如今，那些想要解决这个问题的基督教领袖，往往公开呼吁那些从来没有种族仇恨的人，去承认种族歧视的罪行，因为他们的祖先可能是种族主义者。这是很普遍的做法：他们要求白人基督徒结出悔改的果子，不是因为他们有种族歧视的实际行为，乃是因为他们拥有“白人特权”而受益。似乎，他们的肤色自动令他们对过去的种族仇恨责无旁贷。一位有影响力的福音派领袖，在一篇题为“我们等待着为刺杀金恩博士而忏悔”的文章中表示，白人基督徒必须承认他们与父母和祖父母共谋，“杀害一个只宣扬爱和正义的人”（指金恩博士Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.）。在此之前，他说，教会的种族和解，甚至是不可能开始的。
Is the Controversy over”Social Justice” Really Necessary?
by John MacArthur
August 27, 2018
I do not relish controversy, and I particularly dislike engaging in polemical battles with other evangelical Christians. But as my previous posts in this series demonstrate, when the gospel is under attack from within the visible church, such controversy is necessary.
And if it seems fierce disagreements within the churchhave been the rule rather than the exception, that’s because relentless attackson the gospel from people professing fidelity to Christ have come in anunending parade since the very beginning of the church age. There has neverbeen an extended period in church history when it has not been necessary forfaithful voices to mount a vigorous defense of one or more cardinal biblicalprinciples.
None of the controversies I’ve described in my previousposts sprang up suddenly. The lordship controversy, for example, was a conflictmany of us saw coming more than a decade before I wrote The Gospel According toJesus. The twisted gospel of the prosperity preachers has its roots in thePentecostal movement going back to the early twentieth century. Normally we cansee storm clouds brewing and anticipate where the next major assault is comingfrom.
But occasionally a new threat to the simplicity orclarity of the gospel seems to erupt with stunning force and suddenness. Thecurrent controversy over “social justice” and racism is an example of that.Four years ago, I would not have thought it possible for Bible-believingevangelicals to be divided over the issue of racism. As Christians we standtogether in our affirmation of the second great commandment (“You shall loveyour neighbor as yourself”—Leviticus 19:18). We therefore stand together against everyhint of racial animus.
Racism is a stain on American history that has leftshame, injustice, and horrible violence in its wake. The institution of slaveryand a costly civil war left a deep racial divide and bred bitter resentment onevery side. No sensible person would suggest that all the vestiges of thoseevils were totally erased by the civil rights movement of the mid-twentiethcentury. Civil rights legislation now guards the legal principle of equalrights for all Americans, but no law can change the heart of someone who is filledwith prejudice or bitterness.
Thankfully, however, much progress has been made. Racialrelations in secular America are not what they were even fifty years ago. TheAmerican attitude has changed. White supremacy and all other expressions ofpurposeful, willful, or ideological racism are almost universally condemned.
As Christians we know that the human heart is evil, soundoubtedly there are still people who secretly harbor animosity againstethnicities other than their own. But any open expression of acrimony, illwill, or deliberate antagonism across ethnic lines will be scorned andemphatically rejected across the whole spectrum of mainstream American lifetoday.
Of course, people everywhere still tend to be obliviousto or inconsiderate of customs, traditions, community values, and ethnicdifferences outside their own culture. Culture clash is a universal problem,not a uniquely American quandary—and it’s not necessarily an expression ofethnic hostility. But Americans’ contempt for racial bigotry is now so acutethat even accidental cultural or ethnic insensitivity is regularly met with thesame resentment as blind, angry racism—and even a simple social gaffe is likelyto be treated the same as bigotry. There are people—increasing numbers ofthem—so obsessed with this issue that they seem able to find proof of racism inpractically everything that is said or done by anyone who doesn’t share theirworldview.
I understand when fallen, worldly people filled withresentment lash out at others that way. I don’t understand why Bible-believingChristians would take up that cause. I thought the evangelical church wasliving out true unity in Christ without regard for race. That has certainlybeen my experience in every church I’ve ever been part of, and it’s also what Ihave seen in the wider evangelical world. I don’t know of any authenticallyevangelical church where people would be excluded or even disrespected becauseof their ethnicity or skin color. Just last Sunday night—as we do everymonth—we received about a hundred new members into Grace Church. It was anothertestimony to God’s love crossing all ethnic lines, as the group was composed ofHispanics, Filipinos, Chinese, Ugandans, Nigerians, Mongolians, Koreans,Ukrainians, Armenians, Lithuanians, Russians, Austrians, people of Arabicdescent, as well as black and white Americans.
As Christians we are reconciled with God and united withChrist. To understand that doctrine is to be reconciled with one another. Thisis a major emphasis in all the Bible’s teaching about forgiving one another asGod has forgiven us. Christians should not be the ones dividing over race in aracially charged environment. We are the peacemakers and the lovers of all men.We don’t seek vengeance. We forgive seventy times seven.
And yet, as the issue of racial division has become moreand more a focus in the secular academy and in the news media, evangelicalseager to engage the culture have taken up the issue. Unfortunately, many whohave spoken on this issue have simply echoed the wisdom of this world ratherthan addressing the issue in a truly gospel-centered way. As a result,rancorous discourse over ethnic differences has eclipsed the gospel and dividedthe church—even among those evangelicals who might be most likely to self-describeas “gospel-centered Christians.”
It’s quite common these days for Christian leadersaddressing this issue to call for people who have never harbored a racistthought to confess the guilt of racism because their ancestors may have beenracists. Expressions of repentance have been demanded of white evangelicals forno actual transgression, but because they are perceived to have benefited from“white privilege.” Supposedly, their skin color automatically makes themculpable for the racism of the past. One influential evangelical leader, in anarticle titled “We Await Repentance for Assassinating Dr. King,” suggested thatracial reconciliation in the church cannot even start until white Christiansconfess their parents’ and grandparents’ complicity in “murdering a man whoonly preached love and justice” (meaning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.).
So by this view of “social justice,” a person’s skincolor might automatically require a public expression of repentance—not merelyfor the evils of his ancestors’ culture, but also for specific crimes he cannotpossibly have been guilty of.
There’s nothing remotely “just” about that idea, andcertainly nothing related to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The answer to everyevil in every heart is not repentance for what someone else may have done, butrepentance for our own sins, including hatred, anger, bitterness, or any othersinful attitude or behavior.
As Christians committed to the authority of Scripture andthe truth of the gospel, we have better answers than the world could ever giveto the problems of racism, injustice, human cruelty, and every other societalevil. We have the cross of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit who grows andleads us in all love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control (Galatians5:22-23).
In the days to come, I want to discuss those answers, andspecifically how Scripture says we should respond when we suffer wrongly at thehands of unrighteous people, corrupt governments, or hostile persecutors. TheNew Testament’s answer to that dilemma is not the least bit obscure ormysterious.