Statement on Race/Ethnicity
Because of some questionable and confusing ideologies that seem to be infiltrating the church concerning racial issues, we deemed it necessary to issue a statement clarifying essential doctrines and truths found within the pages of Scripture pertaining to these issues. We believe that God has spoken through His written and revealed Word and that His Word is a sufficient foundation for all matters concerning life on this side of eternity. The Word of God is the ultimate authority, therefore, it dictates the way that we perceive and respond to matters of “race” and ethnicity.
As the church, we are concerned about false, secular, and unbiblical philosophies about race and ethnicity that are influencing believers and usurping the authority of Scripture. It is crucial that we stand and defend the truth of God’s Word before these false concepts become more rooted and begin to compromise other areas of biblical and foundational principles that are essential to the faith. We believe that in order to be a faithful and obedient church, we must submit to the Holy Scriptures, and hold to a biblical worldview as it pertains to issues of “race” and ethnicity.
Therefore, when we address these issues and engage in these conversations, it is critical that we do so using Biblically appropriate terms. We believe that having a Biblically accurate understanding of human ancestry is crucial for addressing and understanding the current issues plaguing society surrounding the issues of “race” and ethnicity.
Because God’s Word is the ultimate, unchanging, and uncompromising authority on these matters, we have turned to God’s Word for this collection of affirmations and denials.
Recently, academic philosophies concerning social justice issues are influencing biblical interpretation, systematic theology, and Christian ethics among Evangelical communities. These theories seek to use historically established ethnic and cultural markers to identify racist systems, institutions, organizations, communities, assumptions, motivations, customs, practices, and habits.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) assumes an inherent level of racism within certain ethnic groups and then seeks to identify and confront the manifestations of assumed racism with that ethnic group. CRT works in conjunction with the theory of Intersectionality, which states that certain ethnic groups are inherently recipients of a particular level of prejudice and discrimiation based upon their ethnicity, gender, and sexual preference.
CRT and Intersectionality assume a certain socio-economic understanding of equality and equity (often identified as Marxism) to identify the manifestations of racism among targeted ethnic groups.
Based upon the assumptions of CRT and Intersectionality, we believe these theories are problematic in nature, therefore, we will address them in this statement according to the Scriptures.
Affirmations and Denials
We Affirm that the Bible is the written and revealed Word of God, and as the Word of God it is authoritative and it ultimately determines what is true and what is right. As the church, God’s Word must be the final authority for all matters of truth and ethical standards.
We Deny the belief that Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality are helpful tools in assessing what is deemed to be systemic oppression in our country. CRT, a theory that is critical by name/definition does not lend itself to be an analytical device, rather one that is based in ethnic bias. As secular teachings birthed by the culture, we do not believe these theories and ideologies are consistent with Biblical teaching, therefore, we do not consider them profitable for the life of believers.
Scriptures - 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Psalm 19: 7-9; Luke 11:28; Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 4:14
II. The Imago Dei
We Affirm that all human beings, regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, nationality, status, or biological sex, bear the image of God. Therefore, as image-bearers made in His likeness, every human being is worthy of dignity, respect, and God-honoring care. Furthermore, we do not support or condone the individual or corporate mistreatment of, discrimination against, exclusion of, or marginalization of any human being or group based on ethnicity. (commonly referred to as “racism”).
We Deny that any individual, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, nationality, status, gender or experience is any more or less deserving of dignity, our respect, and our God-honoring care. We do not believe that a person’s ethnicity or life experiences should have any bearing on how we treat them as an image-bearer of God, whether that be treating them with disdain or contempt, or showing them partiality or favoritism.
Scriptures - Genesis 1:26-27; Leviticus 19:15; Romans 2:11
We Affirm that God, by one man (Adam), has created every ethnic group to populate and live on the face of the earth. Therefore, as descendants of one man, we deny the idea of separate or superior races. We believe that there is but one race, that is the human race. In holding to a Biblical anthropology, we believe that rather than using the word “race,” when we refer to those of a different ancestry, the appropriate term is “ethnicity.” The terminology that we use is incredibly influential in shaping our thoughts, beliefs, and stances as it pertains to this matter. As a church, we do not subscribe to the theory of separate or distinct “races.” Acts 17:26a says “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth.” The Greek word used for nation, is the word ethnos, which is where we derive the English word, ethnicity. Therefore, in holding to a Biblical anthropology when defining humanity, rather than using the term “race,” we will defer to the term ethnicity.
We Deny the idea of “race,” as there are no Biblical or scientific grounds on which one can prove the existence of separate or distinct “races'' of people. We believe that race is a social construct that was created for the purposes of separation and division. Therefore, in understanding that “race” is not a legitimate or biblical concept, we also deny the idea that “races” reconcile to one another, rather, we affirm the truth that as the people of God we have been given the ministry of reconciling men to their Maker. And it is only by being reconciled to God, through Christ Jesus, that fallen men and women can be reconciled to one another; that is a byproduct of the Gospel. While we affirm that only the Gospel can truly reconcile all men together through Christ Jesus, we also affirm that it is the responsibility of every Christian to pursue peaceful relations with their neighbors regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, nationality, status, or biological sex. We also affirm that it is the local church’s role to pursue goodwill within their communities by operating within the boundaries of faithfulness to the Word of God.
Scriptures - Genesis 1:26-27, 10, 11:1; Acts 17:26; 2 Corinthians 15:16-21
We Affirm that every human being, as descendants of one man, are under the curse of sin because of our original parents. Therefore, in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, we believe that ALL people, regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, gender, status, nationality, or experience have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard. Therefore, we are all in need of God’s grace and the atoning work of Christ Jesus.
We Deny the belief that the burden of responsibility and culpability for past or present sins rests on one particular ethnic group. The whole of humanity, every individual, must repent and confess his or her own sins in order to receive forgiveness. We do not believe that a person, simply based on their ethnicity, is necessarily connected to any particular corporate sin, nor do we believe that a person is responsible for the sins of past generations. They are only culpable if they knowingly embrace, engage in, or justify that particular sin.
Scriptures - Romans 3:9-12,23; 5:12, Psalm 14:3; 1 John 1:8-10
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