In a workshop at the "2023 Global Convention on Christian Faith" in Jakarta, Pastor Randy, an intercultural missionary, shared his views on how "the Gospel is the only way to true reconciliation of man."
Such reconciliation, Pastor Randy shared in early October, is made possible through the cross of Jesus Christ. Pastor Randy is a white American married to an African-American woman. As the couple has served as missionaries and ministered in Africa’s black townships for many years, Pastor Randy has come to deeply feel the conflicts and issues between different peoples.
"Jesus Christ came and sacrificed Himself on the cross, but that's not all," Pastor Randy said. "Jesus also came to unite all the people of the world as one."
The apostle Paul clearly stated that the world was divided into two groups—Jews and Gentiles (referred to as "Greeks" in the ancient text). But due to the cross, all hatred between them was eliminated, allowing Jews and Gentiles to come together through Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the other mission of Jesus Christ is reconciliation, so that not only Jews and Gentiles but all peoples of the world are reconciled through the cross of Christ. And one of the missions of the church in the last days is to demonstrate the reconciliation of the gospel.
"However, when people first came to America, they took over the land of the Indians. But because the Indians were good warriors, they took many Americans as prisoners. So, the frightened Americans started to fight back, which started the war between the Americans and the Indians that lasted for a few hundred years," Pastor Randy said.
"Out of all the Indians, only 3% became Christians because they all remembered what the white people did. There was a time when the whites told the Indians, 'You can't speak your own language. You must speak English and dress like we do.' Even the whites took the Indian children away to educate them. These were things that the Indians could never forget, and they were deeply hurt,” the pastor continued.
"But praise the Lord, some Indians have become Christians; they love the Lord and are willing to forgive the whites."
In addition, Pastor Randy pointed out that racial discrimination against blacks is also very common in the United States. "My wife's ancestors came over from Africa as slaves. These African Americans were not allowed to have their own faith and were persecuted no matter what. But some of them came to Christ, which allowed them to rejoice in the Lord despite their suffering. Black Christians have some of the best worship music in the world, and that is truly the grace of God," Pastor Randy said.
"But many of them were also deeply hurt. They hadn't forgotten the discrimination and abuse they had suffered. These painful memories came back to them from time to time. Racism in the United States finally came to an end with the Civil War, in which many people died."
Moreover, the church is discriminating against those who do not believe in Christ. Although the United States is a Christian nation, Pastor Randy pointed out that "legally, it is a democratic country with no official religion. All its citizens have freedom of religion. However, the Church discriminates against those who are not Christians."
Incidents like these tell us that our world has paid a high price for racism. Many may think that "the elimination of one's faith, language, culture, and land" is nothing, but Pastor Randy emphasized that it is "oppression."
"Racism is born out of fear or arrogance," he said. For example, we may have very horrible descriptions of others. Because we make such inferences, we may feel that certain people don't deserve to be with us as soon as we meet them and that we should fear them, not trust them, or even hate them.
"But God is powerful." And only God, as Pastor Randy believes, can make a way. "When black Christians preach the Gospel to white people and when Korean Christians spread the Good News to the Japanese, we'll see a different world. A world of reconciliation will come when we 'take the Gospel to those who persecute us'."
"When we share Jesus and the Gospel with others, we must respect their language, their culture, their history, and so on. We can't deny them or try to wipe them out."
Unfortunately, Pastor Randy also pointed out that missionaries often fail to do this. Therefore, they should repent before the Lord and make the necessary adjustments. Pastor Randy believed that the Lord wants us to bear fruit for the Gospel and enter into reconciliation with the Gentiles and that through the Cross everyone can be healed and made whole, and in Christ, all hatred between peoples will be stopped.
- Translated by Joyce Leung