I don’t write a lot of religious posts, but this past Sunday my church announced that, working in conjunction with other local churches, they would be holding a Zoom memorial for the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. I realize that many churches around the country are doing the same thing, and I am moved to write an open letter to the Christian community.
Deuteronomy 22 tells us, “when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”
2 Corinthians 11: 13-15 tells us, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servents of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
1 John 4: 1 tells us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Many churches in the country, with declining membership rolls, are placing political correctness ahead of actual correctness, in the hopes that holding annual vigils for, in this case, someone who died of a fentanyl overdose, will attract younger and more liberal members.
The message that this Zoom memorial will give is that too many of our young African American men are being killed indiscriminately by police, but the actual number of unarmed African American men killed by the police every year is less than 10. The entire narrative that the police are killing African American men at a heightened rate is simply not true, and it pains me to see church leaders spreading a false narrative. False narratives stand in the face of all Biblical scripture telling Christians about the dangers of false prophets.
Those ministers who put political correctness ahead of factual correctness are false prophets.
As Christians, we are called to follow the teachings of Christ. We are called to follow the Bible, in good faith. We are not called to pick and choose parts of the Bible we like, while ignoring parts of the Bible we do not. As Christians, we are called to follow the whole thing, faithfully, to the best of our abilities.
I get that the Bible can be hard to interpret. I get that it should be interpreted in whole more than in part. I get that Christ put love ahead of sin, and that we are forgiven for our sins as long as we follow Christ, but we must follow Him faithfully, and there are many churches today that are not doing that.
What happened to George Floyd was not OK. Derek Chauvin did not need to hold him down for almost nine minutes, including several minutes after he died. At the same time, the notion that our police are hunting black men down, with impunity in the streets, just is not true, and for churches to teach that it is – God is not with that message.
God is with the truth, and that is even more true when the truth is difficult to hear than when it is not. When the truth runs against political correctness – THAT is where we will find God, for God IS truth, and God is truth even when the truth is difficult for us to hear.
God will not grow the church of the false prophet. If you want God to help your church grow, you need to exhibit faith, and faith involves speaking truth, particularly when truth is difficult. Ministers have a responsibility to ensure that what they are saying is true, and if you are teaching Critical Race Theory, you are not of God. You are a false prophet.
I call on the Christian community to walk away from the false prophets, and I call on the false prophets running so many American churches – pastors who are trying to grow membership by being ‘hip’ rather than by being God’s servants – to repent, and to return to a Godly mission.
George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose. There is not a Christian church in the country that should be holding a memorial for him, as doing so perpetuates the false narrative that the police in our nation do not serve and protect. Christian churches should stand behind our police, and Christian churches should particularly do that because doing so IS controversial, and therefore a truth it takes faith to speak.
Speak truth and have faith that God will speak through you. Those who speak lies speak alone. Speak truth and God will grow your church. Speak lies, and your faith will suffer.
Political correctness will be the death knell of the churches who follow it, as the whole concept is to put political ideology ahead of truth, and that is by definition the mission of the false prophet. It breaks my heart to go to church and to hear a false prophet speaking from the pulpit, wearing a Godly garb while speaking falsehoods.
What are some of the hard truths churches could talk about? How about that were abortion listed as an official cause of death, it would be the leading cause of death in America today? Christians can have honest disagreements on the question of abortion, but I find it hard to imagine any sane person thinking that it is OK for abortion to be the leading cause of death in our nation.
The Bible says some harsh things about homosexual acts, and that is true in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus himself never mentioned homosexuality, but Paul did, in his letters to the early churches, a number of times.
As a church, we have to find a way to be loving toward all, but to do so in a way that glorifies God, and we cannot glorify God while denouncing His word. I don’t know how to do that, and in fact I am a member of the United Methodist church – a group that is splitting in two over this very question.
Another fact that churches could mention is that though the leading cause of death for white males 19 and under is accidental deaths (followed by suicide, and then cancer – the three of which make up 68.7% of all white male deaths below the age of 20), the leading cause of death for black males below the age of 20 is murder, which accounts for 35.3% of all deaths for that demographic. The homicide rate for white males under 20 is 4.9%.
Black males under 20 are more than seven times as apt to be murdered as are white males under 20.
My source is the CDC.
As if that fact is not telling enough, the leading cause of death for black males in the 20-44 age group is still murder, accounting for 27.6% of all deaths in that demographic. The murder rate for white men in that age group is 2.9%.
As for who is committing the murders, according to the FBI’s crime statistics, a white person is 13 times as likely to be killed by a black person then a black person is to be killed by a white person. The notion that there is an epidemic of black people being murdered by white people – police or otherwise – just is not true.
Nor is color of skin the real problem. When we look at crime rates by neighborhood (same source), and separate by race, the discrepancies go away. In other words, the high murder rates among African American men is a socio-economic problem related to our inner cities.
As Christians we should be concerned about cause-and-effect relationships, and the fact of the matter is that the African American crime rates did not explode until after the War on Poverty was enacted. I hear people saying all the time that if someone can show them the specific system that is racist, they will stand shoulder to shoulder in denouncing it. I call on Christians to stand with me in denouncing the War on Poverty, which Milton Friedman more aptly called “a War on Black People”.
While we are denouncing the War on Poverty, we might also denounce the raising of children in single-parent households. How many studies have to show that fathers are important before churches will begin to stress the importance of fathers in children’s lives?
Instead, our churches take the easy road, preaching politically correct – but false – narratives.
You will not find Christ in a false narrative, and the pastors who spread such narratives are false prophets, whatever their intent may be.
I get it. When I joined my church choir ten years ago (at 40), I was by far the youngest member. Now I’m 50, and I am still the youngest member. The overall membership of our church is also getting older, with younger families either not practicing Christianity at all, or choosing the practice elsewhere. My church, in the meantime, still has bills to pay. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the church leadership to try to appeal to a younger audience, and younger America is not very conservative.
I can almost hear evil whispering into the ears of our pastors all of the messages that may appeal to a younger demographic – but that do not square with the Spirit of God!
The temptation to succumb to political correctness is real, but temptation is not the path to redemption. Churches that want to grow membership rolls should do so by speaking truth with more conviction, and particularly the hard truths, some of which I mentioned above.
At the same time, Christ was loving, embracing sinner and saint alike. Even as we follow the Bible to denounce sin, we must walk a fine line to denounce the sin without denouncing the sinner. Judgment is Christ’s role. Our role is inclusion and love.
When difficult questions arise (and they will), I call upon ministers to pray long and hard, and to find inspiration in the WORD of God rather than in the whispers of temptation among a shrinking church membership.
The true prophet speaks truth: “if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken”. The message is simple: ignore political correctness and focus on what is true.