Category Archives: Ethnicity

Identity: Corporate or Individualistic?

Why are many white Americans less likely to understand how many black Americans are reacting to recent treatment of blacks in Missouri and Alabama? Do the recent riots and killings of police have something to do with identity?

IMG_2057This is a monument of Henry Ward Beecher in Brooklyn where I am preaching this week. He auctioned off slave children for adoption in his congregation to protest slavery. His sister wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

“God cares about systems” (Tim Keller & Anthony Bradley). Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch Prime Minister and Christian theologian, said: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” Redemption is to be applied in all of culture.

Since our identity includes are common and corporate identity as image bearers of God with the rest of humanity, our identity is not only individualistic but also corporate. We share an ethnic identity and national identity, as Christians share a common identity in Christ. What an individual does effects others. For example, as in Adam all sinned so in Christ (a Jew) all are counted righteous by faith alone (Romans 5). When Achan sinned in Joshua 7, all the people of Joshua’s time suffered for it. In Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9) he asked for forgiveness from God for his ancestor’s sins.

Any system that excludes or marginalizes others in any generation shares a corporate responsibility and guilt. It was not right for an Evangelical to say to a black slave in the 1800s that “God loves you and has a great plan for your life as a slave.” Germans, who knew and actively oppressed Jews, were responsible and guilty for the crimes during WWII. Yet, so were those who knew and just followed orders or remained passive in that system.

Whites, still in the majority, are less aware of their corporate identity. Blacks, however, deeply sense their corporate identity because they have been a minority in America. Unless Christians in America embrace our corporate identity, which includes our responsibility and guilt for marginalizing Native Americans and Black Americans, we will not understand the times and the issues of contemporary culture.

Repentance of systemic racism and faith in the Gospel with prayer and active restoration of the marginalized is what is required in this hour. Only as we embrace our common Christian identity, which embraces diversity of age, ethnicity, and gender, will we begin to love our neighbor well.

Ask the Father in the Name of Jesus to pour out the Holy Spirit upon our generation in revival. For, He can make all things new and heal our land, but apart from Him we can do nothing.

God ordained the government to use arms to punish evil, restrain wickedness, and protect the innocent (i.e. the unborn), but He ordained the Church to use weapons of Gospel proclamation, prayer, and reconciliation with God and all peoples.

 

I’m Going Back to My Roots

So much for this song. I exercised while it was playing and liked the tune. Actually, i haven’t analyzed it 🙂

In Luke Three there is a heap of identity concerning Jesus Christ. John the Baptist points to Him as the Christ, the Father says that He is His Beloved Son in whom He is well-pleased, and this is followed by His genealogy.

Our roots matter. Our genealogy is part of what shapes our identity. Just as knowing that we are made in His image and that we have been given gender, so Providence shapes us in a family with ancestors, ethnicity, and names.

We are not hurled by chance into the world as radical individuals, who have to choose all this. Rather, we are given names that remind us of how in God’s Providence we are part of a larger story in Redemption. God is redeeming our families for generations to come. He is faithful to our offspring; He is covenantal as He has always been; i.e. Abrahamic promise.

We are not radical individuals. We are named by our parents, and these names remind us of who we are and our roots. We are given ethnic identity. In the end every tribe and tongue shall acknowledge God’s redemption together. Do you know what your names mean? Are you secure about your ethnic identity? Can you tell about your great grandparents, grandparents, and parents enough to tell the next generation? Jesus knew what His name meant, who His ancestors were, and embraced His Jewish ethnicity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pentecostal Outpourings

You Don’t know You Have a Culture until You are in Another One

1658373_10203805851767842_3006123471894547401_oWhenever I go and teach pastors around the world on Identity in Christ, the material transcends all cultures. Embracing our glory as image-bearers, our gender glory and particular curses (Genesis 2-3), our central condemning thoughts that aim to name us, our righteousness in Christ, our adoption in Christ, and our being saints give us rest from trying to establish a righteousness of our own.

Our culture and ethnicity, however, becomes more clearly differentiated. Hearing these dear pastors from India share their genealogies and stories of tragedy and redemption taught me so much about the importance of a father both in India and the USA.

There are ethnic and cultural ways we were shaped, which Christ has redeemed with a worth that shall come to light when every tongue, tribe, and nation meet together to see Christ in glory.