Race, Racism, and How the Church Should Respond

I had the privilege of interviewing Pastor Elijah Braggs from Harvest Christian Fellowship on race, racism, and how the church should respond. It was sobering yet encouraging as we discussed what it means to be made in the image of God (Imago Dei) and the importance for us to pause, pray, and respond biblically.

You can listen to the podcast here:

The Enemy Wants to Divide but Christ Unites

In a time of our history when not only as a nation we should be united for the greater good of one another because of the impact of COVID-19 but more so within the church. This is a time that is hard for the world but the church can shine bright but the problem is there is a division within the church.

First, we have had division on whether the church should meet in person or not. Personally, we have had this conversation with those who have felt like the church is in the wrong for not pushing to meet in person because the goes against our civil liberties while we know others who argue we need to listen to the government out of love for the neighbor.

Second, the issue of masks. Yes! Within the church, there were heated debates about wearing a mask or not. Same thing, the liberties we have to not wear a mask or to wear one for the love of other people (I am not making this up) This is the 2020 debate among Christians, forget smoking, drinking, or tattoos as the past debates of Christian liberties, now it is to wear a mask or not.

Third, which has been a divisive issue for most of Christendom, race, and racism. If you do not know what is going on across America in response to the death of George Floyd. In America, we have the freedom to use our voice and to fight against injustice. As Christians, we should care about how every human being regardless of color is made in the image of God. All of this points to the spiritual battle that is taking place. More now than ever the church needs to be united. In fact, because of Christ, we are united!

We have an enemy

I am grieved at what is going on. This should not be happening. This post is not to dissect the situation but to remind the church of the enemy we have who wants to divide the church. We see even in the book of Acts that if the devil can not stop the church through persecution then he turns his attention inwardly. The Bible tells us that the enemy called a thief comes kills, steals, and destroys (John 10:10). Or he is also described as our adversary and vividly like a roaring lion seeking one to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

There are sin and sinful actions that take place. Hurt and pain. Death and chaos. Injustice and oppression. These take place in this life that shouldn’t but because of the Fall this happens (Gen. 3). This is where the church needs to be beacons of light because Jesus is the light of the world (Matt 5:14; John 8:12).

In Christ, we are One

When there is hurt and even more hurt, we must come together to pray, to care, to comfort. The Gospel not only saves us from sin, we have peace with God, we have eternal life, but the gospel also unites other believers together because we are one in Christ. Unity is necessary! The Puritan Richard Baxter is known for his desire and pursuit of Christian unity. He wrote,

In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.

The Apostle Paul reminds us of this truth, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:12-13). Unity is necessary because of the work of the gospel.

The Apostle Paul mentions race and status, regardless, we are one in Christ. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection defeated sin and united image-bearers who are in Christ. Church let us work together, stand together, love together, weep together, cry together, and long for Christ’s return together because he is making all things new (Rev. 21:5).

If we want to fight, then fight to remember our unity in Christ. Be careful knowing that the enemy is wanting that wedge to hinder the work of the gospel going out. At a time that the world is going to listen, let us boldly proclaim the gospel. The world is watching, let us be gospel lights!

What Do Christians Have in Common?

What the Church Shares-2
Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

We have more in common with Chrisitans than we do have uncommon. I have written about this in the past which is a common thread found throughout the New Testament. You can read about how Christians share in weeping for one another here and how we share in rejoicing with others here.

Sometimes we neglect the aspect of unity among believers (I call it the togetherness of the Christian life). We read in the Bible that believers, the church, are called a body. Christ is the head of the body, but each member (believer) is part of this body. Just like each perspective part of your body has usefulness so does the body of Christ. The apostle Paul reminds us,

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-20 ESV).”

Continue reading “What Do Christians Have in Common?”

United In Christ

United in Christ
In chapter three in of Nehemiah, at first glance you we read about a unique situation, Israel was working together to rebuild the wall. This task was not small as the perimeter around the city of Jerusalem consisted of almost 2 ½ miles of destroyed wall with multiple gates that needed to be rebuilt. You see the systematic approach to the rebuilding as the narrative goes from the northern part of the wall, to the western side, and to the eastern.
What is unique was not just the rebuilding of this broken-down wall but all who helped with the rebuild. There is a phrase that is written several times in this chapter, “Next to him.” It required many people working side by side to accomplish this big project. Continue reading “United In Christ”

Marks of Christian Unity: Weep with Those Who Weep

Growth in unity as believers is shown in how we respond when others go through joyous moments or are enduring trials. As believers, we know that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). Jesus even warned us with the truth that in this life we will face tribulations but we can take heart because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). Going through trials is nothing new, it is matter of when we will face them not if we will face them. We should not be surprised when we face trials and suffering as though something strange is happening, as Peter reminds us (1 Peter 4:12).
As believers, we know that we will never face trials alone. There is something refreshing and encouraging to know that when we face different trials, we have the Lord, who will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We also have the physical presence of fellow Christians, who will weep with us as we weep (Romans 12:15). I am so thankful for the body of Christ! I personally have seen the unity of the body of Christ as they have wept with me as I wept. Their presence and love bring a whole new level of comfort that I did not know. Continue reading “Marks of Christian Unity: Weep with Those Who Weep”