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The Growing Danger of White Supremacy, pt. 1

The events in Charlottesville this past week have brought the topic of white supremacy to the forefront, and for good reason. Many are under the impression that white supremacy is an old danger and no longer poses a threat to the future, but events like the one in Charlottesville are waking people up to the reality that this form of racism is still alive and well. It is a major long-term danger.

I speak out a lot about “reverse racism” in our culture today, and some immediately interpret that as being motivated by my own White privilege/prejudice against minorities. But that could not be further from the truth. In fact, it is a strong sign of how their own mind has been warped by the racism that has become popular in our culture today.

Rather, my continual point is that racism, on both sides, springs from the same root. One kind impassions and emboldens the other. Satan cannot cast out Satan, and fighting against White racism by appealing to victimization only exacerbates the overall problem. In fact, the “reverse racism” that has become entrenched in progressive politics today is just as dangerous for stirring up racial strife. Moreover, it is tearing down societal safeguards (such as free speech) that I believe will pave the way for white supremacy in the coming decades if not stopped.

But how can I be so sure that my view of racism is the correct one? I challenge all Christians to submit to the authority of Scripture and seriously consider what it has to say on this issue.

Firstly, Scripture does warn about the dangers of the rich oppressing the poor. This is a real danger that the progressive wing of our nation rightly recognizes. There’s little disagreement here, so I won’t go in depth on this topic.

The controversial issue is that the Scriptures also tell wives to submit to husbands, slaves to submit to masters, and oppressed people to “turn the other cheek” when they are wronged. This is not fair, and the Bible never claims that it is… until the Day of Judgment. The reason that we are to bear unjust treatment in this life is because (1) God promises he will compensate all injustices and right all wrongs on Judgment Day, (2) God forgives us a much greater debt in Christ, and (3) Jesus set the example for us to follow. The biblical teachings on forgiveness and ultimate judgment must be the foundation upon which all prescriptions to the problems of oppression flow. Why do we honor and submit to unjust rulers? Because God promises that He will judge, and in the meantime we show trust in Him when we forgive. The biblical gospel is that we can be free *now* through faith in Christ and forgiveness. We don’t need to stay in inner bondage until our oppressors repent. If we bear unjust treatment we are taught not to rage but to rejoice, for we are promised eternal reward if we bear it rightly. This is most clear in passages like 1 Pet. 2:

18 You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.

21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.

Those with little faith will complain that obeying these instructions enables and empowers oppression. That would be true, if freedom was primarily an outward thing. But from the biblical perspective, freedom is something we have on the inside. Jesus said that if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. He said this as a member of a conquered and oppressed people group. He never preached a vision of freedom that was about being free of foreign oppressors–he preached about freedom from the effects and consequences of sin, of having abundant life on the inside in the midst of outward persecution and suffering. Karl Marx preached a freedom that came from forcefully taking it from oppressors, but this is not the way of the Kingdom. We forgive, are freed inside, and trust God to right all wrongs at the Judgment.

Misunderstanding this biblical priority makes us vulnerable to unrighteous judgment. In Mat. 7 Jesus warns that we cannot remove the speck from another’s eye unless we first remove the planks in our own eyes. This speaks of offense that clouds our understanding and perspective of others. The nature of holding on to offense is that it becomes unrighteous judgment within us. When we are hurt by the words of another, and it is never dealt with through forgiveness, it will turn into a judgment about how that person is mean/bigoted/stupid/etc. and eventually can morph into “those kinds of people are… mean/bigoted/stupid/etc.” Most Christians I know severely underestimate the importance of forgiveness in their own lives. Think about it! Jesus taught that if someone refused to forgive others then their own sins would be held against them (Mat. 6:14-15). This is an incredible warning. Even a relatively small amount of unforgiveness can warp our perspective of others in a major way. It is a gaping, open door to demonic influence. We must be relentless to remove all offense from our hearts, to be ruthless in forgiveness. Only then can we see clearly and help others see clearly as well.

Any solution to racism in America starts with the preeminence of forgiveness and God’s judgment. There is a God in heaven who will right all wrongs. He will remember the deeds (and misdeeds) of all people, and reward those who obey His commands to forgive and love those who oppress them. In fact, Scripture says that we should rejoice if we undergo undeserved persecution, because if we bear it rightly we receive great eternal reward. Why do we get great reward for this? Because it is both the most difficult response and the most effective in destroying embedded hatred. The great temptation for Christians is to think like the World, to believe that we must have justice now, to nurture offense, and to lose sight of our calling to disciple the nations and teach them to obey Jesus’ commands.