Due to the many recent events involving race, police brutality, and systemic injustice at large, there’s been a resurgence of ethnocentric religious movements in urban communities. From groups such as the Black Hebrew Israelites, Five Percenters, and Nation of Islam, a renewal of interest, commitment, and the proclamation of these ideologies has come about.
Having the backdrop of historical and systematic oppression in their rearview, these movements are incredibly attractive to those who feel that either nothing is being done, or that our identity is lost. I personally have seen a few of the people I have on social media recently profess these ideologies online, and it breaks my heart.
After some research; what I’ve realized is that this also occurred in the 90’s, in the midst of race riots, police brutality and constant instances of injustice. Seasons come and seasons go, and the Bible says that “nothing is new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)”, so I realize why this would be the case. A group that also helped me see this, was the Christian Hip Hop group Cross Movement.
A little while back, I bought their classic first album Heaven’s Mentality, and this album actually addressed the urban religions that rose up in popularity in the 90’s. This was in the midst of a time when Hip Hop at large promoted Afro-centric/ethnocentric views and anti-white views as well, that often came against Christianity as the “white man’s religion”. Songs like Lower case gods, Who’s da Man were some that spoke to the ideas running around at the time.
My purpose in writing this post is that I feel God wants the Church to be aware of the fight we’re in for. No, we don’t fight any man, “for we fight not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12)”, but we fight FOR them. If there’s any way to get people to despise the good news of God’s love and righteousness for salvation being accomplished in Christ, Satan will go for it.
The reason why these religions are rising up in urban areas again, behind the natural reasons I mentioned, is because there’s a overt effort by Satan to harden the hearts of people whom God loves. This is why you hear of “losing the religion of your slavemasters”, or you hear of “white devils”, as well as ideas of blacks being the best nation and “taking back our rightful place as gods and rulers”.
Understand that when you have historical and systemic injustice against a people, there’s a valid restlessness and anger that you will feel against it. When hope is deferred, it makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12), and the flesh never seeks the will of God. If you ignore, deflect, and silence the cries of the oppressed and unjustly treated, you will even see the visible manifestation of wrath at some point. Satan knows this. He wants and even INCITES this.
As a Church we must move past the expression of annoyance at hearing about racial injustice. Even with what we know about race. The concept of race is a modern concept that formed in the 1700s. It’s not an accurate view biblically, historically, or scientifically, and it was used to place a value between different races. So if you have a system that was in place for hundreds of years, and was implemented socially, politically, AND religiously, you’re gonna have to deal with it. There needs to be a removal of the apathy and defensiveness from many that see the need for discussion about these things as an attack on them.
Get familiar with the kinds of doctrines that are moving around swiftly in urban areas, and ADDRESS them.
In the beginning, God made us in His image and likeness, and that is constantly attacked. <-TWEET THIS
Sin affected our identity in so many ways, and sinful men further attacked the identity of individuals historically by beating into them the idea that their skin color, race, and culture was and will always be inferior. They further cemented this demonic ideology by placing it in the realm of God’s will and destiny for them, as if God intended for a race to be eternally subjected to enslavement by another. It wasn’t just demonic because white people propagated it, but because our spiritual enemy worked behind the scenes as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece. Behind the physical response is a demonic influence that pushes forward these kind of doctrines and seek to influence human society to follow through with them.
This does something to a people group who see that things need to be changed. Being oppressed in this way, you will be tempted to accept any doctrine of self-glorification that also demonizes those against you as truth. When you say black men aren’t human, 3/5ths of a man, beasts, subject to the glorious white man, THEN place Jesus in your doctrine…there will be a response to it.
We have an identity crisis, and all of humanity goes through it, no matter your skin color, culture, nationality, etc. Until the Lord returns, there will always be different movements and ways that try to stand against the authority, power, grace, and love of God for humanity.
Learn of the struggles your fellow man goes through, especially fellow believers for the Christians reading. You never know how these movements will affect those you know, and it’s important to have a reason for the hope that you have in Jesus. It’s a real hope. A true hope. In Christ your identity is fully realized, and your satisfaction in life is truly found. Knowing this, be ready and able to speak to people, and love them.
Love is patient and kind, it’s not something that’ll be forced down anyone’s throats, especially when their heart is hardened towards it. As a Christian, examine your own heart and desires, see what things attract you that aren’t of God and surrender it to Him.
The image of God is not white, black, or any other racial construct. It is what makes you who you were created to be, and every individual has the SAME amount of value to the God who created them. Love your neighbor as yourself, because you can’t say you love God if you look down on and hate those you can see. Challenge yourself, and find your identity in Christ. It is the Father’s will that you’re conformed to the identity of Christ. You are loved, never forgotten, and cherished of God.