Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 18, 1970

The Christian And Racial Problems

Leo Rogol

We are living in turbulent times. Social chaos and upheavals are all around us daily and with much alarm we wonder about the future of our society. We often describe it as a "sick society" because of the lack of respect for law and order. Racial disturbances are erupting daily, taking their disastrous toll and leaving a wreckage of a weakened and divided people.

And so we seek a scapegoat upon whom we all seek to place the blame. Once we can pin-point the source of trouble we think we can remedy the situation. There is the Adam Clayton Powell, the Martin Luther King, H. Rap Brown, the Black Panthers, etc. These leaders in racial demonstrations are blamed for the unhealthy social climate in which we live. I seriously believe that much of this disturbance may well be the product of our own making (the white society), the results of our shortsightedness, our lack of moral perceptiveness in this generation as well as that of generations past. We are simply alarmed over the symptoms, or results, without giving due consideration to the cause or origin of these problems.

Jesus said, "Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!" (Matt. 18:7). I believe we can apply this principle to this matter under consideration. We may view all the racial disturbances as an "offense," but we need to know that the ones who are the cause of it come under condemnation also. Think of the poor, unfortunate, Negro who was forced into slavery. Think of the "Emancipation Proclamation" that was to set him free, but in reality made his plight as miserable, if not more so, than when he was enslaved. Think of the shame, abuse, humiliation and hardships the Negro suffered from the hands of a white society for generations after the Civil War. And he still suffers. He was denied his rights and privileges as a free citizen of our society. Isn't it rather easy for us, who are more fortunate, who haven't tasted of the Negro's misery, who live in the affluent mainstream of our society, to criticize the Negro for his rebellion against the injuries inflicted upon him?

Now, I do not wish to become involved in civil rights issues or in any political issues arising as a result of such problems. I am writing this to appeal to the sense of respect among Christians to the foundation principle of obedience to God's laws, and that is, Love. As Paul said, "If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:9-10). God did not limit this exercise of love to any one nation, race, or color, for God's love reached out and broke the barriers of color or race when Jesus "redeemed us to God by (his) blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nations" (Rev. 5:9).

I have heard sermons and read articles in which preachers criticized the Negroes' involvement in racial strife and disorder. Now these occurrences are the ways of the world and we do not follow after them. And neither do I wish to leave the impression that I am in favor of such. But on the other hand, let those brethren who speak out against this social injustice be reminded that such expressions of outrage are the effects of the injustice inflicted upon the black race. Let it be known that the Negro himself is the victim of and suffered because of a violation of civil laws by the white society. Laws of our nation, of our free society, should guarantee the peace and tranquility of all people without respect of nationality, class, or color. Then those who have violated the rights of any class protected by law, are as guilty as those Negroes they accuse of such behavior in their retaliation against this abuse.

Why do I say this? To champion the cause of the civil rights in this racial issues? Not exactly so. I do not deny that some, or perhaps even many, Negroes are abusive toward the very progress they seek to make. But this does not justify a Christian abusing the rights and privileges belonging to the Negroes. I am saying this to point out to these brethren who teach against racial disturbances that they also put the brethren "in remembrance" of their proper attitude and conduct toward the Negro as fellowman. While I often hear and read of matters pertaining to the guilt of the Negro in these perplexing matters, I seldom read or hear of any admonition to the white brethren with regard to their attitude and conduct toward the black race. And I fear that much of the spirit of racial intolerance in the world continues among some brethren in the church!

The religion of Christ does more to exalt the dignity and lofty state of the human soul without distinction of color than any other religion or anything else. Consequently, any act on the part of Christians to degrade the value placed upon the human soul by God is contrary to His Word. Communism defines man as a "mechanical contraption," without any distinguishing characteristic that sets him apart from the animal kingdom. In fact, to the communist's way of thinking, man's fore-father at one time was an ape, and going back even further, he finds his origin in inorganic matter. Idolatrous religions of paganism defile and degrade the moral and spiritual worth of man and, in many instances, makes his behavior more degraded than the brute beast of the field. But one whose religious foundation is Christ, whose authority is the word of God, readily recognizes the worth, value, and dignity of the human soul, for the Founder of that religion deemed it so valuable that He gave His own life to redeem it from eternal destruction. Why? Because it was made in the image of God! And, as Paul wrote, God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17: 26). Our physical ancestry goes all the way back to Adam — all mankind. But the spiritual entity of man is of a higher origin; it was made in the image of man's Creator. Hence, racial prejudice and intolerance has no place in the mind and disposition of the Christian, for such desecrates the most glorious handiwork of God's creation, the one thing that alone was made in the image of the Divine Creator. I well realize that sin has put a stain on the life and soul of man, yet this blight knows no barrier of race, nationality, or color. It afflicts the white, yellow, and black — all mankind — alike. Hence, to the Christian there is no superior race set above all others. "All the world may become guilty before God" (Rom. 3:19). Therefore, "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men" (Tit. 2:11). For this reason the Christian cannot harbor ill will, prejudice, or intolerance toward any group or race of people — and that includes the Negro race.

Paul wrote against "foolish talking" and "jesting, which are not convenient" (Eph. 5:4). The word, "foolish," means: "insipid, senseless, which is not fitted to instruct, edify, or profit; idle chit-chat." Jesting is language that is "light, or trifling, and malignant." I believe that many times Christian, sometimes even gospel preachers, are guilty of this sin. How often do we hear Christians refer to the Negro as "nigger?" It is spoken in ridicule and oft times in scorn and derision of the black man. It is entirely wrong to use such language that degrades and makes the Negro the object of contempt or disrespect.

I do not propose to have the answer to the social or racial problem of our day. Neither do I intend to become involved in the political issues facing our nation. But I do believe I have the Word of God to instruct and direct my words, conduct, and action with regard to my duty for, and relationship with, the fellow man of another color. I do know that a "racial problem" is not that of the colored man alone. It involves a "problem" of attitude and spirit on the part of the white man toward the Negro. I believe, that as a Christian, I can express no hatred, intolerance, or contempt and ridicule toward any race. And I must respect, therefore, the dignity of man regardless of the color of his skin.

That also means I cannot consider a Negro brother in Christ as a "third" or "fourth rate citizen" in the kingdom of Christ. A Negro brother is not simply to be "tolerated" out of a self-righteous and haughty spirit of benevolent endurance, but he must be considered with equal respect, without distinction or partiality. He is subjected to, is a servant of the same "king of kings and lord of lords" as also am I. All things being equal in our relationship to Christ, then by what right can I assume a spirit of superiority over him by reason of the color of my skin?

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