Racism in the Church?


Racism is not just an American thing; it is beyond that. Racism plays an important part in the culture of the last days. In Matthew 24:7 Jesus tells us that “…nation will rise against nation…” The word nation here is the Greek Word éthnos; “where we get the word ethnic, meaning, race”.[1] In the last days we will witness ethnic groups coming against each other.

What I noticed about racism is that it is never direct; it always finds an excuse to reject another group. The devil loves to divide us, so he always finds ways to do that. In America, for example, blacks were not considered 100 percent human by Anglos; that was the greatest justification for the atrocities of slavery. Society has changed, thank God, even animals have rights and people who are passionate about advocating for them.

This demonic spirit of racism has also found its way in the church. As a matter of fact, it did from the very beginning. In Galatians 2:11-21 we read the story of how the devil brought in racism and how he justified it. 

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. New King James Version (NKJV)

Peter had no problem hanging around the gentiles; we have to remember that God gave Peter the revelation that the Gentiles were also welcomed into the Kingdom (Acts 10). However, there were still some doctrinal issues that were hot buttons in the church. Many Jews wanted to also add their cultural practices to the gentiles. Paul resisted this idea with a passion as he states, “…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ…” Galatians 2:16. Paul called this way of thinking, “hypocrisy” and even the great Barnabas was carried away with such hypocrisy. 

Do we still have cultural division in our churches? Yes, and plenty of it! It is expressed in the style of music we prefer & consider as holy, the instruments we play, our expressions of praise and worship (clapping, dancing, lifting of hands), styles of preaching and so on. The good news is that in the last days the church will also be ready for the coming of the Lord; we will learn how to love each other. The Spirit of God will bring us together and erase the spirit of racism; we will indeed come together under the culture of the Bible. It will be one of the most impressive things the world will ever witness.  


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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