The AMI QT blogs for January (weekdays), provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, are extended to cover important sociopolitical matters that have serious ramifications for the Christian faith. Pastor Ryun (PhD), who serves as the Teaching Pastor of AMI, is the author of Manual de Misionología, Theologizing in the Racial Middle, and a contributor to The Reshaping of Mission in Latin America.
Disclaimer: AMI, as a consortium of several churches, allows the expression of multiple standpoints on non-essential biblical matters. My views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors. I am also mindful that not every reader will agree with my stances on sensitive and contentious issues addressed in this month’s blogs. Where that may be the case, I invite you to utilize the comment section below, so that we may have an open dialogue; I highly encourage all readers to share their thoughts and experiences. Thank you.
Extended Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Prophetic Witness to Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and Antifa”
“Thy word is truth”
1 Thessalonians 5:21
“But test them all; hold on to what is good”
Black Lives Matter, #MeToo movement, and Antifa: Through the rubric of prophetic witness, these significant sociopolitical movements—fast becoming institutions in and of themselves—should be tested through an unbiased reading of God’s Word to appraise their biblical merits.
“Do Black Lives Matter?”
Absolutely. But the public outcry for social justice over a disproportionate number of African-Americans killed by the police, whether legally justified or not, shouldn’t be the main reason for supporting it. The primary reason black lives matter is because African-Americans “are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:9b), and as such, they have an intrinsic worth. Civil rights, such as the ability to vote, may be taken away from convicted felons but never their intrinsic value before God. Consequently, every human being bearing God’s image should be treated with “respect” (1 Pet. 3:15b) to whatever extent possible in any given situation. Thus, Blue Lives matter too (despite a few acting unjustly), as well as Unborn Lives, since God’s image is infused in them the moment they are conceived in the mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13).
As for the #MeToo movement that has exposed the hypocrisy of powerful people in the Hollywood and media (e.g., Charlies Rose, Matt Lauer, Mark Halperin, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, Ben Afflect who denounced Weinstein before getting exposed himself), I agree with Idris Elba who said, “[#MeToo movement] is only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.” This is all too true, since Scripture declares, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23); “for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Matt. 10:26b).
The church could never get people to stop smoking, but when social liberals began treating smokers as pariahs, smoking in public places became taboo—meaning, a lot of good came out of it. That’s also how I see #MeToo, for it scares the wits out of powerful and arrogant men from treating women like things—and that’s a good thing. It’s about time these men, who say all the right things in public but behave very badly in private, stop their contemptuous behavior toward vulnerable women placed in precarious situations.
It should also be noted that what can diminish the credibility of #MeToo are frivolous and fraudulent allegations that are expected to be believed just because women made such claims. While the due process, such as “every charge . . . be[ing] established by the evidence of two or three witnesses” (Matt. 18:16), isn’t always possible in sexual harassment cases, some type of corroboration is still necessary to avoid “condemning the innocent—[which] the LORD hates” (Prov. 17:15b).
Antifa activists say violence is necessary. Do you agree? Dartmouth history professor Mark Brady sure does, saying, “It’s basically a politics or an activity of social revolutionary self defense . . . for the . . . purpose of combating the far right.” Perhaps, Brady was inspired by the brilliant German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, cited in yesterday’s blog, whom the Nazis executed for resisting the Third Reich. The official charge was plotting against Hitler’s life. This is where I break with Bonhoeffer. The military does whatever it does within the rule of the Geneva Convention to win wars—that may not preclude assassination. But those who are ordained to preach the gospel and administer sacraments should uphold God’s command: “Thou shall not kill.” Jesus told the sword-wielding Peter, “No more of this!” (Lk. 22:51).
Antifa activists are civilians who resort to violence in peacetime to fight injustice, both real and imagined. Not only does the New Testament ethics (Rom. 13:1-7) counter that, Antifa isn’t even liberalism, for liberals have long believed in free speech and reasoned argument over coercive force. The Antifa of the 1960s was the Black Panther Party, who took arms to fight racism and what they deemed was police brutality. But the people who impacted scores of racially-insensitive white Americans were the civil rights marchers—led by Rev. Martin Luther King— who were committed to civil disobedience—not violence—despite being battered, hosed and pelted. They were like “a sheep that before its shearers is silent” (Is. 53:7b), and it was their sacrifices that paved the way for greater civil liberty for all minorities in America. So, in no uncertain terms, Scripture (and liberalism) does not condone the violent antics of Antifa.
Prayer: Lord, we repent of our indifference and lack of sympathy toward those who are being harassed and exploited. Guide Black Lives Matter and #MeToo to avoid excess, but that they would focus on the main message. Protect our policepersons and encourage the Antifa to talk, not punch. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 20
Monday’s Blog: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Trump Presidency”
(The weekend blogs will be provided by Tina Tsu.)
Lunch Break Study
As I’m writing this blog, there is a controversy over whether the Christmas song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” should be banned from public air. Some feminists see this song as an anthem for feminism, since the woman in the song (living in the 1940s) is struggling whether to go home in fear of a nosy aunt, or stay out all night to smoke, drink, and flirt with a man. In contrast, what #MeToo movement sees is an overtly aggressive man who won’t take no for an answer and will do anything, including putting something in the drink to conquer a woman.
Read Ephesians 5:3, 18-19 (NIV):
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people . . . 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
1 Cor. 15:32b-33:
“If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ 33 Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning.”
Questions to Consider
- You are speaking to a feminist who thinks that this song paved the road for sexual revolution for women in the 1960s. What would you say to her?
- Afterwards, you will speak to the advocates of #MeToo movement. What would you say to them?
- Should the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” be banned? Why or why not? What’s your reason?
- My answer: “I differ with you on your interpretation of sexual revolution. God, who invented sex, designed it to be enjoyed between husband and wife within the bond of marriage. But by making sex easy to get at anytime, anywhere, and at any age, you have turned sex into nothing more than a biological performance. Its pleasure is momentary, and it does nothing to build what we all long for: a trusting relationship based on who I am inside, not what you can get out of me.”
- My answer: “Yes, I see where you are coming from, but if you are looking for songs that uplift women, try “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” All these songs are pro-women because God loves women unconditionally.
- While I don’t care whether that song is banned, my concern is that other groups will look to ban what they seem as offensive songs as well—maybe even Christmas hymnals. I wouldn’t listen to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” because there’s a hint of sexual immorality and impurity in that song. I wouldn’t play that or other songs that tout worldly values in my house lest my children get influenced, for “bad company ruins good morals.”
This evening reflect on Romans 12:16-21: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Now pray for the advocates of Black Lives Matter, #MeToo movement and Antifa in accordance to God’s Word. Pray for yourself that you, too, will live accordingly.