CBCGB Response to Racial Injustice
Dear brothers and sisters,
In the past two weeks, we have seen our country rocked by racism, rioting, and unrest. We grieve with the families and loved ones of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and all who have experienced the same kinds of injustices simply because of the color of their skin. Sadly, racism has been an issue in our nation from the beginning, and where much progress has been made, these tragic events and others show that there is still a long way to go.
As a multicultural, multi-lingual, multi-generational, and multi-congregational church, we recognize that many of us have different experiences with respect to racism. Some of us have been hurt as well and, admittedly, this has perhaps made it even harder to hear the hurt of others. By speaking on the injustices towards the black community, we do not intend to minimize the hurt and unfairness that people in our church have also faced. However, both individually and corporately, we carry a particular responsibility to seriously reflect with open hearts on how we may have participated in the continuation of racism, whether actively or passively, and how we can stand against the sin of racism and be a light and example of Christ to this nation.
We hope that with this response, the church might be the prophetic voice that points to biblical truth and exhorts our members to love our neighbors, not only the ones like us, but also those who are different from us, and to live in such a way that exemplifies the salvation-bearing, sin-defeating, and justice-concerning gospel of Jesus Christ.
From the very first pages of the Bible, we see that human beings were made “in the image of God” (Gen 1:27). This means that people of all colors of skin were beautifully created to be God’s representatives on earth, carrying out his plan and living according to the righteousness and justice that God himself embodies, which he sets forth in his Word. It also means that all people are equal in worth, which requires that they all be treated impartially with inherent dignity and intrinsic value. Therefore, racism is a rejection of the beauty of God’s design of diversity within humanity, and the sin of disregarding the worth of all people.
God is frequently introduced in Scripture as the defender of vulnerable groups who are often the victims of injustice (Dt 10:17-18; Ps 146:7-9). As disciples of Christ, we are commanded likewise to do justice and defend the cause of these same people, who are also made in the image of God (Jer 22:3; Mic 6:8). In a generation of discrimination and disputes, we are called to live differently, exhibiting God’s justice and love and imitating Christ in our treatment of others (1 Pet 1:15-16). Even as we seek to do justice immediately, we also entrust final and ultimate judgment to God (1 Pet 2:23).
Let us not only be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word, showing no partiality, caring about the needs of others, weeping with those who weep, and being used by the Lord to wipe away the tears of others (Jas 1:22; Jas 2:1-13; Phil 2:3-4; Rom 12:15). While we may never fully understand the suffering of another person, we do not want to sit idly by with our heads down, but instead want to be active in listening and meek and humble in speaking so that we can be better equipped to advocate for change that furthers the kingdom of God here on earth (Matt 6:9-13). May the Holy Spirit search our hearts and thoughts and reveal our hidden sins, biases, and prejudices (Ps 19:12-13; 139:23). Let us be instruments of God for reconciliation of all people within the church, the community, and the world, as we ourselves have been reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:18-21; Gal 3:28; Eph 2:11-22).
We recognize that these principles are neither exhaustive nor comprehensive, but are helpful in directing us towards practical ways we can respond. Given the diversity of our church, our differences often require a nuanced approach that reflects the particularities of the different people within our church. We are committed to thinking through these issues more thoroughly within our respective congregations, fellowships, and small groups, and we encourage you to engage with church leaders and other congregations to dialogue on how we can spur one another on and be more active as a church in these efforts.
Grace and peace,
CBCGB Elders and Pastors
Updated June 7 2020 at 1:39 am EST