Welcome to the Torch Leadership Foundation’s Cross in Culture Podcast where we consider different perspectives on what is happening in our culture and apply a biblical worldview. I am your host, Daniel Whyte III. This is episode #28.
This episode is titled, Only Jesus Christ and the Church Can Deliver Us from the “Starless Midnight of Racism to the Bright Daybreak of Peace”
Let’s get this out of the way and put this to bed: neither President Barack Obama or President Trump have a racist bone in their bodies, however, they have unwisely and foolishly played the political race card. Don’t be shocked at that, that is what lying politicians do, that is the game they play. They will use anything to try to gain an advantage over their opponent or over the other party. The point is stop getting mad and angry at lying politicians. They are doing what they do. A president has never saved us and never will. The real problem right now is the church. A church that is disobedient to God’s Word, refuses to pray, refuses to witness for the Lord, full of pride, racism, sin, foolishness, scandel, and is the butt-of-jokes to most of the world. To use the title of a book written by the Southern writer, Lewis Grizzard, “Martin Luther King Jr. is dead, Billy Graham is on his way to Heaven, and I don’t feel that well myself.” If you look throughout history, God has always used a man to bring about revival and make a difference in the world. Where are the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s today? Where are the Rev. Billy Graham’s today? men who have the moral courage and moral authority to change the direction of a nation with just their words sent by God? Stop saying stupid things like, “Trump needs to bring us together.” Quite frankly, if President Obama, a black man who is half white, raised by white people, can’t bring us together, how in the hell do you think President Trump can bring us together. He can’t. And he will not. And that is not his mission. That is the mission of the church by preaching the Gospel, by discipling new converts, by living a life that is obedient to God, and being a light in the starless midnight of America’s original sin. Some are still asking, “Where is the God of Elijah?”, when the question is “Where is the Elijah of God?” What America needs again is a Martin Luther King Jr. and a Billy Graham rolled in one to go across this country, as they did, and shake the gates of hell and get people’s focus back on God, on Jesus Christ, on prayer, on the Word of God, and everybody doing the right thing. Stop blaming, President Bush, President Obama, and President Trump for causing our problems. The truth of the matter is, generally speaking, pastors and churches have failed God, have failed Jesus, and have failed America.
Last weekend’s clash between white supremacists and anti-racist protesters, which resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and two law enforcement officials, again unplugged the dam of national consternation over the state of race relations in America. It seems we keep being lulled into thinking that it’s over; finally, we’ve addressed these issues, we’ve talked about our differences, and we can live in harmony. But, racism and hatred reared it’s ugly head in Charlottesville, reinforcing the unfortunate reality that it isn’t over.
It should be. But it isn’t.
We should be past this. But we aren’t.
While it goes without saying that racism, anti-semitism, and white supremacy are evil and wrong, another unfortunate reality is that, apparently, it still has to be said. And God’s people should never tire of saying it. While some — white and black, Jewish and Gentiles — live in conditions and locales where racial tension is not an everyday issue, we must remain restless until all of God’s children live in similar peace and harmony. To borrow the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who borrowed the words of the Prophet Amos, “We cannot be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
The debate over Confederate monuments is fraught with peril. To borrow the words of our president, there are indeed “many sides” to this aspect of the current state of affairs. Those who say the monuments should remain as a matter of history have legitimate points. Those who say the monuments are symbols of oppression and ought to be removed also make legitimate points. Those who wonder how far a liberal campaign to eradicate all public mention of any (white, male) historical figures who ever wronged another human being can go are legitimately concerned. These questions will likely not be settled in a way that pleases all sides.
The larger spiritual concern for our Southern Christian brothers and sisters is that they honestly question whether or not these monuments are becoming idolatrous symbols. Is the defense of Confederate monuments a subliminal outward manifestation of racism and the belief in the superiority of whites?
Can racism be an idol? Jarvis Williams, associate professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Seminary, answers in the affirmative: “We see the idolatry of race in certain white churches who assume that white cultural expressions of the Christian faith are biblical and normative. These are churches in which non-white expressions of the Christian faith are viewed as abnormal or ‘ethnic.’ We also see the idolatry of race when Christians listen to, espouse, [or remain silent about], the racist rhetoric of those within their own racial or ethnic group.”
Confederate statues and monuments are stone and granite. They have no power, no meaning — except the power and meaning that is ascribed to them. And it doesn’t matter whether the ascribing of meaning comes when one is marching around the statue, holding a torch, and shouting slogans, or whether it comes quietly in one’s heart as he sits in a church pew and deems himself and his family better than the black family that just walked in.
We applaud those white pastors and church leaders who have publicly condemned the violence in Charlottesville and all forms of racism, the KKK, white supremacy, and neo-Nazism. Many of them admit that elements of these ideologies are present in their own churches. Robert Wright Lee IV, a descendant of Robert E. Lee and the pastor of a church in North Carolina, told NPR that after his sermon the Sunday after Charlottesville, he realized that “what we have done as a white, downtown church was problematic because we have not spoken to our black neighbors. We have not spoken out for people of color, and we have to start doing that if we want to make a difference in this world and if we want to be relevant as a church in the 21st century.” It is our prayer that him and pastors like him will be emboldened to address these issues in their churches no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
If there ever is to be peace and harmony in America, the idol of racism and the comfortable position of hate has to be excised from all hearts.
In closing, let me leave you with some Scripture and a quote to think about.
James 2:8-9 says, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”
1 John 2:11 says, “He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
In light of what we have discussed today, I want to remind you that in our ever-changing world, there is one Person who never changes. That person is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is not subject to the whims of society or popular opinion. He has an unchanging, eternal love for you. If you do not know Him as your Savior, I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thank you for listening to this Torch Leadership Cross in Culture Podcast.
Visit us online at www.torchleadershipfoundation.com
Until we meet again, remember to keep Christ first in our ever-changing culture.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.