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What white churches DIDN'T learn from MLKjr

January 18, 2016


What white churches didn't learn from MLKjr:     In 1963, while harshly jailed in Birmingham for leading a nonviolent march against segregation, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. In the letter, he pleaded for white Christians, pastors, and churches to sacrificially take a stand against racism and segregation. In his letter, he gave a warning and a prophecy which (although written  over 50 years ago) accurately predicted the future of church in America. Dr. King wrote:

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Fifty years later, Sunday is still the most segregated hour in America in small towns all across the south. If you don't believe me, I'll take you there. The church of Jesus Christ should have been the first place to be segregated. It should have never been divided by race or social position. Christians are commanded not to make distinctions between people, not to discriminate, not to be "judges with evil thoughts" (James 2:4). Christians are commanded to make disciples of all people groups, all ethnicities (Mat 28:19).

Martin Luther King's prophecy that millions would drop out of church has come true because the young people of his day saw the racial hypocrisy of their parents' churches and went searching for a better representation of "authenticity" in the hippie movement, new age spirituality, and liberalism. That's how we got where we are today.

Even if (for whatever reason) the white churches in the rural south don't appreciate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., shouldn't they still take his accusation seriously???  If anyone (no matter who they are) claims that the church today has lost the "sacrificial spirit of the early church", shouldn't the church listen?  Shouldn't the church repent and dedicate itself to sacrificially demonstrate Christ's love?!  That means not just allowing people of different races in your church -- it means loving them in the same way you love yourselves - treating them the same way you treat yourselves. That means loving them like Jesus loves them.

© 2016 Chuck Love

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