As there has been much discussion over the topic of Racial Reconciliation in recent months, I thought I might do my best to clarify what is and isn’t being said by RR advocates such as myself. Of course, I cannot speak on behalf of everyone pressing the case, but I hope to at least clarify some of the terms, phrases, and assumptions being debated. This might constitute a lengthy series, but if it proves to be beneficial to any interested in this discussion, I will indeed continue. Topics will include “race,” “white privilege,” “color-blind,” “institutional racism,” and more. Feedback is welcome.
[Please see the previous post, “What Is & Isn’t Being Said: 2. ‘Race’ and the Racialized Society,” for the necessary historical context.]
“Privilege” can be generally defined as,
A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.
[The following selctions are from Gregory of Nazianzus’ Oration 29 and Oration 38, the latter delivered on Christmas Day 380 AD.]
Christ is born, glorify Him!
Christ from heaven, go out to meet Him. Christ on earth; be ye exalted. Sing unto the Lord all the whole earth; and that I may join both in one word, Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him Who is of heaven and then of earth. Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope. Christ of a Virgin; O you Matrons live as Virgins, that you may be Mothers of Christ. Who does not worship Him That is from the beginning? Who does not glorify Him That is the Last?
The law was […] offered to fallen man in order that, lacking all faculty of fulfilling the law, he may fulfill it through Christ.
Therefore, the promulgation of the law to Israel on Mount Sinai was a very gracious act. (Johannes Wollebius, Compendium Theologiae Christinae, p. 76)
Throughout this series we have been answering the question from which we began, “how was Christ administered to the saints of the Old Testament?” We have shown that Christ was administered and dispensed by means of the Land and Seed promises, the ordained Sacrifices, the Sacrament of Circumcision, and we have for the last couple of posts been discussing the Law itself as part of the administration and dispensation of the one redemptive work of Christ to the saints of the Old Testament.
Contrary to the assumption of many, the Law was not simply a ministration of death (2 Cor. 3:7), that which slew Paul (Rom. 7:9), the sting of death (1 Cor. 15:56), etc., but was rather a very gracious act of God—a redeeming act of God—Christ Himself promulgating the Law to His own people from Mt. Sinai, carrying them on eagle’s wings through the Wilderness, and in the Law displaying His own perfect and most desirable character. As we discussed last time, the Law became death to apostate Jews, not because it was not holy, righteous, and good in itself, but because we are fallen and evil by nature. What the Jews had failed to see was the purpose of the Law, preferring in the pride of their uncircumcised hearts to “do this and live,” rather than believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths the faith that was by it brought near.