This article is about racism and prejudice, and about the unity and diversity of the human race.

Source: The Monthly Record, 1995. 2 pages.

The Biblical Answer to Racism

The trouble with much of the race relations industry and the antiracist movement is that its philosophical basis is severely flawed. It also depends on changing fashions and opinions in society — particularly in the academic world. Christians, however, are able to come to the Word of God, which is un­changing, and derive principles which enable us to have the right thinking and practice in this matter. The question is whether we actually do come to the Word of God and allow it to shape our thinking and practice. Or do we allow our thinking, prejudices and customs to dic­tate our understanding of the Scriptures?

The major biblical principles involved here are as follows:

The Unity of the Hu­man Race🔗

There is no such thing as the "pure blood" of a particular race which has been "uncontaminated" by other races. How many of us have Celtic, Anglo Saxon, Norman, Pictish and Viking blood in our veins? Ashley Montagu, a physical anthropologist states:

Concerning the origin of the living varieties of man we can say little more than that there are many reasons for believing that a single stock gave rise to all of them. All varieties of man belong to the same species and have the same remote ancestry. This is a conclusion to which all the relevant evidence of com­parative anatomy, paleontology, serology and genetics points. Cited in John Stott Issues Fac­ing Christians Today p. 222.

A biblical Christian has no diffi­culty in accepting that we are all of the one blood — all human beings are in Adam. Therefore we reject any racial stereotyping which divides human beings into groups which sees one as inherently superior over the others.

The Diversity of Ethnic Cultures🔗

Although human be­ings are by nature the same, the Bible recognises that there are different cultures and group­ings: "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:26). To be antiracist does not mean that we are opposed to different cultures. It would do all Free Church people good to appreciate and learn from what is good in other cultures. Indeed whilst we recognise that every culture has been tainted by sin, we rejoice that there is such variety amongst mankind.

The Unity and Variety of the Church🔗

The Bible tells us that in heaven there will be "a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language" (Revelation 7:9). In Christ there is no racial division — no Jew nor Greek (Galatians 3:28). It is, therefore, unbiblical to imply that God has somehow chosen one nation or people to receive and be blessed by the Gospel. We acknowledge that, in the sovereignty of God, there is sometimes greater blessing in one country than in another, but there is no biblical evidence for equating this with the choosing of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Therefore it is of vital importance that we are internationalist in our under­standing of the Church, rather than equating the Church with our own particular culture. We do not accept that Christianity is a cultural religion — the faith of the West. We believe that God is the Lord of all the nations, East and West, North and South. Therefore we reject the notion that bringing the gospel to the Muslims and others is racist because it is bringing "white" culture. We believe that not to bring the Gospel to all peoples would itself be racist, confining the Good News to one particular group and excluding others. Those things in the Church that are cultural should not be imposed upon others. But Jesus is above culture; his claims are to all and his way is the only way for every people and language.

Surely Stott is right when he states,

Only a true theology, the biblical revelation of God, can deliver us from racial pride and prejudice. Because he is the God of Creation, we affirm the unity of the human race. Because he is the God of history, we affirm the diversity of ethnic cultures. Because he is the God of Revelation, we affirm the finality of Jesus Christ. And because he is the God of Re­demption, we affirm the glory of the Christian Church. What­ever policies for racial integration may be developed, we should try to ensure that they will reflect these doctrines. Because of the unity of hu­mankind we demand equal rights and equal respect for racial minorities. Because of the diversity of ethnic groups we renounce cultural imperialism and seek to preserve all those riches of interracial culture which are compatible with Christ's lordship. Because of the finality of Christ, we affirm that religious freedom includes the right to propagate the Gos­pel. Because of the glory of the Church, we must seek to rid ourselves of any lingering ra­cism and strive to make it a model of harmony between races, in which the multiracial dream comes true. Issues Facing Christians Today p. 226

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