A Letter on Racism

A Letter on Racism

Dear Alsbury Family,

I have accepted the responsibility to draft our official position regarding the sin of racism. This should be an easy task, but the pervasive strife and tension throughout our country tell me the challenge is anything but easy. 

The last time I spoke specifically about the sin of racism, multiple families left our worship service. I realize this effort to unite our church in a genuine and public stand against racism risks offending some of the very people I love. I must, however, press forward regardless of the risk.

Unity throughout the Body of Christ is important to us because unity is important to Jesus. Too often we accept disunity over difficult subjects like racism because working towards unity involves significant discomfort. We must, however, press through our discomfort and tenaciously pursue the unity Jesus desires.

The Bible in general and the words of Jesus specifically condemn the thought that any group of people is “less than others” based upon race or ethnicity. We should quickly reject the thought that any group of people is superior or inferior to another based upon race, gender, education, intelligence, financial status, political affiliation, or any other area used to divide people. Sadly, many who profess Christ as Savior do exactly that: we see other people as less than ourselves based upon nothing more than race or ethnicity. 

Our personal perceptions are developed through our unique life experiences. Our presumptions regarding individuals of another race or ethnicity often form this way. As a result, they make sense to us and we defend them as legitimate. However, as followers of Christ, we must abandon any perception that is contrary to the teaching of Scripture.

A genuine relationship with Jesus transforms every aspect of our lives. This transformation is both instantaneous and ongoing. Following Jesus changes how we see ourselves and others, including our understanding of race and ethnicity. Galatians 3:26-28 declares this beautifully: 

“In Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (emphasis added).”

Galatians 3:26-28

We, the people who make up Alsbury Baptist Church, must stand as one against the sin revealed in prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and actions. To look at another human being – a person who is the image-bearer of God – and assume that he or she is something less than me is shameful. To treat another human being – a person equally loved by God – in a way that I would not want to be treated is indefensible. 

BIGGER THAN ALSBURY

This work of drafting an official position regarding the sin of racism does not end with Alsbury. I have challenged fellow Burleson pastors to stand with us. Martin Luther King, Jr., famously said, ‘The most segregated hour in American is 11:00 on Sunday morning.”  Jemar Tisby, in his book, “The Color of Compromise,” wrote, “Without racism in the white church there would be no black church.” Statements such as these should inspire Christ-followers in every church to work together for a deep and lasting change.

The citizens of our community deserve to see churches of all denominations, made up of multiple races and ethnicities, united in the declaration that racism is sinful and has no place within the Body of Christ. This declaration must be made without reservation or apology.

On July 8th I will ask the pastors of the Burleson Christian Ministerial Alliance to affirm and embrace the statement I am drafting for our fellowship. When pastors of our community agree on a final statement I will present it to you, my church family, for your affirmation and approval. 

FINAL THOUGHT

The Christian Church must take the lead in challenging our communities, our state, and our nation to once-and-for-all repent of the sin of racism. I am determined to stand with others and take that lead. I hope you will stand with me.

Standing With You,
Scott Sharman