Letter from Pastor Jon | Some Thoughts on the Current Crisis
Today Pastor Jon wrote a brief article with his thoughts on the protests and riots ravaging our nation and the hope that only comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1. I mourn in solidarity with my black friends and neighbors over the death of George Floyd, and the detestable police brutality that led to it. I share in your righteous anger. I pray for George’s family, community, and all who mourn his death. May we all turn to God for grace and healing.
2. This sickening and unjust act, one of thousands that take place around the world every day, is one more clear example of the fallenness, brokenness, and sinful corruption of humanity. We are all culpable. We have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). It’s not only this Minneapolis police officer who needs God’s grace, forgiveness, and mercy. We all do.
3. Peaceful protests, no matter what the cause, are an important facet of a well-ordered democracy and civil society. It’s important that ordinary citizens have a voice. It’s important to stand for what is right. However, the wanton violence and destruction of anarchists, gangs, and hate groups are never to be tolerated. As MLK once said during the civil rights movement, “violence never brings permanent peace.” There is a big difference between peaceful protesters and violent anarchists, a distinction that many are presently failing to make.
4. I am deeply grateful for the hundreds of thousands of faithful police officers that put their lives on the line every day to keep our streets and communities … and my family … safe. The unjust and wicked behavior of a few bad cops does not incriminate the whole. Isn’t this common sense? On Saturday I read a sign at a protest here in Charleston that said “Abolish Cops.” Could you imagine a society without law-enforcement? My guess is that the confused young girl holding up that sign would be thankful for the police if the same ruffians who destroyed downtown Charleston were trying to break into her home.
5. Racism is evil. It is evil in all forms. There is but ONE human race, not numerous races. We are all — black, brown, white — created in the image of God. We are all, every one, created with dignity and worth, no matter what background or ethnicity. Therefore, if or when any of us has racist beliefs or tendencies, we must acknowledge and repent of them. Racism is not the only sin in the world, but it’s a serious one.
6. The mainstream media — whether liberal or conservative — does not communicate a Biblical worldview. It’s not their aim or purpose. Therefore, dear Christian, give more attention to your Bible and prayer than the incendiary and politically-charged cable news networks. Don’t get swept up in the chaotic tsunami of political rage presently being aired on the 24 hour news cycle. Yes, as believers we want to be (cautiously) informed by the media; but not gullibly transformed in its wake.
7. This world is not our home. Like Abraham, we, by faith, joyfully anticipate “a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:16a). This, of course, does not mean that we do not seek justice for our neighbors in this present evil age. This does not mean that we ignore wickedness in our society like the murder of innocent unborn children, sexual abuse, racism, and (most significantly) the rejection of God. However, unlike those who hold to a materialistic/atheistic/communistic worldview, we are not looking for social and political utopia in this world. Our hope is not in political philosophies and better politicians. We recognize that there will always be sin in this fallen world, and that perfect justice will only be administered at the coming of Christ — “For he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity” (Ps. 98:9). Only then will “justice roll down like the waters” as it should (Amos 5:24).
8. The Gospel is our only true and lasting hope in this broken and sin-torn world. We are all sinners — no matter what social status, rank, or color of our skin. Our greatest need — the need beyond all other needs — is reconciliation with our holy God. Sin has separated us from God. This separation has brought untold miseries into our lives and the world. We are experiencing them now. Mankind has gone his own way, and we see the results — destruction, misery, death. But God did not leave us to perish in our sin and misery. He did not leave us without true and lasting hope. God sent His beloved and eternal Son into the world to save us from our guilt and sin. He sent His Son into the world to become one of us without ceasing to be God. Why? To perfectly fulfill God’s righteous standard (the one we fail to keep every day); and then, as a sinless sacrifice, he paid the debt of our sins on the cursed cross. Christ died for us! Jesus bore God the Father’s righteous wrath on the cross for OUR sins. He paid the penalty of God’s judgment for OUR transgressions, and he rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus truly is the resurrection and the life. Salvation has come in Him.
Therefore, through faith in Jesus sinners receive life — full pardon for all our sins and the very righteousness of God in Christ. In Christ we are no longer condemned, but justified. In Christ there is no longer enmity, but peace with God (Rom. 5:1). This is the good news that pierces through the darkness of our present hour. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
May we all, by grace through God-given faith, repent and turn our hearts to Christ. May we turn to God during these dark days of pandemics and civil unrest. Christ is the only true and lasting hope for this broken world. Thankfully, one day our crucified and risen Savior will return in triumph, judge the world in righteousness, usher the redeemed into glory, and wipe every tear from our tired eyes. May he not tarry long! Come, Lord Jesus.