Pastoral Letter on Racism
To the parishioners of All Saints,
In light of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, the leadership at All Saints feels compelled to speak to you, and to do so publicly in order to add our voice to the many voices of Christians and churches around the country.
Our message is very simple: We reject, and Scripture condemns, all forms of racism and hatred of our fellow human beings. Our very identity as Christians and as the Church is made a reality by the good news that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. This good news is not only not limited to a certain ethnicity, it is explicitly promised to every family on the earth (Genesis 12:3) and every tribe and tongue and nation (Revelation 14:6). This truth was demonstrated by Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry when he took the good news to the Samaritans (John 4:1-45), a hated race, and used the Samaritan as an object lesson in the parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The examples of the good news going out to both Jews and gentiles as a part of God’s plan of redemption could be multiplied dozens of times in this letter, from both the Old and New Testaments, as could the condemnation of God against those who would keep anyone from the gospel, especially because of their race or economic status (Jonah, for example).
For this reason we want to be very clear: All forms of racism are completely incompatible with the Christian life and profession of faith. The extension of the gospel to all nations is an act of love that mirrors the love of our Father. You cannot both love the whole world and hate part of it at the same time. You cannot proclaim that some humans have more value than others or are morally superior to others based on the color of their skin without rejecting the biblical truth that all mankind is made in the image of God and therefore has value endowed by their Creator.
Make no mistake: Racism is an enemy of the gospel. It is sin, and therefore must be condemned among us. To this end, we will continue to preach the love of God in Christ Jesus for sinners and encourage you to take this love to everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, in the places where you work and play and live. And, as with all other sin, we are determined to faithfully call one another to repentance where sin is known.
God’s grace and saving love are so powerful that even racists will find forgiveness when they repent, turn from their racism, and put their faith in the finished work of Christ. Let us pray to that end, and where we have a voice and the opportunity, speak and act to resist the injustice of racism in our society as well.
The Leadership of All Saints Presbyterian Church, Brentwood, TN.
Matthew Bradley, Pastor
Nathan McCall, Pastor