Recently, I thought it might be beneficial to take a look at a recent post I had put together that featured a quote from John Adams. It went on to assert four basic ideas that you’re hearing circulated either directly or indirectly in the press, as far as the mindset and philosophical justification for the violence and take over of both Seattle and Minneapolis as a response to the death of George Floyd.
Here’s what I came up with:
Question #1) Among those who served in the First Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention were a large number of slave owners. That being the case, anything they produced is therefore racist and needs to be dismissed.
Answer: The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not gauged according to the character flaws of the individuals who created them. Rather they are evaluated according to the substance of the documents themselves.
Bear in mind also that the paradigms you would discredit are the very frameworks that give you the rights you are exercising in this very moment.
From a biblical standpoint, we revere the Bible as the Word of God not because it was written by a number of individuals, some of whom were murderers and bigots. It’s the Divine Substance of God’s Word that qualifies it as worthy of attention (2 Tim 3:16-17)
Question #2) Within the ranks of those who profess to be followers of Christ are individuals who are bigots in the context of both race and gender. This therefore defines Christianity as a cruel and racist doctrine that needs to be eliminated from the public square.
Answer: Unless the abuses committed by those who call themselves Christians can be validated by the whole of Scripture, you are looking at a distortion of Christianity and not an expression of it.
Just because someone quotes Scripture doesn’t mean that they abide by it. Satan provides a great example of that in Matthew 4 when he attempted to get Christ to make some concessions by quoting Ps 91:11-12 out of context. Furthermore, a believer’s credibility is established by both knowing the Word of God and correctly applying it (Ps 119:9, 11; 2 Tim 2:15). One without the other inevitably leads to a form of evil that is either intentional or oblivious, but either way it’s toxic.
Question #3) Law Enforcement is littered with authority figures who abuse the power associated with their badge to murder and demean minorities. Subsequently the legal system as it exists right now needs to be abolished.
Answer: Isolated instances of police brutality are not representative of all those who are sworn to serve and protect any more than isolated instances of crimes committed by minorities are representative of all people of color.
You don’t evaluate a system according to the way it’s abused. Paul was constantly reaching out to the different churches admonishing them to be aware of how certain individuals would try to infiltrate their ranks and cause problems. In that regard, it wasn’t the church that was the problem, it was the individuals within the church (Rom 16:17).
Question #4) The opportunities of Capitalism exist only for those who have the means to get an education and secure a marketable skill. Prosperity is therefore exclusive to privileged Caucasians and in that regard, it needs to be replaced with something more fair and attainable.
Answer: Capitalism is a staircase, not an escalator. Prosperity requires effort and wise decision making. If those two dynamics are not in place, then you’re trying to build a fire with things that don’t burn and your problem isn’t with a system as much as it’s your strategy.
The Bible command both hard work (Prov 6:6) and wisdom (Prov 23:19). Just because you’re going the speed limit, doesn’t mean you’re going in the right direction any more than running fast means you’re accomplishing anything if you’re running in circles…
…and that’s assuming you’re running at all.
41% of minorities drop out of High School. Even if the first two years of college can be made available for free, those opportunities are a moot point without a diploma. You can succeed without an education, but not without a marketable skill (Prov 22:29; 28:19).
Finally, to apologize for something you haven’t done is to answer a fool according to his folly (Prov 26:4). However some would be drawn to the idea of conceding the truth in order to facilitate a more civil discussion is neither wise nor Christlike:
“Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.” (Prov 28:23)
We are commanded to love one another (Jn 13:34-25). But we’re also commanded to rebuke evil (Eph 5:11). If we fail to do so, we’ve twisted Christ’s love into a dynamic that agitates the wound as opposed to one that stops the bleeding.
What we’re facing right now as a nation requires the actions documented in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (prayer and humility). But it also requires the discernment referenced in 1 Chron 12:32:
“from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do…”
…and 2 Timothy 2:15:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)
Failing to apply the Word of God to the whole of life, including politics and current events, is to ignore the all-inclusive dynamic that is repeatedly referenced in Scripture (Dt 29:9; Prov 4:23; 2 Cor 9:8; Col 3:17). It’s what keeps our lives on track and it’s what will put out the fires that are consuming our cities.