ATS Statement on Race and Christian Identity


 
We believe the Scriptures to be clear that all humans, male and female, are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27).  The imago Dei is a consistent and foundational fact of humanity, both individually and corporately as “nation and tribe and tongue and people” (Rev. 14:6).  As such, all humans are the divine offspring, insofar as we share the same origin in one man and share the unique human nature created by God, in which He has given us life by His very breath (Gen. Gen. 2:7; Acts 17:25-26, 29).  

We believe that the Scriptures teach only a single human race with no divinely intended “racial” divisions that would artificially and inappropriately separate us by relegating one so-called “race” as superior or inferior to another.  While culture and ethnicity represent the variegated and diverse nature of humanity in its growth and development, the unity of humanity is neither abrogated nor diminished by such factors.  Our variegated and diverse nature as a single humanity is positive and intrinsic to humanity, so that our diversity reflects the diversity of our Triune God.  Our diversity as humans will be part of the regeneration to come, so that our human destiny as those redeemed of the Lord will always reflect both unity and diversity (Mat. 19:28; Rev. 21:26).

We believe that just as Scripture affirms positively the shared humanity of all peoples, so Scripture also teaches that our common humanity, rooted in the representative nature of fallen Adam, entails a fallen nature that is pervasive part of our shared humanity.  So, too, redemption is offered to all peoples in and through the finished work of the “last Adam,” Jesus Christ, who alone is Lord and Savior in demonstration of God’s love for the whole world (Rom. 5; Acts 17: 30-31; 1 Cor. 15:45-47; John 3:16).

We believe that all forms of ethnic, tribal, and national conflicts, war, and alienation are ultimately the expressions of sin and the fallen condition of humanity as individuals and communities.  The long history of tribal and national enmity, “racial” oppression, and various theories intended to degrade humans are at root testimony to the carnal, demonic, and sinful divisiveness resulting from the fall.  Although every episode of division and enmity may involve historical factors, we acknowledge that the root cause of the fall as a historical, spiritual, and theological reality of the human condition, and therefore which cannot be remedied by any economic or political system, nor simply be conquered by education and humanitarian enlightenment, however much these efforts may be appreciated.   

We believe that the foundation of “racial reconciliation” flows out of and is made possible only by the finished work of Christ Jesus, who has first reconciled fallen humanity to the holy and righteous God (2 Cor. 5: 11-21).   Without acknowledging our Adamic unity as fallen humanity as well as our salvation through Christ Jesus as the sole agent of divine redemption, the concept of “racial reconciliation” collapses.  Apart from the gospel, warring tribes and peoples at best can achieve rapprochement, which is external and fragile at best because of its man-made political and social essence.  The gospel alone offers “racial reconciliation,” which is multiform, redemptive, and supernatural in its essence (Eph. 2:14-16).

We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is intended to represent the unity and diversity of God’s new creation in this world, and that the body of Christ is bound by both creational and redemptive standards to stand prophetically in the face of any ideology, belief system, or cultural bias that slights or denigrates one segment of humanity to the advantage of another.

As such, “racism” as it exists in the modern western sense, predominantly premised on notions of a superior “white race,” or the cultural superiority of European and western people, must be addressed as a sinful and theologically problematic issue for the church.

We believe that as the reconciled people of God, the church has been entrusted by God with the ministry of reconciliation which provides the missional posture and content for the church’s engagement with the world (2 Cor. 5:18, 20).  We believe the Scriptures call us to peace and to peacemaking “as much as it is possible within us” (Rom. 12:18), and thereunto also suffering for righteousness’ sake if need be for the sake of gospel’s direct implications for “racial reconciliation” and the healing of the nations in Christ.   

We believe that the Scriptures require those who have been inadvertently empowered by racism in this current world to use their privilege to listen to and act on behalf of those who have been disenfranchised and demeaned by the same racism.   The mandate to live prophetically in the face of racism, ethnic and tribal discrimination, and any form of ungodly segregation is thus essential to the work of the gospel, being neither tangential nor optional, but rather a priority of expression that is at the heart of the church’s calling to be the community of the people of God in a fallen world.