You can’t be a white supremacist and a Christian

10409045_10206983737416292_5944918649835674881_nYou can’t be a white supremacist and a Christian. The Christian faith is a big umbrella that covers a lot of variation, but one thing that is completely incompatible with it is actively hating other human beings. That is off the table, out of bounds, irreconcilable with being a follower of Jesus. Scripture is crystal clear on this. 1 John 4.20 says: “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar. For one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

And just so we’re clear, “brother” doesn’t mean biological brother or Christian brother, it means human brother and encompasses all the sisters too. You can’t be a Christian and pick and choose who you get to love or not love, who you get to hate or not hate. You have to love everyone. You are forbidden from hating anyone.

This is not a suggestion. This is an order. A command. Jesus said:  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  (John 14.15) What are these commandments Jesus refers to? Well, he gave a total of three. The first two are ones that were already known as a complete summary of the law of Moses:

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

These are repeated several times in the Gospels. One of the few things Jesus and the religious leaders seem to agree on is that keeping these two commandments equates to keeping the entire law and the prophets. They also seem to agree (especially after the Good Samaritan parable in Luke 10) that “neighbor” means everyone you come in contact with. Like “brother” this is not an out where you get to discriminate. Quite the contrary, discrimination is specifically forbidden. You can’t discriminate and keep these commands.

And Jesus takes this up a notch, adding a third command, what he calls a “new” command:

3. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13.34)

Jesus said this right after washing their feet and just before being arrested and crucified, all of which tell us a lot about what “as I have loved you” means. Jesus was their teacher and pastor (not to mention the Son of God), legitimately in a position of authority and honor over them, and yet he humbled himself and washed their feet (about the lowliest social task you can imagine). Then he submitted to arrest, public humiliation, and death for them and for us. This third command tells us that loving others means humbling ourselves to serve them, sacrificing ourselves to care for them. This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to obey Jesus. This is what it means to be a Christian. And this is the exact opposite of everything taught by the people who twisted the mind of Dylann Roof. They may call themselves Christian or say they are on a mission from God but they could not be more wrong. You can’t be a white supremacist and a Christian.

In the Spirit/In the flesh

We have to avoid drawing a distinction between spiritual reality and material reality. We are creatures who exist in both realms all the time. This walk of following Jesus is fulfilled by the Spirit and it is fulfilled in the flesh. The Spirit does the work and the work is done on our whole persons, including our bodies. After all, how else could we describe speaking in tongues?