Racism and the Church
A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations
of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
Racism is alive and well in the USA and around the world. That, however, is not the focus of thisreport. Its focus is “Racism and the Church.” That is to say, what God’s position on Racism is (and therefore what our position as Christians should be), how has it crept into the Church (especially into the LC-MS) and what we can do based on guidance from the Bible.
The preface of this excellent study says:
In April 1986 the officers and staff of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, at the request of the President of the Synod, met with a number of African American pastors in the Synod to discuss issues related to black ministry and to share matters of mutual interest. Following this meeting, the Executive Director of the Commission on Black Ministry expressed appreciation for this opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions and, at the same time, forwarded a request from black leaders in the Synod that a document on racism be prepared. The Commission on Theology and Church Relations responded positively to this request and immediately placed this study on its agenda.
Calling on all of its members “To Combat All Racism,” the Synod at its 1992 convention in Pittsburgh urged “the rapid completion of the CTCR study” and asked the members of the Synod “to make maximum use of this study upon its completion and to pray the Lord of the church to bless this study and cause it to effect appropriate changes in attitudes and actions.” The Commission on Theology and Church Relations joins in the prayer that this document on Racism and the Church will be a blessing to the Synod, assisting us all not only in understanding the problem of racism, but also, with God’s help, in dealing with it in our own personal and corporate life. For those who wish to explore in more detail what the Scriptures teach regarding racism and its consequences, a Bible study has been included with this report (pp. 45-56).
In light of what we hear so often in the news, the need for this report has not diminished in the two decades since it was published. You may be thinking, but we aren’t a racist denomination. Consider this one fact. If our membership gains in the black community had kept pace with our membership gains in the white community, then we would have over a quarter million black members in the LC-MS right now. Instead, black membership is somewhere around 20,000. Why? Racism doesn’t express itself only by taking a gun into a church with membership different from you.
If you are not a member of the LC-MS, this report is still an excellent read. The theological/biblical insights will serve Christians of any denomination well. The Bible study at the end is also excellent, but would certainly take more than one meeting. I give this report “two humble thumbs up.”
(Oh, the footnotes are excellent.)
If you would like to read the report, follow this link: Racism and the Church
Blessings in Christ
Pastor John Rickert