Bishop Derek Grier of Grace Church in Dumfries, Virginia, recently held a series of discussions with a variety of Bible experts regarding racial strife United States and how Christians can be part of the solution.
Among those interviewed by Grier, the founder of 50 ministries, was Courtney McBath, the president of Virginia Bible College and bishop of Calvary Revival Church in Norfolk, Virginia.
When asked why people might be unaware of the multiculturalism in the Bible, McBath said he finds that it’s due to an educational problem.
“Like everything else, it’s a lack of teaching and training, and it’s the context and perspective of the training that we have. Part of the struggle of today is that so much of the Gospel was introduced to the world by a segment of people,” said McBath, who’s served as a pastor for more than 30 years and is the head of a multicultural leadership network on five continents.
“When people go somewhere to introduce the Gospel, they tend to take not only the Gospel but their culture. All of us tend to make the Bible or whoever our heroes are look like us,” McBath added.
The pastor said he believes that God purposely placed the Middle East in the center of the world to help the Gospel go forth.
“I think God did set it up geographically where you had to go through this place to get anywhere else, and it takes someone with an apostolic flair like Paul to be put in the middle to get to other places,” he said. “It’s as if God intentionally made sure that this Kingdom message would go everywhere and not be limited to any one particular culture.”
McBath encouraged minorities impacted by racism to speak up about their experience, adding: “I would never say to the Jewish people, ‘Hey, now let’s just stop talking about the Holocaust. I mean it happened, people died, but they paid you well afterward. Let’s move on.’ That would be so insensitive, so unfair to ask people to forget the level of suffering they endured and to pretend that it has no impact on them today.”
Christians should be empathetic, feel the pain of others and help those suffering to get through their pain, he emphasized.
“That’s Jesus’ work in my life — to be empathetic toward my suffering and bring me out of it,” the pastor contended. “So, I think when we do that for our brothers and sisters in any minority or in the majority — if they’re hurting — when we do that, we simply represent Christ in us.”
“Jesus never says, ‘Hey, just forget that you were wronged. Get over it; we’re moving on.’ He doesn’t do that and we shouldn’t either,” McBath concluded.
Bishop Grier also interviewed Samuel Rodriguez, the pastor of New Season Christian Worship Center and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Jesus may never have said “hey, just forget you were ever wronged,” but he did preach forgiveness. I doubt very much he ever said, “hey, you were wronged, so you should go after as much retribution as you can!” Jesus never said we should forget the past, but nor did he ever say we should live in it, or try to hold long-dead people accountable for what they did to other long-dead people. if everyone in this nation believed in Christ, we would not have the problem of racism, but when over 70% of American professed to be Christian decades ago, prayer was still banned from schools, and the Ten Commandments were removed from our courthouses, to appease a vocal minority.