The Gospel for White Supremacists
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:12
It is difficult for me, and perhaps for many followers of Jesus, to remain within this tension about which Paul is speaking. We fight against the demonic rulers and dark powers of the world, not against the humans through which that evil is made manifest. And yet, as the events of Charlottesville exploded across our social media timelines, it became nearly impossible to discern between the dark powers of evil and the white supremacists through which that evil came. As a foster father with two African-American children in my home, I felt a personal rage welling up within me, a readiness to fight to protect these two kiddos whom I have grown to love. While I have always found the evil of white supremacy to be particularly vicious, putting black babies to bed in my own home has created a heightened sense of urgency for me.
Even though my family has not been directly assaulted in any way, I have seen the vileness of white supremacists online as they have spewed their hatred at ethnically-mixed families in general, and white families with black children in particular. To see it manifested in the real world, as it was so brazenly this past weekend in Charlottesville, activates a fighting instinct within me. (And I have never been a fighter.)
This instinct to physically fight white supremacists, however, is neither constructive for our society nor reflective of the way of Jesus. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood people, even when those people are trying to pick a fight by insulting our most deeply held values by denigrating entire ethnic groups. Instead, our struggle is against the systemic evils of our society – racism, in this case – that entrap our fellow image-bearers of God into their broken ideology and dark philosophy. Racism is the invention of Satan and his fellow evil spiritual forces, for they lust to divide humanity into competing subgroups, driving us to devour and destroy each other. They do this, as they do everything, with lies; particularly, they do this with the lie that a human’s value is dependent upon their ethnic identity, and this lie’s equal if not opposite twin, that all the world is out to destroy my particular ethnic group. Racism is the ironic combination of ethnic arrogance and perceived ethnic victimization. Pride and fear, convenient footholds for the devil’s lies.
Racism is the ironic combination of ethnic arrogance and perceived ethnic victimization.
The only hope for white supremacists is the only hope any of us have – to defect from the devil’s army and join with Jesus. Salvation, properly understood, is the eschatological (last days) victory of Jesus over the forces of evil, including the power of death, that marks the great, final turn in redemption history from this fallen world to God’s new creation. We are saved, not from the judgment of Jesus, but in it, because we have joined, by faith, his kingdom, fighting alongside him against the kingdom of darkness. The Gospel for white supremacists is that there is a power and glory far greater than your perceived power and glory of whiteness – it is the power and glory of the crucified and risen Messiah, Jesus Christ, who is coming again to judge the living and the dead, and who will set up his eternal reign in a new heaven and new earth. And it is those who call on his name by faith and who follow him in obedience, who will reign with him on his throne. And this group of people will be made up of members of every language, tribe, and nation on the earth – every tone of skin and every ethnic background will be represented in the glorious, eschatological Church, who will reign forever as the bride of Christ.
The Gospel for white supremacists is that there is a power and glory far greater than your perceived power and glory of whiteness – it is the power and glory of the crucified and risen Messiah, Jesus Christ.
You may rage and rail against the coming kingdom of Christ, but it will only be to your destruction. Repent of your arrogance and fear and flee from the army of Satan! This is your only hope to escape the coming judgment of God upon all who do evil. He has provided the way out for you, but you must humble yourself and obey him. Open your eyes, for you have been duped by the deceptive schemes of Satan. There is no hope, no power, no glory in your false dreams of white supremacy. They will become your nightmare if you do not turn from them today. Repent and call out for Jesus. Turn from your life of sin, and he will save you.