/ Racism / Andrew Kerr

Racism & Redemption

I believe it would be both fool-hardly and irresponsible for an Irish man to pass comment across continents about the US situation, based on partial, fragmentary, second-hand information. Yet there are some -isms that Scripture does address: I hope you might profit practically from these four principial springboards!

Racism is contrary to Redemption

There is no true textual basis for white or black supremacist thought! All sons of Noah share a common gene-pool sequence, as Genesis 9:18-19 demonstrates.

18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed - Genesis 9:18

Those with an eye for detail will notice, in Genesis 9:20-27, that the curse of Ham fell not on all the Hamites but exclusively on Canaan.

20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers." 26 He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. 27 May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant" - Genesis 9:20-27.

Moses is giving a warrant for land repossession. One reason the LORD appeared in Ur to Abram, when sin had reached full measure, and divine patience had run out, was to execute His curse on Canaan by exterminating all those other tribes, as Genesis 15:12-21 suggests:

12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." 17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites" - Genesis 15:12-21

If His righteous justice was seen in Israel's sword, His mercy was magnified in saving a repentant harlot household from the wreckage of Jericho. There is nothing, then, in the historically abused text of Genesis 9-11, that could possibly be used to justify cultural, racial, or spiritual apartheid or to create a movement where only some lives matter - such an error runs counter to both one-racial preservation and single racial redemption.

Nationalism is Contrary to Redemption

Nor is there any basis for an ourselves alone isolationist mentality, even if government might choose, for the wellbeing of its citizens, to pursue protectionism in trade. It is not simply because the hideous scar of aggressive, intolerant, brown-shirted, darwinism-based, National Socialism and anti-semitism of Hitler's Nazi war-machine conclusively argues the case. It is simply because the umbrella-like cosmic worldview of the Bible is always oriented outward: God loves all His creatures, both just and unjust, and the gift of His Son has a clear pan-global scope, as John 3:16-18, Matthew 28:18-20 and many others texts demonstrate:

16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God - John 3:16-18
18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" - Matthew 28:18-20

Globalism is Contrary to Redemption

Nor is there firm ground for more aggressive globalism that eradicates, diminishes or dissolves national identity: this holds true whether we are musing on secularist, humanist or economist instincts of the UN, G8 or Brussels, or an entrenched anti-Gospel impulse of Babel's ancient architects - Yahweh, prior to Abram, in His infinite wisdom and for His own glory, dispersed and divided nations into distinct people groups with their own diverse tribes, tongues and territories, as Gen 10:32-11:9 indicates.

10:32 These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. 11:1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth - Genesis 10:32-11:9

This is clearly confirmed by a section of the sermon that the Apostle Paul preached on Mars' Hill to an Areopagite audience, in Acts 17:26-27:

26 And 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, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us - Acts 17:26-27

I have travelled quite extensively. I delight in people of all nations. I have, by grace, and nature, an open-heart to outsiders. I count it a fascinating, challenging, privilege and pleasure to try to acquire the ability to cross cultural boundaries and communicate in foreign languages. Yet, I remain quite convinced that philosophical globalism in its more extreme forms is both wrong-headed and unwarranted - it swims uphill against the stream of God's sovereign, saving, (His)story.

Evangelicalism is Conformed to Redemption

Is it the sheer genius of the wisdom and glory of God, to proclaim the prospect of global one-racial reunification in the redemption in His Son - all through His priceless, precious, gift of grace, through forgiveness of sins by His blood? The Israel of the dispersion is reunited with the Jews, while the Gentiles from all nations are grafted into the True Vine, Jesus, apart from who is no redeeming fruit. One of the wonders of heaven will surely be the joyful embrace of all races with all national distinctions retained - can you picture the faces of God's multilingual throng, now setting aside their first language, mother-tongue, to unite in the "heart- language" that all those who receive the Gospel speak? What an harmonious blend that song will be in the end, as several passages celebrate:

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father - Philippians 2:9-11

If the tears of pain are gone will there not be tears of joy - not a dry eye in God's House of peace?

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." 13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?" 14 I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes" - Revelation 7:9-17

Conclusion

It is the Gospel that removes all sin-tinted spectacles that believers are tempted to wear - it also explains the deep heart-pang believers share for the Great Commission of Christ, that the Spirit of Jesus creates. Proud nationalism which looks down the nose on any citizen of any other land, on the basis of dress or speech, is unfitting for God's children and ought to lie dead-and-buried before the open-armed offer of mercy at Calvary. The Father has children, beloved in elect Christ before the foundation of the world, who speak with different sounds from ours: if God-blood marks their forehead, then, on our part, it is ignorance and shame which leads us to despise them. Humility before men is the vocation to which we've been called - not to get sidetracked or whipped-up by some alternative, besides-the-Gospel, plan - but rather this: to offer our lives each day, in view of God's grace to the race, in willing sacrifice, to shed God's light among all the nations of earth.

Andrew Kerr

Andrew Kerr

Pastor of Knockbracken in Belfast - Husband of Hazel, Dad to Rebekah, Paul and Andrew, Lover of Skiing, Walker of Lucy (our Bernese Mountain Dog), with a Passion for OT - in Deep Need of Grace

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