- Share your views on the current racial crisis that is sweeping our nation today
Recent events have revealed that there are real problems in our society that must be addressed, problems that the majority has often overlooked. At the same time, some secular voices seek to use this crisis to promote a radical agenda. This is an opportunity for the church to proclaim the gospel as the answer. Through an apostolic revival of the Word and Spirit (Acts 2:38–42), we can promote multiracial unity around biblical and national values, change human hearts, and implement the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) and the Two Commandments (Mark 12:28–31).
- Comment on the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.
From the video evidence, we see no justification for this action. The killing was simply wrong. It is important to follow the due process of law, and it is important to obtain justice for George Floyd and his family.
- Comment on the peaceful protests that are going on in an attempt to bring about change.
Peaceful protests are our right under the First Amendment. They have often brought positive social change, and they can do so in this situation.
- Comment on the rioting and looting that many areas are experiencing.
There is no justification for rioting and looting. It is against Scripture and against the law. While anger can be justifiable, we must use anger as a motivation to do what is right. The Bible says, “Be ye angry, and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26). The ends do not justify the means (Romans 3:8). Moreover, violence is not appropriate or required to effect the necessary changes. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement changed our nation through their commitment to peaceful protests, even though violence was often used against them.
- What, in your opinion, should be done to help heal the racial suffering that many African Americans feel?
We must listen carefully to the experiences, feelings, and just demands of African Americans. Both individually and collectively, we need a greater understanding, sensitivity, and concern for pain they have experienced and the problems they continue to face. Then we need to work for practical changes in our churches, communities, and society, starting with policies, procedures, training, and various resources.
- How or in what way can a pastor effectively address this topic from the pulpit?
(1) In the short term, make appropriate statements for justice and against racism. Over time, these topics should be part of our regular preaching and teaching on biblical holiness. In the process, support the rule of law, the role of law enforcement officers, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and the principle of “liberty and justice for all,” which have made our nation great. (2) Cast the vision for a diverse and inclusive church that reflects the community and illustrates the gospel message. (3) Use special occasions such as Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, the Fourth of July, All Nations Sunday, and Appreciation Sunday (for first responders) to highlight these messages. (4) Seek input from African Americans leaders and members about how to communicate effectively. (5) Encourage the participation of minorities in church life, leadership, and ministry.
- What might our churches do to help bring about racial unity in their cities? (1) Seek input from African American leaders, members, and ministerial friends as well as other minorities. (2) Seek opportunities to minister both to protesters and law enforcement officers. Some church members have participated in peaceful protests and demonstrations. Some pastors have been asked to pray at these events, typically praying for both the police and the demonstrators. (3) Form relationships with civic officials, community leaders, police, and other pastors. (4) Seek civic involvement, to serve the dual purpose of bettering the community and proclaiming the gospel in action. Examples: unity events, worship services in public areas, community cleanup events, jail ministry, homeless ministry, refugee assistance, emergency relief efforts, hosting community meetings, offering classes that minister to social needs (alcohol/drug treatment through ACTS/LIFE, anger management, marriage enrichment, divorce recovery, grief recovery, parenting, financial planning, English as a second language), and serving on public commissions.
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