Seven reasons why I do not join the popular, secular fight against racism!

Seven reasons why I do not join the popular, secular fight against racism!

rolando-theodor-johnSeven reasons why I do not join the popular, secular fight against racism!

Yes, I write this as a white man, who has been a racist in the past, who seeks to experience gospel grace to fight internal racism in the present, and who believes that the gospel alone can resolve the evil of the human heart which fosters racism. Here are seven reasons why I do not join the popular, secular, fight against racism.

  1. I do not believe we can have redeemed structures and institutions within society without having redeemed individuals. The conversion of Nicodemus, the religious leader, and Matthew, the tax collector, are good examples for me of how Jesus engaged the evil religious and political structures of his day
  2. The depersonalization of evil by focusing on systemic evil undercuts and confuses the purpose of the gospel which is to redeem sinners and bring them together in one body. Systemic evil exists only because there are individuals who embody and institutionalize that evil. Whether that embodiment of evil is depravity or demonic influence, it is still individuals who foster that evil. Temporal societies and institutions are not redeemed; individuals are.
  3. We do not wrestle with and defeat individuals, institutions, principalities and powers through political and societal means. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly uses of power through protest, riot, or legislation, but the gospel declaration, commitment, and assurance that Jesus Christ has triumphed over the powers of evil
  4. The energy and resources given to battle the symptoms of evil, such as racism, dilute the mission of the church to make disciples of all nations. I do not believe there is a better answer for racism than making disciples and nurturing churches that unite a diversity of peoples in Christ.
  5. I do not desire to promote and participate in a narrative amplified by those who reject the Lordship of Christ and do not reflect the grace of God. My narrative seeks to be gospel-centered, grace-oriented, God-focused.
  6. I am committed to the church of Jesus Christ, which is alone is a counter-kingdom with structures that should reflect the grace of God. I have the joy of being a part of Grace Church of Philly where the gospel is bringing together whites, Afro-Americans, Latinos, East and West Africans and more.
  7. I cannot join with others in a battle when we do not see a common enemy, do not have a common commander, and have a different war manual.

On September 10, 1970 I came to understand the great love of God for me, a sinner and a rebel. That evening I received God’s forgiveness and a new life through Jesus Christ, who died in my place and rose again to offer forgiveness and new life. I have been senior pastor for over 30 years planting two churches in Buckingham, PA and Queens, NY and serving two other churches in Brooklyn, NY and Roslyn, PA. I am currently the lead pastor at Grace Church of Philly.


  1. THANK you John,the article is an amazing eye opener.Something to think about.
    your friend in Christ Bob Johnson

  2. shanay Williams : September 24, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Amen pastor John Davis we as God people have to have enough Godfidence to love despite the evil that surround us all
    That’s true love of Christ
    To love the Lord God
    With all our mind’s, and all our heart’s and to love our neighbor’s as ourselves
    Together through the Will of God we can end racism once and for all…
    God bless

  3. Given that Mark 16:15 commands the spreading of the good news, what happens when the good news is muddied by the messenger. If Christians are too abstain from all appearance of evil, what happens when brazen white supremacists and evangelicals share an ideology on how this country should be lead? Could that impede the gospel as the messenger is connected to the message? Matthew 12:30 certainly is not a call for neutrality so by not choosing a side, you’ve chosen a side. Or are we just heeding Romans 13:1-5 and saying agents of the government are always correct like when Saul oversaw the stoning of Stephen?

    • The church of Jesus Christ fights all sin, including racism, by preaching the gospel that changes human hearts. We see the problem and solution of sin through the eyes of Scriptures not through the eyes of the media nor through the eyes of secular narratives.

      • The attempt to be in the world but not of it may be valid yet the secular narrative of history is one that the church must grapple with it if it aims to successfully spread the good news. The church cannot both live in its own reality and be effective in its mission.

        Has the church of Jesus Christ, through it’s 2,000 year history has always fought the sin of racism? Certainly this is true of individuals within the church, but on an institutional history there may some lapses in that statement.

        One could easily say that the solutions are found in the scriptures if we all heed Paul’s call to the Thessalonians to abstain from all appearance of evil. However, as human’s with our bias’ we all have a different definition of evil. For example, while this speaker is full of Bible quotes and conviction, I think the aim is evil and and wouldn’t endorse the same social direction or national leadership endorsed by this group:

        The unfortunate thing is that by definition racism is a sin committed by institutions, not individuals. Individuals may facilitate the sin but it is institutions that must change in order to purge the earth of this sin. It can not merely be done in the hearts of humans.

        “If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power. Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.” — Stokely Carmichael

        • As a white man in America, I see myself as inheriting the benefits of the sins of iniquity of my forefathers. Our system was designed for white supremacy — otherwise why would the statistics show such disparities of race in poverty or incarceration? Are black people created to be more likely to be criminal or poverty-stricken? I certainly don’t think so? That’s why I think major systemic reform is necessary, yet those who look at the product of our system and don’t think major reform is required, I can only assume believe in a Curse of Ham to excuse the sin of such an unjust disparity.

          Matthew 7:21-23
          Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

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