When I wrote the chapter "A Ringing Endorsement by The Church?" (excerpt below) I felt led to say "that I believed that the Lord would raise up new national Christian leaders if the current leaders were unable to keep the body of Christ from failing the same tests on unity and race that previous generations have failed. I said that I believe that this failure would result in the mantle of our nation’s Christian leadership passing onto others."
At the time I felt that maybe the statement was a little strong. Today I read Dr. King's letter from a Birmingham jail in its entirety. I have quoted it only to show that he said something very similar decades ago:
"But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century."
Dr. King wrote this famous, prophetic letter "in response to a group of white clergymen, eight moderate, principled men, who had condemned as 'unwise and untimely' his demonstrations against segregation in their city." In one segment he said "that he had become 'gravely disappointed with the white moderate.' Too often, he said, they were 'more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice'; and preferred 'a negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice.'”
He also said “Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
A Ringing Endorsement by the Church? excerpt:
It is easy for me as an African American to see the divide. Judicial appointments, abortion, and family values have been prioritized over racism by Christian Trump supporters.
Historically, in the name of preservation of the Union, the Church turned its back on slavery. Similarly, civil rights for African Americans were delayed because they were not a priority for the national leaders in the Church at that time.
God had to raise up a new Church leader, in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., outside the established Christian leadership, to move forward His vision, His “dream” of racial unity in America.
The president has turned back the clock of the racial climate of the United States. In the name of supporting other issues, Christian Trump supporters knowingly or unknowingly turn a blind eye to racism and the widening racial divide caused by the president. It is the blind spot that has existed in the Church since the time of the Founding Fathers.
Timothy Dalrymple nails it when he says the words and actions of the president “harm” African and Hispanic Americans.”
“Political parties come and go, but the witness of the church is the hope of the world, and the integrity of that witness is paramount. Out of love for Jesus and his church, not for political partisanship or intellectual elitism, this is why we feel compelled to say that the alliance of American evangelicalism with this presidency has wrought enormous damage to Christian witness. It has alienated many of our children and grandchildren. It has harmed African American, Hispanic American, and Asian American brothers and sisters.” (Dalrymple, 2019)
I previously quoted 1 Cor 12:17-26 that says, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” It hurt me when the president referred to a black athlete as a son of a bitch for protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. (NBC Sports Bay Area Staff, 2017)
When I think of the person kneeling, I don’t just see the flag that I spent 28 years serving and respecting. I also see horrifying camera footage of unarmed black men, following the instructions of police, shot, and even fatally shot.
Simultaneously, I see a person using incendiary words to stir up racial division, and even worse, I see that the person is not standing behind a badge, but the crest of the Office of the President of the United States. This is part of the divide that Christians who support Trump are blinded or calloused to.
In the United States, if you stand by and watch a criminal act occur, you are an accomplice. The Bible says in Ezekiel 3:18 When I say to a wicked person, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.”
How can we quote Scripture and verse for traditional family values, abortion, and even support of Israel and ignore Scriptures on division and hatred? On the same Proverbs 6 list that says God hates “hands that shed innocent blood” (abortion), doesn’t it also say that He hates those “that soweth discord among the brethren?” Should I also mention that it lists those who speak lies twice?
Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
In the preface of this book, I said that I believed that the Lord would raise up new national Christian leaders if the current leaders were unable to keep the body of Christ from failing the same tests on unity and race that previous generations have failed. I said that I believe that this failure would result in the mantle of our nation’s Christian leadership passing onto others. I believe we are on the very threshold of this now.
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