The race riots of today are a shame.
That there is and has been abuse is not to be denied. But riot and abuse are not matters that are to be found only amid the races. In fact Scripture indicates an increase of tension and bitterness among men as we approach the end of time. One of the signs of the return of Christ is “wars and rumors of wars.” And by way of explanation Jesus adds, “Nation shall rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” This is by no means then to be limited to the white and black races. Nor has that been the predominant history of the world. White nation rose up against white nation in the two world wars which have afflicted the world in the twentieth century. Those in the white race have hatred in their hearts against white fellowmen. The color line does not define the line of hatred. Riot and revolt does not always find two races involved. And what has happened in the South of our country and in some northern cities is still an overtone of the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel. White and black are not alike and no man or group of men is going to make them alike. God can and will do that through regeneration, but no work of man shall ever change that color line. And it is not the business of the church to try to change it either. Let the church preach the gospel, and God will, as He is pleased, regenerate and make brothers in Christ.
We have no sympathy with instigators of riot. We condemn in no uncertain terms abuse of men of any race and color. Scripture teaches us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. And we believe that this must be carried out regardless of race or color. The negro is a human being. It is a sad state of affairs that this truth has even to be mentioned. But there are those who can be so inhuman that they fail to see that the negro is human. And each and every human being should be dealt with in the same courtesy and decency. The law of God says that we must love the negro neighbor as well as the white neighbor, and it makes no distinction whatsoever.
But as we said, the negro problem is an overtone of the confusion of tongues which God brought into being at Babel. They may speak our language as far as the words and their pronunciation are concerned; but even as there are among the descendants of Shem and Japheth nations with contrasting ways of thinking and clashing views, there is to be expected that the negro race in its thinking disagrees with the white man. And thus even as the nations had to separate from each other at Babel, there still remains an area in which the white and black races will never find a common ground. And what has accentuated the complex problem today is the shrinking of our world. We live on top of each other today. We breathe down each other’s necks, step on each other’s toes, and get in each other’s way.
From Babel men spread out and left each other alone until greed moved them to try to take each other’s land. Shipping and commerce made it possible also to steal the negroes from their home in Africa and sell them as slaves to America. But today the world has become so small that the nations are back where they were when God confused man’s speech. The language barrier has to some extent been broken. But the internal likes and dislikes, thoughts and ambitions of the races remain strongly opposed to each other. The only common ground on which ALL the races can stand is on the truth of God’s Word, and that by regeneration. There will be no negro in heaven. That is absolutely correct. And then you will be able to live with him and love him and have most intimate fellowship with him. But not only because he is no longer a negro. It will be due also to the fact that you will not be a white man. Both of you will be saints, re-created children of God, with new spiritual bodies that are neither white, yellow, red, nor black.
Intermarriage does not solve the problem but only creates new ones. For through it you get a third factor, and that only complicates rather than unifies. The expediency of Gog and Magog joining the antichristian world power in the latter days likewise will not heal that wound of the tower of Babel. It will only prepare the way for a more dreadful conflict and release a fury of pent up emotions and desire for mastery. We are in for some “rough times,” and we better not delude ourselves into speaking of peace when there is no peace. Better is it to look to the Prince of Peace Who by His Spirit unites all the elect of God from every nation, tongue and tribe, not in any earthly kingdom but in the Kingdom of Heaven and in the new Jerusalem. And where regeneration has already been accomplished, black and white and white and black can sit down together in sweet communion in the sphere of the spiritual matters. They can know each other as brother and sister in Christ, have a common joy and goal, a common Lord and King, one baptism and one faith. But where these are not to be found, there white cannot have sweet communion with white, and black may soon find himself enemy of black. An integration by the Spirit of Christ is a true and lasting integration. Any integration realized by law and fear is only a false veneer that will fall away sooner or later and reveal an awful division and enmity in the heart.
