The Orchard is part of an association of churches known as the Evangelical Free Church of America. This is an abridged version of a statement released by the EFCA:
We in the EFCA are grieved by the events last week in Charlottesville, Virginia. The EFCA stands firmly on the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are committed to uphold the truth of the gospel, and we are committed to speak and work against that which compromises or contradicts the gospel. The alt-right, consisting of white nationalists, white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis, and other racists, is anti-God and anti-gospel. Because of this, and in the wake of Charlottesville, we respond.
As Christians, we deplore racism as sin against fellow human beings who are created in the image of God. Racism has undergone a recent resurgence with an increase in violence evidenced by racial confrontations on college campuses, numerous racially biased crimes, the increased visibility and boldness of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and various other separatist movements.
Racism is also present in more subtle and passive forms in institutional settings where systems of discrimination prevent the upward mobility of gifted and qualified individuals. It is also present in racially discriminatory housing patterns, in the neglect and avoidance of people who are racially different, in the use of racially offensive language and humor, and at the level of individual prejudices and biases which heighten tension and perpetuate misunderstanding between racially different people. Even though our society benefits from progress made in the area of racial harmony during and following the Civil Rights movement, we believe that racism continues to exist and, at the present time, appears to have found renewed energy.
In America, this unhealthy attitude of racial and ethnic superiority has resulted in discrimination predominately by whites against people of color such as Asians, African-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics. It also has provoked a racist response against the dominate culture and often heightened tensions between minority groups as well. God’s ideal is that humans exist in harmonious relationships regardless of racial and ethnic difference, but racism militates against the formation of these harmonious relationships.
Realizing that even as Christians we are not immune to the sin of racism, we resolve first of all to search our own hearts and repent of any racist attitudes we may have no matter how subtle. We further resolve to work toward eliminating racism in our local churches, educational institutions and throughout the EFCA family. Some ways in which we can work are:
- Speaking out against racism in whatever setting we find ourselves.
- Teaching in our homes and in our churches against racism and noting God’s desire for reconciliation between races.
- Developing relationships of mutual education and submission with people of different races on both an individual and congregational level.
- Celebrating the presence and participation of our brothers and sisters in Christ from all ethnic and racial backgrounds in our local churches, our districts and national ministry efforts.
Racial reconciliation among believers in the church of Jesus Christ is one of the greatest manifestations of the gospel today, one of the greatest apologetic arguments for—or against—the work of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Because we are predominately a white denomination, it is incumbent for the white majority to reach out and initiate with the other – the African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, Native American, and others. After we initiate, we then take a humble posture of listening. We initiate with a spirit of humility and we listen with a posture of love. This is a glorious way to live, to manifest the gospel in the EFCA, and to reflect the new heavens and new earth here and now.
This is an abridged version of a much longer statement. For the full version of this statement from the Evangelical Free Church of America, please click here.