The events in Ferguson, Missouri have propelled several issues afflicting the black community to the forefront. In most inner cities, it is common to find a church on every corner, which leads me to wonder what the pastors in these communities are teaching the people. Rev. Fred D. Robinson wrote a scathing article entitled What God is screaming in Ferguson, Missouri. He made no bones about preaching Social Justice over the biblical teaching of repentance of individual sins and salvation. He feels that churches should address social justice and structural racism. He blasted a fellow white Christian and preacher for wanting prayer and calm in the wake of the riots and unrest in Ferguson instead of lamenting what he called the modern-day lynching by law enforcement of innocent black bodies.
When did churches begin to replace the Christian message of forgiveness, repentance and holy living with Social Justice? How can any pastor preach about society’s ills while ignoring such individual sins as fornication, abortion, murder, laziness and theft (just to name a few)? Is society not made up of individuals? How can society be fixed without first changing the individual? The main topic of Rev. Robinson’s article focused on his objection to a white pastor’s call for more racially diverse congregations as a solution to what the author calls a racial cauldron in Ferguson:
I get tired of that one. His unrelenting insistence reminded me — in the most stark terms — of James Baldwin’s prophetic quip: “Racial progress in America is measured by how fast I become white.”
Simply having diverse congregations without addressing the weightier matters of social justice and structural racism is not better church practice. It is possibly subterfuge.
It ignores the fact that we have to do more than call sinners to repentance, we have to call societies, systems and structures to repentance as well.
The author compared the push for more multiracial churches to a quote from Dr. John Kinney, a professor of theology at Virginia Union:
“When white supremacy adopts diversity, it seeks to either cleanse you, contain you, co-opt you or convert you.”
Nowhere in the article did Rev. Robinson, a so-called pastor, quote any scriptures from the bible. The bible teaches that Christians are one race:
2 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, God’s own [d]purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Pastors are supposed to preach love and forgiveness, not hate and grievances. There is no place for racism and divisiveness in the church (from anyone). The church is where men and women go to learn of God’s love for them and receive His forgiveness. The bible does not say that preachers are to call societies, systems and structures to repentance. It does teach that pastors are to call men and women to repentance. Whereas the Christian message teaches that individuals are sinful, Social Justice places blame and responsibility on society.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
1 John 1:9
“If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].”
Anyone that claims to be a pastor and refuses to preach individual sin and salvation has abandoned God’s calling. Assuming that God called him or her to begin with. Preaching victimhood is also against biblical teachings. Christians are not victims. Pastors should preach uplifting sermons taken straight out of the bible. An individual may walk into church a victim; however he or she should walk out a victor.
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [g]infuses inner strength into me; I am [h]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]
“If God is for us, who can be against us” includes the supposedly structural racism that Rev. Robinson is so concerned about. Years ago I had an older black Christian female friend who would constantly speak about her faith in God, however; she would also lament about how racist whites were oppressing and holding back black Americans. One day I asked her if white people were more powerful than God. She was speechless. Rev. Robinson would have one to believe that God is screaming because of racism and inequality. However, the bible tells us that man’s sin is what grieves God. Our sin grieved God so much that He sent His son Jesus to die and pay the price for it.
If black pastors are preaching Social Justice in place of the Christian message taken straight from the bible, there is no wonder the black community is in so much disarray. If the black church fails to teach against the sin of fornication, there is no wonder 70% of black babies are born to single mothers. If black churches are teaching black Americans that there is structural and institutional racism instead of telling them that God is on his or her side, there is no wonder that there is so much anger and destruction. The continual destruction of the black family is a sign that black pastors need to put down the sociology books and pick up the bible.
Written by Patricia L. Dickson.