Accepted Sin

It is amazing to me that there was a time in this country when it was accepted practice to treat black people as worse than second-class citizens. I have wondered how it was possible for men and women who were Christians to have such a low view of a person because of the color of their skin. How do you reconcile that kind of thinking with New Testament Christianity? You do not. It cannot be reconciled. But it can be explained.

Generations of people were brought up with the belief that blacks were inferior, that slavery was acceptable and that racial segregation should be the law. Many accepted without question that this was right and even supported by the Bible. So they went to church, sang hymns, ate the communion, listened to the preacher, bowed their heads in prayer and gave some of their money. And then the next day they went to their jobs, kept the house, worked the farm and took care of their families. And they did all this with true sincerity. I’m not being sarcastic. They truly were sincere. But they were badly taught when it came to race. They were often taught racial prejudice and bigotry from their parents, their preacher and the public school system. The teaching was not always formal, but it was persistent. It came in the form of separate water fountains, separate restrooms and sitting in the back of the bus. It came in the form of white hoods, burned crosses and men hanged to death from trees. It also came in the form of comments and insults, some in the hearing of black people, more often behind closed doors. Such teaching indoctrinates a person thoroughly. They don’t just stop thinking the way they have before. They have to unlearn it. They have to see what the Bible truly says, not what they’ve heard it says. They have to start looking at people, all people as created in the image of God. They have to be willing to admit that what they’ve felt and how they’ve behaved in regard to race was wrong and sinful. They have to acknowledge that, for all the good reasons they loved them, wherever racism and bigotry was practiced and perpetrated by their country or their family, it was wrong.

Today great strides have been made in regard to race relations. The racist is more likely to be marginalized and even ostracized by people who have been enlightened by the love of Christ and the teaching of the Bible. This doesn’t mean that racism is gone. But it is met with objection far more than it once was.

But today there is another entrenched prejudice that is accepted by millions the world over. This oppressed group is described, as black people once were, as not really being people. The idea that it is acceptable to trash them at will is unquestioned and held in the hearts of celebrities, the mainstream media and politicians. It is held by housewives, factory workers and ceo’s. Who is this group that is seen as so dispensable? Unborn babies. Scores of people have bought into the propaganda of abortion providers and promoters every bit as much as some men and women bought into the poison of racial bigotry. And the carnage is no less. Every year in the United States 1.3 million babies are killed before birth. That’s a little bit more than the population of Dallas. The common defense of Christians who support abortion is that the fetus is not yet human but only tissue. Others affirm that as an unnecessary distinction. On a “pro-choice” web site, the author states, “The practice of abortion is unrelated to the status of the fetus – it hinges totally [emphasis mine, bf] on the aspirations and needs of women.” If you are a Christian woman, do you agree with that assertion? If you are pregnant, is your choice whether to give life or death to the baby strictly a matter of your aspirations and needs? Or do you have a responsibility to think of the baby, not just yourself? Maybe you don’t agree with the above quote but you’re not sure if it’s sin to have an abortion or support those who provide abortions. Let me ask you this. Would it be alright to kill a three week old baby? Of course not. Then why would it be alright to kill that baby a month earlier? Or two or three or four months earlier? Is the body of the mother a sanctified safe-place for the child until birth? Or is the unplanned-for baby nothing more than an unwanted tenant that must be evicted?

Racism and bigotry are wrong, hateful, selfish and sinful. Some Christian people were and some are racists and bigots. Abortion is wrong, hateful, selfish and sinful. Some Christian people support abortion. The acceptance and support of one needs to be unlearned and turned away from, every bit as much as the other.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

Brad Fry

Published in: on February 17, 2012 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Is Jesus Your Lord?

What does it mean to have Jesus as your Lord? In an issue of Christianity Today, a particular hot topic was being debated. One side stated that “We are indeed people of the book, but we are also people who bow only before Jesus Christ our Savior.” To which another responded, “All of us believe in the lordship of Jesus Christ. But we believe the only Jesus Christ we can know is the Jesus Christ revealed in Scripture.”

To live our lives with Jesus as our Lord is far more than having a reverent respect for him. It is also to believe what he says and obey what he commands. In Luke 6:46 Jesus asks this rhetorical question, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Shortly before he was crucified he told his apostles that when the Holy Spirit was sent “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26). How do we know anything of Jesus and his will for our lives? By going to the words of his apostles. Paul wrote, “If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.” (1 Corinthians 14:37).

Is Jesus our Lord? Is he really? Do we sometimes do what we want and then claim that he “led” us to do it? Who is really “lord” then? At the conclusion of his Sermon on the Mount he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). If we are to claim Jesus as our Lord we must embrace the Bible as our guide and allow it to direct our belief and behavior. It’s not a matter of bowing to and worshipping the Bible as some derisively portray it. But it is acknowledging that through the Bible, Jesus tells us what to do. And if he is our Lord, we do what he says.

Brad Fry

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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