If you’re a believer, you’ve probably found yourself wondering more than a few times lately, where have people of faith been throughout these pressing cultural debates? As Christians, we are called to speak out against injustice and to defend what we know to be true.
To win the battle for the soul of our nation, we must come together as one Church under the leadership of Christ. In this week’s episode of our podcast, Penny is joined by Ryan Helfenbein of Liberty University’s Standing for Freedom Center to discuss how to Biblically navigate through tough issues.
Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, discussed on CBN’s Faith Nation the CDC guidelines on churches. Penny had this to say: “We recognize that there is a First Amendment right for us to practice our faith. And beyond that, church is essential. It’s essential to our spiritual health. It’s essential to our mental health.”
As you well know, humanity has a sin problem. We all do. This is the nature and essence of all the issues we face as a Church and as a country. Anyone talking about racism and justice must begin there. Be wary of those, whether inside or outside the Church, purporting to be fighting for “justice” while disregarding and even advocating sin.
It is impossible to address these problems efficiently while brushing aside the eternal principles of nature, as given to us by the Creator. We would be missing the problem entirely, and in fact, aggravating it further.
This is not just within the confines of the Church. We are talking about reality here. Social change must be sought in this manner. It is the way Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished so much in such a short life. Remember his Letter from a Birmingham Jail? In it, Rev. King explained how we could determine whether a law is just or unjust. He wrote:
“A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”
Justice demands a standard. And aside from God’s standard, there are only personal preferences— human preferences, to be precise. The same humanity plagued with the sin problem.
That is why so many today are committing such heinous, unjust acts of racial violence against their neighbors. They are committing such actions because they believe similar acts were committed against them or their communities. They are acting according to their evil nature and imposing their sinful preferences over another’s. Sin for sin – an atrocious exchange.
Warning: Graphic Content
Unjust, racist violence is wrong no matter who the victims and the perpetrators are; you can swap them around, and the same crime would persist. As Christians, we must fight against it in all cases.
We, as the Church of Jesus Christ, simply cannot support those whose whole strategy is to commit sinful acts against another in the name of “justice.” We do not repay evil with evil (1 Peter 3:9). We are not frustrated when some are “getting away” with this or that. This is not what we believe.
No one gets away with anything. We trust in the Lord Almighty (Romans 12:19), so we do not lose hope and fall into despair as the unbeliever does. And we reject the worldly, devilish dichotomy by the scornful telling us that not to join them in their wicked ways is to allow injustice to flourish.
No. There is a better way. The way. It was the way of Dr. King and most abolitionists throughout history. They fought injustice, even as they remember the admonitions of Proverbs 3:29, “Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.” There were plenty of instigators among their ranks, too, with promises of quicker resolutions. Evildoers claim victory at every chance they get.
Do not fall for their lies. Continue to heed the Proverbs (3:31, 32), “Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.”
Standing in the confidence of God, we can speak truth that is more powerful than an entire army. We extend the hands of grace and help, empathy, and longsuffering that bring healing and reconciliation. We stand up to tyrants and, yes, perhaps even give our lives for freedom.
It is “[f]or freedom Christ has set us free,” and we, therefore, “stand firm … and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” That was our previous life. We were slaves to sin. But now, we do not walk in our former ways. We do not join the sinful mob for whatever reason. We walk in the light.
We will fight injustice. You can rest assured of that. We will just not fight it the world’s way (Romans 12:21).
May the God of all hope and peace fill you with the courage and love you need for this moment, that the power of the Holy Spirit may shine in your community now as never before.
We are at war. Everyone paying attention knows it. Some may be uncertain of the battle lines, and even of their position in relation to them, but they can certainly feel our current situation is not good. Despair has settled in on the hearts of many, even within the Church, and the streets are flooded with the consequences of our reality.
Convinced that the only way out of this state is for us, the Church, to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), I set out to write a series of letters to my beloved brethren to try to bring some clarity to this moment.
The conflict you are witnessing is a struggle for truth. Not the watered down, infantile caricature of truth that is fed to us by the Pulitzer Prize-winning puppeteers producing the tragicomedies we see on our screens daily. Nor is it the naive wishes of attention-seeking freshmen dreaming of “world peace.” The warfare we are called to engage in is a battle to protect the basic arithmetic of life.
The spirit of this age tells us all numbers are equal. Sure, two plus two equals four. But it could also equal five and six or eight. That way, more people are right, and no one feels judged for not giving you the answer you want to hear.
“To each his own,” a young Christian told me recently as we discussed biological males breaking women’s track records in college athletics. And so, it is. The man kicking another man unconscious in a recent protest is fighting for justice. The violent protests are peaceful.
Warning: Graphic Content
In some ways, we are witnessing the same deception the serpent has perpetrated on us since the beginning. “Did God really say,” he still whispers (Genesis 3:1). “You will not die … you will be like God” (Genesis 3:4-5).
The serpent was lying, as was his nature (John 8:44). There is no truth in him. Remember then, the snake is still at work in our world today, presenting himself as a benevolent figure. “[W]e wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Should it be surprising then to discover that behind the forces at work today flows a steady stream of anti-Christian sentiment? Should we find it strange that a movement supposedly crying out for justice acts most unjustly? No. Nor should we find it odd that it considers the Christian faith repugnant. The puzzling thing is how many Christian leaders are unable to discern the spirit of the moment.
According to one of the founding voices of the Black Lives Matter movement, rioters should tear down statues of Jesus as they are a “gross form of white supremacy.” The “Black Lives Matter” organization, for its part, says on its website that they are working to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and to free themselves “from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.”
I know this is difficult to confront. We, as the Church, will always fight injustice wherever we find it. In those instances where police abuse their power, we will speak out against it. We will cry out for justice.
But darkness cannot stamp out darkness. Only light can do that. It gains us no advantage to swap out one oppressor for another—to fight injustice with injustice. The serpent has no loyalty. He will grab you and use you for evil in your quest for justice. Indeed, he’ll grab you and use you in your pursuit of God if you allow him. Isn’t this what the Pharisees did?
Both the secularist social justice warrior and the hypocritical religious zealot fall for the enemy’s lies and stand against God’s purposes. They fall for different kinds of lies, but they are lies, nonetheless. They both believe it is their actions that can save the world. They have supplanted God with a new idol, namely themselves.
Truth, on the other hand, has a way of sitting you up straight, humbling you. It brings clarity. Wakes you up from your worthless, self-aggrandizing dreams and demands to be confronted. It puts you face to face with your own sin. It is light. We, as children of light (1 John 1:7), must walk in it. Those who live in darkness hate it.
We cannot be surprised that the spirit of this age hates us (1 John 3:13). Christian leader, for the love of God, stop trying to get the world to like you! Stand for truth. Be faithful to God and His Word. Trust in Him. Consider it an honor to suffer for His name (Philippians 1:29).
Be salt. For if we lose our saltiness, what are we good for anyway?