‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:12, 13).’
These are times of great confusion causing us to pray for release from the chaos around us, and for peace and order. There are so many things going on in the world, and we can’t make sense of them all – at least, that’s how I perceive life today.
Taking advantage of the disruption brought about by the Coronavirus there are ‘hosts’ of wicked ‘principalities’ and ‘powers’ at work that threaten world democracies, stable governments, law and order, peaceable living and precious freedoms – even freedom to worship, not just for Christians, but for those of other faiths and religions.
There are many factions at work seeking to divide, disrupt and destroy for their own aims. There are demands for social justice, the rewriting of history, compensations, apologies, the pulling down of statues and one big issue, that of slavery and the inhumanity of it. The “Black Lives Matter” movement highlights injustices of the past and of the present, and seeks to change things for a better and fairer future.
How should Christians respond to the obvious injustices that are being suffered by millions on account of the colour of their skin? Well, as usual, by acting in accordance with God’s Word, the Bible. We all need to examine our hearts (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:5) to question if sin lurks within us on account of any prejudices we may have; for there should be none.
Current Public Debate
The current public debate has moved us to introspection, and begs the question what should be done? Christians are not immune from this introspection, because they too have had to examine the *church’s past involvement in the slave trade. However, Christians such as William Wilberforce and the Quakers George Fox and Benjamin Lay, in their various ways, helped to bring an end to slavery as it was practised in their day.
This debate has forced church leaders to question their practices; even to consider removing **paintings, stained glass windows and sculptures of Jesus from places of worship, because He has been represented as a white person.
Within this debate I was shocked on hearing of two Christians disputing as to the skin colour of Jesus; one claimed He was white and the other that He was black. His physical ancestry can be traced back through Heli (Luke 3:23) [who was the father of Mary, not Joseph – see Matthew Henry, p. 221, 11.2], to Abraham (v 34), whose skin colour could well have been an olive brown. Who knows? But the pigmentation of His skin is totally irrelevant; for had it been relevant Jesus would have made it known.
All people are formed in God’s image (Genesis 1:26, 27) and He makes no distinction between them on account of their appearance, but He does distinguish between those who love Him and those who do not, i.e., those who are born again of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) and those who are dead in their trespasses and sin. (Ephesians 2:1).
The Christian Response
As Christians our principal response to the confusion we find around us should be to share the love of Jesus with all whom we meet and to tell the world of His salvation from sin and death. Our desire should be to proclaim His peace which the world cannot give (John 14:27), and it must be done in the truth of His Word (Ephesians 4:15; 2 John 1:1) and with gentleness (2 Corinthians 10:1). That precludes us from accepting and supporting certain strategic policies of the Black Lives Matter movement. We may support some of them, but we cannot go along with any that are at odds with God’s Word. Take for example the following objectives set out on the BLM website under the heading, ‘What We Believe’.
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable,” and “We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).”
A Christian believes the nuclear family is God ordained, and it was established at the time of His creation of the world, when He created Adam and Eve as the progenitors of mankind. The BLM wish to foster a queer-affirming network and to free themselves from heteronormative thinking, whereas the Bible clearly states that God created Adam to be a male and his wife a female (Genesis1:27: 3:20; 4:25). That is God’s created order (5:2). There’s no confusion. Admittedly, if followers of the BLM want to think the way they do, that is their prerogative. It is not a Christian’s aim to impose their understanding upon anyone.
When it comes to fostering ‘a queer-affirming network’ my online dictionary defines the slang meaning of ‘queer’ as ‘relating to a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or the gender binary.’
The Bible has a few things to say on the topic, as I’ve previously explained in an ***article of mine. Here’s an excerpt from it:
Paul … pulled no punches in his condemnation of lesbianism and homosexuality (Romans 1:26, 27), pointing out that what these people did was ‘contrary to nature’. He said, ’the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (v 18)’.
But let me add, there is no condemnation for those who believe in God’s Son (Romans 8:1). Therefore all who repent of their sins (Mark 1:15), and turn to God and trust His Son, will be saved to eternal life (John 3:16).
Unity and Peace
So whether believers are black, brown, white or whatever, we are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). It is in this oneness with Christ we find, order, unity, peace, freedom and justice. There is in Him no chaos, and it is to Him we should look and focus our attention upon (Matthew 6:33). Neither should we worry about tomorrow:
‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (v 34).’
And remember, that in Jesus, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:28).’
*The Church: Enslaver or Liberator?
**2-D and 3-D Representation of Our Lord
***The Christian and Gender Orientation