The purpose of this paper is to set forth the position of Carlisle Christian Fellowship on the subjects of racism and racial prejudice. It is intended to serve as a position paper for the members of our assembly and a public statement to our community. It is not intended to be a comprehensive study on these subjects, although it does contain some interpretation of the Scriptures for the purpose of providing explanation and understanding to our members.
Around the world, the human race exhibits a wide variety of physical traits; yet the Bible says that we all descended from the same original parents, that we are all made of the same dust of the earth, that we are all made from one blood, and that we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27-28; Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:26; Genesis 1:27). Therefore, to hate a person, look down on a person, or mistreat a person because of external features such as skin color is to hate, look down on, and mistreat the image of God. This mentality is commonly known as racism or racial prejudice.
In contrast to the racist attitude, the Bible tells us to “receive one another, just as Christ also received us”; “in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself”; “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them”; and “let all that you do be done with love” (Romans 15:7; Philippians 2:3; Matthew 7:12; 1 Corinthians 16:14). When these instructions on human interaction are internalized and lived out, Christianity becomes a powerful force against the racism and prejudices that dominate so much of the world.
The term “prejudice” means to pre-judge. It implies that a person is being judged on superficial factors such as skin color and physical features rather than the more substantive factors of character, attitudes, and behaviors. People who are prejudiced sometimes treat those who are different with contempt; but sometimes they simply treat them differently than they would those who are like them. In direct contrast to racial prejudice, Jesus instructed His followers: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). The superficiality of racial judgments betray a superficiality of heart and mind.
In the world, mankind has divided itself into categories according to nationality, ethnicity, social status, economic status, level of education, occupation, age, and many other factors. But in the Kingdom of God, all such superficial categories are done away with and all believers are considered to be “one in Christ Jesus…for by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:13). Because of this, believers find their identity, not in worldly categories, but in Jesus Christ alone. We therefore believe that the New Birth experience and the true Christian faith represent the most realistic antidote to all forms racism and racial prejudice.
Our position as a church is that racism and racial prejudice are contrary to the Christian faith, are contrary to the commandment that we love our neighbor as ourselves, are a direct assault against the image of God, and are a stench in the nostrils of the Creator. We further assert that any believer who harbors racist attitudes is displeasing God and in jeopardy of spiritual deterioration.
In his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, Martin Luther King uttered these famous words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This is our dream as well.