Some Questions about Race and Culture

I am trying to parse through the discussions around race and culture that have come to the forefront in Reformed circles as of late.

Is there a “war on white people”?

Is it sinful to have a special interest in people who share your skin color as long as morality and justice are applied to every group without partiality?

Should whites specifically be seeking solidarity with other white people (Christian or not)?

Is it a double standard that minority groups are encouraged to have have racial and ethnically focused gatherings and organizations while white people who do so are considered racist?

Is sympathy to the Confederacy and embracing the Lost Cause racist?

Is making generalities about different groups’ behavior helpful or harmful?

My theory is that human cultures have always struggled to know what to do with the people that they regard as ‘the poor’. When those people differ significantly from the mainstream as well - by ethnicity, language, or even religion - the challenges are magnified. Wealthy ethnic minorities have their own problems, but that is not really the issue here.

This is the background, as I see it, to a lot of the culture issues facing America and the American church.

The other problem is that no-one really knows how to address the legacy of slavery (the fate of the erstwhile Reformed-African-American-Network is a case in point - it felt that its concerns were being ignored by the rest of the Reformed tradition). I say this because I think this issue is at the root of many of the questions you have raised.

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I don’t follow these discussions closely, but I haven’t seen a lot of benefit to them. I think you’ve lost your way once you start trying to decide to what degree you support or love an abstract population. Lost your way as in confused, not damned.


These discussions have only been increasing because of false prophets, but they are not new. There is a long history of debate in the Church over issues of race in America. What is unfortunate for the Church is that she has not yet properly grasped the complexity of the issues, nor understood her role in them. This has often made her a faithless witness to the unbelieving world.

Your questions in this post are not all of the same nature. There are some that are only relevant to America. There are others that have to do with a theology of nationhood and ethnicity. I think it is important to separate these two things. Americans have a hard time thinking through issues of race because of our legacy of slavery. Our theology is intrinsically tied to the historical development of race relations in the United States. Or to put it in another way, our first conservative formulations of race theology came as a result of slavery and as white justifications for it. Our theology did not develop in a vacuum. We did not sanction and institutionalize race based chattel slavery because of theology. Rather, we had a practice of chattel slavery which we tried to justify after the fact with theology. All discussions of race in the America since then, for both believers and unbelievers, has been tainted and warped by those facts.

I am mixing up the order of your questions.

Let’s focus in on America a bit.

Is sympathy to the Confederacy and embracing the Lost Cause racist?

There are two questions here, one about the Confederacy and one about the Lost Cause.

There is also the issue of the word “racist”. This word has become fluid in meaning. If we don’t define what this word means, as best as we can from Scripture, then all discussion of race is bound to result in confusion. The false prophets have desacralized language everywhere. Christians have to fight for the sacramental nature of language and its objectivity if we want souls to come to the Word of the Father. Fighting for words in the context of race is just a subset of this larger battle.

Defining “racist” is not fun. The definition of the word is always going to have built in references to all sorts of philosophical and theological ideas. I can’t spend all day giving a history of the word’s etymology (of which I have not done enough study). For the sake of this forum let’s simply define a “racist” as a person who believes that one’s ethnicity makes one intrinsically virtuous or sinful. This definition itself could be problematic and probably is.

Now, what about the Confederacy?

I always find it helpful, when studying history, to treat our fathers as the sinners that we ourselves are. I always try to put myself in the position of the most wicked people, especially when those people are the people of God. It is the tendency of sinners to think of themselves as righteous compared to their dead fathers. We look down at the Israelites for their petty rebellions as if we are not like them. A humble man, though, knows that given the right situation he would do the same as any other sinner would.

The southerners were wrong on slavery. I believe they were wrong in their theology as well. This is easy to say, living in the world we live in now.

What is difficult for me to admit is that I would have been tempted to support the southern cause over the northern one. I’m saying that as a Christian.

The north was full of enlightenment philosophy and all sorts of encroaching liberalism. Many abolitionists were not heralds of conservative Christianity. They were those who wanted no gods and no masters. They were those who questioned and doubted the inerrancy of Scripture. The southerners, in many ways, were the rightful heirs and stewards of the mysteries of God. These said they believed that the Bible was the literal word of God. The southerners, at least in theory, were the preservers of a rich and robust Protestantism.

It’s easy to see how white conservative Christians would have supported the south given these circumstances. Even the godly abolitionists in the north sympathized with southern concerns about the liberalizing of theology in the north. What this resulted in was the tying together of orthodox Christianity to a belief in segregation. This theological union found favor among orthodox Calvinists. A similar union occurred in South Africa, with Dutch Calvinists there becoming the perpetrators of apartheid.

This union of orthodoxy to a belief in segregation, apartheid, racial discrimination, and chattel slavery would substantially weaken orthodox Christianity after the war. Southern loss would give validity to the liberalizing theology of the north. White conservative Christians in the south would not respond by reevaluating their theology of race, but by doubling down on core tenants of it. The Lost Cause is an example of this.

No doubt there are ideas in the Lost Cause that should be carefully considered. There is no disputing the fact that the black man was not ready to bear the full responsibilities of citizenship and freedom. I could care less about some of the other tenants of the theory. The war was, contrary to protest, about slavery.

Does sympathizing with the Confederacy make someone a racist?


Do racists and bigots sympathize with the Confederacy?


There is a massive difference between these two things.

