Is Racial Reconciliation a Gospel Demand?

Dwight McKissic has written an article at SBC Voices that references my article on the Ferguson tensions.

He’s made at least two wrongs in trying to get it right.

First, he put Calvinist JD Hall and I together in one pot, something that has never happened before. Hall and I are worlds apart on thousands of issues, and I have not even read Hall’s blog to know if he agrees with me on the Ferguson issue, or not.

Second, he also quotes me without putting it in context.

“Seems to me that racial reconciliation is a good thing and is a social issue, not a doctrinal or theological issue, and certainly not a “gospel demand.” If there is something Biblical that expresses racial reconciliation as a gospel demand, I’ve missed it.”

To this, McKissic says, “WOW! That is an incredible, reprehensible, biblically incorrect and racially offensive statement.”

In citing this statement, McKissic fails to note that I am responding to Matthew Hall, who says, “all Christians should be mindful of the gospel’s demands for racial reconciliation and justice.”

More importantly, in the comment stream that follows, he states that I believe “the Bible does not address racial reconciliation”  — something I did not express or imply.

I simply rejected Matthew Hall’s insistence that there is a “Gospel demand” for racial reconciliation. I am not simply parsing words, but attempting to correct a serious doctrinal error.

Does the Bible address racial reconciliation? Certainly.

Is racial reconciliation a “Gospel demand?” Certainly not.

Is it “incredible, reprehensible, biblically incorrect, and racially offensive” for me to say that racial reconciliation is not a Gospel demand?

If McKissic (or Hall) believes that racial reconciliation is a Gospel demand,  they are redefining two thousand years of doctrinal understanding and teaching. In essence they are expanding what Christ taught explicitly about the Good News that is the Gospel: He reconciles man to Himself, and offers salvation freely and fully to those who profess Him and believe in their hearts God raised Him from the dead.

If racial reconciliation is a “Gospel demand” then we should include it in our presentation of the Gospel. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and reconcile with all races, and you shall be saved.” As I stated in my blog, I search the Scriptures in vain to find such a teaching.

McKissic is simply agenda driven (like those I mentioned in my article) toward making the always-undefined “racial reconciliation” a Gospel matter. I see no reason to do so. Treating others as persons of worth is a biblical teaching — but a matter of obedience, not of salvation.

For that matter, it is a worldview not exclusive to Christianity, or even to Judeo-Christian values. In that regard it is a human dignity issue.

Should we also teach sanctity of life as a “Gospel demand?”

Are our sermons against doctor-assisted suicide based on a “Gospel demand?”

Do we fight for one-man-one-woman marriage laws to obey a “Gospel demand?

The answer clearly is “no.”

There are biblical bases for all these, but not a “Gospel demand.”

McKissic seems to need to paint me (and others) who don’t feel empathy for rioters and looters, as racist. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a dishonest tactic unbecoming of anyone who believes in the Gospel.

So I stand by the point of my blog. When Matthew Hall, Russell Moore, Ed Stetzer, Dwight McKissic, and others attempt to make “racial reconciliation” a matter of the Gospel, they serve neither race relations nor the Gospel well.