In the aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville, bestselling author and preacher Max Lucado has spoken out, stating that God already provided a solution to the sin of racism.
The solution, he explained, is that "God made us to reflect his image."
"The image of God is sometimes difficult to discern," Lucado wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. "But do not think for a moment that God has rescinded his promise or altered his plan. He still creates people in his image to bear his likeness and reflect his glory."
The Texas pastor stressed that racism — or "judging a person according to skin color" — is an "ancient sin." And while everyone has been made in God's image — which includes such attributes as wisdom, love, grace and kindness — sin "has distorted this image."
But, he emphasized, sin "has not destroyed it."
Lucado went on to reject what popular culture and even religious leaders say in terms of what makes a person valuable.
"Pop psychology is wrong when it tells you to look inside yourself and find your value. The magazines are wrong when they suggest you are only as good as you are thin, muscular, pimple-free, or perfumed," he wrote.
"The movies mislead you when they imply that your value increases as your stamina, intelligence, or net worth does. Religious leaders lie when they urge you to grade your significance according to your church attendance, self-discipline, or spirituality."
Pointing people back to where their true value comes from, Lucado stressed, "According to the Bible you are good simply because God made you in his image. Period. He cherishes you because you bear a semblance to him. And you will only be satisfied when you engage in your role as an image-bearer of God."
He urged people to believe that they were made for God's glory and in His image.
"Would you let this truth find its way into your heart? You were conceived by God before you were conceived by your parents. You were loved in heaven before you were known on earth. You are not an accident. You aren't a random fluke of genetics or evolution. You aren't defined by the number of pounds you weigh, followers you have, car you drive, or clothes you wear," Lucado wrote.
Lucado's comments follow that of other pastors who have also spoken out against the violence in Virginia last weekend, where white supremacists and Antifa protesters clashed over the statue of a U.S. Confederate Army commander. A car plowed into the crowd, which left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured.
Redeemer Presbyterian Church founding pastor Tim Keller warned Christians that white supremacists could be in their circles.
"Twentieth-century fascist movements that made absolute values out of 'blut und boden' ('blood and soil') — putting one race and one nation's good above the good of all — also claimed to champion traditional family values and moral virtues over against the decadence of relativistic modern culture," Keller wrote in an article for The Gospel Coalition earlier this week.
Keller warned that such views "could and can still appeal to people within our own circles," and urged Christians to speak up about biblical teachings that reject racism.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, meanwhile, rejected accusations that President Donald Trump and his rhetoric are to blame for the violence in Charlottesville. In a later Faceboook post on Thursday, he emphasized that one race is not superior over another.
"God created mankind in His image and He loves us. The Bible tells us that, 'He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth,' and 'God does not show partiality.' The venomous hatred we saw displayed in #Charlottesville should repulse all Americans. It should take us to our knees in prayer for hearts to be changed. He alone can forgive and heal our land," Graham wrote.