polarizing because it does not find biblical solutions but seeks humanist (man-centered) applications.
Today I want us to focus on the last one, their plea to eradicate racism. When you look at this particular initiative, you’ll quickly see that our denomination thinks the only way to eradicate racism is to advocate for political reforms that align with a certain political party. Not only that, if any person or church does not adhere to such, they are maligned and alienated, which does more harm than good and further divides people.
Let me stop right here and say very clearly and loudly for those in the back: Racism is a sin. If you are racist or harbor racists thoughts and feelings, you must repent. Racism makes assumptions about a person’s abilities and identity based solely on their skin color or ethnicity, and that is clearly unbiblical. Paul makes very clear that divisions over race or ethnicity have no place in the church.
Paul deals with this issue his Epistle to the Ephesians. The Church in Ephesus, like many others in the Gentile world, often found factions and schisms between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. All parties involved are Christians, they all accept Christ as Lord and Savior. The Jewish Christians bring to the table the shared history of the Hebrew people. The Gentile Christians do not have that heritage and even come to the table with pagan backgrounds. Back in those days, religion and race often went hand-in-hand. These two groups are about the tear the church in Ephesus apart and Paul wants to put a stop to it.
In the second chapter of that letter, he addresses this racism, if you will. Notice he does not bring politics or programs into the church to eradicate racism. No, he points us to the one and only source or true peace between factions: Christ the Mediator. The divisions between people, whether manmade or divinely initiated, are now dissolved “by the blood of Christ.” It is this Christ who broke down the dividing wall of hostility: hostility between races, genders, tribes, and nations. He did this “by abolishing in his flesh the enmity” and “reconciling them both in one body to God through the cross.” (Ephesians 2:13-16)
The only way, the only hope of eradicating racism is by submitting to Christ, who is the only source of reconciliation. Let me make it even clearer. If Christ is not in a person’s heart, there is no way that person can mortify any sin, let alone the sin of racism. It doesn’t matter how many government programs, multicultural offices, or minority voices are lifted high, unless and until Christ is in the heart, racism will remain, along with every other form of unrighteousness. If you want to end racism, then start by telling people about the only source of true peace, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. If you want to end racism, start evangelizing.