Racial Inclusion in Christ

With the beginning of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament fondly known as “March Madness,” I’m reminded of a significant sports and societal event that occurred on this day.

On March 19, 1966, Texas Western College, now known as The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), defeated the University of Kentucky, 72-65, to win the National Championship. It was unique because it was the first time an all-black starting five had won the NCAA championship. The Kentucky Wildcats, coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp were an all white team.

When Don Haskins, a white man, was hired to coach the Miners he “raised some eyebrows” when he recruited 7 black players and 5 white players to compose his team. Since many teams at that time were all white and racial prejudice was too often the norm, Haskins’ team encountered unkind taunts and experienced racial hatred.

Western Texas’ journey to the 1966 NCAA championship was depicted in the 2006 film Glory Road, an inspiring movie although it contains some historical inaccuracies and misrepresentations.

While racial prejudice sadly still exists in the hearts of some, we have come a long way from those racially divided days. Not just in the area of sports, business and education, but in the Lord’s church as well. Honesty demands that we admit there has been racial prejudice even among Christians. Thankfully, times have changed and are continuing to do so.

Sunday I preached for an integrated church in South Carolina that is predominately composed of African-American members. Their preacher is white. I know of many racially diverse churches today both in the North and the South. Also, some are predominately white with an African-American preacher.

My African-American friend and preaching colleague, Benjamin Lee, was right when he said, “the way to heal America’s racial divide is with the gospel.” In the golden text of the Bible, Jesus affirmed, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn 3:16). The word “world” means people. All people. Regardless of national origin. Ethic background. Or skin color.

There’s a wonderful children’s song this speaks to this Truth.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.

Jesus died for all the children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus died for all the children
Of the world.

God is the creator of all people. We are all made in His image and after His likeness with a soul and a spirit that knows no distinctions of color (Gen 1:26). He made all people of “one blood” (Ax 17:26).

Furthermore, “in Christ” all racial barriers have been broken down. The Bible says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

The Gospel of Christ not only creates peace between man and God, but also between man and man. Like light, the Good News of Jesus dispels darkness and enlightens us in all areas of life including our relationships. Thus, unkind epitaphs, pejorative remarks, and racial slurs ought not to be named among those who wear the name of Christ.

Fortunately, the hope of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is becoming a reality in our country, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

May this conviction not only motivate us to share the Gospel with people of all races, but treat them with the equality that God demands and accept them “as one in Christ.” Brothers and sisters sharing fellowship in the same Family.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

6 Comments

Filed under Relationships

6 responses to “Racial Inclusion in Christ

  1. Unfortunately for us in America we have been deceived by the devil into believing there is a such thing as race. Yes people decend of different nationalities, but what if one is born in America an have no true knowledge of the country one has originated from. Do we just call them black or African Americans because there skin is Brown I think the devil has been winning that battle. As I dont know an don’t really care where my ancestors were from I’m an American citizen but more than that I’m a citizen of Gods kingdom. That is all that matters. Yes there are those that perpetuate hate thru divisions like this but it is the work of the devil to keep our focus off our Lord and Savior. So try to see yourself only as a child of God out to convert every lost soul an dont accept the hateful divides placed in the hearts of the lost to keep us misfocused.

  2. Willard Brockinton

    All christians share the sane precious blood of our savior Jesus Christ and are all children of our Father above. Very good article.

  3. Dave T

    This was also shortly after Ken Weliever finished his high school career at the Cascade High School

  4. Murphy Priestley

    Great article Ken! I preached for a racially mixed church in Polkton, N>C.
    for 19 years. It was a pleasure working with so many good people in that
    congrgation!

  5. Pingback: THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS | ThePreachersWord

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