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I wanna tell you a story. It may sound random, but trust me, it’s relevant.
Thousands of years ago when the Christian church was first starting out, there was a brand new heresy that became popular. It came out in the first century and was led by a man named Marcion. His heresy was deceptively simple. He believed that the God in the Old Testament was not the same God in the New Testament. In other words, the Jewish God and the Christian God were two different gods.
Furthermore, because the Jewish God was so vengeful and angry, He should be rejected in favor of the more merciful and gracious Christian God. So that’s what he did. But what made his heresy so deliciously insidious was that he actually compiled a list of biblical books to support his theology that included a revised version of Luke and ten of Paul’s epistles.
The reason this was so devilishly destructive is that at this point in church history, there was no official Old Testament or New Testament. There was just the Torah and all the other inspired books floating around churches. No one had ever sat down and put them all together into what we call the Bible. Until Marcion. He had the very first canon. And with this canon he fired holes through the early church.
Long story short, the heresy was dealt with and disproven. But the church also realized the need for an official canon and eventually compiled what we now know as the Bible.
See, although Marcion was wrong in his theology, he did shed light on a very real problem–the need for an official canon. It was simply assumed that the Jewish faith and the Christian faith were connected. But without a canon to actually connect them, Christianity was filled with theological vacuums that were begging to be filled by heresies. So they addressed it.
Why do I bring this up?
Because I believe that what Marcion was to the first century church, Black Lives Matter is to the church today.
Before I lose my black readers, please hear me out. I am NOT against Black Lives Matter. I’m not writing this to villainize them in any way. What I’m saying is that as a Christian, I support Black Lives Matter as a movement, but I can’t fully support it as an organization. I recognize that there are fundamental differences between the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s(which was inherently faith-based) and BLM(which is not faith-based). There are some values BLM has that are different from my values as a Christian so I can’t in good conscience sign on to everything they do. But I don’t usually voice my concerns because at the end of the day I don’t think it’s necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I won’t go into details about my disagreements here because that’s not the point of this article.
The point of this article isn’t to point out the things that are wrong with BLM, it’s to point out what’s wrong with the church pointing out those things that are wrong. When churches stand up and expose the underlying leftist agendas in BLM and villainize the organization, they generally ignore the fact that BLM is addressing a very real issue.
Of course, there are many churches that are standing up and aligning themselves with BLM either partially or completely. Many churches are taking a stand against police brutality and racism in all its forms and I applaud them for that. This post is not directed at them. Because for every church that is for black lives, there appears to be many more who would rather stand on the sidelines and criticize.
You may have seen memes like this floating around social media:
Even if this claim were true, it ignores another equally troubling phenomenon about the American church. Before BLM, how many evangelical churches were talking about police brutality and systemic racism? We have always talked a big game against gay marriage and abortion, but where is that same energy when black people are getting gunned down? So when BLM steps in and starts tackling these issues, the church fires back with, “The founders are Marxists and they have a secret LGBTQ+ agenda!” Even in the event that those claims are true, what are we doing to deal with the issues this organization is bringing up?
I’ve heard arguments that BLM is more concerned about elevating black women and trans black women than they are about black men. So ultimately(the argument goes), the goal is to actually keep black men out of the picture and simply replace them with black women or trans black women. Assuming this is true, what would it look like for the church to empower and uplift black men?(without suppressing black and trans women in the process, of course.)
BLM is openly affirming of the LGBTQ+ community. What has the church offered the LGBTQ+ community other than hatred? It seems that the only options available today are full-on condemnation or full-on celebration. But what would it look like for the church to have full-on compassion without compromising or criticizing?
If all of BLM was disbanded tomorrow, there would still be police brutality and systemic racism. And my fear is that the church would go back to business as usual and fight for the sanctity of marriage and pro life, but not for people of color. And that’s a problem.
I’m saying all this because it concerns me to see the church get upset about the way BLM is addressing societal issues. Because quite honestly, from a historical perspective, the American church has dropped the ball on systemic racism. We can’t get mad now that someone else has picked it up and is throwing it too far. Instead we should get back in the game and start playing.
When Marcion went too far, the church created a canon. When BLM goes “too far”, what cannons will the church build to still attack systemic racism?