The idea of race and its affect on World Wide Evangelism

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by 4His_glory, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
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    At the recent Together for the Gospel conference, Thabiti Anyabwile spoke on the topic of race. (You can read a summary here).

    I recently listened to the message in mp3 format. It was challenging and to say the least made me a bit uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable because I, like all of us, am conditioned to view the world from a racial perspective when yet in reality, from God´s perspective there is not race, only ethnicity.

    The idea that stood out to me though as a missionary church planter/pastor is this idea:
    (Italics mine, taken from the T4G blog- see link above)

    I would be interested in seeing some others thoughts on this very controversial subject within our modern society.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. exscentric

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    "from God´s perspective there is not race, only ethnicity."

    Not sure what you are getting at there.

    " It [race]undermines the gospel itself. If we deny our common ancestry in Adam we may be pulling apart the fabric of the gospel itself. And in so doing we may negatively affect missions."

    1. I rather doubt man can pull apart the fabric of something God put together - even if a person is an avid racist if he shares the Gospel, the Gospel has not changed, only the listeners perception would be changed - and if he/she were a racist there would be no change.

    2. I doubt any normal missionary or Christian denies the common ancestry in Adam - maybe a sliver of racist cults but not normally.

    3. Is not going as a missionary to another country non-racist in itself and it sort of makes the quote mute.

    Sounds like a straw man so someone can seem intellectual.
     
  3. John of Japan

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    Our problem in Japan is the opposite to what Thabiti described. Here in Japan, many Japanese are prejudiced against foreigners of all kinds, white and black. This is the country that for centuries, until Commodore Perry's black ships woke them up, outlawed all foreigners except Dutch traders on one small island. It goes without saying that Christianity was outlawed, and many Christians executed in those years. They even executed Japanese who had left the country and come back, because they were then contaminated by foreign thinking.

    I think this reverse racism, if you want to call it that, is probably a problem for missionaries in many countries. Witness what is happening in Zimbabwe right now where farms are being taken away from white farmers who have farmed the land for generations and being given to blacks.
     
  4. John of Japan

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    I agree. I've never personally known a missionary I thought was a racist.
     
  5. 4His_glory

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    This is exactly what I thought he was talking about. Racism is not just black on white or white on black. Its the idea that there exists a biological order which leads to all sorts of problems and wrong conclusions.
     
  6. 4His_glory

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    No the one who actually goes is not the one who is the racist but the person in the pew who does not go because he fears the idea of being with people whom are seemingly different from him.

    The fact is that most of us have been infused with the idea that there even is a thing such as race since its part of our modern society.

    For example, if you walk into a room with all black people if you are white (or the opposite if you are black) what is the first thing you think of- I will confess that I see that I am in the minority. But in God´s eyes there is no difference we are all the same.

    If there are two churches that you feel you could worship at one white the other black, and you being white choose to drive by the black and go to the white church, which is 10 miles further down the road, you are letting the idea of race influence your judgement.

    And as far as race pulling apart the fabric of the Gospel. Its not that we can "destroy the Gospel" but rather that we are indeed minimizing the Gospel. If we believe that there exists biological race, then it is not a long jump to believe that not all race has inherited the same sin nature since there are different races. That is attacking the very Gospel itself.

    I grew up in the Detroit area. I know what racism is. Its a fear driven lifestyle that stems from the unbiblical idea that there exists biological races. Its that fear that can hinder our service for Christ.
     
  7. exscentric

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    I think that sells most Christians very short as well as the Gospel that you suggest saves but does not change.
     
  8. exscentric

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    "... racism is. Its a fear driven lifestyle that stems from the unbiblical idea that there exists biological races."

    What information do you base this on?

    Racism is fear driven.
    Racism stems from belief in "biological races" whatever those are.
     
  9. sister christian

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    I'm sorry, but I have to speak up on this. I cannot stay silent. As a teenager, in an IFB church, I was introduced to what was basically the doctrine of Ham by listening to a missionary teaching in our pulpit.

    He complained that they had been running printing presses there for so long and that they tried to teach the nationals how to do it, but that they could never get the hang of it, and they kept screwing it up, because they were just an inferior race and incapable of learning such skills. :tear:

    This was not ancient history, people. I'm not that old. This was in the 80's.
     
