Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

When it comes to Biblical interpretation, some tend to think that they don’t need to study or engage in deep thinking on the Scripture. God will simply tell them what the Bible means. On the other end of the spectrum are those who tend to think that they don’t need any spiritual illumination of the text. They can discover the meaning through study and deep thinking alone.

Paul rejected both of these approaches to Scripture. He told Timothy, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Tim 2:7). Paul didn’t see it as an either-or, but a both-and. We must do our best thinking on the words of Scripture, and Jesus will help us understand Scripture in the process.

There’s no question that systemic racism existed in this country in the form of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the like. However, all forms of systemic racism have been made illegal since the 1960s. Systemic racism does not exist in America today. That’s not to say there are no racists left in America. Surely there are, but they are few in number. To say systemic racism no longer exists in America is to say that racism is no longer embedded in society’s systems. There are no institutions or laws that are explicitly or implicitly based on racist ideology, nor policies that treat people differently based on their race.

Many disagree with this assessment. They will agree that there are no institutions, laws, or policies that explicitly treat people differently based on their race (racism proper), but they argue that racism is still implicit in our institutions, law, and policies as evidenced by racial disparities in outcome. Black people are arrested at higher rates, have a higher incarceration rate than whites, earn less income than whites, etc.

While such racial disparities could be the result of implicit systemic racism, they could also be due to other factors as well. Racism must be proved, not assumed. If the racial disparities can be explained by differences in personal choices or behaviors, then there is no reason to think racism plays any major factor.