In 2014 the police shooting of Michael Brown led to the activist slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Anyone with a television or internet connection heard these words over and over again for many weeks. But when it was all said and done and the investigations were over, it turned out to be completely false. Eyewitnesses who claimed Mr. Brown had his hands up and said, “don’t shoot” later recanted their testimony. Further autopsy results proved that the position of Michael Brown’s body when he was shot, determined by the entry wounds from the bullets, was the position of a linebacker, head down, full force ahead, trying to sack a quarterback. Only in Mr. Brown’s case all the evidence points to his desire being much worse. It was a justified police shooting.
The Michael Brown case, though a justified police shooting, resulted in the founding of the Black Lives Matter organization and movement. The organization was started by three women, two of which are self-confessed “Marxists” by training. Since its founding numerous slogans have been shouted in the streets of America in which BLM protests, and at times riots, have taken place. One slogan that has stuck is “No justice, no peace.” It would seem that the intent behind it is to say: Until we get justice there will be no peace.
Fast forward to our present year 2020, and things are even worse. What has spurred on more BLM protests and riots, looting, burning and deaths, were the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. And again, the saying “No justice, no peace” is being shouted in the streets of some cities in our nation.
The World & The Church
Looking at these events and the results we see on the news every day one could easily arrive at the conclusion that how the world responds to such things and how the church responds to such things are, in some ways, one and the same. Unfortunately, such a conclusion wouldn’t be off by all that much. Many evangelical Christian leaders, both black and white, are actually attending BLM protests. Some churches and seminaries are actually releasing public statements condemning what they believe is “systemic white racism” in America. Some seminary professors are being fired simply because they will not agree that racism is systemic in America, nor will they embrace the new hybrid Gospel that endorses some form of cultural Marxism as either an implication of the Gospel that one must affirm in order to avoid being labeled “suspect” or “racist”, or a shadowy component of the Gospel that some BLM supporters actually believe is a real component, and thus it gives them the high moral ground of questioning the Christianity of anyone who would dare disagree.
So that no one reading this dismisses it out of hand, let me affirm that I believe the death of George Floyd was not justified. I know of no one, Christian or otherwise, who condoned what the police officer did to George Floyd. But that begs the question of: Why all these protests and riots then? If in America there is still a dominant majority culture of white supremacy would it make sense for everyone to agree that the death of George Floyd was an injustice and the officer ought to be punished for his crime? It seems to me that America is not the same country as it was in 1991-92 wherein LA police brutally beat Rodney King, and were acquitted, which led to riots in the streets. These are two totally different stories with two totally different outcomes (at least thus far). And yet we have rioting in many cities. Why?
Worldview is Everything
As a pastor I repeatedly tell my people, “There is no such thing as vacuum living in this world.” What I mean by that is: Since God’s kingdom and Satan’s kingdom are in a war that will never end until one is destroyed, our daily lives are a myriad of decisions that align us with one kingdom or the other. To refuse to obey King Jesus is to obey the devil; and vice versa. Yes, Christians can know God and yet do things that serve the devil. In Matthew 16 Peter experiences both: He confesses his faith in Jesus as the Christ, something revealed to him by the Heavenly Father (v. 17), and moments later he allows Satan to use his lips to try to prevent Jesus from going to the cross (v. 22-23).
This has everything to do with current events in America. You see, worldview is everything and we all have one. A worldview is simply put: A view of the world. Or if you will – a grid through which we filter what we see, hear, learn and experience. None can avoid this. To have a worldview is part of being human. How do I know? Easy, God created Adam & Eve and gave them one. What was it? It was this: The world is yours to reign with Me. But you must always remember that I am God. And in order to remind you of that I will let you eat freely of any tree in the Garden of Eden, but there is one tree you are not to eat of because I am God and you need to trust that I not only know what is best for you but I have every right, as God, to tell you what is right vs. wrong, or true vs. false. When Adam and Eve disobeyed, they rejected the worldview God gave them for another, namely that of the serpent. And everyone since then, including you and I, embrace one worldview or the other: That of God or the serpent (devil).
Can It Get More Confusing?
Add 1000’s of years of human history since Adam & Eve, God’s progressive revelation in history culminating in Jesus Christ, as well as great advances in many disciplines that have benefited the world and yet others not so much, and it is easy to see that defining a worldview is no longer as simple as it was in the beginning (in one respect), and yet it is much easier (in another).
The contrasting worldviews of God and the serpent were simpler because there were only two sources, only two people, and very little human knowledge so far as God’s revelation is concerned. 1000’s of years later there are billions of people on the planet, thousands of religions in the world, and truth can easily seem like a needle in a haystack for those who take the posture of understanding seeking faith.
Get on With It
I know some of you may be thinking: Get on with it! What is your point? I will. Here it is: Everyone, no matter where they fall on this issue, is looking at our current events through a grid, through a worldview. But how many of us, who claim to be Christians are stopping to ask: How much of my worldview is actually Christian?
No Justice, No Peace
I don’t want this to turn into a thesis paper so I will stick to just one issue in the entire current debate; the one I started with. That being the popular slogan, “No Justice, No peace.” Does that fit with a Christian worldview? Depending on whom you ask you will get a different answer. And that may be enough for some to check out and ignore the question. But if the Bible adequately answers the question then to check out and pretend that answer doesn’t exist, is to live as if God has no right to inform how we look at current events; and that is sin.
