Just another day off school?

Over the last year there has been much written about racial reconciliation, ethnicity, #blacklivesmatter, immigration and related issues.  In no way, shape or form, do I claim to be an expert on these matters.  In every way, I do want to live out and help others live lives that have been and are being changed by the Gospel.  This means I need to think about how I can help other believers, no matter their ethnicity, grow and how others can help me grow.  While at the same time realizing that those who are not followers of Jesus Christ ultimately need Jesus.

I want to use this post to share a couple of things related to “race.”
  1. Something we did as a family on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  2. A sermon from Together for the Gospel 2008 entitled “Bearing the Image:  Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church” by Thabiti Anyabwile.
What we did this past Monday.
In raising my children, I want to make the most of God-given teachable moments.  I often miss them but this past Monday, with God and my wife’s help, I was able to use a day off school to teach my kids.

Krista and I wanted our kids to understand why they had the day off.
We watched a couple of videos about Martin Luther King, Jr. and talked to them about how bad racism used to be, how much improvement there has been and how much improvement needs to happen still.
We talked about the fact that God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were his enemy, he sent his Son to die for us and what we ought to love others like God loved us.
Later that night I was reading in the book Counterculture about "The Gospel and Ethnicity."  Here are a couple of excerpts from that chapter that really stuck out to me.
Consider the starting point in the gospel for so many of the the social issues we have addressed:  the creation of man and woman in the image of God with equal dignity before God.  As we've seen, this means that no human being is more or less human than another.  All are made in God's image.  It is a lack of trust in this truth that has led to indescribable horrors in human history. (p. 190) 
God's word reminds us that regardless of the color of our skin, we all have the same roots.  Fundamentally, we are all part of the same race.  That's why we all need the same gospel. (p. 192) 
By the sheer grace of God in the gospel, we are compelled to counter selfish pride and ethnic prejudice both in our hearts and our culture.  (p. 209)
Here are some practical steps each of us can do.
Pray and Ask God to 
  • Open the eyes of all believers (including your own) to selfish pride and and sinful prejudice and to grant repentance.
  • Give the leadership of the United States (and other governments) wisdom in addressing the issues of racism and immigration.
Proclaim the truth of God's Word
  • Acts 17:26  "He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place."
  • Galatians 3:28  "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Taken from pages 210 and 211.

The second thing I want to share is a great message.
The Together for the Gospel conference is one the conferences the pastors of Emmanuel attend every other year.  In 2008 Thabiti Anyabwile preached a message entitled "Bearing the Image:  Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church."  Here is a very brief summary of that message.
The majority of people have identities and lives that have been based on assumption regarding the notion of “race.” We need to change toward a more biblical theology of ethnicity. First of all, it is important to define terms and use them properly, especially “race” versus “ethnicity.” The Christian needs to understand man’s unity in Adam, union with Christ and unity in the church.
HERE is a more detailed summary of Thabiti's message by Tim Challies.
HERE is the hour long message from the conference.