WHY ARE OUR CHURCHES SO DIVIDED ALONG RACIAL LINES?
In the body of Christ we are all equal, yet you can walk into any church in America on any given Sunday morning and you will soon discover how deeply the racial divide in America really is, the one place it should not be. During the course of the week we work side-by-side, our children go to school together, we play and party together, we inter-racial marry and we even elected an African American president. Yet where it matters the most we are the most divided people along racial lines. So I ask the question once again, “why are our churches so divided along racial lines?”
When we really look at the racial division in America as well as in the world we soon discover that racial, ethnic, and social segregation are as old as society itself. Wherever people live, they form groups along these lines, and then they put up walls around them to keep others out.
In studying the book of Philippians, we quickly discovered that in the city of Philippi, it was a culturally diverse Roman city on the main highway from the Eastern Providences to Rome, and the church at Philippi had a diverse group of believers. The New Testament specifically mentions an Asian, a Greek, and a Roman.
On the surface, these people had little in common. One was a business woman who sold purple cloth to the rich; one was a slave girl who had been processed with a spirit of divination; the third was a jailer. Three different races, three different social ranks, and probably three different religious loyalties before encountering Christ: But Paul taught them that all were equal in the body of Christ; all were sinners saved by God’s grace. They were to humble themselves as Jesus had done, and be unified in the love of Christ.
In a world segregated along class and ethnic lines, the church at Philippi broke the rules: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). This church was one of the most integrated places in the Mediterranean world.
Now, this was more than 2000 years ago, and here it is 2000 years later and we seem to be going backwards instead of moving forward as believers in our faith and the teaching and example Paul was setting out for us in the church in Philippi.
In the body of Christ, we are all equal we are all sons and daughters of the King of the most high. Why are we not setting the example for the non-believers to follow? Jesus showed us the way; Paul gave us the example, is it not time for us to step out on faith and begin to move in a new direction by following the teachings of Jesus and the examples of Paul?
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