With God it is not the color of the skin but of the heart. We are reminded of God’s speech to Samuel, when he went to anoint a king from among the sons of Jesse. Samuel saw Eliab the eldest son of Jesse and was ready to anoint him as king. But God said, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” And by the power of regeneration, when we are born with the life of Christ, we look as He does. And it is not a matter of color, that is, not a matter of the color of the face and skin, but of the heart. Once again, as Solomon says in the Song of Solomon, “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem.” And surely the color of the skin is not a serious problem, surely not the most serious problem. We are far too much concerned about it and so unconcerned about the color of the heart. We are too much concerned about physical blackness and unable even to detect spiritual blackness. We call it white. Eating of the forbidden fruit has not given us the ability to know good and evil but instead afflicted us with that color blindness according to which we see spiritual black as white and spiritual white as black.
And that is the matter concerning which we purposed to write at this time. The social problem of integration or segregation is on the foreground at present in our country. But it is not the most serious problem of integration and segregation. We have in our land—and it is actually a universal phenomenon—religions and doctrines of every color of the rainbow. In the book of Revelation we see Truth riding forth on a white horse. See Revelation 6:2 and Revelation 19:11-13. And that is not a dirty white, a “tattle-tale grey” but a pure white horse. But men have departed from that truth to a greater or lesser degree. They have mixed with it and substituted for it the philosophies that originate in their own sin-darkened minds. And you can find them from off-color white all the way to pitch black atheism. At the same time, of necessity, you find people who tenaciously hold on to and spread their philosophies and theories with vehement insistence that they teach the truth of the Word of God. Others show an utter unconcern in regard to the color of the doctrine maintained and preached. They believe in tolerance. That is, they believe in tolerance to a point. And they believe in tolerance from one direction, and in one direction only. From the level of false doctrine to which they are fallen, they will tolerate and even invite anything below them, no matter how far into error and evil practices a group has fallen. But they will not tolerate any introduction of that which is purer in doctrine and walk of life than they. They are willing to be so broadminded towards the erring, but so narrow-minded in regard to fellowship and contact with anyone who presents a purer doctrine than theirs. They believe in integration of all isms and sects, but they practice definite segregation in respect to those who hew to the line, speak the language of Scripture and maintain that God actually is God. For these they have the sneering names of “Old fashioned,” “Narrow-minded,” “Super Calvinists,” “bigots,” and a host of variations of these. That is a far more serious problem because it deals with spiritual matters, matters of life and death, matters of the glory of God and the praise of His Name.
The question in the church world of today very definitely is whether and when and where to integrate and to segregate. A false ecumenical movement is a tremendous danger to the Church and the Church should study the situation with its eyes wide open. Any church that seeks to merge with another ought to ask whether the Word of God prescribes the integration or demands a continued segregation. There conceivably is much room for integration today of churches that are separated on trivialities and find that on occasion they can unite in this or that endeavor, can invite each other’s ministers to their pulpits, for the same doctrine will be taught, in fact a better doctrine might even be taught by that guest minister. That many denominations and groups of churches today are seeking union and closer contact with churches whose doctrinal standards and policies of discipline are on a level below theirs is common knowledge and to be observed by any who have the interest to look around and see for themselves.
The big and burning issue of the day is whether Roman Catholicism and Protestantism shall integrate or continue their segregated existence. You hear no one in Roman Catholicism advocating a change of doctrine and practice that actually amounts to anything, but many in Protestantism are quite ready to abandon this truth and that practice to further an unholy alliance between darkness and light. Many who fight even physically and with violence the integration of the negro with the white man and demand strict segregation are so ready to cross the spiritual color line and call all in Protestantism, who still spiritually see white as white and black as black, obstructionists and faithless servants of Christ, who do not with Him pray “that they all may be one.” But we better be on our toes as the movement builds up its steam to integrate where segregation is demanded by the very Word of God.
It is not a mere matter of continued existence. It certainly is not that in the first place. It is not either a mere matter of negating the whole Reformation and branding Luther and Calvin as misguided but well-meaning souls who actually troubled instead of benefited the Church. It is a question of the glory of God, who is insulted by all false doctrines. And it is a matter of walking in His fear.