Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. It is a time set to pay tribute to a man who was a revolutionary.
I recently had the privilege of speaking for the MLK Chapel at Mt. Zion Christian Academy. It was not a task I took lightly, because I wanted to honor Dr. King and bring glory to God.
As I pondered Dr. King's legacy and studied the story of his life, I began to realize the significance of his work and appreciate the sacrifices he made. He became a man with a burden for humanity and a passion for change.
A revolutionary must be certain that his cause is worthy, and, for the Christian, consistent with God's Word. Dr. King rightly assessed his situation and stood as the man of the hour for civil rights. However, did he have a Biblical basis for the revolution?
The Bible is clear. Racism is contrary to the will of God, the teachings of Christ, and the mission of the church. Unfortunately, followers of Jesus have not always "practiced what they preached." Therefore, the heritage of racism is a stain on the Gospel that has brought generations of shame upon the cause of Christ and into the lives of countless people.
Many people have the opinion that racism is wrong, but do not have the knowledge to refute it from a solid Biblical position. We can lay out a Biblical argument against racism by considering five key themes which make it unmistakably clear that such behavior is sin.
The first argument against racism is found in creation. The Scripture teaches us in Acts 17:24-25, 27 that: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else ... God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."
Even from creation, we see that God does not discriminate on the basis of race. In fact, we see from the text that God created all men and did this so they would seek a personal relationship with Him.
It is interesting to observe that God created all humanity from one man (Adam) and redeemed all of humanity through one man, Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:26-29 teaches this truth when it states, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus ...There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
God's adoration for all humanity is seen in the declaration of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations ...'"
The Scripture instructs us to have Christ-like affection for one another. This instruction is for all "the one anothers," not just those who are like us. 1 John 4:17-21 states, "In this way, love is made complete ... If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."
And finally, we see God's love for all humanity in the resurrection. Revelation 5:9-10 speaks to us these words: "And they sang a new song: 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.'"
The Scripture states there is One God and he chose to create a diverse population to worship him. His plan is for us to become one body where there is only humanity living in relationship and harmony with one another. It is the task of all men to love the Lord their God completely and to love their neighbor as they love themselves.
Let's embrace the vision of Dr. King and work to create a community where people are not "judged by the color of their skin, but rather by the content of their character."
Rev. Chris Reynolds is pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Christian Academy in Jonesboro.