We are going to finish up our series related to SJ, BLM and CRT and the related rioting and shouting that is connected with them in this podcast.
This is rather personal for us because we are waiting for two major decisions to happen that will affect us in a very real way. The decisions regarding the shooting of Jacob Blake and the Kyle Rittenhouse trial are both in the wings and we have little doubt that there will be more rioting when they are given.
The point we are making is that this is not merely some theoretical or abstract issue, but something that is very real. For many who are listening about CRT or BLM there is little personal impact and so you consider the situation in the comfort of your car or home.
Because of this we find people in our church asking questions that are very real questions. If we are to be faithful as pastors we must point them to God’s Word as their standard, which is what we are trying to do.
So with that thought in mind, we decided that the best way to close out this series is to take you through the various passages that help frame our thinking and theology as it relates to BLM, SJ, CRT and rioting/protests.
One thing we notice from many pastors who are on the other side, so to speak, is how they are very selective with the passages they use. Little exegesis occurs and there is a focus on OT passages that are narrative rather than didactic. There is also the tendency to take some of Jesus’ words and elevate them above other bible passages, as if the so-called red letters are more weighty, when they are not.
These reflect serious problems in their bibliology, ecclesiology and overall theology. It is also a very bad indictment of their hermeneutics.
We say this because it is why we are taking time to teach on all of these more “boring” subjects because there is a massive pile of horrid doctrine shoving these various philosophies and worldviews down the throats of Christians. All in the name of loving neighbors and loving justice.
Understand that there are more passages we could consider but these will be key ones that clearly instruct the Christian and the Church as a whole to do or not do, as well as how we should view what is happening in our society.
Key bible texts:
Foundational passage along with Romans 3 for everything we see on any given day and in any given context. Good times or bad times, it doesn’t matter, these texts are a sobering reminder of what is really going on.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural [lesbianism], 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another [homosexuality], men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Whenever you look at any society in this present age you are looking at a society that is in this situation. Social change will never last because the hearts of humanity are suppressing the truth, refusing to honor God, given to depraved activities, inventors of whatever evil they can get by with, and approving of those who push the limits of propriety.
We argue that only two things can stand against this reality and only one has lasting effects:
1.) The gospel.
2.)Governing authority resisting and punishing evil-doers.
"What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE." 13 "THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING," "THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS"; 14 "WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS"; 15 "THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, 16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, 17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN." 18 "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES."
19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
Much of what already was said out of Romans 1 apply here as well. However, it is key to remember that every person and entity in this age is “under sin.” It is the power that dominates this age.
Only in Christ is this power broken.
So when you look at powers, institutions, and people to save you or to effect real change you fool yourself.
Strip everything away and the only thing that ultimately matters is if you are justified in God’s sight (vs 20). And the gospel alone effects that change.
This is why so often in the Evangelical world we hear people trying to call anything and everything a “gospel issue.” If they can somehow pack their cause under the umbrella called “gospel” then they can make it preeminent for all believers.
The problem is that CRT or SJ are not gospel issues. They are political worldviews that come into the Church in sheep's clothing to deceive and distract.
The gospel is not about vague concepts or ideas but about the resolution of sin, Satan and death. These are actual realities. Show a Christian their actual sin and you can call them to repent. But try to redefine your current cause as some sort of systemic sin that no one is actually committing, and a thinking Christian should just laugh at you.
"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
In Romans, this is where Paul makes that radical shift from theology to application of that theology. A lot of error occurs when we camp on one half or the other half of what Paul writes in his letters. One leads to theoretical theology and the other leads to legalism.
Indicative must drive imperative.
So, “by the mercies of God” is a statement that involves chapters 1-11. You could paraphrase it as “in light of everything we have learned, do this.”
Our bodies are to be an ongoing sacrifice. But the question to ask is what does that look like? Paul’s answer is three-fold:
3.) Acceptable to God.
We would simply say that these all would be what Paul teaches in chapters 12-16. Here are some simple, but profound examples:
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; (Rom. 12:9-11)
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. 20 "BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12:16-21)
"Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."
