This article, Black History Month and the mind of Christ, focuses on the real and poisonous sin of white Christians in the southern US. This is true and good, and the prime example of the charge: but the lessons can be extended.
We don’t expect our conservative, Bible-believing, patriotic champions to preach things like this:
We do not believe that “all men are created equal,” as the Declaration of Independence declares them to be; nor that they will ever become equal in this world. . . . We think that our own race is incomparably superior to any other. . . . As to the Negro, we do not know where to place him; perhaps not at the bottom of the list, but certainly not near the top. We believe that fusion of two or more of these races would be an injury to all, and a still greater injury to posterity. We think that the race-line is providential, and that . . . any . . . great intermingling [of races] must have its origin in sin.1
These sentiments were not whispered in a corner, but came in one of the most prominent Christian publications of the day, and from a prominent Southern Baptist leader who had been president of both Mercer University and the University of Georgia, Henry Holcombe Tucker. Nor was this during the slave era itself, but almost two decades thereafter, in 1883.
Nor was this sentiment at all uncommon. This was the majority opinion among leadership and the people alike. In fact, it is suspected that this very article was published because someone had questioned whether Tucker had gotten soft on the race question. These sentiments were given to prove his bona fides.
And many like examples there are. One need only consult my recent book on slavery and the churches’ central role in the sins of it, or one of countless other books on the subject.
Yet many conservative and Christians recoil at the mention of the subject today, considering it merely a political wedge driven and exploited by leftists. Well, it is that to a great degree, but who is to blame for that phenomena? It is our reticence to embrace the issue in the right way—even sometimes in any way—that has given them both the wedge itself and the space in which to drive it. Our silence, our reactionism, and our over-defensiveness are factors that keep driving us backward and downward.
The problem is not that we are white or not black ourselves, not that we have not stopped with such overt racist beliefs, and not even that most of us have not stopped even tolerating such nonsense in our presence. The problem is that we are slow to acknowledge—even to be willing to hear—how openly repugnant and vile were the basic beliefs of our beloved forefathers regarding race, and that we are in general completely closed to the belief that the scope and degree of the degradations of the past have any bearing at all upon today.
Repentance is needed, or death awaits…
For Christians who wish to have true progress in our churches and in our society, the stance of entrenched, defiant ignorance is no longer an option. As I have said many times now, if we do not embrace this issue and heal the divide in a biblical way, we will suffer the fate of all the liberal churches. The secularists will win, and they will take over our churches. The path to changed hearts, biblical free markets, freedom, and justice goes through learning, humility, and repentance.
Not only that: without repentance, the white conservative churches will most certainly begin to die. Eventually, they will become mere recruiting centres for the right & alt-right, a dead husk.
(Black churches, by the way, would do well to dig out their own sin. There are different roads to death, tailored by Satan for every man and church, family and nation…
But it is by obedience to Christ — and the crushing of sin under our heals, in imitation of Christ — that hope and life resides!)
With God, there is life: but to gain the favour of God, we must crucify the wicked man within us. We all must do this, black and white alike: but the particular evil in question differs.
We can’t worry too much about the congenial evil of others, when our own evils are blotting out the Son, stopping His light from brightening our minds. We must work to insure the supremacy of Christ in our own hearts first!
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. — Matthew 7:2-3