A couple of weeks ago, two of my fellow-elders and I participated in a Q&A at our church. Carl Hargrove, Hohn Cho, and I asked and answered questions about the recent discussions of social justice, ethnic harmony, and Gospel priority taking place in evangelicalism. “The Race Set Before Us” was my cheesy play on the words of Hebrews 12:1 in an attempt to highlight that such topics really have been thrust upon us in recent days. And we felt a responsibility to shepherd our people’s thinking on these matters.
Below, I’ve included an outline of questions asked, along with timestamps so you can easily navigate through the audio. Questions in bold are those that were either prepared, submitted beforehand, or asked by audience members during the Q&A time. Other non-bolded comments highlight topics addressed as we answered the main questions. I pray it’s a help to you.
Beginning to 05:38 – Introduction and Prayer
5:41 – Where did this all come from? Can you give us some background as to why this is a discussion topic all of a sudden? Why has the issue of race and social justice come up in evangelicalism more recently?
Comments on: police shootings, the presidency of Barack Obama, the election of Donald Trump, and evangelical churches and conferences taking up this theme
8:51 – A lot of worldly terminology seeping into the church: intersectionality, white privilege, terms of critical race theory.
9:34 – The ministerial pragmatism of the Christian SJW agenda
10:42 – The role of the media in this discussion
11:10 – The tone of the discussion within the church and the need for civil discourse
15:00 – Is it right or wrong to see color? Some people speak of not seeing color as evidence that racism has been mortified. Others say the claim not to see color is premier evidence of racism. What’s the biblical view?
Key texts discussed: 2 Corinthians 5:16, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11, Revelation 5:9 and 7:9–10.
21:36 – 2 Corinthians 5:16 and the basis of our identity. Who are “my people,” for a Christian?
23:54 – But Paul speaks of Israel as his kinsmen according to the flesh. Isn’t he regarding people of his ethnicity “according to the flesh”?
26:20 – In Galatians 3:28, in addition to saying, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man,” Paul also says, “There is neither male nor female.” And yet we insist upon ongoing male/female distinctions. How is that different than ethnicity?
29:27 – Given what we just heard, then, what do we make of the world’s idea of “representation” infiltrating the church? One of the T4G speakers wondered aloud, “Why is this conference so white?” How should we think about pursuing ethnic diversity in the church?
Commentary on some statements made at MLK50.
37:12 – Scripture on double standards, partiality, and affirmative action.
38:39 – The unstated ideology that undergirds the concept of “representation.”
40:08 – We must repent of any racism or partiality taking root in our hearts.
41:00 – In light of Romans 13:1–4, was it wrong for Rosa Parks to give up her seat? What is the biblical view of civil disobedience to unjust laws?
45:25 – How do we understand Old Testament instances of collective guilt and corporate repentance?
50:36 – How have the negative aspects of this discussion been exacerbated by evangelical celebritism?
55:04 – Is it true that you have to possess power to be racist? If not, how does such a view fall short of a biblical understanding of racism?
1:00:43 – The difference between ignorance, insensitivity, and racism.
1:03:07 – Carl, last week in your seminar you spoke of Martin Luther King’s denial of essential doctrines of the Christian faith as well as of his habitual immorality. Given that, you said it would be difficult for people of sound biblical conviction to conclude that he was a genuine believer. Some are scandalized by that declaration, while others seem to be celebrating it. Can you speak to that?
1:09:23 – Misunderstanding this issue indicates that many people are confused about the nature of the Gospel itself. What is a “Gospel issue”?
1:10:50 – In light of that, then, does the mission of the church include the mandate to establish justice in society?
Discussion of (1) the distinction between Israel’s mission and the Church’s mission; (2) a proper understanding of the kingdom of God; (3) the distinction between corporate and individual ethics; (4) the place of individual Christians’ liberty of conscience.
1:19:30 – Would it be wrong for an individual to focus on just preaching the Gospel, rather than focusing on social injustices?
1:20:20 – How do we love our neighbor by meeting their needs without promoting a victim mentality?
1:21:35 – Do all things—even injustices—happen according to God’s will?
1:24:14 – Carl, in your seminar last week, you mentioned the practical failures and unbiblical nature of socialism. What about texts like Acts 2 and Acts 4, which speak of the church selling their goods and having all things in common?
1:28:05 – It is inevitable that we face injustices as Christians. It’s inevitable that people sin against us—whether by racism or some other sin. What is the Christian’s biblical responsibility for responding to being sinned against?
via The Race Set Before Us: A Q&A on Race, Justice, and the Church’s Mission — The Cripplegate