We, the Session of Providence Church, have undertaken a study on the topic of the nations of men and the resulting implications of these nations on our church and our families. This study is presented below in a series of affirmations. It is our prayer that these affirmations will help us work through this topic in a spirit of unity and peace.
- We affirm that God has created from one blood every nation of men (Acts 17:26).
- We affirm that the division of the nations (Genesis 11:1-9) was a result of man’s sin of defying God’s plan to take dominion of the earth (Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 7).
- We affirm that the division of the nations directly led to multiple languages, not multiple skin pigments (Genesis 11:7).
- We affirm that Jesus died to secure for Himself a Church, His Bride, which is composed of people from every tribe, language, and nation (Revelation 5:9, 7:9).
- We affirm that the reference to the tribes, languages, and nations (Revelation 5:9) is not to establish the principle of eternal distinctions that we must strive to maintain in history, but rather the power of the Gospel to establish the principle of E Pluribus Unum – “out of many, one” which principle of unity we are to pursue and grow into in history. The church triumphant will indeed be comprised of all tribes, languages, and nations, and skin pigmentations, but there is no mandate for such separation in the church militant.
- We affirm that the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) will fulfill God’s plan of dominion.
- We affirm that all men, regardless of ethnic background, are sinners in God’s sight (Romans 3:22-23); but, faith in the finished work of Jesus brings God’s forgiveness and gives new life (Romans 10:13).
- We affirm that just as the first century church was comprised of many ethnic groups (Acts 13:1), our church should welcome all, regardless of people group, culture, color, or background (Galatians 3:28).
- We affirm that the Gospel breaks down walls of separation (Ephesians 2:13-14), establishes unity inherent in the body (Ephesians 4:3-6), and is the basis for our growing and maturing into visible unity (Ephesians 4:12-16).
- We affirm that it is this visible unity for which Christ prayed (John 17:20-23).
- We affirm that it is this visible unity for which Christ gave gifts to the Church (Ephesians 4:8, 11-13).
- We therefore affirm that it is our duty as pastors and as gifts to the Church to actively teach and disciple this maturity and unity (Hebrews 13:17).
- We affirm that racism (any explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes and values one people group over other people groups*) is sin.
- Racism denies the Gospel (Galatians 2:11-16).
- Racism is a form of idolatry (Exodus 20:3-4).
- Racism is a form of murder (Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21-22, I John 3:14-15, see also Westminster Larger Catechism 135 & 136).
- We affirm that, from God’s perspective, there is only one race, the human race (Acts 17:26) and that God is only concerned with one division of men: the seed of the serpent and the seed of Christ (Matthew 25:31-46).
- We affirm that in Jesus, we are made into one nation, one people, one priesthood (1 Peter 2:9-10).
- We affirm that while national and familial ties are important, our covenantal relationship to Jesus overrides all ethnic bonds (Matthew 12:46-50).
- We affirm that there are positive examples of marriage between people groups in the Bible, and that Jesus’ own genealogy testifies of the engrafting of other people groups into the Messianic line (Numbers 12:1, Ruth 1:16, Matthew 1:5) and that such marriages are not sinful.
- We affirm that while culture and ethnicity may be an issue to be considered in choosing a spouse, one of the only barriers to marriage for the Christian is that the potential spouse be in the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39, see also the Westminster Confession of Faith 24:3). Other barriers include consanguinity (Leviticus 18, 1 Corinthians 5:1, Amos 2:7), unlawful divorce (Matthew 19:8–9, 1 Corinthians 7:15), and polygamy (Genesis 2:18, 21-25).
- We affirm that children born to couples of different ethnicities are covenant blessings (Psalm 127:3) and are to be brought up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
- We affirm that the blood of Jesus makes us one in Him, and that Jesus paid for our sin, even the sin of racism. And thus, we encourage all members of Providence Church to embrace the admonition of Colossians 3:11–15, which tells us,
There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
* Modified from definition for racism developed by the Presbyterian Church in America