The Myth of Race


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This article was published in The Banner, March 2003, pp. 38-40.

Christians are not immune from racism. For example, [on the day of] his ordination ceremony, a Black pastor of a white Toronto congregation was mistaken for the janitor! A visiting elder assumed that the only black man in a white church must be the janitor. This is a subtle and even unconscious form of racism.

Even the most intelligent people fall prey to racism. The noted theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper believed that “the highest form of religion, i.e., Calvinist Christianity, and the highest kind of human being on the creaturely scale, i.e., the white race [and not the blacks] belonged naturally together” (Infected Christianity, p. 93). Kuyper actually called the “life of the colored races [in] Africa [as] a far lower form of existence” (Calvinism: Six Stone Lectures, New York: Revell, 1899, p. 34).

Racism is a sin that needs to be rooted out of the church. But so far there has been very little theological analysis of racism. Most Christians rely on sociological and psychological studies. Though helpful, such studies do not sufficiently address racism as a spiritual sin. If racism is a sin, what exactly is the source of this sin? Why does it have such a strong grip on people? Is the cure simply a matter of ‘sensitivity training’? Are affirmative-action policies adequate? Or, to ask a question directly affecting us Reformed Christians, how did Abraham Kuyper’s philosophy contribute to South Africa’s apartheid? Continue reading “The Myth of Race”