In light of recent events in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown and the subsequent decision of the grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson we have witnessed very strong passionate reactions across the nation. First of all, I would like to honor all of those who have protested in a civil, dignified, and peaceful manner. I am reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence.” With that in mind, I would like to take the time to denounce the lawless actions of those who have looted and caused senseless destruction to a community already hurting and looking for direction. There is simply no justifiable excuse for that type of behavior. Sadly, I believe that we will see similar incidents occur between police officers and young black men. There has to be a response that does not involve destroying property and violence. There has to be a better way. There is a better way. So over the next few posts I will be sharing my very limited, finite, and undoubtedly flawed perspective in hopes of being a helpful voice.
I am not a civil rights leader. I am not claiming to have all of the answers. I am a young pastor whose primary responsibility is the faithful preaching of God’s word in service to his people within the local church and as a Christian, as a preacher of the gospel, and as a black man I care deeply about what’s taking place within the black community. When I look at the violent outbursts in response to the killing of Michael Brown I see so much anger and hurt, but I also see a severe lack of direction. I see a leadership vacuum. I see a generation that lacks true identity. I see a generation of young black men and women in dire need of the gospel. I am in no way saying that there are no black pastors and leaders laboring in the black community and I don’t mean to diminish the efforts of those who are serving faithfully and diligently in ministry. What I am saying is that we need more black pastors and leaders to step up to engage and to speak out. The black community desperately needs to hear the biblically sound, Christ-centered, and gospel-saturated voices of faithful black pastors and leaders. We don’t need the voices of those who profess to know Christ but who are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing seeking fame and notoriety instead of laying their lives down for God’s purpose and glory.
The black community desperately needs to hear the biblically sound, Christ-centered, and gospel-saturated voices of faithful black pastors and leaders.
The pursuit of genuine justice is the fruit is a result of the gospel of Jesus Christ working powerfully in the hearts of men, women, and young people by the Holy Spirit. If we are seeking justice in the black community apart from the faithful proclamation of the gospel and its implications, we are doing black people a grave disservice. We need brave and bold black voices who will reject every notion of revenge and bitterness while seeking biblical salvation, racial reconciliation, community restoration, and peace. This is a wake up call for us. We cannot continue to sit idly by while this generation of young black men and women grope along in the darkness trying to figure things out on their own. We must bring the glorious light of the gospel to bear on the darkness of this hour and trust God to bring those who are spiritually dead to life in his son Jesus Christ. The black community needs what every community needs and that is to be right with God through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ. When knees are bowed in submission to Christ and hearts are full of faith towards him, we can be co-laborers with God in his redemptive work in this world. As we stand up against the injustices within the black community and those injustices that are working against the black community it must be according to God’s word and in the nature and character of Jesus Christ.
If we are seeking justice in the black community apart from the faithful proclamation of the gospel and its implications, we are doing black people a grave disservice.
Make no mistake, I believe that there is racial injustice. I believe that there is systemic injustice. I also believe in the Creator of heaven and earth and his sovereignty over all of his creation. I believe in his salvific purpose and in his omnipotent ability to work all things according to his will. The fight for justice has to take place within the context of God’s redemptive plan. Basic human dignity, being black, suffering, and the pursuit of justice make no sense apart from the gospel. Looking through the lens of the gospel provides us with the proper perspective through which we can understand history, engage in the present, and look to the future with hope. I am calling on my fellow black ministers of the gospel to let your voices be heard and set your hearts to reach this generation. We cannot allow the vengeful voices of lawlessness and hate to drive the narrative of the black community. It’s time to prayerfully, biblically, graciously, and truthfully seize the initiative in this engagement for God’s glory. Its time for us to pursue unity with brothers and sisters in the faith of all races and work together because God never meant for us to do this alone. Its time to wake up.
Note: In my next post I will be writing about what this looks like in everyday life.