In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about the election of Pastor Fred Luter of Louisiana as the Southern Baptist Convention’s new president. We certainly congratulate Pastor Luter. He is a friend of AiG.
Pastor Luter’s election generated some interesting national news items and was described as “historic.” But why?
On Fox News, we read the following:
The Rev. Fred Luter Jr. was elected president of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination on Tuesday at its annual meeting. He is the pastor at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.The reason this election was called historic really had to do with the shade of Pastor Luter’s skin! Why is this such a big issue?
The historic move comes as the denomination tries to expand its appeal beyond its traditional white Southern base. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/19/southern-baptists-elect-1st-black-leader/#ixzz1yMtaTH8t)
No doubt there has been (and still is) prejudice and racism in certain churches across the USA—particularly in regard to what is called by many people an issue between those with “white” skin and those with “black” skin. In the past (and I contend this is still true in certain instances but less so), congregations have divided over the issue of skin “color” and what they call “race.”
I would like to suggest that such problems of prejudice and discrimination could have been avoided if the church had taught people the true history of the world as outlined in Genesis. From 35 years’ experience in this ministry, I have found that the majority of Christian leaders have not taught the Genesis history as they should have because of the influence of Darwinian evolution or millions of years. Many pastors and Christian academics compromise evolutionary ideas with Genesis—others just avoid Genesis (particularly the first eleven chapters) as they are confused because of what is taught in the culture concerning millions of years, evolution, big bang, etc.
As a result of such compromise that has been going on for many years (since the 1800s), or not teaching Genesis as true history, or avoiding it altogether, the church did not provide a correct foundation for dealing with racism and prejudice in the culture. In fact, many church leaders fueled this issue because of what they taught concerning supposed “races” of people—some supposedly being lower and some higher—based on Darwin’s ideas.
I contend that the church should have been leading the way in ensuring that racism and prejudice did not become such an issue, had it taught its people and society as a whole the true history in Genesis as God has had written down for us. Sadly, it has been the secular world that has been leading the scientific charge by doing real research (such as the human genome project) and finding out there is only one human race—based on the study of genetics (which was based on observational (operational) science we can all agree on).
But wait a minute! If we take God’s Word as written in Genesis, then we are all descendants of one man and one woman—Adam and Eve. That means there is only one biological race! Also, the biblical account of the Tower of Babel makes it clear that different cultures (people groups) arose from the one human gene pool as a result of groups separating from each other (because of the confusion of the languages). Thus based on Scripture, the church should have been teaching all along there is only one biological race—the human race! Or, we could say “Adam’s race.” In fact, God so loved the world that He sent His Son who stepped into history to be a member of Adam’s race. Since all people have sinned (in Adam) and therefore would be cut off from God, the eternal Son of God put on human flesh, thus becoming the God-man, the “'last Adam”—our relative—to die and pay the penalty for sin, and offer a free gift of salvation to those of Adam’s race. That’s why the gospel is for every tribe and nation.
Sadly, Charles Darwin in his book called The Descent of Man falsely claimed that the Caucasians were further from the apes than the Australian Aborigines (and certain dark-skinned people from Africa and so on). This did fuel a particular form of racism—that still lingers today and sadly, even in some churches.
In 1925, one of the biology textbooks (by Hunter) used in the public schools in America stated, “At the present time there exist upon the earth five races … the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”
Many of the students who learned this wrong information went to church, but sadly, most churches didn’t teach the Genesis history as they should. No wonder some grew up in our churches with false ideas that fueled prejudice and racism. (By the way, we have never said that evolution causes racism, but evolutionary ideas have certainly fueled it.)
Not only is there only one human race (one biological race of humans), all humans have the same basic skin color. Research over the years has shown humans have one basic color because of a pigment called melanin. Melanin give us a brown color. Although there are some other pigments and other factors, all humans are colored people, but they have different shades of the one basic color.
I sometimes like to do an experiment at our conferences by placing a white piece of paper against my skin and then asking the audience if I am white! They laugh, realizing I am not. And if you placed a black sheet of paper against someone with very dark skin, you would find they are not black but a very dark brown. It is not a matter of what color a person’s skin is but what shade.
Remember that chorus we used to sing in Sunday school? “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow black and white, all are precious in His sight.” Well for years this song has taught children an incorrect view of a human’s skin color. Really, we should change the words to something like, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, shades of brown from dark to light, all are precious in His sight.”
It doesn’t matter whether we are dealing with political elections or elections of presidents of church denominations; we should not vote for someone because they are Republican, Democrat, Independent, “black,” or “white”—as Christians we need to judge what people believe and teach against the absolute authority of the Word of God, and vote accordingly.
I challenge the church to begin leading the way in dealing with so-called “racial” issues in our culture by beginning with God’s Word in Genesis and teaching the true history of the world. That is, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve (we are all one biological race), but because of sin, there are now two spiritual races (the saved and the unsaved). And no matter the shape our ears or eyes, or the shade of our skin, every human being needs to understand that they are sinners in need of salvation. We have got to stop judging people by minor outside differences! Secular scientists have found the differences that set people apart are cultural, not racial. They have discovered that the differences in our outward appearance (such as eye shape, skin shade, etc.) represent a very small percentage of our genes!
Remember what happened when Samuel came to anoint the King? He didn’t know it was to be David. But from what we read in Scripture, he looked at one of David’s brothers—he looked at his appearance—and thought he would make a good King. But what did God say to Samuel:
“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)I congratulate Pastor Luter for his election as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. And why? Because He is a man of God who believes and teaches God’s Word as the absolute authority. And because he has shown leadership as per the qualifications of such a teacher and leader in the Scripture. I pray God will bless him as he leads the millions of Southern Baptists in reaching this needy world with the message of the authority of God’s Word and the gospel.
If you want to read more about the message of “One Human Race,” then I encourage you to read the following articles from the AiG website:
“One Race” by Dr. Georgia Purdom.
“Adam + Eve = All Skin Tones?” (This article includes a four-minute powerful animated video that details the fact all humans are one race and have the one basic skin color.)
I also direct you to the book, One Race, One Blood, and I have a one-hour video teaching on the topic of “One Race, One Blood” from my new Foundations series. You can find out more information about this video on the online store.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.