Saturday, March 26, 2016

Interaction among the "races"

How does one interact with those of other ethnicities? When I had gone over to America to study at Westminster Seminary California, I was virtually surrounded by Caucasians. There was only one other Singaporean, and he was rather preoccupied with the demands on his time including having a family with children. Needless to say, I was forced to interact with Caucasians regardless of my personal preferences for or otherwise. In my interactions with Caucasians, I do not find they are racists. Sure, normally they keep to people that are more similar to themselves, but don't we all do the same? The Korean-Americans tend to keep to themselves also, and forming social cliches based upon ethnic and other similarities is natural in human interactions; everyone does it and it does not indicate racism at all.

Over time, I get to know a couple of people closer as friends. I have interacted with and befriended those of other ethnicities including blacks. Of course everyone is different, and quite a few of us have different cultural backgrounds. But in the friends that I made, what I treasure is that we generally do not talk race. I don't know about them, but I would like to think that my ethnicity is immaterial to our friendship.

Naturally, as sinners, we sometimes might rub each other the wrong way. Especially at close proximity, our sins and failings, intentional or unintentonal, are made manifest. I have been rebuked by whites before, and sometimes I do deserve it. When rebuked, in my best time, I try to see whether what they say is valid, and if so what can I do to repent and change. After all, if I do wrong, I ought to repent and change. Of course, this is easier said than done, but that is how we are to be as Christians. We ought to strive for godliness, and try to honor God and love our neighbor despite our weaknesses and many failings.

You will notice that I made no mention of race. I did not play the race card when somebody rebuked me. I do not scream "racism" when the guy who rebuked me was a white man. But for those who practice reverse racism, that is what they do. So what if a white guy rebukes me? Does skin color or ethnicity somehow alters the demands of God's moral law? Are we to see everything according to race and "privilege" and who the victim is? So what if you are the victim? God's moral laws are absolute and unalterable. Even if a racist rebukes you, if what he says is correct, the rebukes stands INDEPENDENT of the identity of the one making the accusation!

I am not putting myself forward as if I am more righteous than others; God knows my sins. But what I am trying to say is that one should interact with others of different races in a "color blind" manner. All peoples are descended from Adam, whatever the "race." All are sinners, and under the same unalterable moral law of God. There is no difference between Jew and Greek, and also between "White" and "Black." The only corporate identity that has ultimate significance in Scripture is "in Adam" and "in Christ," not "white," "black" and anything in between. When one has solidarity with one's race such that one takes on any matter concerning an individual of one's race as a personal thing, then one has seen one's ethnicity as being more properly basic than one's identity in Christ, and that is sin, which this article by RAAN engages in.

If we are to function such that our ultimate identity in "in Christ," and God's moral law applies equally to every person from every race and language and nation, then we should not be troubled by criticism of real sin from anyone and everyone. So in my case, I have no problems with whites criticizing Watchman Nee for example. Just because he is Chinese does not mean I ought to defend him even if he is in the wrong. If anyone wants to attack the weak ecclesiology of the majority of Chinese churches, or the fact that women are found in ministerial positions in Chinese churches, I have absolutely no desire to defend them. Wrong is wrong regardless of the skin color of the ones in the wrong.

Scripture does not condone racism, but neither does it condone reverse racism. Both sides have to repent. Yes, ethnicity is part of the identity of every individual, but it should play no part in how we treat him, or how we treat others of the same race as him.

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