Charlottesville and the Shape of Racial Pride

Bishop J. C. Ryle said, Let us watch against pride in every shape – pride of intellect, pride of wealth, pride in our own goodness, pride in our own deserts. Nothing is so likely to keep a man out of heaven, and prevent him seeing Christ, as pride. So long as we think we are something, we shall never be saved.

When 2 groups with very different ideologies faced off against each other last Saturday in Virginia, it should have surprised no one that things would not go well–permit or no permit.  Based on videos and pics I’ve seen, President Trump may very well be correct that both sides share blame–for some of the tussling and beatings that took place before James Fields’ ever put his Challenger in gear.

But by his initial lukewarm remarks about the Charlottesville horror, the president missed a golden opportunity to dismiss frequently-leveled claims that he’s a bigot whose sympathies mostly lie with “white” America.  But, that’s a political observation.

Since I am a follower of Jesus first–an American second, I’m most interested in what the Church has to say on issues sparking heated quarrels in the public square, at least when the Bible has something to say on those issues.  When through their logos, signs and chants, white supremacists–even vaguely appeal to Christianity, Jesus’ followers must stand up and object, “that’s not Christian”.  When anyone brags that this/her race is superior to another, it’s a “shape” of pride that is antiChristian.  And, a lie.  Even the Declaration of Independence–well ahead of its time and the men who crafted it, insisted that all men are created equal.  And we all are.  Equally noble in that we are all made in God’s image.  But also, equally awful since we’re all sinners.

So let’s be clear: To claim superiority or supremacy because I’m of one race and he/she’s of another, is sin.  Racism is sin.  Period.  No “but’s” can follow.   Tim Keller’s right to insist we put a full stop after “racism is sin”.  When we white Christians follow such statements with “but”, is it any wonder it tells nonwhites that we are trying to self-justify/blameshift instead of taking the sin of racism seriously?  

Author: Keith Rohrer

Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Gospel-lover, churchplanter, pastor, woodworker, biker.