The Christian and Black Lives Matter

photo by Markus Spiske
WHY DON'T ALL CHRISTIANS join Black Lives Matter? 

Many Christians have been using the hashtag, posting affirming articles, attending BLM rallies, or donating to BLM online (an organisation started in the USA in 2013). In some corners of the Christian world, it’s almost the expected thing to do and those who don’t are looked at by some with a degree of suspicion. Does that person not care about black lives?  

In most instances, the answer is ‘God forbid’! Many who have not shown support for BLM are grieved by the viral video that showed Derek killing George. Christians who don’t join are usually not heartless nor are they thoughtless. They care and they have reasons for not joining BLM.

What might those reasons be?

Different 'Races'?
First, there’s the issue and language of ‘race’. The BLM website states that ‘We see ourselves as part of the global Black family.’ By contrast, the Bible doesn’t teach that there are ‘races’. Yes, that is common speak, even among many professed Christians. But Christians reject the haphazard materialist and evolutionary worldview that teaches that varying degrees of melanin in our skin makes us different races of creatures.

Christians believe that God created one couple, with dignity as God’s image-bearers, and that all humanity comes from them. We are one family with many cultures and ethnicities―but we are not sperate races. A Chinese man can marry a Latin woman and still make babies. Genetically and Biblically, we are all the human racethe sons of Adam and the Daughters of Eve. This is why Paul proclaimed to the Athenian philosophers that it was ‘from one man God made all the nations’ (Acts 17). Being Adam’s children is both the glory and shame that we all share. This is why some Christians prefer to use the term ‘ethnic conflict’ instead of ‘racism’it is more accurate and reinforces the truth of our united humanity.

We were born into a world that taught us to think in terms of divided humanity along the lines of degrees of skin pigmentation. ‘Black’, ‘Asian’, ‘Latin’, ‘Caucasian’, etc. When we begin to see others through the Biblical lens of a fallen human family, then we feel differently about ethnic conflict. The world sees a Japanese man killing a Chinese man. A Christian, however, sees one of God’s image-bearer killing another image-bearer. A human who is like me kills another human who is like me. Haruto kills Zhang Wei. Derek kills George. Cain kills Abel.

Read the Fine Print
Secondly, the BLM organisation stands for many other things than just racial reconciliation―a goal that, by itself, Christians share. Have you been to the BLM website? Did you read closely? Do you know their stance on abortion? Transgender ideology? Do you support them when they 'do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege'? What about working to 'foster a queer‐affirming network...freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking'?

If not, why are you suggesting people should donate money to them? This is not Rev Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement. It’s a ‘justice’ movement rooted in values that have been historically seen as incompatible with Biblical faith.

The Root of Ethnic Conflict
Third, Christians diagnose ethnic conflict differently. BLM stated mission is ‘to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes’. Now, on its own, we can all agree that eradicating white supremacy is a laudable goal (thought here may be different understandings about what exactly ‘white supremacy’ actually is). Ethnic conflict of any kind, regardless of the ethnicity that wields it, has been affirmed by Christians as a sin for 2,000 years.

The difference that some Christians see between BLM and Biblical faith is that racism is simply the fruit of a much deeper problem. Pride. Racism is like a weedif you try to remove it without getting to the root, it will only spring up again. Cain only murdered Abel after their parents proudly rebelled against God and were kicked out of the garden. Trying to get proud and unredeemed people to get along is a noble desire, but we will be unable to get along if our pride remains unchallenged.

The Solution
Lastly, the cure that the Bible puts forward is different from the cure proposed by BLM. Christians believe that God sees the fallen sons of Adam hurting each other and that He cares deeply. But He calls us to address this tragedy in a different way than the society around us. In wider society, people fight racism by us lots of adviceboth good and badon things we should do.

But the Christian message isn’t primarily one of good advice. It’s one of good news. BLM hopes for racial reconciliation based on what humanity might do. Christians proclaim that ethnic reconciliation has already been done. Jesus accomplished reconciliation through his broken body on the cross. As he died Jesus proclaimed ‘It is finished!’ People could now be reconciled with God and, being reunited with Him, be reconciled with one another.

Like BLM, we hear the shed blood of brother Abel calling out for justice. But, unlike BLM, we also hear the blood of a new and greater Abel calling out for mercy. And, it’s on the basis of this innocent blood that we proclaim the good news of reconciliationfirst to God and then to each other.

Not just BLM, but any justice movement that rejects the Redeemer will fail to redeem.

As Christians, we affirm our unity in Adam by birth and call people to be part of God’s family through a second birth. I’m fully one with Christians of other countries, cultures, skin colours, and languages. I am not one with someone who looks like me but who is not in Christ. Christians identify as fallen children of Adam who have also become children of God through the work of Jesus. There is not ‘God’s white family’ or ‘God’s Asian children’. In Christ, Jews, Asians, Arabs, whites and blacks are all equally my brothers and sisters.

Once we are baptised, old ethnic divisions mean nothing. If racism is found among Christians, it is evidence they have not really met Jesus or understood who he is. This is why John writes, ‘whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen’ (1 John 4.20)

If you have hatred in your heart towards of humans of Asian, European, or African descent, then come to Jesus. Confess your pride and be washed and forgiven. Admit the futility of your own heritage and ask God to make you part of the new humanity that He is creating through the innocent blood of His murdered Son.

As Christians, our hope is centred on a God of Justice and on a Redeemer who justifies. BLM removes both of those. That’s why some of us are hesitant to use their hashtag.   

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