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How to Respond to Someone Who Thinks Whites Are Superior

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By John Piper, Christian Post Guest Columnist
July 25, 2011|2:12 pm

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

How would you respond to church members who claim to follow Christ but believe that whites are superior to other races by God's design?

How I respond to people is governed not just by facts that I know from the Bible and from experience, but by the moment of the interchange.

In other words, what am I seeing? What is their attitude? I'm trying to read their heart as well as their head here, because I can immediately respond with, "Uh, I got some facts for you from the Bible and from life." But that may not be the most immediate thing to do.

So the answer is that I'm not sure how I would respond. But I would try to discern why this person is saying what they're saying.

Is it on the basis of some book they've read, like The Bell Curve? Or are they saying it on the basis of some experience they've had growing up around a certain ethnic group where they've seen everybody act a certain way so they're generalizing over the whole group? Are they saying this because some one person did something horrible in their life? Or is it because their dad always talked this way? Just where are they coming from?

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And I want to try to go for that heart issue along the way. Maybe not first, but somewhere along the way. So that's the first thing I would say.

The second thing I would say is that I think they would be hard pressed to show from the Bible that white supremacy is true.

I've written a paper about whether the so-called "curse of Ham" in Genesis is God's way of saying that, because Ham was the father of the Africans, and since Ham was made the servant of Shem, therefore all Africans are subservient to those who are the descendants of Shem. I just don't think that works, because the curse fell on Canaan, and Canaan is not the father of the Africans. He's the father of another group of people.

If you try to work out the details of that old Hamitic curse and say, "That's the biblical basis for this," I don't think it'll stand exegetically. So that would be the second direction I'd go.

Here's the last thing I would probably say: I would say, Look. My guess is that if you took every single nationality-Korean, German, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian-every one of them has traits about them. I don't know if they're genetic or due to upbringing, but those traits are different.

Frankly, I've got stereotypes. To me, Germans are clean. "Sauberkeit! Sauberkeit!" I spent 3 years in Germany, and those women were always out there cleaning their cement steps every morning. I said, "What is this?"

So I've got this stereotype that Germans are that way. I frankly think that's a good thing, but we can have negative stereotypes about one group.

Now we're all different. I don't know how genetically based these things are. But here's what I know. God calls me to love my neighbor as I love myself. God calls me to love my enemy. Therefore, I think it is, in one sense, irrelevant what all those different stereotypes are in the way we begin to treat people and love people and care for people.

So I want to take that person by the neck, if they're in my church, and say, "You can just lay this thing down. You can lay this stereotype, this prejudice, this racism down, because when it comes to how we relate to each other, the cross is the issue. Not your stereotypes about white, black, red, yellow or any other ethnicity in between."

Copyright 2010 John Piper. Website: desiringGod.org
 

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