Today’s events in Charlottesville, Virgina are disturbing and have revealed the underlying seed of racism that is prevalent in society. There is much to be unpacked for Christians generally and pastors particularly. This notion of racial superiority is “antithetical to the gospel of Christ Jesus” which concerns itself with “self-giving and love and reconciliation” (Tyler Phillips, MDiv Candidate, George W. Truett Theological Seminary on Twitter). This “protest” (more like violent gathering) brings forth consequences for Christians who indeed will respond (whether by vocal outcry or complicit silence). Pastors, too, bear responsibility in rebuking these white supremacists and this demonic ideology (thank you, Dr. Russell Moore, for the term) with the truth of the Gospel as found in the Word of God.
Christians are charged with being the light and salt of the world. We cannot sit silently as these events unfold. Many Christians are eagerly anticipating the return of Christ but are reluctant to take a stand when events such as the racist protest in Charlottesville occur. Have we forgotten the words of the beloved Apostle Paul who said,
For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and of sound judgment (sound mine). 2 Tim. 1:7 CSB
Many Christians protest and call for boycotts against companies who disagree on issues such as marriage or abortion but refuse to comment and condemn these attacks. And for a moment, let us be frank and call today’s events what they are: domestic terrorism. Beth Moore commented on Twitter, saying, ” We cannot renounce what we will not name. It’s called White Supremacy. And it is from hell. Call it. Condemn it.”
Something that bears addressing in society is “color blindness.” Do not be color blind. Your neighbor who is a different color than you bear the imago Dei. How dare we even think of being “color blind” toward them.
Pastors, I know you have your sermon ready for tomorrow. I am thankful for your work and preparation each week to proclaim the truths of Scripture. I must beg that you address Charlottesville in your service(s) tomorrow. You have a responsibility to proclaim the Gospel and issue the call to repentance. A dear friend of mine, Braxton, who is a fellow-laborer in pastoral ministry sent this to me,
White supremacy is evil. Any ideology built on hate is an ideology of pure evil. It is a corruption of all that is good and righteous in the sight of Christ. Hate and love cannot survive in the same space. You cannot be both a white supremacist and a follower of Christ.
Let us hear the words of Amos 5, “But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” May we never forget that we are to proclaim the justice of God in the face of injustice.
What do we do or say after an event such as this? Scripture reminds us that God is sovereign. This is not a cop-out answer, but something I truly believe the Church must grasp. Today’s events are not out of God’s purview. However, our response does not stop here. God has graciously called us into kingdom reconciliation work. We do not have the right nor the privilege to stand by and wait. Our Lord’s gospel is a call to action. Our Lord’s gospel is a call to repentance and love. Yet, some might ask, “How do I show the love of Christ to people who are so hateful?” My response is you cannot do this, but God’s Spirit dwelling in you will empower you to show the love of Christ, even to our enemies.
Do not hear me say that showing love to our enemies allows for inaction. Quite the opposite. We must love through truth, and that truth is what is revealed in Scripture. That truth is the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus who has called us according to God’s purposes so that God can carry out the works planned for us beforehand. If the church desires to reclaim its prophetic voice in the public square, now is a good time to start.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20 NASB