Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34, nasb).
As we watch the news and see our city streets in turmoil, my heart, like many of yours, aches. We all yearn for righteousness and peace. All Christians should feel extremely bothered, hurt, and righteously angered over the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, not to mention all others who have needlessly died due to racial injustices and systemic racism. In many ways, the heart cry of the prophet Habakkuk expresses much of our current frustrations:
How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted (Hab 1:2–4, nasb).
Racism is a grievous sin, resulting in systemic oppression, and does not display our Lord’s heart. It is demonic, and we, as the body of Christ, are called to stand against it. While equal treatment and justice are American values that we proclaim, too often they are not experienced by all people.
At Dallas Theological Seminary, we denounce racism and all forms of racial injustice (DTS Statement on Unity Diversity and Community) and continue to learn how to live that out in practical and proactive ways.
Jesus commanded each of us to “treat others as you would like to be treated” (Luke 6:31). Openly speaking up for the marginalized and mistreated is a mandate found throughout the Bible. Proverbs 31:8–9 states, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy (esv).” The abuse of power creates chaos at every level of a culture. The words of James 2:8–9 also echo in our ears, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”
Proverbs 29:2 explains, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan (esv).” The world continues to witness the groans of hurting people. Throughout our history, those who should speak do not say enough in defense of those who are oppressed because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. The unheard groans of oppression eventually lead to more suffering, grief, unrighteousness, and unfortunately, human vengeance. The family of DTS, as the body of Christ, collectively repents for the ways we do not honor Christ’s mandate and image Him well. We collectively mourn with our brothers and sisters who experience the damaging oppression of racism and live in fear as a part of their daily experience. We also join the voices of those protesting peacefully who have rightly denounced the violence and vandalism that distracts from the root issues.
If we want to see a decrease in social unrest, the church of Jesus Christ needs to lead out and speak up against all injustice and unrighteousness. “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” (Prov 29:18, nasb). We must model righteous anger and seek productive ways to join the protest against racism. We must seek the Lord and pursue innovative ways to bring change. History teaches us that God is honored, and change happens, when ministers and faith leaders are at the front of the charge, guiding the way. The prophet Jeremiah reminds us to “… seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (29:7, esv).”
Our words can’t adequately speak healing and comfort to the centuries of injustices people have faced here and abroad, but the Word of God can. Our apologies may come across to some as hollow and self-serving; our goal at DTS remains to teach truth and love well. We desire to continue to grow in love, to bear the image of Christ better, and to reach our neighbors with the healing and love the Gospel of Christ brings. Please continue to pray as we move forward as God’s instruments of healing and change.
Three of our distinguished alumni have recently spoken about the events happening in our nation. I invite you to listen:
- Dr. Tony Evans, Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church
- Dr. Eric Mason, Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship Church
- Pastor Bryan Carter, Senior Pastor of Concord Church
Mark L. Bailey, PhD
For more resources, please check out this sampling of voices in advocacy from our DTS archives:
“Rage and Racism in America” with Dr. Frank Glover
“Your Excellency’s Ambassadors” with Dr. Celestin Musekura
“Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel on Unity” with Pastor Trip Lee
“Learn to Cry: A Theology of Tears” with Rev. Vincent Parker
“Hispanos: Reluctantly Welcomed or an Unprecedented Opportunity” with Pastor Carlos Zazueta
“One New Humanity” with Dr. Barry Jones
“Overcoming Our Prejudices Through Christ” with Pastor Matt Chandler
“One New Man” with Pastor Bryan Loritts
“Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel on Unity” with Dr. Larry Mercer
“A Discussion on Racial Reconciliation” with the late Dr. Eddie Lane and Dr. Willie Peterson
“The King of Kings” with Dr. Richard Allen Farmer
“The History of the African-American Church” with Dr. Rick Rigsby
Leaving Hate Behind
Diverse Views on Multicultural Conversations
Learning from Difficult Conversations on Diversity
Ministry Amidst Racial Injustice in South Africa
An African-American Story
Diversity and Reconciliation in the Early Church
The Church’s Role in Racial Reconciliation
A Biblical View of Racial Unity
Biblical Racial Reconciliation
“The Absolute Absurdity of a Supreme Race”
DTS Magazine Diversity Issue