Black Lives Matter


The Secular Creed that we are now studying is laid out in a manner that is quite convenient for me. You see, it begins with the statement that I am most sympathetic toward (Black Lives Matter) and ends with the one that I find the least able to affirm (Kindness Is Everything). The rest fall nicely between this spectrum. Like Black Lives Matter, I understand much of the appeal behind saying Women’s Rights Are Human Rights and No Human Is Illegal. Also, like Kindness Is Everything, I find the statements Science Is Real and Love Is Love to be empty platitudes. Nevertheless, regardless of my sympathies toward the statement Black Lives Matter, I am studying it as a part of this series, so I obviously consider it to only contain the appearance of godliness. As we will do with each doctrine, let us first address what we can affirm, followed by what we must deny.

WHAT CAN WE AFFIRM?

The easiest place to begin is by saying that the phrase black lives matter is true. As Christians, we must be able to affirm the reality that black lives do indeed matter, but rather than being swayed by cultural shifts and pressures, let us turn to God’s Word for wisdom and understanding in this discussion.

Let us work through the phrase in reverse, beginning with why anything matters at all. For something to matter, it must possess worth or value, which is necessarily both personal and relational. Indeed, nothing matters to a rock because it is neither personal nor relational. A typical argument of the modern world is that we as humans are the sole arbiters of worth and value. Whatever the collective society deems to matter is what does matter, and just as the process of evolution makes forward, though lumbering, progress so too does our society.

The presentation of Scripture is different. Worth and value do not originate from within human societies; rather, they have been imbued upon each and every person from an outside Source. And the Bible wastes no time introducing us to that Source: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). If there is a Creator, then there is a creation rather than an accident. Such is the difference between a building and a landslide. The careful structure of the building presumes an architect, while the landslide does not. Thus, we do not believe worth and value to be mere social constructs; rather, we believe in a God who made all matter and decreed that it matters.[1] Our definition of what matters, therefore, is objective rather than subjective. It comes from without rather than from within. God the Creator ultimately bestows worth and value upon His creation rather than us doing so, who are merely a part of His creation.

Next, we must discover what the Scriptures teach about the worth and value of life, particularly human life. When it comes to the lives of animals, God of course declares them to be good during creation (Genesis 1:25); however, we also witness their value in such laws as Exodus 21:33-34:

When a man opens a pit, or when a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restoration. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead beast shall be his.

The requiring of payment for a neighbor’s ox or donkey that dies because of the negligence of another is a value statement. Human life, however, matters in a way that is quite distinct from the life of animals. Consider Exodus 21:12: “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.” Unlike the death of an animal, this is no mere restitution. This is a reemphasis of the Noahic Covenant’s pronouncement that “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6). The reason for this distinction between the life of an animal and the life of human is found at the end of Genesis 9:6: “for God made man in his own image.” This is, of course, a restatement of Genesis 1:26-27, where God declared, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

We call this the imago Dei. Human life has a higher worth and value than any other material creation in the cosmos because God chose humanity to be reflections of Himself, to display His likeness. Thus, the Creator has marked us with His own fingerprints, tying our value and worth to Himself, and by this design, we emphatically uphold that human life matters.

Finally, what does the Scripture have to say particularly about black lives mattering? While the Bible does not speak to differences in melanin, it does have much to say about the ethnic divisions of humanity. First, we must make clear that all humanity possesses a common origin, through both Adam and through Noah. Therefore, when thinking biblically, we should note that humanity is not composed of multiple races. There is only one human race to which we all belong and are all made in the image of God.

Humanity is, however, composed of multiple ethnicities and cultures. The origin of these divisions is found in Genesis 11’s narrative of the tower of Babel. This passage finds post-flood humanity defying God’s edict to “fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28) by resolving to build a mighty tower to “make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:5). They feared the very task that God had given them. Thus, “the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth… Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth” (Genesis 11:8-9). Humanity was certainly more united at Babel than at any other point in history; however, theirs was a sinful unity of pride against their Creator. His judgment of confusing their languages and dispersing them throughout the earth is the origin of ethnicities.

But does this mean that ethnicities were not a part of God’s sovereign plan and should be undone? By no means! On the contrary, in Revelation 5:9-10 John beholds twenty-four elders singing this song to our Lord:

Worthy are you to take the scroll
            and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
            from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
            and they shall reign on the earth.  

