Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Politics, Race and Evangelism

'Tis, of course, the season for politics. And the more you listen to those who are passionate about their candidates, the issue of race often comes up. And to say this is a highly charged election process this year would be an understatement. To that, I'm sure both sides would agree. And from the human angle, it is easy to get caught up in the discussion.

But you know, with all this comes great opportunity for the Gospel. God gives us these things to show us doors He has opened.

Let's cut to the chase. Before God, we are all sons of Adam apart from Christ. And in the physical sense, we all share Adam as our ultimate physical ancestor. It all started with Adam and Eve, in the Garden. They were given the charge to multiply and fill the earth. We started with the original genetic code. And yes, there was familial intermarriage. It was so by necessity. But the genetic pool was intact at that point. All the information for all the different peoples we now see were in that original code. I say this because there will inevitably be someone who comes along and says "Where did Cain get his wife from?". The short answer is he probably married a sister or other close relative. And that was ok. The "genetic pool" had not yet suffered from this and God had not yet prohibited the practice.

In the truest sense you and I as well as any other human being on this planet regardless of nationality or any other measure ultimately share the same common original parents. This being true, there is absolutely no room whatsoever for anyone to differentiate between individuals based on what we (mistakenly) call "race" (there is only one "race", and that is the human race. What we refer to as "race" has to do with genetic differences due to various mutations (loss of genetic information) over time). And of course, we all stand before a holy God.

Now, I know all this sounds rudimentary. But I add this because there are others who would argue that the "black race" began with the curse of Cain, etc. And that cannot be shown from the Scriptures. I've heard it all over and over again. It's all strained argument and conjecture. I won't go there any more.

And what of Jesus? He said to love the Lord with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves, did He not? There were no qualifiers. And we love ourselves by meeting our own needs as we see them. So, likewise, we are to meet the needs of others as we become aware of them.

So, what does this have to do with evangelism? Simple. We're all lost outside of Christ. And when race comes up as a topic (as it will, regardless of the election results), we should be able to look people in the eye, smile and answer any questions regarding "racism" with a statement such as "the amount of melanin in a person's skin is irrelevant. We are all related to each other through our first parents, Adam". People, this should be an exciting time for us! God will be opening doors of evangelism! So, just say something like this, knowing that it is disarming because this election has been so racially charged. You'll be saying that "race" is irrelevant, which is disarming. And you'll be telling them why it's irrelevant. No one can argue with that -- unless, of course, they prefer prejudice.

You'll get one of three possible responses. Either a person will show interest in that statement, or they will laugh it off. Or they will just say "whatever". But you will have the opportunity to take that moment and use it to start a conversation about the things of God. And you will get a bit of insight as to where that person is.

Here's the kind of statements I hear that would be show an open door:

1. "If so and so doesn't get elected, it's because of racism".

2. "You know, I don't think race should make a difference. It's only skin pigmentation. And that is irrelevant to me."

1. "You really believe that?"

2. "Yes. What I'm saying is, we're all related through our first parents, Adam and Eve."

And that is a start. From there you can get a feel of how the person will react to the mention of spiritual things. If they withdraw and look at you weird, don't worry about it. And don't push it. But if they act at all interested, you know you have an open door. Then ask them "Do you ever think about things like this much?". They probably will say they rarely do. Most people are like that. Then at that point, all you have to do is say something like "You certainly seem like a nice guy (or lady, etc.), would you consider yourself to be a good person?" And from there, you can get their response (which is usually "yes, I think I'm a pretty good person") and ask them to take the "good" test and take them through the Gospel. Learn the Way of the Master. It'll keep you on track!

I am definitely a conservative. I'm fiscally conservative. I'm socially conservative. I'm pro-life to the core. My vote this year will be based on those values. And I really wish Alan Keyes was running this year. I was excited when he ran in 1996. Too bad he didn't make it.

But regardless of my political views and the Biblical basis for them, I have a responsibility before God to remember that we are all related physically to Adam and that without Christ and Christ alone, all are lost.

And God charges us to take the Gospel to all ethnic groups for the sake of His Glory.

Yes, this is a particularly stressful time, politically. I've heard statements that warn of "blood in the streets" given certain outcomes. But make no mistake, God has put us here "...for such a time as this." May we seize every opportunity that the Lord gives us in the days to come.

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