"So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another." (Rom. 14:19)
"Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME." 4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God."
(Rom. 15:2-7 NAU)
Imagine if the American Church actually did this in their racial interactions how different things might be. Imagine how the new SJ, Woke crowd would be different today if they believed this?
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake." (Rom. 13:1-5 NAU)
This is the key passage we remember when we see Christians involved in so-called peaceful protests and how they describe recent events.
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
The words are not hard to see and understand but they are hard for us to apply because of the flesh. This is not a passage that speaks to roles but to position before God and man.
In other words you cannot use this passage to mean that women may teach men or have authority over them within the church. Though many try. Nor can you say that a Christian slave was now not a slave.
The point is that in Christ they are all one, brought into a blood bought unity that is through the Spirit. So, because of this they are to view each other as brothers and sisters and treat one another radically different from the unbeliever.
When we see in history or today Christians trying to make other Christians some way a lower level/tier believer then we react.
While roles that are either socially-driven or biblically-derived exist when dealing with another Christian you are to always show them honor as a fellow believer.
I (Matt Henry) believe that if this were taught and practiced in any social situation that given time most social evils (for lack of a better term) would be resolved on their own without the need for an overthrow of social order via riots, civil war or such. I think that this would allow for the focus to be on evangelism of unbelievers and edification of believers until a society is “Christianized” and then change becomes more natural.
"Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him."
(Eph. 6:5-9 NAU)
This would be one of many places Paul could do away with social structures if he wanted to. But he doesn’t.
CRT and SJ folks love to tell us that the slavery of Israel was not the same as the stuff our nation participated in. But they tend to underplay that the Roman empire had a thriving slave trade that was much like America’s. Don’t like your slave, meh, just kill him.
Both slave and master were coming to faith. But this did not mean that the slave was to be freed or that the master was to somehow repent. Certainly there were no reparations commanded.
Instead of being a SJW, Paul now teaches that in light of the gospel and their faith in Christ that very different changes should become the norm.
Mind you it was not forbidden either, but that is not what is commanded. And make sure you grasp this, these are commands that refusal to obey would result in church discipline.
Notice that the believing slave is to become a really good slave and the motivation is as unto Christ. The master is to become a really good master, but still a master.
If our listeners will wrap their heads around this it will radically change how they interpret so much of what they see in America and its churches today.
Philemon is a beloved brother in Christ (1).
He is a man known for love and faith toward Christ and fellow believers (4-5).
Note that this was already true of Philemon, not that this was something Philemon was to strive to become.
But he was also a slave owner. So…….. Imagine what Chandler or Tisby would be saying right now!
Paul recognizes that he could order Philemon to free Onesimus but he doesn’t (8)
In that verse it says, “. . . to order you to do what is proper.”
This gets seized on to try to say that it is improper to have a slave, but that is not what it says at all and the context gives a different meaning.
Paul needs Onesimus, and so he could order Philemon to give him up, free him and let Paul have him back. That is the point.
Instead, Paul sends the slave back to his master. That alone is crazy in our thinking, a run-a-way slave sent back. Again think about what many in Big Eva would be saying right here!
Paul desires that out of Philemon’s free-will he would free him to be able to go back to serve Paul. And so he gently appeals rather than thunderously commands.
We could do many other passages but these are some of the big ones we find ourselves remembering and reflecting upon as the various events and words come flying our way. We are disturbed at how deficient the whole Woke movement is with sound biblical exposition and exegesis. They are appealing to corporate guilt, emotion, and improperly applied bible texts.
What it really reveals is how little the Scripture actually controls them. We can say the same about anyone on the far opposite spectrum as well. So kinists need to repent as much as the systemic racism BLM folks in the church.
Until this happens, the middle, where both sides may have points of disagreement but also a genuine love for one another and a desire to talk and grow and learn, are too often drowned out. That is what we want to fight for.
So we leave you with these words from Jude, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25).