Preach the Gospel and Confront Racism

by | Apr 27, 2022

Division within the culture abounds these days, and unfortunately that division has leaked into the church. And there is no greater division right now than how to effectively address the sin of racism. Opposite sides shout different things, but I want to talk about one response to the sin of racism: “Just preach the gospel.”

This sounds good, and those who repeat that phrase have good intentions. After all, it is true: only the gospel can truly heal racial division. It is only the gospel that has the power to transform racist hearts into diversity-loving hearts. It is only the gospel that brings people of different ethnicities and backgrounds together to form one body.

However, I think that phrase demonstrates confused thinking on the gospel and the Christian life. Allow me to use another cultural issue to make my point.

 

The Abortion Industry

The abortion debate has ramped up in recent years—rightfully so. More and more Christians are flocking to abortion clinics to preach the gospel to the mothers and fathers who walk in those doors to murder their babies.

But these Christians, who I am fully on board with, are not merely preaching the gospel. They are pleading with the mother to spare the baby’s life; they are offering to adopt; they are holding up signs of pregnancy centers.

In other words, they are doing so much more than just preaching the gospel. And that is such a great work for the kingdom of God! I applaud that. They are  living out a gospel-transformed life—that’s great!

 

Ethnic Harmony

This, in my mind, is what other Christians—maybe even the same ones!—seek to do regarding racism and ethnic harmony. They aren’t merely preaching the gospel. They are offering assistance; they are marching the streets in solidarity; they are calling congressmen and women to change laws for the betterment of minorities (where it’s applicable). They are seeking other ways to strengthen minority communities.

Christians need to learn to apply all that flows from the gospel. Is simply preaching the gospel enough? This may annoy some, but I don’t think that’s the right question to ask. The gospel is sufficient for salvation—of course. But God calls us as gospel-transformed people to live in light of the gospel message.

This doesn’t mean, however, that we forsake the gospel and make the gospel itself a message of social justice. That may not be happening as much as some people say, but it is certainly happening. Some are replacing the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ with the shackles of legalistic works righteousness. Many are replacing the message of Christ crucified with some social justice propaganda. We must not do that. We must mark our ground in the gospel and push for ethnic harmony from that.

And yet, we don’t want to stay on the other side where we don’t make application of the gospel. God has called us not merely to preach the gospel, but to make application of it. In other words, how does the gospel impact ethnic harmony, abortion, and other issues? This is where Christians must act!

 


Prayer Requests

  1. That we would hold fast to the gospel and see the glory and grace of Christ for us in it.
  2. That the gospel would lead to transformation of our lives.
  3. That we would intentionally pursue racial harmony as a result of being changed by the gospel.

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Author

  • Blake Long

    Author and blogger at theology-and-life.com. He is married to his wife, Shale, and they have two little girls and a rowdy dog. He received his MTS in Preaching and Pastoral Ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can find his new book, Gospel Smugness, on Amazon.

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