Popular hip-hop artist and Reach Records founder Lecrae recently took to social media with a list of books that he says have helped his white friends understand his frustration with the social injustice he believes is taking place against the black community in America. (Source)
Well, gee whiz, that sounds all great and everything, but for Lecrae, who promoted this false “other gospel” of salvation through social justice at this past summer’s Together 2016 ecumenical kum-bay-yah –fest, his implicit remarks emphasize something far less than a spirit of Christian unity. Such comments fuel what the Gospel most certainly, ultimately extinguishes – Christian disunity, so often exemplified in our failure to recognize our brotherhood in Christ uniquely through the lens of God-given, Spirit-guided, Christian faith and love.
Lecrae, however, exudes an affinity for black lives only – which do matter, by the way, but not preeminently merely due to melatonin, but because, for those who have been sovereignly regenerated, Christ has purchased them with His blood. For those of any race who exist without the Gospel, giving them a social justice gospel doesn’t save and, because it will never be fully actualized in this fallen world, it will only infuriate the certain abuses that would be certain to accompany it.
Jesus isn’t the Savior of whites only. He does not show partiality. And there is no Jesus of the Bible who preached a social justice gospel. Yet the preeminent concern of social justice for blacks in America is Lecrae’s driving cause. But shouldn’t authentic believers understand that in a fallen world, one that is ever racing faster to epic depravity, the reality of difficulty, and even persecution, is not a possibility but an absolute – regardless of race?
That blacks in America – and all over the world – have faced indiscriminate and targeted abuse isn’t contested. The question is whether the social gospel Lecrae propels – merely a bastardized form of the prosperity gospel, enflaming with promises which it cannot deliver – isn’t itself intrinsically damaging to the black community for whom Lecrae gives his prioritized attention.
Where Scripture gives us exhortations to think on things above, not things below, the ambitions of a social justice gospel imply that we should experience the fullness of God’s goodness in the here and now, that all evil, all unfairness, all discrimination, indeed – all sin – should be eradicated by popular acclaim and legislated accord. That sort of world is certainly promised to us – but not here, and, while the Lord tarries, not now.
The Scriptures call all believers to be ready to suffer for the sake of my name. It says nothing about the nobility of suffering for race … or sex … or nationality or any of the countless other factors on which discrimination in a fallen world occurs daily. But being persecuted for any cause other than that Holy Name does not bring eternal glory. Fallen, faithless men have always – and will always – discriminate against other men.
In a world of wheat and tares, the tares without the gospel do not get a participation trophy at judgment day because their faithless counterparts persecuted them in the world. Rather, each soul will be judged in the light of the Gospel. The damned tares who suffered because of their race will share the same inheritance with the damned tares who persecuted them. The only cure is the Gospel, and that is, by God’s design, an eternal cure, but it is not biblically ordained to finally, fully dominate our world until the new heavens and the new earth arrive.
Failing, then, to acknowledge that injustice – which actually is injustice, no one disputes that – is nevertheless a reality that will not go away in a world currently in the hands of the evil one – the believer, of any and every color – must firmly fix our hope in the only place in which it may be certain to find fulfillment – the truth of Christ in His Word, not the power of the ballot or the power of legislative enactments or the power of agitated crowd dynamics.
So, Lecrae, my brother in Christ (and I hope you are, but if your “Christianity” is first defined by your skin, please, “examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.” If you’re a “black-first” Christian, you need to re-emphasize the proper focus. Be a Christian first who happens to be black.), instead of a few books for me to read to understand “social injustice,” – a condition which any Christian should expect and already understand in a depraved world – I’d like to share with you a few verses that might help you understand the reality of our life in Christ, brought to each and every one of us, regardless of age, sex, race, nationality, et al, by the gift of God through the Gospel of our Lord.
- Matthew 5:12 – Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- John 15:18 – If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
- John 15:20 – Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
- Romans 8:35 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
- 1 Corinthians 4:12 – and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
- 2 Corinthians 12:10 – For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
- 1 Thessalonians 3:4 – For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.
- 2 Timothy 3:12 – Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
- 1 Peter 4:12 – Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
- 1 Peter 4:16 – Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
The abuses and discrimination of a fallen world and an increasingly depraved nation are to be expected. Sinners will never act like saints. The Christian response is not, however, one of protest, one of fist-raised anarchistic rebellion. The Christian response is always the one that Christ has commanded and that defines us as those bought by the blood and brought of darkness into light. Our job in this world is to submit.
God is sovereign. Nothing happens outside His view. There are no atrocities in the world with which He is unfamiliar. For those that He has saved, we should always raise our voices for justice, but that justice is not our savior, it is not our deliverer, it is not our hope. The salve that would be fully-realized social justice is only temporal. It is only His justice and righteousness and holiness and grace that will ultimately, eternally, suffice.
Lecrae, stop selling a false gospel, absent from Scripture, that offers the unachievable promise of temporal gain while ignoring the Biblical gospel that gives eternal life. Every Christian alive lives in a fallen world; we understand depravity and the injustices it breeds. We don’t condone them, just as God does not. But the singular hope we have is in Christ, not in some “read and know my plight” tome that you may find temporally helpful, but is otherwise eternally worthless. Let suffering be for the glory of Christ, because of the name of Christ; not for the glory of a skin tone that has been targeted by the carnal attacks of fallen man.
Give your white friends and your black friends and all your friends the one single book that will clearly explain to them the plight of all men outside of Christ. Just be sure to point them to the Gospel, because it alone explains the singular hope for those who are, socially justified or not, condemned already. The reward is in heaven for those who repent and believe; not on the streets of a depraved American city through the mechanisms of social justice.
And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17