Because we love God and love our neighbors, we walk into the hard conversations with the gospel on our lips. Whether the issue is politics, or gender identity, sexual orientation, raising children, international war, the death penalty, or racism, Christians prayerfully and carefully show how the good news of Jesus addresses the issues of the day.
Even though it is 2020 and the world has seemingly made amazing societal advances, ethnic tensions are alive and well. As far as the curse is found, racist tendencies abound. That’s a sad state of affairs and is something the world is right to talk about in an effort to bring men and women together. It is right and good to cross-cultural and racial boundaries in order to love each other as fellow human beings.
The larger world we live in speaks this way, doesn’t it? The need for men and women to get along and love each other is a common sentiment. Yet, I believe the one institution on this planet who has the ultimate answers to the social ills that we face, including the continued existence of racism, is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church, those blood-bought, Spirit-indwelt, spiritually alive men and women that are found around the world have the one ultimate answer that brings sinful people to God and to each other. That answer is, in a word, gospel.
Carl F. H. Henry noted this reality in the mid-20th century. In his little book The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, Henry called Christians to lean towards the culture instead of away. Fundamentalist tendencies had led many in the church to disengage, to tend towards separatism. The neo-evangelicalism of men like Henry went in the opposite direction. Instead of a bunker mentality, Henry and his compatriots engaged the world. Why? Because they believed the ultimate answer to the problems the world faced was found in the good news of Jesus Christ. Henry writes, “Historically, Christianity embraced a life view as well as a world view; it was socially as well as philosophically pertinent” (The Uneasy Conscience, 18). That is, the Christian faith had social implications that followers of Jesus should bring to bear on the culture in which they live. “A Christianity without a passion to turn the world upside down is not reflective of apostolic Christianity” (The Uneasy Conscience, 16).
I believe Henry was right. The gospel message of Jesus Christ not only saves sinners but creates gospel people. Those gospel people have had their eyes opened and are eager to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Therefore, because the church sees the world with Spirit-illumined eyes and through the spectacles of Scripture, they see (imperfectly as we still deal with remaining sin) what is right and what is wrong. And, they know that God has given us the ultimate answer to the problems we face in this present evil age.
Thus, because we love God and love our neighbors, we walk into the hard conversations with the gospel on our lips. Whether the issue is politics, or gender identity, sexual orientation, raising children, international war, the death penalty, or racism, Christians prayerfully and carefully show how the good news of Jesus addresses the issues of the day.
When we hone in on one social cancer that we face, that of racism, or ethnic (dis)harmony, what we find is this: Ethnic harmony is an undeniable effect of the gospel and proper pursuit of gospel people.
Ethnic Harmony and Undeniable Effect of the Gospel
The place to start in discussions of ethnic harmony is in the soil of a Garden in the Middle East. In Eden, that glorious place where it all began, we find the beginning of the human race. God unleashed his creative Word to bring the heavens and earth into existence. The pinnacle of that created order was not lions and tigers, or mountains and valleys, or lakes and oceans, or even the Sun, Moon, and stars. The creation of men and women in the image of God tops the creative chart. Of all the things that we could say, the fact that we can speak of human beings as made in the “image” and “likeness” of God is simply stunning.