Did you know that the word “Protestant” comes from the word “protest”? Our history as Protestant Christians comes from the fact that we protested the injustices of the Roman Catholic Church in the 1500’s.
Certainly the rioting and the looting on our streets should be condemned as it is sinful, as is police brutality.
Just as a minority of police officers are abusing their power, there are a minority of protestors who are abusing their freedom through violence and destruction. Protest is just one of many ways to take action. Other forms of action include voting, political activism, volunteering in our communities, working for organizations that promote racial reconciliation, building friendships with people of color, and of course prayer.
As followers of Christ, as the Church, we must take action when it comes to racial reconciliation. If we don’t, who will? While I think most people support the concept of black lives matter, some people are concerned about the movement Black Lives Matter because it has allegedly come out that the founder is a self-proclaimed Marxist. Marxism is synonymous with Communism. While Marxism and Christianity are both movements that call for justice, Marxism is incompatible with Christianity. Marxism is atheistic and ultimately oppressive. MLK put it well when he said: “The theory, though surely not the practice, of Communism challenges us to be more concerned about social justice. With all of its false assumptions and evil methods, Communism arose as a protest against the injustices and indignities inflicted upon the underprivileged. The Communist Manifesto was written by men aflame with a passion for social justice.” Karl Marx, although a self-proclaimed atheist, was raised by Jewish parents who became Christians when he was six years old. He was taught Scripture like Micah 6:8 and he never forgot Jesus’ concern for “the least of these.” Marx was ultimately led astray as some are being led astray today. Let us not allow Marxism to hijack the work of the church, which is justice and racial reconciliation. If good Christians don’t act and work for justice, then people will start leaning towards other ideologies that do.
A Just Hope: Dreaming God’s Dream
Justice is a hope we have in God, that the Lord will make things right. There are many things wrong with our world today including racism. Racial reconciliation is part of God’s dream that we believe will become reality. It is not a fictional tale. It is a real-life story in the making. In the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 7:9-11, we have a glimpse of a multiracial heaven. John wrote of his vision, “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb…they fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God.” The last book in the Bible gives us hope for what is to come: A time when we will all worship together, when the stark reality expressed by MLK of segregation in our houses of worship will be no more. As a human race, one race, we will all worship God together in unity. This is our present hope and the present work before us. May it be on earth as it is in heaven.
I have been to Israel/Palestine twice now. Each time I have been struck by the multitudes of people from other countries whom I have witnessed in the Holy Land, gathered in prayer and worship, speaking and singing in other languages. It reminds me of the hope we have as Christians that one day we will all live and worship together. Some churches are already doing this. There is an intentional movement among many churches to be multicultural as opposed to monocultural. I have been to a few of these churches. They are a beautiful testimony to the hope we have for all people from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing together in worship and fellowship.
Love One Another
As we do the hard and imperfect work of racial reconciliation this side of heaven, may we remember to be kind to one another and to ourselves. Jesus called us to love one another and that is how people will know that we are His disciples. Extend God’s grace to one another and to yourself and keep fighting the good fight, which is to see God finish the work he has started in us, and to bring it to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. Amen.
On the journey with you, ~Ben