The recent rally of white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, is deeply disturbing—and from multiple angles. Let me name just two—the national, and the spiritual.
Right at the heart of being an American is affirming the vision of humanity that's enshrined in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” All people—including those of any and every racial background. Therefore, the drive to elevate one racial group above others is fundamentally un-American.
And right at the heart of following Jesus and living as a Christian is affirming his love for people of all races. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s open arms of love reach out to all the world—to all people groups, all languages, all classes, all races. Therefore, any effort to associate white supremacist values with Christianity is profoundly wrong—it amounts to outright defiance against Jesus Christ.
In the midst of the sorrowful news of racial hatred and hostility, numerous Christian leaders have spoken out to call
- Bruce Ashford, “White Christian conservatives should oppose protests by white supremacists”
- Russell Moore, “White supremacy angers Jesus, but does it anger his church?”
- Tim Keller, “Race, the Gospel, and the Moment”
- Collin Hansen’s interview with Pastor Mika Edmonson, “White Supremacy Is Spiritual Bondage”
- And see also related items from John Piper (e.g., here, and here, and here).
We do well to remember, and to rejoice in the fact, that heaven will be populated by people from every race! “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9-10).
Joining you in prayer for God’s gracious and powerful work in these troubled times!
–Peter Nelson, Goshen Baptist Church