Charlotte, NC – The origins of Black Lives Matter, as it was initially imagined, was to attack systemic racism – the idea that institutions and systems in the US specifically target minorities to create racial and social disparities that benefit the racial majority. But in six short months, the term ‘BLM’ has devolved from a thoughtful reflection of a perpetual social and racial divide into a call-to-arms for anarchists and rioters, and the fallout has been increasingly devastating.
Racially-charged violence has left dozens of police officers and hundreds of civilians, severely injured or killed. Millions of dollars worth of private and public property damage has ensued. Careers have been ruined. Businesses have been burned. Families, especially black families, have been devastated.
What happened? And how do conservative Christians reconcile the flaws of the BLM movement with a biblical worldview? The answer begins with a change of perspective.
First, Christians should recognize the difference between the Marxist-trained organizers of the formal BLM organization and the majority of peaceful protestors who have been inspired to fight for change. At its best, the BLM movement encourages individuals – our friends and neighbors – to work to eliminate racial disparities to create more liberty and justice for all.
At its worst, and by the admission of BLM’s formal leadership, the organization seeks to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” which stands in blatant defiance to Christian values. There is a difference between your neighbor who wants to see a positive change in the world and the Marxist anarchist who wants to watch the world burn.
Second, Christians should begin to view racism as sin. Jesus himself unequivocally preached against racism with the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10. The entire Book of Philemon, on a deep level, is a testimony for the power of the gospel to transform the hearts of men away from slave ownership. So, there is no place in a biblical worldview for any form of sin, including racism.
Third, Christians should begin to recognize systemic racism as only a small fraction of a more significant problem of systemic sin. This nation has a bigger systemic sin problem than systemic racism alone. Until the church begins to hate all forms of sin like compromising the preaching of sound doctrine on Sunday mornings in place of a concert experience, or cowering away from preaching against sinful lifestyles out of fear the sermon will be labeled “hate speech,” then the tragedies reported on the nightly news will never get better. The systemic sins inherent in our culture – in media, in the denuclearization of the home, in the greed and corruption endemic in our political leaders – are the very sins that have caused the unrest that have lead to the BLM uprising.
Finally, the church should recognize its unique and invaluable position in society. Many of our country’s present trials began at the same time the churches closed their doors. While the nation was reeling to contain the coronavirus outbreak in January and February, many pastors made the difficult, albeit correct, decision to cancel in-person services to protect the most vulnerable of their flock.
By March and April, most states were in full-lockdown, and the nation was as heading for another Great Depression. In May, George Floyd lost his life, and the protests began. By June, the nation was burning. Since January, it seems the gates of Hell have launched a full-scale attack on our country while churches have remain more-or-less closed.
The problem developed whenever the churches closed, and the individuals who make up the church stopped growing and developing in the absence of corporate worship. The individual people of the church stopped behaving like the church. Gospel preaching stopped. The hymns were no longer sung. Prayer lives suffered. The fellowship grew distant. Bibles collected dust. The church grew silent and cold.
In the aftermath of the church closings, this nation has began collapsing. US cities like NYC have scaled down their police forces, which has lead to young children being shot in their strollers and fathers being executed in front of their children. Violent crime has skyrocketed in some big cities, while other cities have fallen under mob rule outright.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are simultaneously calling to defund local police departments entirely, to allow criminals to leave prison to protect them from COVID-19, and to prosecute law-abiding gun-owners to safeguard their homes. Now, perhaps more than ever, this beautiful and blessed nation needs the Christian church to take up her mantle and ring the bells of heaven on her behalf.
Conservative Christians must view this new, woke society through a new paradigm, or rather; they must open their eyes and hearts to an old paradigm once more. Social justice and racial equality are a peripheral benefit of a nation that actively seeks the face of God. Injustice and inequality are the baseline expectation of a nation that has forsaken God.
When Christians develop a passionate hatred for sin and a sincere love for their neighbors, and focus their hearts and minds on Christ and Christ alone, and live in such a way that does not allow for systemic sin of any kind, then all of these other problems begin to disappear. When the church glorifies Christ alone, then the racists do not matter anymore. When Heaven becomes the end-zone instead of equality, then worldly concerns become fodder. The US needs conservative Christians to get their eyes off of the storm, renew their devotion to Christ, and lead this nation back into the light.
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