Only in ignorance can some- one claim that racism vanished with the ‘60s. To John Piper, pas- tor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota and renowned Christian author, racism is a prevailing problem today.
In his latest book “Bloodlines”, he addresses the sin of racism. He said, “The behavior that distinguishes one race as more valuable than another is a sinful behavior.”
Though he believes racism is a worldwide epidemic with many races involved, he focuses on black-and- white relationships since that is a chal- lenge in America and an issue closest to his history.
Piper takes a different approach from many civil rights activists, if you can call him one. His approach is strictly nonpartisan, which is refreshing in a time where the partisan divide is gaping.
He gives printed space to both Bill Cosby, a proponent of personal responsibility when dealing with issues of racism and structural interventionists, but he says the ultimate solution to the sin of racism is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Unbelievers cannot pursue Jesus- exalting racial diversity and harmony.
They pursue another kind. It is better than race wars; but not what Jesus died to bring about. The church is the assembly of those in who the gospel has taken root. Therefore, it is the group where the reconciling power of the gospel will be seen or not,”Pipersaid.
He later said, “What I have tried to do with this book is show that the gospel of Jesus Christ—the death and resurrection of the Son of God for sinners—is the only sufficient power for this effort, and the only power that in the end will bring the bloodlines of race into the single bloodline of the cross.”
What is most interesting about this particular volume is Piper’s confession of sin.
Piper grew up in Greenville, S.C., when the Civil Rights Movement was at its peak. Even though his mother was, as he called her, a “Yankee, gutsy fundamentalist” who was one of few against a church vote to ban blacks from attending services, Piper said, “I was, in those years, manifestly racist.”
It was not until attending seminary that Piper woke up from his “sinful oblivion.” “I owe my life and hope to the gospel,” Piper said. “Without it I would still be strutting with racist pride, or I would be suffering from the moral paralysis of ‘white guilt.’ But the gospel has an answer to both pride and guilt. I hope this book makes that plain.”