The Bad Samaritan, or Why the Church Should “Take a Knee”

Luke 10:29 (KJV 1900) 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

It is the responsibility of the true Christian to stand up for the oppressed. Satan liberally utilizes oppression in the administration of his kingdom [Isa 14.12-17]. The relieving of the oppressed, both by the gospel as well as by every other legitimate means is consistent with God’s character, His direct commands to the church and with the redeemed nature of the true saint.

Some Christians have confused the social mandate of the church with the Social Gospel and its cognate, the Liberation Gospel. The Social Gospel is a liberal theology which seeks not to save souls but society. The social mandate of the church is gospel centered, it seeks the salvation of men because of the love of God that does not reckon souls as socio-economic victims or as church growth statistics, but whole persons in need of various categories of deliverance, the chief of which is spiritual.

Today there is a controversy over the value of black lives, specifically black lives lost due to state sponsored injustice. Many self-identified Christians feel that this purported injustice is a non-issue: either that the killing of unarmed blacks by police is justified, or that the issue is beyond the scope of Christian concern and action.

This lack of concern can be contrasted with evangelical ire over abortion, which is considered entirely within the purview of Christian activism. The ability to justify this distinction is rooted in American history where Christian theology was adapted to coexist with Native American genocide and African enslavement. Because of this modified theology, black life is still not considered entirely human by many professed believers. Thus the inherent bias within American institutions against black people, which is based upon this same history, is considered a non-issue to these Christians.

Of course, this theological aberration and the behavior that it fosters is contrary to the Bible and sinful. Theology that we will not follow is theology that we do not believe. The special exemption these believers provide themselves is a kind of racial indulgence sparing the possessor from the responsibility for their own active injustices and the passive dismissal of injustices of others directed at black people [Lk 14.30 sq.].

God self-identifies as holy. This means that He is entirely righteous, separate from sin and evil. Righteousness issues into justice which is God’s righteousness in His dealings with his creation.

Isaiah 5:16 (KJV 1900) But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.

Psalm 89:14 (KJV 1900) 14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: Mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

God expressly demands holiness, righteousness and justice from believers.

1 Peter 1:16 (KJV 1900)16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

There are no racial or ethnic exceptions to this command. Just as the believer is to provide the gospel to all [Matt 28.18-20], he is also obligated to practice righteousness and justice towards all. To ignore justice is to qualify holiness. Injustice is unholy. It is this principle that is modified by practical American theology. Under this system, it is acceptable that a Christian can ignore [or provide endless justifications for] injustices directed towards black people with no negative spiritual connotations involved.

The Bible however demands that the believer demonstrate holiness by aiding the oppressed. The KJV mentions the word “oppress” in its forms over 100 times.

Isaiah 1:16–17 (KJV 1900) 16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Proverbs 21:3 (KJV 1900)3 To do justice and judgment Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Those claiming to be followers of Jesus should be reminded that His own description of His ministry included ministry to the “poor,” “broken-hearted,” “captives,” “blind,” and “bruised” (or oppressed-G2352).

Luke 4:18–19 (KJV 1900) 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Had Israel received his gospel of the kingdom, all of these things would have occurred; and they will yet occur for the redeemed remnant of Israel in the future. Although all deliverance begins with the gospel of the blood of Jesus Christ, this fact does not absolve the believer, in our context, the white ones, from active concern about the oppressed and their plight.

The true Christian cannot ignore the plight of his oppressed neighbor. Nor can he painstakingly seek out arguments to avoid his duty to help [Lk 10.29]. The same God who seeks the welfare of the oppressed is the Avenger of them as well.

Psalm 146:5–9 (KJV 1900) 5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God: 6 Which made heaven, and earth, The sea, and all that therein is: Which keepeth truth for ever: 7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: Which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: 8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: The LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: The LORD loveth the righteous: 9 The LORD preserveth the strangers; He relieveth the fatherless and widow: But the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

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