Thursday, January 31, 2008

Integration or Separation?

Lionel's articles regarding this issue as well. 1 & 2

These figures above may bring back horrid memories to some. To others like myself, probably not as offensive since I grew up after this era. These pictures above are referencing a term that was used offensively used throughout history over the past 200 years and made more popular within the last century. There are many stories on the history of this term one says that the origins of the word “Sambo” stem from an occurrence believed to be at the height of the British Empire. An unknown slave ship had docked in the then-popular Morecambe Bay area to buy various sundry items; once back at sea it was noticed that a black member of the ship’s staff had been left ashore. This man’s name was Sambo; shunned by the people of Morecambe, he was made to live out the remainder of his days on the outskirts of the villages at that time. To this day there is a monument known as ‘Sambo’s Grave” on the coast of the Lancashire village of Heysham. The term “Sambo” has its origin from the Spanish word “nzambu” which means monkey. The Royal Spanish Academy gives the origin from a Latin word which in modern Spanish means “bow-legged.”

About 1600 years prior to this event we see a great man name Apostle Peter. Apostle Peter was one of the 12 and some would claim the most influential of the Apostles. In Acts 10 we see Peter receives a special revelation from God and is placed in a trance. What he learns from this trance from God is that this Gospel that he had been commissioned to preach was not just for Jews but for all nations also created by God. In this we see God demolishing the ignorant presuppositions that were put in place by his Jewish culture. It was a unlawful(Acts 10:28) thing for a Jew to dine with a gentile regardless of the circumstance. In other words we can only imagine how doing this command from God made his flesh feel. We catch a glimpse of this when Peter says in verse 14, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” Wait a minute!! Did Peter just openly disobey Our Lord? Thank God for His grace!! Peter was a bold man. He must have forgotten what happened in Acts 5 right?

Furthermore we see Peter being obedient for 1) To the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19and 2) To the command just received from God the Father. What happens? Peter preaches the unadulterated Gospel and I guess we can step into the Charismatic dialect and say he saw “A mighty move of God.” The Gentiles received the Holy Spirit and secondly they were baptized. Shortly after this wonderful act of God we see the Judaizers coming on the scene in Acts 11. Peter does not withhold his special revelation from God and informs them of the great news. It would appear based on the disappointment that the Judaizers had with Peter that possibly they had some type of relationship with Peter before or after Christ’ ascension but that could be a incorrect speculation.

Peter does not relent and dishes a double scoop of the Gospel to the Judaizers as well. From this passage in Acts it would certainly appear that the Judaizers were OK with this great news. They say, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Somewhere in this or thereafter Paul exposes some further insight in Galatians 2:11-21. I am unsure of the chronological order here but it would appear that this sin committed by Peter in Galatia was done after Acts 15-The Jerusalem Council. During this meeting among Paul and others, Paul states in verse 8, “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us them. This is not Supersessionism or Replacement Theology rather it simply states that all of God’s elect throughout time have been saved the same way-By Faith.

It is horrible to think of how some of our ancestors were treated but just as they fought for us to be considered humans and to vote, they also fought so that we can be integrated and not separated. I used the Sambo figure above because many people say they are Christian’s but cannot let go(forgive) of the past. They hold Sambo and slavery issues as a grudge towards there brother or sister in Christ and allow it hinder their spiritual growth. In our day we don’t see the sovereignty of God in slavery as being similar to Joseph and him forgiving his brothers. We miss the purpose of God in the things he does throughout history. Joseph says, “Genesis 45:5 Do not be angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 45:8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.At times in my dealing with blacks and whites I see the animosity they hold to in their dealings with their Christian brethren which is a direct opposition to scripture and definitely not Christ-like. Similar to how Peter was acting when after he recieved the revelation from God. How much more should we act in accordance with scripture since we have the completed Canon.

If God calls you to sit amongst people who don’t look like you-SO WHAT!! So the worship is different-Maybe you have opposition at home. You-my friend have been commissioned to follow the LAMB not your comfort. God causes us to do things at times that does not coincide with our feelings or our regular dealings. When God saved me I heard His voice and followed and will continue to follow wherever HE leads me. The Gospel is all that matters and all that will ever matter-without it we have absolutely nothing. As Lionel stated in an earlier post-”stop complaining about your situation(which is sin by the was Phil 2:14) and GOD may have called you to be that “Catalyst” for a while.

1) How much are you willing to compromise your Biblical convictions for the sake of being comfortable?

2) Did God only call you to save a certain race or to preach the Gospel to all nations?

3) Are there any benefits to learning how to mingle with other cultures and can that help you be a better witness for the Kingdom of God?

4) Would this help us become all things to all men that we might by all means save some?

Ponder these things if you consider yourself a Christian. We are to emulate the attributes of Christ in all we do. Search for a Biblical church and don’t be locked in on finding a particular race of people. The only people you should be concered about being in fellowship with are your brothers in sisters in Christ in which you share the same blood-that of Christ.