RACISM IN CHURCH: HOW AMERICAN CHRISTIANS REBUILT THE WALL THAT JESUS TORE DOWN | OPINION
The Bible tells us that believing Christians must oppose every form of racism. God gave the Apostle John a vision of heaven as a multi-ethnic gathering, “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Heaven isn’t homogenous, and neither were Christ’s followers. The Apostles first publicly preached about Jesus to those who had come to Jerusalem from all over the world. The Bible lists no less than fifteen distinct ethnic groups who heard the message of Jesus for the very first time, including Egyptians, Libyans, Romans and Arabs. Jesus gave the Apostles a vision for his Kingdom where everyone, no matter their skin color or language, had the same access to the grace of God.
But we have failed to create that heaven on Earth. In fact, churches are among the most segregated public spaces in America. Research by sociologists at both Duke University and the Pew Research Center point out that of the 300,000 or so religious congregations in America today—all religious groups, not just Christian—only 7.5 percent of them would qualify as multi-ethnic, defined as a congregation in which no single ethnicity makes up more than 80 percent of those who attend. Look at just Christian congregations, and that number falls to below 3 percent. It’s normal, in other words, for churches in America to be all-white, all-black, all-Asian, or all-Latino, and Christians of all colors seem to accept this without embarrassment. We are okay with driving down the street and saying, “That’s the black church and that’s the Korean church.”
Racism in our society and racism in the church exist as the result of people turning away from the teaching of Scripture. And to our shame, too often in the past Christians endorsed a bogus theology of racial superiority that was used to justify discrimination, apartheid and slavery. But the Gospel makes clear that any form of division or oppression based on race is contrary to the will of God, so “only by returning to biblical truth as our overarching standard by which all else is measured will an accurate view of racial unity be seen and actualized,” Pastor Tony Evans writes.