Christian apologist James White is certainly no stranger to debates and he presently finds himself engaged in an ongoing debate (I wouldn’t necessarily call it a dialogue) on the extremely divisive topic of race. I won’t rehash the story here, but suffice to say much ink has been spilled on the subject and especially within Reformed circles. One writer from the Reformed African American Network (RAAN) issued a response/rebuke to Dr. White and then he came back with a rejoinder. I doubt this will be the last we’ll see of the back and forth.
The title of this post puts the phrase “racial reconciliation” in quotes for a variety of reasons, though not to be disrespectful or flippant. I put this in quotes because in my view it has yet to be defined. They aren’t scare quotes. Even those who say they advocate “racial reconciliation” don’t like to use the phrase because they don’t think it accurately conveys what they’re doing but they acquiesce due to its popular usage. The advocates of “racial reconciliation” are those who are represented in groups like RAAN and who place a great emphasis upon this subject in their respective ministries.
I’ll be writing more about this topic in the near future because of how much it’s being talked about in the broader church, but before I do so I want to ask a number of basic questions. In particular, I want to ask the advocates of “racial reconciliation” some specific questions which I believe lay the foundation for future discussion. They are as follows:
1. Are all racial/ethnic groups guilty of committing the sin of racism?
2. Does every racial/ethnic group possess its own set of privileges within the broader society?
3. Is the Word of God sufficient for dealing with the problem of racism?
4. Biblically speaking, what is the solution to the problem of racism?
5. What does repenting of the sin of racism look like practically speaking?
6. Does the trend of specifically planting multi-ethnic churches constitute a form of mission drift?
7. Do people of a particular racial/ethnic group bear the sin/guilt arising from specific actions of their ancestors?
8. Has certain political baggage affected the way in which racial issues are discussed within the church?
9. Should individuals from a particular racial/ethnic group be prohibited from speaking factually about another racial/ethnic group?
10. In the process of addressing these racial concerns, is there a tendency to promote a new legalism within the church?
I’m not asking these questions to provoke a debate of my own or to stir up strife of any kind. All of the above questions are asked with the utmost sincerity. I seriously want fellow Christians to comment with their own answers to them. We need to be able to discuss this issue openly and frankly. I have no idea how many comments I’ll get (if any), but I welcome those who wish to respectfully and charitably engage. Whatever our answers may be to these questions, I trust that we answer them with a healthy degree of biblical self-examination.