The world seems to be very good at diagnosing problems, but often give solutions that do not work. What is the solution to problems that face our culture? I found myself thinking through this as I read through blogs and other news articles regarding racism.
It seems as if the problem is very clear. People hate other people. They hate them for various reasons. Sadly, even some professing Christians write in a way that suggests there is no hope. They write in a way that seems as if they hate the people they refer to. I noticed that I even had to pull away from the media for a period because I realized if you are not careful you will begin to hate others. If you draw away from other cultures because of this, you will end up doing the same thing in reverse.
If Christians have the greatest news in the world and if we recognize total depravity then why do we avoid this issue? Many avoid the issue of racism because it requires they face the skeletons in their closets. But, what is the message that the world is conveying?
One solution the world provides is to simply fight back. Everyone should join hands and talk. While discussions can be profitable, the difference for the believer is the message that we possess. Christians have the message that is powerful enough to change hearts. But, it often seems that when it comes to racism nonbelievers are quicker to express their worldview rather than believers. Why is it that nonbelievers are at least willing to talk, but many churches like to sweep this issue under the rug? I am thankful that this book addressed this sin. I would like to highly recommend The Gospel & Racial Reconciliation. The Gospel & Racial Reconciliation belongs to The Gospel for Life Series, edited by Russell Moore and Andrew Walker. These books seek to help believers engage issues from a biblical worldview. This book includes contributions from J. Daniel Hays, Thabiti Anyabwile, Trillia Newbell, Eric Mason, Matthew Hall and D.A. Horton. It is about 102 pages and packs a powerful punch.
What is most fascinating about this book is that all of the contributing authors present scripture to help support their arguments. Scripture must inform our minds and be used when facing issues of sin. This is what each contributor does well. It is a reminder of what the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” One of the strengths of the book is the ways in which questions are posed with solutions given.
Chapters include the following:
Chapter 1: What Are We For?
Chapter 2: What Does the Gospel Say?
Chapter 3: How Should the Christian Live?
Chapter 4: How Should the Church Engage?
Chapter 5: What Does the Culture Say?
One particularly helpful chapter was “How Should the Church Engage?” Many individuals who recognize the problem head straight to their pastors and become militant in wanting to see change. However, Eric Mason said something that was very key. “Church leadership must own reconciliation. If the leadership doesn’t, the church will not either.” This is eye-opening. An individual may see some issues within the church, but if the leadership doesn’t see it, then most likely it won’t be addressed. Have you heard the saying that in most churches or organizations the people reflect the leadership?
Another feature that makes this book very helpful is that each chapter provides questions at the end. It allows readers to think through the material and really examine their hearts. There are practical things that readers can do to help to foster conversation and growth during the reading and after.
The interesting thing about racism is it is a sin and only the gospel provides the solution. We must learn to live our lives through the gospel. It is not to push this sin aside. But to face it, acknowledge it and pray for change. Moore says, “Why are we so preoccupied with the idea of living life by and through the gospel? The answer is actually quite simple: because the gospel changes everything. The gospel isn’t a mere theological system or a political idea, though it shapes both our theology and our politics. The gospel is Good News that there is a Kingdom far above and beyond the borders of this world, where death is dead and sin and sorrow cease.”
I can appreciate this book tremendously because, if you are like me, you can lose sight of the gospel. You will begin to think that all people are the same. You could ultimately develop a hatred of people instead of loving them through their struggles. You will begin to think that there is no hope. You could begin to idolize sinful issues instead of focusing upon the glory and redeeming power of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, then you must believe that the gospel has the power to bring change. Christians should be concerned if the gospel is not at the forefront of our minds. Don’t lose sight of the gospel!