8 Reflections on Racism and Riots

I’m neither black nor white. I’m brown, or Asian American. And I’m a Christian; therefore, I will address racism and rioting from a biblical point of view. Here are my thoughts on these issues:

1) There’s only one race on earth and that is Adam’s race. Regardless of your skin color, your origin can be traced back to Adam (Genesis 1 & 2). We should therefore view ourselves as belonging to the same Adamic race. And having the same blood, we should love, and not hate, each other.

2) Since we have the same race, you can’t say that your race is better than other races. In fact, it doesn’t make sense to think that your race is superior to other races, since there’s only one race. Thus, to be a racist is inconsistent with the Bible. I think we see racism at its worst in the genocide of approximately six million Jews during Hitler’s time. Hitler thought that the Jews were an inferior group of people, “fit for enslavement, or even extermination.”

3) Whether you’re black, brown, red, white, or yellow, your life matters to God because He created you in His image (Genesis 1:26–27). So my life matters not because I’m brown but because I bear God’s image. Black lives matter not because of their color but because they are made in God’s image.

4) Since every life is created in God’s image, all lives (black, brown, red, white, and yellow) are equal. We should therefore treat every life with equal importance. George Floyd’s life was as important as the lives of those Nigerian Christians brutally murdered by Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram.

According to genocidewatch.com, “350 Nigerian Christians were massacred in the first two months of 2020…Nigeria has become a killing field of defenseless Christians. Reliable sources show that between 11,500 and 12,000 Christians have been massacred since June 2015 when the Buhari Government of Nigeria came to power. Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen accounted for 7,400 murders of Christians. Boko Haram committed 4000 killings of Christians.”

Imagine since 2015 about 12,000 black lives were murdered in Nigeria! Right now there are demonstrations around the world, including England, Germany, and Canada, against the murder of George Floyd. Yet I can’t help but wonder why we also don’t hear an outcry regarding the mass killing of black lives in Nigeria? Is it because Nigerian lives are not as important as the lives of those living in the US? I’m not minimizing the horrible murder of Floyd, nor am I saying that police brutality should not be peacefully protested. However, if we really believe that all lives matter, we should treat every single life with equal worth. We should not pick and choose what life we want to value.

5) Since God’s image is sacred and since every life is made in God’s image, every life is not only important and equal, but also sacred. The murder of George Floyd was evil because it violated the sacredness of his life (Genesis 9:6). And the sacredness of one’s life doesn’t depend on who violates it. Floyd’s life was sacred not because it was violated by a white police officer. Even if he was murdered by a black police officer, his life was still sacred.

Sadly, if a black life was killed by another black person, or if a white life was killed by a black person, we don’t see the same degree of protest, as if black lives only matter when they are killed by a white person. When was the last time you heard a strong demonstration because a black man was killed by a black police officer? Every life matters because every life is sacred; and thus, I plead with the Black Lives Matter movement that they also protest against the murder of unborn innocent babies in the wombs of every black woman. The lives of these aborted unborn babies were as sacred as George Floyd’s life.

According to Grand Rapids Right to Life, “Abortion is not just a woman’s issue.  It’s a human rights issue.…Abortion is the number one killer of black lives in the United States.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, abortion kills more black people than HIV, homicide, diabetes, accident, cancer, and heart disease … combined.”

6) God has gifted us in the US with the First Amendment, which guarantees “the freedom of speech” and “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Constitutionally, you have all the right to protest against the injustice done to George Floyd. But according to the First Amendment, you must to do so “peaceably.” Therefore, you have no right to loot, hurt police officers and set their vehicles on fire, vandalize and ruin buildings. This is not your right! After all, what does looting have to do with the murder of Floyd? Do you think it will help solve the issue? The injustice done to Floyd does not license you to do lawlessness. My heart was grieved with what happened to Floyd but my heart was equally grieved with the riots caused by lawless protesters.

God says, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17–21).

7) Racism is still very much alive in our country. We can either ignore this problem and pretend it doesn’t exist, or face and address it. Fellow Christians, we should deal with the issue of racism with the same equal force that we give to the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage. To my fellow pastors, we should also be preaching against the sin of racism.

