By: Pastor Jeremiah Greever
For most people who know me, you know that I’m not a reactionary person. I try very hard to refrain from quickly lashing out against words or events that I perceive to be incorrect or inflammatory. I personally believe there to be a certain level of wisdom in frequently taking a step back, considering the situation and the facts as a whole, spending time in prayer, and finally responding.
The events of this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA, stand paramount for us to honestly consider. To be quite honest, due to a busy weekend, it was not until late Saturday evening that I was even made aware of the events in Virginia. Whether right or wrong, before rushing to make an instant judgment claim, I decided to not devote intentional time in our church service to formally address the weekend’s events. Instead, I gave time in one of our corporate prayers to pray for the victims and their families, and for God to reconcile hearts that visibly demonstrate hatred towards others. I prayed that racism would be denounced and rebuked, and that God’s people would faithfully express both the love and truth of the Gospel to peoples on both sides of the protesting aisle.
Now that I’ve had another day to consider the continuing racial disparity happening in our country and even here in our city, I feel it necessary to give a pastoral response. As a church, our mission and goal in this life is to continually be faithful and obedient to the Gospel. We strive to make Christ central to everything that we do and say. In our church, we have numerous differences and varied viewpoints about nearly everything in this life, except one – personally believing that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Therefore, as a church who is fully committed to getting the Gospel right, we must denounce any and all sin that is prevalent in our country and in our communities. White superiority, neo-Nazism, white nationalism, and racism on every level is the very antithesis of the Gospel message. For those of any race to look down, discredit, or minimalize another race simply for their color or culture is anti-biblical, is not from God, and is evil in its very form.
At First Baptist Church St. John, our desire is to show the world Christ. The vitriol racism and hatred from this past weekend is a firm reminder that as a church, we must remain resolute in our striving for Gospel unity. The answer to the racial problems in our beloved country can only be answered by the love, peace, hope, and unity that comes from being a part of the family of God. Therefore, we’re committed to proclaiming the good news of Jesus, we’re devoted to living lives obediently to Christ, and we’re resolute in our opposition to all forms of sin that attack the truth of Scripture. We stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ of every race, weeping when they weep, and encouraging always with the good news of our Savior. Our hope will always and forever be in the restoring and reconciling name of Jesus Christ.
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10