A production of Sola Media
Core Christianity: Tough Questions Answered

FAQ: Does the Bible Say Anything About Racism?

by Adriel Sanchez posted June 3, 2022

Why are racial justice issues so prevalent in the church today? And why are they so contentious?

Part of the problem is that Christians are often shaped more by their political affinities than by Scripture.  So they hear about certain things like the problem of racism, and they think, “Oh, that’s something that liberals talk about, and so if we address these issues, then we must be veering in that direction.”

In reality, though, Scripture speaks to these things.

A lot of people are struggling with the issue of racism. They’re looking for answers. And it’s a shame when instead of going to the word of God we just avoid this topic because we’re afraid of being called a liberal or something. So having a book club or a study or a preaching series at your church is totally fine. That’s a good thing. We’ve done stuff like that at the church that I pastor. Some years ago, we had a discussion group on some of these issues. It was illuminating.

One of the beautiful things about the church, the New Covenant community, is that God brings together all different kinds of people through the gospel. Think about the inclusion of the gentiles in the New Testament (Eph. 2:11–21; Gal. 2). This was a huge controversy. You essentially had a non-integrated Jewish church. But God was welcoming in the gentile nations. That’s one of the reasons for the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. But ethnic inclusion was an implication of what God had done in the gospel.

The church isn’t just one group of people. It’s not just Jews. It’s all the people of the world gathering at the foot of the cross. Think about what the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2:11–12. He’s writing to a group of believers, many of whom weren’t Jews. He says, “Remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” That’s what they used to be.

“But now,” Paul says, “in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one a new man in place of the two, so making peace” (Eph. 2:13–15). He’s talking about the church being this community of faith that consists of people from every tribe, tongue and nation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. So when our churches don’t reflect the broader community that they’re in, it’s fair to ask questions. It’s fair to challenge that on the basis of Scripture. We can say, “Here, look what the gospel does. Here’s what a gospel community looks like.”

That can ruffle feathers. We’d much rather be comfortable and not challenge the assumptions that are out of line with the implications of the gospel. But it’s our job as pastors to help people live in light of what God has done in Jesus Christ. And part of that is this beautiful picture of diversity within the church that the preaching of the gospel creates.

This article is part of our Frequently Asked Questions series. Listen to Pastor Adriel answer this question on Core Radio here.

Dig deeper with these free resources from Core Christianity:

Core Questions

These clear and concise PDFs answer some of your toughest questions about the Christian faith:
Does the Bible Condone Slavery?
What Do I Do When I’ve Been Hurt by the Church?
How Does the Church Relate to the Government?

Core Guides

Dive deeper with these lengthier and more thorough guides to difficult topics in the Christian life:
8 Things Everyone Should Know About Church

Photo of Adriel Sanchez

Adriel Sanchez

Adriel Sanchez is pastor of North Park Presbyterian Church, a congregation in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, he also serves the broader church as a host on the Core Christianity radio program, a live, daily call-in talk show where he answers listeners' questions about the Bible and the Christian faith. He and his wife Ysabel live in San Diego with their five children.

Sign Up for Email Updates