Thursday, September 17, 2009

Barriers – Unscriptural?

If you are remotely a news junkie like myself, then you have probably heard the current debate about race and our President. The fire was fueled even more the other night when former President Jimmy Carter said on NBC Nightly news that race was playing a part in some peoples opposition to President Obama. Friends, it is sad to see that we are still not past racial issues in our great country. Maybe one day, but today is not that day.

But what saddens me even more is to see racial divides in Christ’s church. Did you know that one of the most segregated times in the United States is on Sunday mornings? Didn’t Paul teach us that there is no “Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarians, Scythians, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all?” (Colossians 3:11 NIV) Then why is Sunday morning still so segregated. I think there could possibly be two reasons.

I know a church were the racial battle is brewing hard right now. Some in the church want to go into the black community and invite them to there various events and even their Sunday morning services. The church is split on this issue. Some are highly against it because it is a white church, and in that culture whites, blacks, and Latinos just do not go to church together. There could possibly be a church split over this issue. Friends, this is wrong, and is not scriptural.

Now, having said all of that, I do believe the second reason is a justifiable reason for segregation in the church. A few years ago I heard of two congregations, one white and one black, coming together to become one congregation. They enjoyed the fellowship, enjoyed the Bible study, and through it all had no issues over race. But after several years of worshiping together, the “worship wars” got intense. The black culture wanted worship to be a little more lively and energetic, while the white culture wanted worship to be a little more somber with more thought provoking meaning. To solve their issues, the two groups decided that they were going to launch two different services. One service would have worship for one culture, and one for the other. While this segregated the times of worship, it did not divide the church. They did not split over racial issues, just style preferences. They continued to fellowship together, they continued to be one church, and they continued to bring lost souls into a life saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Friends it saddens me to see our world divided by the color of someone’s skin. It is truly heartbreaking. But what sickens me is to see Christ’s church divided by the color of skin. In Christ we are all one. In Christ the social, economic, gender, and racial barriers have been removed. In Christ we are free. How are we doing at removing the barriers in our churches and in our lives?
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