The Pastor’s Perspective by Pastor Mark Anderson Lutheran Church of the Master, Corona del Mar, CA
Regular readers of the Pastor’s Perspective will know that I do
not make a habit of allowing my remarks to be driven by cultural trends, issues, and fads. There is, after all, nothing redemptive or especially edifying about the culture. We do not need what the culture offers. The culture does need what the Church proclaims: the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. One current story, however, has gotten my attention; the story of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
‘Justice is simply the advantage of the stronger’, so said the Greek Thrasymachus. Those in power (pick your color) inevitably believe themselves to be standing on the high ground of justice. Any rational assessment of the world will bring you to this conclusion. This also applies to leaders in religious organizations who cloak themselves in the mantle of ‘prophetic ministry’. The fact that the liberal theological tradition claims this mantle, both in black and white churches, does not justify their skewed view of the Christian faith.
In this regard let me state that I believe it to be inherently un-Christian to advance any church’s identity primarily on ethnic, racial or political grounds. When churches do this they betray the truly inclusive message of the cross and sell the birthright for a cheap porridge of narrow, bigoted religion, however righteous they percieve their cause to be. They also fail to see themselves as full-fledged partners in the huiman fellowship of sin, as much in need of forgiveness as the neighbor they excoriate.
So, if you want to build a religious institution around justice grievances and hammer away at this group or that, go ahead. But please, do not sully the work of the Savior by calling yourself a church who claims to speak in the name of the One who willingly gave up His life for sinners. The God I know takes no pleasure in pastors or congregations, white, black, green or purple, who take delight in pointing out the speck in the brother’s eye while ignoring the log in their own. The God I know takes no pleasure in churches that allow topical issues and justice grievances to supplant the glorious Gospel of His Son’s bloody cross and glorious resurrection.
So, to Rev. Wright and ANYONE else who claims to speak for God in Christ, here is some advice:
The next time you have an opportunity to stand in front of a congregation of sinners (any color will do), tell them their sin is forgiven for Jesus’ sake, for that is our message when all is said and done. And then lead them in this (probably infuriating) variation on an old song:
‘ Jesus loves the little bigots, all the bigots of the world,
red and yellow black and white they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little bigots of the world.
If you can’t sing this and mean it, you have not heard the Gospel.
Grace to you,
Pastor Mark Anderson
What say you about Rev. Wright’s preaching on the topic of race?
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