The musical artist Lacrae in a Facebook video expressed his feelings concerning the value of Black Americans and how if they desire to see change implemented in the culture, they need to outline the objectives they would like to see take place in society. He also discussed, among other topics, that race is taught in the Bible and that there are distinctives that are clearly observed. Lacrae in his video stated the following
…know who you are. Know whose you are…Jesus speaks to your humanity, your culture, ethnicities in the Scriptures. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. How do we know she is Samaritian? Why is it necessary to mention she’s Samaritan? The good Samaritan, why is it necessary to mention that? Because ethinicities were recognized, and there is nothing wrong with that, there is beauty in that, and appreciate who you are...Lacrae. Dear Black Christians. June 25
Lacrae in his video has made a couple of valid points concerning ethnicities. Ethnicites (i.e. people groups) were recognized in the Scriptures as the Biblcal authors sought to describe historical events concering God and the Messiah accurately. Futhermore ethnicities by nature are distinct and beautiful as God has created all mankind (Genesis 1:26-28), and the nations of the world (c.f., Genesis 11:1-9). However, this point he made in his statement above is on the heels on an earlier statement he made in his video.
At the end of the day, I just want yall to know that were not wrong for celebrating our blackness…were not putting our blackness over our faith in the Lord…were celebrating that He made us this way, were celebrating the culture that He has given us…Lacrae. Dear Black Christians. June 25
It would seem in the broader context Lacrae has asserted that having black skin is an ethnicity, and defined blackness as a culture in and of itself. This is the context by which he explained not only the ordinances and practices of Israel described in the Old Testament, but also of the Samaritan woman. Is the account of the Samaritan woman an example of blackness that Lacrae says in his video should be celebrated?
The account of the Samaritan woman is found in the book of John where Jesus had a discussion with the woman concerning who Jesus is (John 4:10-14), her personal relationships (John 4:15-19), and those who are true worshippers of God (John 4:20-24). Jesus concluded the discussion with the Samaritan woman that He was the Messiah that was promised to come (John 4:25).
It is clear by the account by John that Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. It is also clear from the Biblical text that Jews had no dealings with the people of Samaria (John 4:9) because of their conflicting doctrine concerning the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Furthermore it is noted in the Scriptures that Samaritans were called Samaritans because of the region they resided in and the ethnicity they belong to. What is not mentioned in the Biblcal account of the Samaritan woman is the the skin color of the Samaritan woman. This particular feature is absent from the account, and to presume the woman was a certain shade of melonin when the Scripture is silent on this is to engage in speculation.
This is an error in Lacrae’s statement concerning blackness, and celebrating blackness, using the account of the Samaritan woman. Lacrae has taken the word blackness and placed it in the category as an ethnicity. Then he has taken his concept of blackness as he has defined as an ethnicity and read this (or at the very least paralleled this) into the account of the Samaritan woman. From his analysis of the text concerning the Samaritan woman the very thing he says is not doing (i.e., putting blackness over faith in the Lord) is the very thing that he is doing.
Consequently, this is the same thing that he has done when discussing the Israelite feasts days and celebrations
…were celebrating that He made us this way, were celebrating the culture that He has given us, in the same way the Jews celebrated Passover, festivals and celebrate their Jewishness…Lacrae. Dear Black Christians. June 25
There are certain ethnicities in the world that do have feasts they embrace and practice annualy. This is true as all cultures have diverse festivals that are observed all over the world for various historical and cultural reasons. However, the celebrations concerning the Israelities, unlike other ethnicities, were done for the purpose of remembering the work and the nature of God. For example, the Passover was celebrated as a reminder of what God had done by rescuing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:23-27). The sacrifices that the priests were to complete were to remind Israel that God was a God who forgives inquity and transgressions, which was ultimately observed in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:4-18). These festivals and feast days were given to the nation of Israel to display that the true God was among them, the promises of God concerning them as a nation (i.e., delieverance from enemies, land, seed, blessing, king, kingdom, etc.), and the regeneration of the earth from the curse of sin were going to be accomplished (c.f., Romans 9:4-5).
Lacrae’s idea concerning the Israelite feasts days and celebrations are made from the perspective of blackness. However, the Bible does not make such an argument. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say the Israelites recieve the Law of Moses, the covenants, feasts, and the promises due to their skin color. In fact in every ethnicity and culture in the world there are variations of skin pigmentation. In terms of the Biblical worldview Jewishness and blackness are not synonymous terms.
The varation of skin color in human beings underscores the glory of God in His creative work, and God should recieve due praise for this diversity in skin tone. By contrast, those who have a worldview that believes people are intricisically inferor or superior based upon their skin pigmentation (I will call this perspective shade-ism) fail to see a person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and falls short to observe the eternal power and divine nature of God concerning mankind (c.f., Romans 1:18). People should not treat people respectfully because of the shade of their skin, but individuls should treat people with dignity because they are image-bearers of God (Genesis. 1:26-27, Genesis. 9:7). Furthermore, ethnicities or cultures from a Biblical perspective are never defined from the color of one’s skin, but from the region one resides in (or even from the physical lineage they are associated with).
We have to be careful when observing texts from Scripture making sure that we pay extra careful attention to details associated with the word of God and observing words in thier context in light of their plain sense. We also must be cautious not to impose our own perspective on the text and read into the Scriptures what the author did not intent to communicate to the audience. To do this we fail to transmit the truth clearly and unintentionally guide people away from the truth and the glory of God.
Until next time…
Soli Deo Gloria!
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