Confound the World
The church has a vital role to play in reconciliation between people of different ethnicities. It actually goes to the essence of what it means to be a Christian. In the book of Acts, in the city of Antioch, we see that there's this city that was historically segregated and this church that is planted in that city. Despite the fact that there are eighteen different people groups and ethnicities in that city, here's a group of people—Jews and Gentiles—worshiping together, such that the city didn't even know what to call them. Thus, a new name was developed. They called them Christians.
So at the essence of what the church was—and what it should be—is this idea of ethnic harmony and racial reconciliation. We live in a world with such deep brokenness and divisions that have characterized us. Yet, here's a church that could actually be the place—the entity—demonstrating what it was to be slow to speak and quick to listen.
The church could embody what it looks to consider others more important than ourselves, understanding that our identity in Christ gets underneath all other identities. The essence of the church's mission is to bring the message of reconciliation to the world.The gospel could be applied in some of the most difficult reconciliation moments. The church could actually be a meeting place for people who love each other more than how their ethnicities have tended to separate them.
The church could actually be a meeting place for people who love each other more than how their ethnicities have tended to separate them.
Think of the statement that it could be to the world if the church actually led in that so that once again the world marveled and said, How is it that you love each other despite all of these historical differences? What if, in the context of the church, people could actually say, It's because of Jesus who actually brings us together in a way that confounds the world?
Mark Vroegop is the author of Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation.
To what extent can I help to rid even the smallest parts of sinful prejudice and racism out of my life for the glory of God?
Lament doesn't solve all the problems of racial disharmony. It’s not without risk. But it helps.
Reconciliation—vertical and horizontal—is the goal of the good news. Gospel unity creates racial harmony.
Most Christians are not sure what to do about racial reconciliation. There are some whose hearts are sinfully closed, but I think most Christians simply lack the tools.