RACISM IS SIN.
We must all stand up and speak, work, and preach against the sin of racism. This is not political action; it is a biblical position.
We grieve with the families of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and countless others. We also recognize that they were killed because they were seen through a lens of racism. While these incidents create moments of crisis in the lives of non-black people, they actually expose centuries-long patterns of racism and prejudice in the United States that are lived every day by people of color.
These cases underline the systemic nature of racism and its pervasiveness in our culture – a reality in which far too many African American men and women are disrespected as image bearers of God in the US.
It is imperative that, as a church and as individual Christians, we remain focused on the socialized beliefs and assumptions that perpetuate such racist acts, even when the media has moved on to the next news story. Racism is a stronghold in our country that will not go away overnight. The remedy is a commitment to sanctification. We invite you to walk with us in this sanctification process.
Each of us must ask ourselves questions like these:
· What is God saying to change us, heal us, renew us?
· What common narratives will this moment change?
· How much priority will we give to anti-racist spiritual formation?
· What will it mean to have a Reformed world and life view in responding to racialized inequality?
· Will we allow ourselves to be crucified with Christ, so that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us?
These recent killings have exposed racism to our collective attention. Some of us have participated in peaceful protests, but racism has not gone away. Turning from it toward equity and love will require remembering who we are in Christ, memorializing the murdered cloud of witnesses, taking the historical blood-stained sins to the cross, and raising our eyes to the hope of Jesus leading us to a beloved community.
This may be easily said, but it will require a ministry commitment to humility, kenosis, education, conversation and action for it to be realized. Most of all, it will require sacrifice, especially for white members of our community. Pursuing a change like this will be costly. Yet, we believe that such sacrifice is not only necessary, it also reflects the type of sacrificial love Jesus showed most gloriously on the cross.
So, let us allow ourselves to be enabled by the Spirit to take action. Let us sacrifice and die to ourselves, for the sake of love of brothers and sisters, who must live with racism directed against them every day. As individuals and the Church, we must be moving beyond “thoughts and prayers” to truly becoming a church of reconciliation and justice.
(This is an edited version of the official statement issued by the leaders of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The Council of Faith Christian Fellowship affirms this statement, its condemnation of racism, and the work of justice and racial reconciliation demanded by Scripture.)