EDITOR’S NOTE: Josh Powell is president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Lake Murray Baptist Church in Lexington, S.C.
LEXINGTON, S.C. (BP) — I hesitate to write this for fear of being misunderstood, and it is not in any official capacity that the following is offered. I am writing this simply as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and seeking nothing more than to be faithful to the Word of God and devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
My conscience will testify against me and my witness will be marred if I do not express my convictions. We have witnessed racially motivated killings, false accusations and harassment in our country. This is nothing new.
My personal resolution, which I pray can be adapted to be yours as well, is:
— To preach the Gospel and call people to turn from their sin, urging them to put their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
— To plead with them to recognize the power and implications of the Gospel and to help them see through the blinders of godless views of humanity like supremacy and bias.
— To aid them in getting a glimpse of the beautiful multicultural, multiethnic, multicolored Kingdom of God. As pastor Tom Skinner said, “In the midst of America’s racial crisis, Christianity in its pure and true form alone can make the difference.”
— To seek justice in our society for all people — not just lip service, but with action.
— To fight for life, for all people and ages — not just for those who are unborn, but also those living. While we must do everything in love, we must know that love does not cover up the need for justice. The ills of our society must be met with the kind of love that demands justice. The Lord even rejected the worship of His people because they were not faithful to pursue justice (Amos 5:21-24). May we never be guilty of that grievous error.
— To denounce racism and white supremacy not just in its most glaring instances, but also in its subtle forms, which are more rampant and pervasive than we often realize.
— To plead with my white brothers and sisters to speak out and act out, empathizing when they see someone hurting, no matter what they look like.
— To follow the example of the good Samaritan, helping to bandage wounds and care for the hurting.
— To use our voices to proclaim the beauty of God’s multi-colored creation and the equality of every man and woman before the Lord.
— To be courageous. I have often been hesitant to make a stand because of what it could mean for my position and influence. I repent of this and endeavor to be faithful to my calling from God and proclaim His truth, even if others oppose it.
— To stand with millions of our African American brothers and sisters who have too often stood alone. Personally, I will use any platform the Lord gives me to proclaim the Gospel boldly and courageously and stand on the side of justice (Isaiah 1:16-17).
Will you stand too?