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An Evangelical Leader Addresses Race History

June 10, 2013

Philip Yancey put up this article on past race relations: Jackie’s Giant Bat:
where he gives some of his experience (as he does in many of his books), and I wrote out a response in the comments:

This is a great confession, and something that’s been needed for a long time. For generations the problem was ignored (while secretly opposing racial progress), and now, many diehard conservatives insist all of that doesn’t matter, and that the “anti-God” liberals are wrongly playing a “race card” on them, so that blacks can get “freebies”, and politicians get their votes for giving the stuff to them. All of this rhetoric you can hear loudly, today.

Considering that many of these people from the past are still alive, and it becomes clear that all the rabid hatred against Obama is more then mere “disagreement” as they insist (Christians used to say that one must respect and pray for our leaders; now it’s “he’s not my president”!), and that the “contemporary music debate” among old-liners in the Church (including BJU and others) is more than a concern for “holiness”.
Also, that the rejection of psychology by these same people is more than a concern for “Biblical means of counseling”; for it explains a lot of their behavior; particularly the fierce denial, and fingerpointing at others as trying to dominate and destroy them (projection).

Listening to all the anti-Obama rhetoric, cloaked under patriotism made me realize that the main problem is that people are trying so hard to defend the “honor” of the nation, and to do that, they can’t admit any of this stuff. They have to prove it was justified, and then then, not really that bad (“it improved their lives over tribal existence; you should be thankful” I was told on a Christian board once). Yet here [is a Christian leader] coming from that background on the dominant side, confirming it was bad and worse.

So they have to not only justify or sweep under the rug these things, but also for a second barrel, continue to prove that blacks are the cause of all our financial, moral and cultural problems, and the ultimate judgment is that they just want to leech off of everyone instead of just improving their families and work ethic “like everyone else did”.
So they compound the old racism with new racist sentiment.

The primary fundamental of the faith; what it’s all founded upon, is that the way to deal with sin and guilt is to confess and forsake it (Prov. 28:13) [meant to tie this in with Christ being the one who bore our sin, hence, we’re not suppose to be denying our own, as if it wasn’t borne by Him, and then having to project it onto others], but the people who preach this the most; defend it against all “compromise” and unbelief, etc. just won’t do it themselves for that issue.
They don’t seem to have a clue, that this is what is required of them (not the stuff they assume others are trying to get from them). They’d rather focus on other people’s sins, such as sex-related stuff or liberal policies.

So we really need more from within our ranks to call this stuff out.

In a Church where very few had really addressed this issue (most just shied away from it, until it fell more into the background, and now seem to feel it has become irrelevant with the passing of time), Yancey has really called the Church out on this more than anyone else (and offered his own statement: “Today I feel shame, remorse, and also repentance”).

Another notable person is Michael Horton, who does so in a less extensive (but also less soft-spoken) fashion than Yancey, in books such as Beyond Culture Wars, and particularly in light of the conservative Church’s traditionally moralistic stance against the rest of society, especially in such politicized issues as abortion.
Like he had pointed out that the whole conservative evangelical agenda is not about the evangel, but rather all “about a culture. It’s about preserving traditional values of, for and by, a certain segment of society” (p35), and that “in the 1950’s, during the civil rights movement, most evangelical leaders remained silent” and “We have never repented of that silence as a body”, and that all of this is what in the 60’s and 70’s led “the children of Christian parents to rebel along with everyone else” (p.198-9. Then of course, in the 80’s, they felt marginalized and rose up to try to “take back society”, but by then it was too late. The salt and light was totally absent).

“We have turned the one true God of history and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ into a tribal deity of the American experience— we who are supposed to be the guardians of absolute truth” (p117).
He also points out “Nationalism is a form of collective narcissism, as the psychologist Karl Menninger seems to indicate: ‘The sin of pride appears most conspicuously in group pride—tribalism, nationalism, jingoism, racism’. While this tendency toward self-infatuation has been apart of human nature ever since the Fall, we see it expressed very blatantly in our own day” (p.134).

Other good statements: “How can we avoid creating the impression that our opposition to [issues involving homosexuals] is really based on moral absolutes and not on bigotry when we are proven bigots where the issue has nothing to do with an immoral lifestyle?” (p. 34, emphasis added). “But the problem in our day is that we are not this counterculture the New Testament describes. We are extensions of the cultural, social, economic and racial divisions already present in the city of man.” (p. 167)

Around the same time, on a Facebook post, a lot of good points:

And as much as people today object a “race card” being played on them, why was there apparently such an online uproar over an interracial family in a commercial?

I remember over 20 years ago, my soon to be wife explaining to me why the hero and heroine of “The Bodyguard” could not be shown as an intimate couple in the movie. I had thought society had become liberated enough to completely accept interracial relationships, but apparently not in movies. I could not for the life of me figure out the rationale for that. Come to find, 21 years later, in the age of internet feedback, it is still so offensive to people!


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