The Bible and Race
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs | © 2020
Racism continues to highlight America’s news headlines. From protests to riots and even the toppling of historic statues, the impact of discrimination influences our society in a myriad of recent events. What does the Bible teach regarding a Christian response to racism?
First, the Bible clearly teaches all people are created in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 notes, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” This is true regardless of gender, skin tone, or any other factor.
Second, God’s Word calls us to treat every person with dignity and respect. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12), and even love our enemies (Luke 6:27).
Third, believers are not to discriminate. James clearly notes this within the church. James 2:1 teaches, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” Verse 9 specifically calls discrimination sin: “But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”
Fourth, Scripture calls God’s people to speak out for those who are oppressed: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Proverbs 31:8). God’s view of discrimination is made clear in His response to the Egyptians who enslaved the Jewish people: “Let my people go” (Exodus 5:1).
How do these concepts apply to how we address racism in our culture today? We may not be able to change the direction of the nation, but we can influence change where we are. A few words of encouragement in this area include:
Specifically build a relationship with someone different from you: This can include anyone from a different culture or background that we desire to impact through a loving relationship based on our faith in Jesus Christ. If you and every other Christian in our nation would help impact one life, imagine the difference it would make.
Pray for unity and peace among believers: This is not a false peace based on letting everyone do what they wish, but a true unity based on all believers as brothers and sisters in Christ. When believers practice treating one another as family, it serves as a compelling witness to the outside world.
Speak biblical truth concerning racism: Many people have confused the Black Lives Movement with valuing black lives. However, there is a big difference. The Bible is clear every life matters, including every black life. Yet the Black Lives Movement organization also holds other views that are contrary to the convictions of Christians, including embracing the LGBTQ political agenda, anti-Semitic remarks, and radical views regarding changes in government. Believers need to know these distinctions and continue to affirm people of all ethnic backgrounds without being deceived into accepting other views contrary to their faith.
The gospel offers the antidote to the sin problem of racism. We are called to know the truth, practice it, and share it with every person we can.
More Articles You Will Love
Dr. Dillon Burroughs
Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.