  10. exscentric

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    And how loudly did you speak up to the missionary?

    Not to be a bore, but noone said there has never been a case or a dozen of such things, but I think it was personal observations of two men that have spent many years in the ministry and that have known many missionaries.

    Of course there are knot heads that think they are orators when they are really toads :thumbs:
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Well, I never said there weren't any missionary racists. Just said I'd never met any, and I've literally met hundreds of missionaries on the field, in missionary conferences, at conferences of our own mission, etc. So the guy you met was a very rare bird, IMO. :type:
     
  12. Crabtownboy

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    I was stunned recently when an American SBC pastor visiting here said, "I would never ride on the Atlanta subway. It is full of black people."

    Racism is alive and well all over the world. We still have a long way to go in hearing what God has been saying about this for thousands of years.
     
  13. sister christian

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    I would wholeheartedly agree with you John. I've known many, many missionaries, and I've not known them to be racist at all. I think this particular one was the exception.

    Racism is not a mission board problem, or a denominational problem; it is a sin problem. And all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Not one of us is exempt from any given sin- not even a missionary. That is why we should pray for our missionaries!
     
  14. exscentric

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    "I was stunned recently when an American SBC pastor visiting here said, "I would never ride on the Atlanta subway. It is full of black people."

    "Racism is alive and well all over the world. We still have a long way to go in hearing what God has been saying about this for thousands of years.
    "

    I live in a largely mexican neighborhood and I would not go out at night unless I had to. Am I racist? No, I am a prudent person that wants to protect himself from the high crime rate in the neighborhood. I know neighborhoods where I would be careful about going out and they are white neighborhoods.

    Not riding the subway could well be the same situation.

    You might consider also what I heard on the news - blacks in a black neighborhood are getting very upset because whites are moving into their area.

    Racist? Maybe, maybe not you'd have to talk to them as you might have asked the sbc pastor why he said what he said, it might not have been racist at all - maybe it was.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    Well said. Racism is certainly a sin problem. We've often been discriminated against in Japan. On the other hand, I've had to quit reading most books in English on Japan because of the negativity. If I read books about some things Japan has done in the past, I find myself slipping into very negative thoughts about the Japanese--maybe even racism, I don't know.
     
  16. John of Japan

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    I've been meaning to comment on this from the OP: race, no, ethnicity, yes. Missionaries must examine cultures with the goal of best presenting the Gospel to the people and discipling them. Sometimes that means noting positive things in the culture, sometimes it means negative things. This is not racism, it is realism and in the long run, love.

    Note the following Scriptures in support of this:

    "12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth" (Titus 1:12-14).

    "19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you" (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
     
  17. 4His_glory

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    Amen John! I agree. If a person believes in race than he can not critically engage culture because it seems as if he is attacking the person. But when we view that we are ethnically different then we can counter the negative things with the truth and rejoice and enjoy the positive things. Great verses to support this as well.
    Thanks for your insight.
     
  18. Crabtownboy

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    He made other comments that left no doubt in my mind about other ethnic groups. If it was a matter of high crime a more appropriate statment would have been, " I will not ride XXXXX because of the high crime rate."

    Also, I've ridden the subway in Atlanta several times while visiting there and saw no problem at all. I have a friend who commutes to work daily on the Atlanta subway and he has never mentioned any problems.
     
  19. exscentric

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    " Also, I've ridden the subway in Atlanta several times while visiting there and saw no problem at all. I have a friend who commutes to work daily on the Atlanta subway and he has never mentioned any problems."

    Sad!

    " Also, I've ridden the subway in Atlanta several times while visiting there and saw no problem at all. I have a friend who commutes to work daily on the Atlanta subway and he has never mentioned any problems."

    Great!

    Guess I'm stuck on the race/ethnicity idea - them being separate and distinct, Merriam Webster mentions:

    "Race: 2 a: a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock b: a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics

    "Ethnicity: a particular ethnic affiliation or group"

    We do have races/ethnicities - there are different groups.

    Maybe I missed something???

     
  20. 4His_glory

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    Listen to the message if you ever have time. It may clear things up. He does a good job of showing there is a clear distinction between the idea of race and ethnicity because they are not the same thing.
     

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