These last few installments are the most important ones of this series. Several of you have contacted me and said something about the bravery it takes to talk about race relations. But there is a real sense in which it does not make me afraid or timid to discuss this topic. Writing about race relations is not a difficult thing when the Holy Spirit has so plainly spoken. Any time I can speak or write about things that are spelled out by God, I do not have anxiety, because HE is always just. He is always loving. He is always right. He empowers us to talk about and put into practice the principles that cannot be wrong for our world. Regardless of color, in the church we share a dedication to our King Jesus, and a commitment to restoring New Testament Christianity. Take a look with me at racism in the first century and how it was handled when people of different races came together in the church.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Imagine the weight of the words in the first century culture: “There is neither Jew nor Greek,” or, “there is neither slave nor free.” Clear distinctions in those people existed in their culture. God’s answer to those distinctions was unity in Christ: “You are all one in Christ Jesus.”
How would this read if it was written today in America? I cannot imagine it not including words like “there is neither white nor black nor brown; you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This passage is simply razor-sharp relative to our current discussion. It teaches that the resolution is colorblindness in the church. We are one.
It is surprising that some folks are rejecting the term “colorblind”or the concept of equality of opportunity. It isn’t enough that all peoples today should have equal opportunity for education and be equally paid and successful in all careers. Some, instead, see America’s wealth as a pie. Caucasian people, for two hundred years, got much bigger pieces of this pie. As a result, some see colorblindness today as an insufficient solution. They believe society must “pay back” what their ancestors were denied. This is the call for reparations.
The New Testament’s method to fight racism has never been civil disobedience nor reparations. It has always been one body in Christ where every person is loved without regard to nationality. Colorblindness is the biblical goal. There are Christians who reject the term “colorblindness” in reference to the way we view race in the church. I believe “colorBLINDness” is an accurate word to summarize the Lord’s description of the church in Galatians 3. The verse does not mean that there really were no native Jews or native Greeks. Of course there were. It did not mean that there were literally no slaves or free men. There were. It does not mean that there were no gender differences. Of course people could tell the difference between men and women. But the verse means there were no distinctions in value. The word “blindness” — blindness to distinctions that would cause us to value the fellowship of one more than the other— is a good descriptive term to characterize our attitudes and actions toward all of those who are physically different than are we, in the body of our Lord.
The idea on the part of any group that the term ” colorblindness” fails to recognize the distinctive and special gifts that “our” people bring to the table is a divisive concept. Not one of us brings any gift worthy of even being at the table, when it is the feast of the Lamb. It is only His blood that makes us worthy. And His blood makes us all worthy to the same exact degree.