Bearing God's image and racial reconciliation

January 27, 2018

Sunday, Feb. 12, we observe Racial Reconciliation Sunday, a time when we come together before the Lord and our brothers and sisters and work toward being more united in Christ.

It is heart breaking to think about the racial injustice in our nation’s history. Even today, I know that racism is an issue that continues to detrimentally affect so many. We should pray that God will pour His healing balm upon the wounds and atrocities that have been caused by racial strife — throughout the world, our nation, and in our own state.

I firmly believe that racism goes directly against every aspect of the gospel — and it is sinful. Our Lord desires that we love each other as Jesus loved us, and that each person should “esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3).

For this reason, each of us should look to our Heavenly Father this Sunday and ask Him to point out anything in our attitudes that could be a barrier or stumbling block to working together with those of other races. All human beings were made in God’s image, and if we do not show love and respect to an individual from any ethnic group, we fail to bring glory to our Lord in this area of our life and gospel testimony. All individuals who have accepted Christ as Savior are one through the blood of Christ and in the bond of Christ. Our Lord desires that we see beyond the differences in skin color, languages, customs and cultures in our acceptance of others. It is time that we confess our sin of any discriminative prejudice that we secretly harbor toward others, even if we are this way because we were raised in a Southern culture that once gave approval.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” — Genesis 1:27

Let us celebrate the fact that God chose to create different races and cultures! Chris Green of The Summit Church has in the past encouraged Southern Baptists to strive for oneness, rather than sameness, and I hope we will all put his words into action this Sunday.

Some years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) formally and publically denounced racism, saying that “we affirm the Bible’s teaching that every human life is sacred, and is of equal and immeasurable worth, made in God’s image, regardless of race or ethnicity (Genesis 1:27), and that, with respect to salvation through Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for (we) are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).”

I am grateful for the progress we have made in destroying racial hatred, but I am painfully aware that we still have quite a distance to go. There is still much work to do. Will you pray for racial reconciliation this Sunday? Ask the Lord to use you personally to help advance our churches toward racial reconciliation. Pray that we will be able to see each other the way that God sees us — as image bearers of God, and as brothers and sisters in Christ regardless of our ethnic differences.

by Milton A. Hollifield Jr.
Executive-Director Treasurer  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Race: A gospel issue

The book of Ephesians has a lot to offer the church in the present day and age. Chapters 1-3 explain what Christians should believe, followed by chapters 4-6 which detail how to rightly apply the gospel to the Christian life. Ephesians 2:11-16 carries specific importance regarding one issue that majorly confronts the church today — race.

Undivided: Your church and racial reconciliation

In a time of much division and hostility within our churches, the North American Mission Board has provided a free resource that aims to move congregations from low points of ignorance and struggle, to genuine gospel community. Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta and J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh and newly elected president of the SBC, come together to talk about division along party lines, poverty lines and, especially, racial lines.

How to promote racial reconciliation in your church

It’s easy to think that because we are 50 years past the Civil Rights Movement, we are now in a place to move on. Because we are now united under law, let’s work even harder to be united under Christ. We have not arrived, and therefore ask the Lord to give you eyes to see the work yet to be done.

7 ways to pray for racial reconciliation

Several pastors from across North Carolina contributed the following prayer points as we prepare our hearts to pray for racial reconciliation in our state, nation and world. These prayer points are also available as a free download for use in your church using the links below.

Strive for racial reconciliation

North Carolina Baptists were among at least five state conventions that adopted resolutions denouncing racism during their respective annual meetings last fall, joining Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia.


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