8) The only remedy for racism is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Racism says, “I’m ethnically superior to you.” The gospel says, “We equally matter before God because both of us are created in His image.” Racism violates the sanctity of life. The gospel treats every life as sacred. Racism begets hatred and violence. The gospel begets love and peace. Racism divides. The gospel brings reconciliation not only between you and God but also between you and your enemies. Racism harms and kills. The gospel heals and gives everlasting life through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Racism resents. The gospel forgives.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31–32).

What we therefore desperately need today in our country is the gospel.

8 Reflections on Racism & Riots by Brian G. Najapfour

 

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Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage

On April 28 of this year the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court will see whether marriage equality is a Constitutional right or not. It will determine whether states have the duty to conduct same-sex marriages and whether the states that ban equal marriage should accept same-sex marriages conducted in other states. Currently, there are 13 states (Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Ohio, and Tennessee) that still prohibit same-sex marriages. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, all these 13 states will be obligated to conduct same-sex marriages.

Now, this issue that we are facing as a nation is not really cultural or political but religious, for it relates directly to what the Bible teaches regarding marriage. As a Christian, I uphold traditional marriage (a marriage between one man and one woman only). Scripture tells us that God ordained the institution of marriage (Gen. 2:18-25). As such, the idea of marriage did not come from man, but from God. And since marriage originated from God, only he has the right to define marriage. Ultimately, it is not the Supreme Court justices that should tell us what marriage is and what marriage is not. Since it is God who has ordained the institution of marriage, he alone has the right to set forth the meaning of marriage. The justices should therefore define marriage in God’s terms, not in their own terms.

God created marriage and he also provided a manual for its use. That manual is his Word. I once bought a small table for my printer. When I bought the table, it was not yet assembled. I had to assemble it with the help of the manual. But, I thought I would not need the manual because it looked easy to put the parts together. After I was done, the table did not turn out to be strong. It was shaky because I did not follow the manual. Similarly, many marriages today (whether homosexual or heterosexual) are shaky because husbands and wives do not follow God’s manual for marriage as revealed in the Scriptures. What does this manual tell us regarding marriage?

  1. Marriage is a union between one man and one woman only. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Marriage is a sacred union between a man (Adam) and a woman (Eve), not between a man and a man, or between a woman and a woman. Marriage is never intended to be between two people of the same sex (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9).
  1. In marriage a husband must love his wife, as Christ loved the church; and a wife must submit to her husband, as the church submits to Christ (Eph. 5:22-25). When a husband does not show love to his wife, the wife will find it hard to respect him. Conversely, when a wife does not show respect to her husband, the husband will find it hard to love her. Thus, a marital problem starts when a husband and a wife stop doing their duties toward each other.
  1. Marriage serves as a picture of the glorious relationship between Christ and the church (Eph. 5:31-32). As a husband and wife are united through marriage, so we are united to Christ through faith. We, Christians, are collectively the bride of Christ and Christ is our bridegroom. In the gospel, Jesus is in us and we are in him (1 John 4:13). Same-sex marriage fails to portray this sacred union between Christ and his bride. The relationship is between the bridegroom (male) and the bride (female), and not between two men, or two women, as same-sex marriage portrays.
  1. Marriage is not only intended for our happiness but for our holiness as well. God gave Eve to Adam not only to satisfy him but also to sanctify him. Sadly, some homosexual couples think that marriage is all about happiness. They say, “Well, what is important is that we love each other and that we are happy together.” My question is this: “How can you be truly happy when you live in sin, for homosexuality is a sin? How can you be actually happy when God is unhappy with the kind of relationship that you have?” It is when we honor God’s ordained order of marriage that we can really experience true happiness in holy matrimony. In his book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas asks, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” Have you ever thought of that question?

In conclusion, I think same-sex marriage is a rejection of God’s ordained manual for Christian marriage. Now, if you are reading this article and you happen to be homosexual, please don’t think that I hate you. In fact, I wrote this article out of love for you. And I want you to know that you and I are both sinners (Rom. 3:23). I even dare to say with the Apostle Paul that I am the worst of all sinners (1 Tim 1:15). But our God, who is rich in mercy, saved me from the power and penalty of my sins. In Christ I become a new person, for God graciously forgave me and cleansed me from all my iniquities. Through faith in Christ, you too can be a changed person. Jesus Christ can set you free from the bonds of the sin of homosexuality. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Note: This post also appears on Christianity21st.com.

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