Where in the Bible does God promise perfect justice in this world? In fact, I will go further: Who in the Bible received perfect justice (in the sense of having all the wrongs they received made right)? In fact, I will go even further: Did Jesus Christ receive perfect justice in the incarnation?
Here are the answers from the Bible:
- God nowhere promises perfect justice in this world. He promises it in the world to come.
- No one in the Bible received perfect justice for their wrongs suffered.
- Jesus not only didn’t receive perfect justice but rather He suffered the most unjust event in history!
So, where does this slogan come from? What kind of worldview? That of God or the serpent? And if we are Christians which one ought we align ourselves with?
I Know What You’re Thinking
Someone reading this is probably at this point getting angry while thinking: Are you saying that Christians shouldn’t care about justice in this world? No. That is not what I am saying. God Himself answers that question for us in Micah 6:8
“He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Christians care about justice. Christians seek justice. Christians engage in just and righteous deeds. BUT Christians also live in the tension of knowing there will be no perfect justice until God makes everything right in final judgment.
To Do or Not Do
It is troubling to see Christians divide over current events. If any organism has the answer to racial reconciliation and injustice on the earth it is the church. The fact that most of us do not live it out proves one thing: We are not all united in what consists of a Christian worldview. The fault for that lies not with God but with us.
As a Christian I condemn the killing of George Floyd, and I can weep with those who weep over his death and over other racial injustices experienced at the hands of some police or others. As a Christian I can listen and seek to have empathy for others who may have experienced things that I have not. As a Christian I can unite hands with others in a just cause that honors God and His Word. But as a Christian I cannot hold hands and protest in the streets with someone whose worldview denies God, sets man up as his own god, and pretends that perfect justice can be had now if we just enact the right policies and laws.
But more importantly than all that, as a Christian I cannot get so caught up in current racial events that I elevate my ethnicity, no matter what it is, above my identity in Christ no matter what. If I do, then I prove that my allegiance lies more with a temporal category than with King Jesus.
The New Religion
In every generation the devil attacks God’s truth. He has many tricks up his sleeve. He is sly and cunning. And he need not deny vast sums of truth in order to deceive Christians. He can do just that (deceive) simply but taking a bunch of Bible truth and adding a few errors to it. He has done so in the past and he is doing it again.
There are many terms that are a part of a new religion in the world that many of these protestors and rioters on the streets affirm even if they are not really familiar with the terms: Marxism, Oppressed vs oppressor, Patriarchal, Feminism, Intersectionality, Critical Race Theory, etc.
These terms and the worldview that argues for them has nothing to do with God’s view of justice but has everything to do with man-made justice, and it does not require faith & trust in a sovereign God but rather activism & anger directed at other Image Bearers. And this worldview does not embrace the Christian ideal that we can disagree on which real world forms of injustice to care about the most, but rather it seeks to silence anyone who disagrees and force an ideal upon everyone in the name of justice. And lastly this worldview cares not about the individual merits or demerits that determine the guilt or innocence of anyone, but rather it lumps everyone into a group or groups which render us automatically guilty or innocent with no regard for personal sin, the need for repentance, and the need we all have of forgiveness from God and each other.
And yet this is the worldview that many Christian leaders are affirming by showing up at protests that have been organized by BLM in order to demand “If we don’t get justice now there will be no peace.”
God or the Serpent
In the past three weeks I have called and talked to certain black pastors and I talked to several on social media because I thought the time was right to engage with other Christians on issues of racial reconciliation based upon Ephesians ch. 2. I was wrong. What I found was numerous people who:
- Elevated their experiences to only belittle mine or make mine inferior in one way or another.
- Preferred feelings and anecdotal stories to the Bible, facts, statistics, evidence and logic.
- Attempted to force me into a conclusion that was not based upon facts.
- When I would not comply, they chose to slander my character rather than agree to disagree, and ruin a relationship that ought to have been based upon the blood of Jesus, as they chose their ethnicity over the Body of Christ.
Does that honor God or the serpent?
Yet I remain hopeful because Jesus said He will build His church and the gates of hades will not prevail against it. But what we need now more than ever are bold and loving Christians who realize what is at stake and stand for God’s Gospel no matter what the cost.
This new religion will not be content until it takes away our freedom of religion. And Christians who remain silent all in the name of love (love that doesn’t even pass the test of the life of Jesus) may go down in history as the silent ones who preferred to be silent co-conspirators because their fear of man rendered their fear of God into nothingness.
Gut Check Time
I believe this is an important historical time in all of our lives. What Christians do now may be talked about in decades to come, and whether such talk is in positive or negative terms is all up to us. Christians ought to listen, and love; to that I fully agree. But some would have us believe that is all any Christian can and must do if they are to be in the right. The Bible says differently. The only Person in the universe who has the most right to speak into any issue from His own perspective is God. And if we represent Him may He enable us to speak into our current events from His Word, not a hybrid form of truth that takes bits and pieces of a God centered worldview and lets the serpent spit venom into the rest.