Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Racial Reconciliation

This is a really good article by Tim Gombis on the Resurgence blog regarding racial reconciliation. Below is the introduction to the article. Go to the whole thing here.
In the thinking of many Christians, the notion of racial reconciliation does not have a direct relationship to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may agree that Christians of different ethnicities ought to get along, but many would also be hesitant to recognize a demand in the gospel along this line. After all, the thinking goes, the gospel is the message that all people need to "get saved." Each individual human is alienated from God because each of us is a sinner, and we need to ask Jesus into our hearts so that we'll go to heaven when we die. And, while we might agree that it would be nice if there were all sorts of races in heaven, and we probably should do our best to get along here on earth, if we don't, we can be thankful that this is no threat to the gospel.

I will argue in this article that this is not a proper understanding of the gospel message, and that rightly grasping the gospel entails a commitment to reconciliation of all types—including, perhaps most specifically, ethnic, or racial, reconciliation. Let me first offer a definition of what I mean by "racial reconciliation": Seeking to foster fruitful community life across racial and social boundary lines—lines of division that seem to be "normal" in some sense but have been perverted by Satan and human sinfulness, so that communities do not regard each other with respect and dignity, seeking mutually fruitful relationships, but with suspicion and fear, which lead to exploitation and manipulation of all types.

I will argue, from Scripture, that racial reconciliation is not simply something nice that Christians should be doing, a sort of add-on to the gospel—nice, but not necessary. It is at the very heart of the gospel. Reconciliation is the gospel, and racial, or ethnic, reconciliation—in a divided America, and in a divided world—provides a perfect arena to manifest and to live out the reconciling grace of God. Because of this, to persist in passive avoidance of racial/ethnic reconciliation is to misunderstand the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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