On Racism, Pentecost, and a Way Forward
What happened to George Floyd was a terrible wrong. It was evil. We are sickened to think that George Floyd, a brother in Christ, who was a model in his home city to other young men, has had his life taken so tragically and needlessly. The protests are important, and peaceful protests are part of our constitutional rights.
One hundred and sixteen years ago the Church was visited by a new Pentecost. Led by the son of former slaves, this movement became a powerful force within Christianity. Jesus had once again come to a stable (the mission had been used as a stable previously). Black and white and many other ethnic groups came together, and it was said the color line was washed away in the blood line of Jesus Christ. We believe God wanted the Church in America to bring healing to the wounds of slavery and racism – to lead our country out of its shameful past of slavery and racism. Despite the Jim Crow laws of segregation, that Pentecostal Mission was offering another way to a better society, a more just and humane society. It was the Church’s opportunity to provide an answer to one of the most powerful societal evils (and from a religious perspective societal and personal sins) – racism and the exploitation of the poor. Sadly, that Pentecost Revival of 1906, like the first Pentecost of 30 A.D., would eventually be replaced by the powerful pull of ethnic pride, leading to so much death, poverty, and a continued exploitation of the poor and marginalized. We believe this deception is more than the influence of a demon, but rather is the work of what Paul called the “powers” and “principalities,” a much more powerful source of evil that works primarily through false ideologies, pride, superiority feelings, that in time creates hatred. Out of this comes tribalism, racism, and forms of nationalism such as Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, which are all rooted in the philosophy of demons, the deceptive teaching that we have the right to suppress, oppress, exploit, and even kill those who do not look like us, talk like us, think like us, and worship like us.
This past Pentecost, May 31, 2020, at least two things were happening simultaneously: one, a prophetic voice of people crying out for justice in protests, and the other, people looting and destroying the property that others had spent a lifetime trying to build in their businesses. One based upon a biblical principle of Jesus and the prophets calling for justice and righteousness; the other based upon the “spirit” that comes from the devil intent on killing, stealing, and destroying. For those who have eyes to see, can you see the enemy trying to take the attention off the issue of justice and righteousness by turning it to destruction? Let us return to the intention of God at Pentecost, which was to bring about love, respect, and unity. When Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost, He broke down walls of separation and brought unity. God erased distinctions as the fire of the Spirit brought power. No longer was there a division between peoples, as God in Christ had created “one new man” from the previous division.
In Galatians 3, Paul further explained this new reality: “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.”
This is part of what we cry out for when we pray, “let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” May we hunger and thirst for right-ness to come. May we fight — and fight hard — to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. May we remember that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance, to a change of thinking.
Let Your kingdom come. Lift up the helpless. Humble the haughty. Let Your will be done. Unify your people. Let them know us by our love, our peace, our unity. As it is in heaven, so be it on earth. Awaken this world to who You are and make us coins in Your pocket, to be spent however You wish.
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This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoI thank God for you, Dr. Clark. Let Your love abound Spirit of Love!
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoThank you, Randy. This is such a brilliant perspective on the history of Azusa Street Revival and what it meant for this nation and what God was interested in doing despite the Achilles heel of racial division in this country. There is so much of American history that would like to downplay the role of African Americans in the building of this nation but the history of the Azusa Street Revival is there for the taking, unhindered, unoppressed and forever linked to a what God can do to and through even the most oppressed people of our society. Imagine my surprise to learn that this Great Revival, to which your name is inextricably linked forever, started with a former slave. As an African American, it's so empowering.
I agree that kindness is the way forward as it is my testimony that God, through the gifts of the spirit and the body of Christ, bulldozed a wall I built around my heart (He revealed in a dream was the size of the Great Wall of China) through His love and kindness. It didn't come down through the laughter that follows an inspired sense of (what appears on the surface to be) unprovoked hilarity that follows your ministry, it was done through provoking rivers of tears, a reminder that I am impossibly human.
I carry that torch that changing anyone's heart will come from kindness because I'm a firm believer that if God could transform my bitter, stony, and barren heart that He can change anyone's heart - and kindness is the most effective way to get it done.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness on this subject. As an alumni of your ministry school and an African American, it warms my heart. When I discovered Global Awakening I felt this overwhelming sense of "being home." And now I get it. Its you - being both a scholar and a man full of the Spirit of God - that makes people feel safe. I hope I can continue that legacy of making people feel safe especially around the sensitive issues of race and the Spirit of God.
Again, thank you.
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoOh Holli, thank you for your powerful reply. It radiates LOVE. What a blessing to each one of us who reads your words as they reflect how you live and Who you love. As Dr Clark said above, the color line is washed away in the bloodline of Jesus Christ.
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoThanks for sharing Holli. I feel there are so many times where my black brother's and sister's had such good reason to expect little, and project the worst onto me given the things in the world, and I am continually met with kindness, patience and love regardless. It has been, especially over the last few years, a beneath the radar ministry of the Spirit's presence in my life in a difficult personal season. An affirmation and holding place. Prayers that you might continue to feel God's pleasure and confidence in who you
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months ago“Let them know us by our love.” Amen!
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoThis was very thoughtfully written with the anointing of peace. Let revival come to our nation now!!!
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoThis needs to be read by everyone...right on Randy!
This commment is unpublished.· 2 months agoAmen! What a powerful response -- thank you Randy!