Black Lives Matter - True Statement, Troubling Organization
June 25, 2020 Speaker: Josh DeGroote
Topic: Biblical Justice Passage: Romans 12:9–12:9, Leviticus 19:3–19:3, Revelation 12:11–12:11
Welcome to the living by faith podcast, my name is Josh DeGroote and this is episode number eight. Thanks for listening. This is a podcast where I take a look at some news items, theology, and history from the perspective of the Christian’s life of faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s jump in.
Black lives matter. We see and hear that statement everywhere.
We hear it in the news. We see it on social media. We see it on t-shirts and more and more spray painted on buildings and historical monuments. What is the deal with black lives matter? It is imperative that we think through this because of the cultural moment we live in right now. And I do say, “think”. It is important that we think and not just feel our way through this. As Christians, we ought to say “of course black lives matter.” In one sense, the statement itself is an obvious truth.
But we need to take a step back and understand why black lives matter. And it starts with God. If you take God out of the discussion, the statement “black lives matter” is meaningless. The retort would be why and on what basis do black lives or any life matter. But when you start with God, the Creator who made human beings of all ethnicities in his image, it is obvious. Every life matters. It has intrinsic value. All life matters.
But along with that we must say “all” black lives matter. Not just the black lives that are killed by police officers, which accounts for a tiny number of black deaths in the US. But the black lives snuffed out by senseless inner city violence matter. The black lives taken by other blacks matter. And black babies who are not even given the chance to live outside the womb matter (NYC the last few years - more babies aborted than born alive). So I am good with the statement black lives matter, but would just like to add the word “all” in front of it. All black lives matter. So black lives matter? Yes, all of them along with all other lives, because God is our Creator and we ALL bear his image.
But many are using this statement as part of a larger movement which connects to the organization Black Lives Matter. And the organization BLM (for short) is bad news. Even just a brief glance at their website should send every thinking Christian running in the opposite direction from BLM.
Here is just a portion of their “we believe” statement just to give you a taste of how far from a biblical worldview this organization is:
We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.
We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).
This is from their website - “what we believe” page. But then there is the political approach of revolution which promotes violence. Last night in an interview on Fox News, a leader from the NY BLM: “If we don’t get what we want, we will burn the system down… you can take what I said figuratively or literally, it’s up to your interpretation.” He went on to speak in a condescending way about due process for cops accused of misconduct. But a fair and just legal system is built upon due process. Due process is the legal rights and protections every person deserves - a right to investigation and a fair trial and so forth. Without due process, there is no justice. You cannot fight injustice with another form of injustice.
Mob rule is not justice. Violence and riots which may produce certain results without due process is NOT justice. It is just another form of injustice. Black Lives Matter, the organization, is gaining more and more power, and this ought to concern every Christian committed to the gospel.
And so to sum up, as Christians, we can and should heartily affirm the value of every life - those of black people. But we have no business getting behind or supporting or cheerleading a group like BLM. Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” We must do this. We must hate what is evil. And God defines what is evil. Injustice in all its forms - whether at the hands of a rogue police officer or by the hands of a revolutionary organization like BLM is evil and we should hate it. But we must also hold fast to what is good. Black lives matter. All black lives matter. All lives matter. And they all matter because God, created each one in his image and for his glory.
The next section is the catechesis section. For centuries Christians gave themselves to the practice of learning the doctrines of the Christian faith by way of a catechism. Catechesis simply means to teach orally or instruct by word of mouth. This is a practice that is sorely missed in our day and I think we would benefit tremendously by taking it up again, and so I want to do my part to promote the practice of catechesis.
All that said, I’m making my way through a modern catechism called New City Catechism. It takes the form of 52 questions and answers with scripture - so one for each week. You can buy the book online or you can download the app on your phone for free. So we are on question 9 this week:
Question 10: What does God require in the fourth and fifth commandments?
Answer 10: Fourth, that on the Sabbath day we spend time in public and private worship of God, rest from routine employment, serve the Lord and others, and so anticipate the eternal Sabbath. Fifth, that we love and honor our father and our mother, submitting to their godly discipline and direction.
Fourth commandment → it is good for us to nurture our bodies and souls. Bodies through physical rest from work. And souls through the worship of God with the saints on the Lord’s Day. The fourth commandment points forward to a deeper kind of rest, where we rest from our works and rest in Christ’s work. In the future we will enter into this rest more fully when the Lord JEsus Christ returns.
Fifth command. So important in the mind of God is this command that the transgression of it is named among a host of other sins we would normally consider more egregious in Romans 1:30 when describing the wicked. It says, among other things, they are “disobedient to parents”. Paul says in Ephesians 6:1-3 that this commandment is the first one with a promise - “that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land”. You really can see this promise played out. In a home where children are required to obey their parents, things generally go better for them. God is faithful.
Leviticus 19:3 - Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
In the history section today, I want to talk about a book that has helped to shape the Christian church for almost 500 years now. What book is it? Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It’s likely you have heard of the book before, which is a collection of stories of faithful Christians who were persecuted and often martyred for their faith in Christ. But do you know the history of how it came into being? Well, it is named after the man who wrote and published the original version, John Foxe.
John Foxe was born in 1516 in England, so just one year prior to the Protestant Reformation began. Foxe was a Roman Catholic who was converted and became a Protestant through and through during his days at Oxford University. In fact, he was expelled from school because the reformational doctrines were considered heretical beliefs. After being expelled from Oxford, he worked as a tutor for a wealthy family and it was at this time that he met his future wife, Agnes Randall, who shared his Protestant faith. John and Agnes were married on February 3, 1547 and it was about this time that the pope’s inquisitors began to persecute not only Christian leaders who deviated from the Romand Catholic teachings, but also private individuals and families. Agnes’s parents took in John and Agnes for a period of time which helped them evade the inquisitors, but when Queen Mary I brought back all the Roman Cahtolic doctrines and the pope’s authority, the Foxe’s had to leave England.
After moving around Europe, they settled in Basel, Switzerland and there found some English refugees who had fled England. And this is where John Foxe began his great work of compiling the stories of the Christian martyrs. When news spread among Christians that Foxe was working on the book, he began receiving scores of letters from people in many nations who had been persecuted or witnessed persecution.
Foxe returned to England in 1559 and expanded his book up to the account of the famous church leader Archbishop Thomas Cranmer execution when he was burned at the stake in 1556. The book was originally published in 1563 and since then has had many additions and revisions up to the present time.
Although Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is full of historical accounts, it reads less like a history book. The book highlights the faithfulness and grace of God to keep his people and the full assurance of faith and commitment of the saints who laid their lives down for the Savior. It would benefit every Christian to get a copy of this book and read through it over time. Of course, you can only take so much at one time. But as Christians, it is a story of our people who were faithful until the end. Revelation 12:11 tells us of those who overcome the devil and how - “They conquered him by the blood of the lamb, and the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death…”
Think about this. The stories chronicled for us in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, add to the Great cloud of witnesses we are told about in Hebrews 11-12. These stories help us run the race set before us… We look up to Jesus. But we also look back to those who have gone before us, and were faithful to the end.
Thanks again for listening to the living by faith podcast. If you found it helpful, please subscribe, like, and share. Until next time, “may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you all.”