God’s eternal kingdom will be composed of people “from every tribe and language and people and nation.” In other words, God will not entirely undo the dispersion that He made at Babel; instead, He will create true unity, which still preserves the diversity of humanity, in His Son, Jesus Christ. Revelation 14:6 says this much: “Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people, regardless of linguistic, cultural, tribal, or skin color distinctions. Indeed, in the death of the Son of God, we see the ultimate display that black lives matter, for there is no higher sign of worth and value than the shed blood of the Holy One of God.

WHAT MUST WE DENY?

But if we can easily affirm the statement that black lives matter, what must we then deny? The primary problem is that black lives matter is both a statement and an organization. While we have seen that the statement is true and scriptural, the organization (as well as many implications that it has attached to the phrase) is decidedly unbiblical and must be denied.

According to the Black Lives Matter’s website:

#BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc. is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy, we are winning immediate improvements in our lives.[2]

While this may sound like a noble aim, one statement of belief following this declaration should raise numerous red flags for those who hold to the authority of Scripture:

We affirm the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, undocumented folks, folks with records, women, and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. Our network centers those who have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.

Again, we certainly do affirm to the worth and value of the groups listed; however, Scripture clearly forbids us from affirming the lifestyle of “queer and trans folks” as well as the very idea of a “gender spectrum.” The LGBT ideology, which BLM clearly binds itself onto, is pointedly set against what we just read in Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Furthermore, their website once (it has now been removed) also honestly declared their aim to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure” and “foster a queer-affirming network… with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.” This, of course, means that they set themselves against the explicit teachings of God’s Word, which has ordained the so-called “nuclear family.”

Yet Black Lives Matter is also a part of a larger network called the Movement for Black Lives, which is certainly more open and honest about its goals. The summary of their demands are as follows:

END THE WAR ON BLACK YOUTH
END THE WAR ON BLACK COMMUNITIES
END THE WAR ON BLACK WOMEN
END THE WAR ON BLACK TRANS, GENDER NONCONFORMING AND INTERSEX PEOPLE
END THE WAR ON BLACK HEALTH AND BLACK DISABLED PEOPLE
END THE WAR ON BLACK MIGRANTS
END ALL JAILS, PRISONS AND IMMIGRATION DETENTION
END THE DEATH PENALTY
END THE WAR ON DRUGS
END THE SURVEILLANCE OF BLACK COMMUNITIES
END PRETRIAL DETENTION AND MONEY BAIL
END MILITARIZATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
END THE USE OF PAST CRIMINAL HISTORY[3]

Albert Mohler, after citing a few of the particulars of these demands (which I will let you read yourself), concludes:

These statements, definitions, and policy demands are saturated in a Marxist ideology, promoting an intersectional worldview that is fundamentally subversive and destructive. Black Lives Matter operates from a worldview that undercuts human dignity. It sees each person’s identity as determined by externally imposed social structures, which are in turn determined by the human desire to seize power and oppress others. Such identity politics entangles human identity in subjective, materialist terms, diminishing the true beauty of what it means to be made in the image of God. It asserts that all meaning is humanly constructed, and it denies that human beings can ever know—even in part—the objective nature of a reality that exists outside of themselves, because such objective truth does not exist.

In short, the ideology of the Black Lives Matter movement attempts to upend the entire created order. It simply cannot fulfill its promises to bring about justice. Because it radically misunderstands human nature, it can never promote human flourishing.[4]

Indeed, the terrible irony of Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives is that they are attempting to obliterate the very answer to injustice and suffering. No amount of political and social reform (or in their case, more of a revolution) can heal the deep divisions that sin sows into the human heart and into society. Only Christ is sufficient. He alone will bring the final judgment upon humanity and make all injustices right in the end. He alone is the present-day killer of hostility between ethnicities, uniting us together as redeemed sinners through His cross.

For these reasons, I consider it extremely unwise for a Christian to attach him or herself onto the Black Lives Matter movement. Although it claims to fight for justice, this is only an appearance, an apparition, of godliness, for God and His Word are not merely neglected but blatantly opposed. BLM holds to a worldview that is antithetical in nearly every way to Christianity, and it has thus polluted an otherwise perfectly acceptable phrase. We should, indeed, labor for unity and justice under the banner of Christ, who is forming in Himself a new humanity, especially for those who feel marginalized. Black lives most certainly do matter, as we should strive to show in both word and deed, but let us not, in pursuit of justice, support BLM’s Marxist rejection of the righteous Judge .


[1] Is not God’s pronouncement that His creation is good a declaration of worth and value?

[2] About – Black Lives Matter

[3] POLICY PLATFORMS – M4BL

[4] Black Lives Matter: Affirm the Sentence, Not the Movement – AlbertMohler.com

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