Today I want to wrap up my response to Southern Baptist David Johnson’s article, “The Bible Speaks on Racism.” I want to take the last two points he makes:
- We are one in Christ, and
- All races will join together in heaven.
In other words, racial unity and integration is in Christ Jesus. Is that what the Bible says? And specifically, what do the certain Bible verses that Johnson cites in support of his conclusions actually mean?
Are We One in Christ?
Johnson cites Galatians 3:28-29:
“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. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”
This is a commonly referenced selection by the majority of Christians that assumedly supports the conclusion that all races are one and unified in Christ Jesus. This is another example of “cherry-picking” theology that fails the test of good, sound interpretation based on the context. Here are some facts to consider:
- “Jews” and “Greeks” do not mean Israel and everybody else on the planet. “Jews” refers to Judeans of the southern house of Judah and “Greeks” refers to Greek-speaking “Gentiles” which are identified as the northern house of Israel.
- Paul was writing to the Galatians who were the cast off, divorced and dispersed house of Israel (also see I Peter 1:1) who were Greek-speaking Israelites – not anyone else.
- The immediate context of Galatians 3 revolves around the promise given to Abraham that “all the nations [Gentiles]” would “be blessed” in him (v. 8). The blessing was the justification offered to Abraham’s physical descendants through Jesus Christ (specifically, the house of Israel).
I discuss all this more thoroughly in Book Three, Foundation & Fulfillment of the Old & New Covenant Scriptures, chapters 2-3.
Johnson’s conclusion of Galatians 3:28-29 is as follows:
“The unity we experience in Christ results from sharing in a common faith in a common Savior that makes us part of the same family of God. That is why there is no more division between Jew and Gentile, male or female, slave or free. If we have all been saved by the same One, then we are all one in Him!”
No. Johnson, like most, fails to understand that this Bible reference has nothing to do with other races. His conclusion is a moot point.
Integration of All Races in Heaven?
Citing Revelation 7:9-10, Johnson states:
“Ultimately, there will be people in heaven glorifying God around His throne from every nation, tribe, people and language (Revelation 7:9 CSB). We need to get used to joining together with people from other races because we are going to be spending eternity together! There will be no racism in heaven.”
What does Revelation 7:9-10 say?
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”
Without applying the full biblical context about this commonly quoted phrase, there is every danger of falling into misinterpretation of what “every nation, tribe, people and language” means. In my upcoming book, The Biblical Story of Prophecy, I dedicate an entire appendix on reviewing this phrase. So, I won’t go into it here. But I will tell you that this phrase does not refer to all races in the context.
Briefly, is the broad, all-inclusive racial interpretation consistent with the New Covenant language? Is it consistent with the context of Revelation which repeatedly deals with Israelites and the local churches and events of the first century? Again, I address Revelation in my new book, The Biblical Story of Prophecy coming soon (watch for more updates).
Again, this is another example of irresponsible cherry-picking theology based on fundamental errant assumptions. Worse, it leads to destructive and unbiblical conclusions that force White people to accept tolerance and diversity through false White-guilt.
White People Know Better
Johnson smugly concludes his article saying:
“I was visiting with a pastor who had received an anonymous letter from a person in his church recently lamenting the growing racial diversity in the congregation and the multi-ethnic expressions of worship. The letter said, ‘After all, this is the United States of America.’ I told the pastor that I hope that person knows that heaven is going to be filled with people from all races even more than the United States. He may not like it there! The Bible gives us plenty of reasons to know that racism is wrong.”
I absolutely cringe at so-called “Christian” leaders who keep telling lies to the common folk about this “racism is wrong” mantra and then try to justify it with the Word of God. The average guy out there knows better in his heart and is looking for good shepherding. But he’s afraid. He has to be “anonymous.” Woe to the false shepherds who continually destroy the pasture of the flock of God!
My counsel to the anonymous out there who know better than their pastors is: Leave them! They are blind guides.
By Lawrence Blanchard, ND, MDiv