The issue of race and other global issues
And a great incentive from CMI to help make a difference
First published in a CMI newsletter, October 2020
Looking back, the year 2020 made us realize how small and fragile our planet really is. ‘Small’ because the global media is so well-connected that even an isolated event in one country can be seen by billions in the blink of an eye and turn into a global movement that can shape world opinion and behavior.
For example, just prior to the pandemic, Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg called for school students to strike over inaction on climate change. Governments courted her; and even former skeptics were recruited to the cause. Please see CMI’s comprehensive and very balanced article.
Aside from the scientific issues (on which we are well versed), the ‘movement’ has been hijacked by others with ulterior motives. Then it was the ‘Me Too’ movement casting a spotlight on abuse, and in the midst of the global pandemic we saw the tragic death of George Floyd reigniting the Black Lives Matter movement. Again, aside from the wrongs or rights of the incident, I would hope that all supporters of CMI would resonate with CMI’s message that “from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). But, yet again, even peaceful protests were hijacked with unacceptable violence and businesses being razed to the ground.
Please note that this article is not to discuss the issues exhaustively, as our website has a plethora of articles on the subject.
See our exhaustive Races/Racism Q&A section
But, how should we respond?
When one merely wants to inquire more about climate change, or when we express concern over such behavior, we may find ourselves on the receiving end of a ferocious ‘politically correct’ verbal attack. At CMI, we have experienced this constantly on social media. Some react to attack by reflexively adopting an opposing view. Or seeing societal change can destabilize us, make us angry or even afraid. There is a level of militancy that follows these causes, even amongst some Christians. CMI is often targeted because we refuse to be drawn into political or denominational debates (we are an apolitical and non-denominational ministry; see our Statement of Faith). To be frank, this behavior is not becoming of someone who bears Christ’s name.
There’s a better way and an opportunity in the process
At times like this I think some are losing sight of the Gospel itself, and our calling as Christians. It might sound clichéd, but I often have to ask myself “How would Jesus respond?”. It’s not like He was never criticized! It makes me think of the old song “Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me.” Many people respond to being loved first. This presents opportunities to reach others.
There are some relevant passages in 1 Peter 4. In my Bible it has the heading, Stewards of God’s Grace:
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God … With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you … The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace … in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (vs. 4–11 edited and emphases mine).
Stepping into the breach
The issue of ‘race’ has become a worldwide phenomenon, but I truly believe that the Bible has the only answer to racism, because although one can make laws and censor speech, it is difficult to change behavior unless there is a heart change. The message that all humanity is made in the image of God, is closely related through Adam, and so loved by God that “he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)—is the message that can change the lives of those around you.
Humans respond to love
What a great moment this is to let people know, regardless of race or creed, that Jesus loves them. In response, we have produced a special DVD on this hot topic to make it easy for you to proclaim the Gospel. Dr Carl Wieland (my former mentor) is one of the foremost biblical authorities on the issue of race from both a scientific and biblical standpoint. It’s called:
One Human Family: The Bible, Race, Science and Culture
This is a fantastic presentation that I truly believe will open the hearts of those who watch it and, thus, opportunities to ‘love thy neighbor’ will follow. These are simple, paper-sleeved DVDs that can be purchased at exceptionally low prices from our webstore to enable you to share them widely.
Rather than getting tied up in the rights of wrongs of all sorts of issues, let’s be mindful of what God has called us to, which is to reach others with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.