Christ or Chaos
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27)
There was cause for widespread outpouring of grief at the brutal killing of a black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer. The officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes whilst Floyd begged him to stop as he repeatedly said, ‘I can’t breathe.’
On 25 May officers responded to a call from a shop employee who alleged that Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 note. After Floyd was located near his car by police, they claimed he “physically resisted officers” while possibly under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. All four policemen have been charged over the incident which led to Floyd’s death.
Footage taken by onlookers quickly appeared online and led to widespread protests against racial inequality and police brutality in America. Some of those protests led to violent riots, particularly after dark, attended by looting, destruction of property and confrontations with police. Black owned businesses were destroyed and a retired black police captain, David Dorn, was shot and died in St. Louis trying to protect his friends shop during the rioting, although this received little press coverage.
‘Black Lives Matters’ protests have spread around the world and made their way to the UK. Thousands of protesters have marched through London during the coronavirus lockdown. Whilst the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, sadly a large minority were not, having attacked the police and television crews, set fire to the Union Jack and defaced the Winston Churchill memorial in London. A prominent celebrity has also called for people to support black only businesses.
How ought we respond to the ruthless killing of a black man in Minneapolis on the one hand, and the resulting anarchy in our streets on the other?
Created in God’s Image
Firstly, in the murder of George Floyd we must see an injustice perpetrated against an image bearer of God. We witnessed one image bearer of God subdued with his hands behind his back, begging for his life from forces of justice. We viewed another image-bearer, David Dorn, lying dying in his own blood whilst his death throes were broadcast through a mobile phone. We are horrified that the lives of both men made in the likeness of God were senselessly taken. We are each unique creations of God, for He “created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
There are people who hate other people based purely upon the colour of their skin, or on the basis of their nationality or religion. This is apparent for all to see. It is particularly evident in America, where there is a far greater racial divide than there is in the UK. Racism is a wicked abomination. Yet, ultimately, the answer lies not with peaceful protests, however laudable they may be. The answer is certainly not to take it upon ourselves to punish society by rioting, stealing, killing, and violating other image bearers of God. The answer is not to turn a blind eye to the rioting, or even to support it, as much of the mainstream media and politicians are doing, in order to avoid being branded as racist, or to further their own political objectives. Neither is the answer to refuse to support businesses, based purely upon the colour of the business owners skin, for this is merely to worsen the divide.
Whether we are black, brown, yellow, white, or whatever our colour, our lives matter. Our lives matter not because of the colour of our skin, but because we are all created in the image of God. There is only one race on the earth and that is the human race, “and He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26). Irrespective of our skin colour, our origin can be traced back to the first man. We are all of the race of Adam. Since every human life is created in the image of God, we ought to recognise that, not only do black lives matter, but every life matters, and every life should be treated with equal respect. Until we recognise that we are all made in the image of God, this divide will remain, and it will continue to manifest itself to greater or lesser degrees.
The Life of the Unborn Child
There is great inconsistency with the Black Lives Matter movement. They claim to value life, yet they don’t see fit to protest at the murder of unborn children, indeed “reproductive justice” is one of their stated objectives. Sadly, black lives don’t seem to matter inside the womb.
It has been over 50 years since the Abortion Act 1967 in the United Kingdom and nearing 50 years since the Supreme Court decriminalised abortion in the United States in 1973. Following these legal authorisations there have been over 9 million abortions in the United Kingdom and over 50 million abortions in the United States.
Nazi Germany first dehumanised the Jews before exterminating them. Similarly, many of those who were involved in the slave trade justified their actions by denying the full humanity of the Africans they sought to enslave. Since the legalisation of abortion many have justified the act of abortion by denying the humanity of the unborn child. In doing so, they have placed themselves firmly alongside the historical instances of the dehumanising injustices perpetrated during Nazi Germany and the African slave trade. To deny the humanity of the unborn child in the womb is also to deny the humanity of survivors of abortion such as Melissa Ohden (Here) and Gianna Jessen (Here).
Rioters in Bristol toppled the statue of Philanthropist Edward Colston, one of the City’s founding fathers who made some of his fortune in the West African slave trade in the 17th century. The statue was thrown into the docks, in an attempt to erase Colston from history. Is there not great hypocrisy at protesting and rightly deploring the slave trade, whilst at the same time either ignoring or supporting abortion? – The murder of the unborn child treated as but an object, a possession to be discarded. It is hard to believe that our generation prides itself at disassociating from the atrocities of the past and at the same time continues to wage a modern day abortion holocaust, without an apparent pang of conscience. How will future generations judge Margaret Sanger or David Steel? How does God judge us now?
Do Black Lives Matter? Absolutely, as does every human life, created in the image of God, including the unborn child. However, when we associate ourselves with an organisation by the same name we identify with all its aims and objectives. The statement, Black Lives Matter, is fundamentally true, but Black Lives Matter, as a movement, is not simply about racial equality, as their website attests to (Here). The movement is increasingly characterised by violent riots and mob rule.
Black Lives Matter is a Marxist and progressive movement, which seeks to defund the police and further the sexual and gender revolutions in order to eradicate the last vestige of biblical morality from our civilisation. We ought to be very careful before we either unthinkingly, or through intimidation, affiliate ourselves with such an ideology. To them the Christian is the enemy. We cannot serve God and affirm Black Lives Matter and their agenda.
Sin and Salvation
The Bible speaks very clearly to those who murder the defenceless child in their mother’s womb, as it did to the enslavement of Africans during the slave trade, as it did to the mass murder of Jews in Nazi Germany. The Bible speaks today to the murder of both George Floyd in Minneapolis and David Dorn in St. Louis. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness… full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness” (Romans 1:18,29). God’s wrath is not only revealed against those who do these things, but of those who support those who do these things, “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32).
The root cause of the racism, murder and rioting, which we have seen so prevalently in the chaos in our streets over recent days, is sin. The root cause of the legalised murder of the unborn child is sin. The only remedy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Racism resents, divides and results in hatred, murder and rioting. The Gospel reconciles not only God and man, but also reconciles us to one another, even in our brokenness and sin. Abortion kills the unborn, it takes the living and makes them dead. The Gospel takes the dead in sin and makes them living. The Gospel values every life equally, for all are made in the image of God.
The Gospel is desperately needed in our nations today, in order that, as we trust in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation through repenting of our sin and turning to Christ, God’s wrath towards sinners may be turned away. Through the Gospel the divisions and hatred would dissipate, as our hearts are changed and we become “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). The matter might be summed up like this: it is a choice between Christ or chaos.
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