One of the biggest problems facing our nation is the issue of racism, which has reared its ugly head due to the protests that have taken place and the unrest it created following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May.
To find answers from Spirit-filled American leaders, I convened a second Charisma panel on the question: "How should the Spirit-filled community respond to the racial unrest in America?" which you can watch here. I also used it as a Strang Report podcast, which you can listen to here.
As I wrote last week, Charisma has been convening groups of leaders for four decades dealing with issues facing the church and culture and giving them a platform. For years we did this monthly in print and through other magazines and publications we produced. Now we can do it online and reach many more people.
A weekly series of Charisma panels is my way now to focus on issues in the church and culture and hopefully to provide godly answers. Last week, the subject of the panel was "How COVID-19 Is Affecting Charismatic Churches'; you can watch and read this discussion here. In future weeks we will convene other panels, including one with pastors who have been arrested or threatened with arrest for the crime of "holding church" against governmental mandates not to do so during the pandemic.
Each of this week's panelists is a longtime friend and highly respected leader who provided insights and wisdom on the current racial unrest from a spiritual point of view.
—Dr. Alveda King of Atlanta, who is well known as an advocate for the unborn as well as an evangelist in her own right. She is also the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
—Bishop Harry Jackson is senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in the Greater Washington, D.C., area. He is also president and founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and leads the Ambassador of Hope Fellowship of Churches
—Bishop George Bloomer is pastor of Bethel Family Worship Center in Durham, North Carolina.
—Prophetess Michelle McLain-Walters has worked for many years with Apostle John Eckhardt, traveling and ministering. Now, she and her husband pastor Overflow International Life Center in Orlando, Florida.
—Bishop Kevin Williams pastors New Jerusalem Cathedral in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Monument of Praise in High Point, North Carolina, and is the presiding bishop of New Jerusalem Churches of Sound Doctrine.
I began by asking Dr. Alveda King to explain what she means by "one race one blood," which means there is one race—the human race. She talked about her famous uncle, the late Martin Luther King Jr., who once said we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
"The concept of race is socially engineered when you have separate races. Biology says that the human blood denotes that, and the Bible, of course, says that in Acts 17:26, so we're fighting over trying to reconcile separate races when we are only one race—the human race. And once we repent for buying into that socially engineered, divisive concept of being separate races, we can then begin to treat each other with human dignity and human respect. So we are one blood and one human race."
Bishop Williams agreed: "Right now, our country must come face to face with the reality of the diversity, and what they think that means versus what God says that it means. When someone is in need of blood, they would not ask if it was black blood, white blood or Jewish blood; it would be the fact that they need blood. And so when you deal with the reality of what God has created us to be, then I am in total agreement with what is happening in our country and the revelation that needs to take place with not just the people of God, but with every individual because it will eliminate the mindset of racism."
The panel did not back off from controversial topics like Black Lives Matter. I asked panelists why more people didn't seem to understand how extreme the organization is and how its website indicates many of its values are Marxist.
Bishop Harry Jackson said Black Lives Matter has two parts—a name most would agree with, that "Black Lives Matter," adding that it is also an "an organization that has more of a socialistic, anti-family orientation. So, we're seeing a readiness to respond to race across racial boundaries. But what's missing is this: The church, according to Galatians 3:26, we say there's neither Jew nor Greek, there's neither bond nor free—that's the class distinction—and there's neither male nor female. These distinctions can be solved by coming together in Christ."
Recently Jackson wrote A Manifesto: Christian America's Contract With Minorities that addresses what the Bible says about these issues. In the book, he outlines a theology and a mindset that will move us forward. "So come together in Christ; let's move together as one; we'll lead the nations," he said.
Prophetess McLain-Walters said the Lord showed her in prayer that people should make a distinction between "African American Lives Matter'' and the organization that takes as its name "Black Lives Matter." adding "it's a deliberate mixing of wordplay. It's motivated by the spirit of Babylon, which is confusion by mixture. Look what happened in Genesis 11:3. They wanted to build a tower—a city unto themselves, they wanted power without God. So I just believe is so important that we as Christians, we begin to declare, yes, African American lives matter, but it's something totally different than the Black Lives Matters movement."
Then I asked the all-Black panel if there is such a thing as systematic racism in America as some say.
Bishop Williams answered by saying he sees three different aspects: education, economy and socially. He explained that in education, if slavery is the main thing taught when it comes to Black people, it ruins the self-esteem of Black children. In the economy, there are things Black people must fight through in order to make it that many whites do not. Of course, many African Americans have persevered but not all, partly due to the educational system. And socially, Black Americans often find when they go to a bank for a loan, they haven't been taught how the system works or how banks make decisions. White people often have teachers and mentors who teach them how to navigate the system. So though it may look like Black people often don't get loans that a white person with a similar income and credit score does, it's not always about racism per se.
We also dealt with racism in the church and whether the Pentecostal segment, which has roots back to Azusa Street—which was led by a black man, William Seymour—has made any progress in this regard. The panelists shared personal stories and gave insights that space doesn't permit me to cover here. So I encourage you to listen to the panel and share it. In the process, we may start a valuable dialogue.
I believe Christians should lead the way with answers to the ills of society. We have the Bible and the Holy Spirit to guide us. We must first begin in the church itself to find answers and to right any wrongs that exist. And then we must be bold to become a part of the national discussion on race relations in America.
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