As members of the National Association of Evangelicals, the IPHC affirms the following NAE statement regarding racial injustice, viewable at https://www.nae.net/nae-addresses-racial-turmoil-calls-for-action.
Recent events surrounding the wrongful deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota illustrate severe racial injustices in the United States. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) laments the recurring trauma experienced by African Americans. We condemn racism and the violent abuse of power, call for justice for victims and their families, and exhort churches to combat attitudes and systems that perpetuate racism. We are grateful for law enforcement officers who honorably serve and protect our communities, and urge our members to uphold them in prayer.
Christians believe that racism is an affront to the value of individuals created in God’s image and to the divinely designed diversity of redeemed humanity. This denial of personhood and belonging runs contrary to the peace and unity that God intended in the beginning and that the Bible depicts as our destiny.
Racism appears in beliefs or practices that distinguish or elevate one race over others. When accompanied and sustained by imbalances of power, prejudice moves beyond individual relationships to institutional practices. Such racial injustice is the systemic perpetuation of racism. Its existence has unfairly benefitted some and burdened others simply due to the color of their skin and the cultural associations based upon perceptions of race.
No race or ethnicity is greater or more valuable than another. Evangelicals believe that the good news of Jesus Christ has the power to break down racial and ethnic barriers (Ephesians 2:14–18). Racism should not only be addressed after tragic events. Our communities of faith must pursue sustained efforts in this labor of love and justice.
The IPHC publicly acknowledged and repented of the sin of racism, and of our past attitudes and actions toward people of color, at the 1996 Solemn Assembly in Fayetteville, North Carolina (https://iphc.org/gso/archives/solemn-assembly). That service included the affirmation: “Father, we have recognized and confessed our sin of racism. We now turn away from this sin, which has brought division to the body of Christ. We declare that Your family is one, without regard to race, color, language, or national origin. We commit ourselves to do everything within our power to eliminate the sin and injustices of racism within the church and within our society.”
In 2013 we further affirmed justice as one of our movement’s 7 Core Values (https://iphc.org/corevalues/justice). The adopted statement read in part: “We intercede for those who have no voice. We stand with the poor, the weak, and the oppressed. We will not be silent in the face of injustice.”
We believe that every person is worthy of equal dignity and respect by virtue of being created in the image of God. In light of current racial discord in the United States, the IPHC urges its members to seek insight and direction from the Bible and prayer. We call upon every IPHC member to continue this endeavor and urge members of each generation to renew this commitment to righteousness and justice for all.
This post was updated on 6/7/2020 to include the full text of the NAE statement and the link to IPHC Position Papers.