Is making generalities about different groups’ behavior helpful or harmful?

All Cretans are liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons.

All whites are racist, oppressive, and privileged.

Some generalities are helpful and some are harmful. But wisdom is always justified by her children. Generalizations about groups should be used to communicate truth and point people to repentance. Generalizations are not given to us by God for self-righteous indignation. A good rule is to first know how to generalize your tribe’s morality before you try to generalize someone else’s.

Is it sinful to have a special interest in people who share your skin color as long as morality and justice are applied to every group without partiality?

The rest of your questions, including this one, I will only briefly comment on. There is no way to answer all of these questions with a simple yes or no. Since the Church has not yet systematically developed its theology of nationhood and ethnicity it is difficult to answer without also inadvertently misstepping Scriptural boundaries at times. As with all doctrine, but especially right now with race, we see and know in part.

It is natural for people to have affection for their own tribe. God made us this way. The apostle Paul refers to this when he speaks of “natural affections” in Romans 1. Paul’s love and special interest for his brethren, the Jews, is not sinful. Notice, though, that the apostle Paul never let his inclusion in the Jewish community prevent him from advocating on behalf of the Gentiles. When the Jews sought to enforce an apartheid between them and the Gentiles in the new covenant community the apostle Paul vehemently denounced it. Paul’s warning to the Gentiles about being cut off for being arrogant against the Jews is also noteworthy.

If you’re white and live in a community that is predominantly white there is nothing wrong with taking an interest in your specific community. If you’re black and live in a community that is predominantly black there is nothing wrong with taking an interest in your specific community. If you live with a mix of people an obligation to one’s own tribe also obligates one to care about the interests of those of the other tribe. In a diverse community not caring about the interests of those who are not of the same ethnicity as you is akin to not caring about the interests of your own. If your black neighbor is terrorized by a white racist neighbor of yours you can have no communal peace until you stand up for the interests of the black man. If your white neighbor is being harassed by critical theorist mobs under false pretenses there can be no peace until you stand up for the reputation of your white neighbor. Justice, in the way we carry it out as non-civil magistrates, must always strive for impartiality.

Should whites specifically be seeking solidarity with other white people (Christian or not)?

The Christian should seek solidarity with Christians, regardless of color. My solidarity is with Christ and all those nations and tribes that He is saving. When my union with any ethnic group prevents me from calling that group to repentance then I have loved father and mother more than I have loved Jesus.

I know that’s a trite answer. I just can’t expound it on it without also getting bogged down in a broader discussion about segregation.

Is it a double standard that minority groups are encouraged to have have racial and ethnically focused gatherings and organizations while white people who do so are considered racist?

What are people gathering about and for? I’m opposed to the gathering together of any ethnic group if their purpose in doing so is the prevent themselves or other groups from believing the Gospel and bearing the fruits of righteousness which cause the prosperity of bodies and souls.

Black mobs that gather together to rob the black man of godly patriarchy are evil. White mobs that gather together to trumpet the filthy rags of white righteousness are evil.

Double standards abound everywhere.

Is there a “war on white people”?

Yes. But no.

It’s more accurate to say that there is a war on a people who God blessed with His Law and Gospel and who have now thrown it away through arrogance and privilege. One of the ways they threw away their covenantal blessings was by doing all that they could to make sure that the black man never got to share in these blessings. Freely they had received, freely should they have given. Now a war against white people is waged by the almighty God through pagan blacks and sodomites and women. White rage can’t deter it. Nothing can stop it but sackcloth and ashes.


Here is something I wrote on this in a different forum (where there was a big dust up over it) that might be helpful. I concur with a lot of what Jacob said but I am probably more a southern sympathizer. Anyways here is what I wrote:

Three things are true:

  1. Our allegiance to Christ and His Church is of highest priority. This priority takes precedence over family when the two are at odds. That is for example when an unbelieving parents commands something unlawful, you obey Christ. You must choose Christ first.

  2. The Church catholic crosses national, ethnic, and racial distinctions. God has people from every nation and we accept them as brothers in Christ. In humility we consider each other above ourselves. Whether you are man, woman, slave, free, Jew or Gentile, you may belong to Christ and in the Church will be treated with the dignity of being coheirs in Christ. There should be no racial animosity among God’s people.

  3. None of the above destroys our natural relations or the stations of life we live in. If you were a slave before Christ, you were still a slave after Christ but now with a duty to submit to your master and to work as unto the Lord being careful to especially respect a believing master. Wives who were married to an unbeliever before being saved are still married to him after she is saved. Now she submits to him by faith with a gentle and quite spirit because God finds it precious. When we are saved we don’t stop loving our children, our parents, our grandchildren, our nephews, our nieces, our cousins, and extended family. It pains us to see our family suffer especially if it is the hand of God’s judgment. You would have to be a sociopath to see your children or even cousins suffering and have no affection for them. If you as a father had no concern to see your posterity flourish you would be worse than unbeliever. Can you imagine unbelievers without a concern for their own family? We consider that to be abusive and harmful.

Now what are tribes, ethnicities, nations, and races but extended family? Biblically this is true. And so it is assumed that a person would have naturally affection for his people. He would care about their prosperity and their preservation. The fact that God judges people groups in the Bible is indicative. The prophets wrote letters to not only God’s people of Israel but to the surrounding nations calling them to repentance. There is assumed by God’s warnings some sense of collective identity and natural affection for that along with the sense of self preservation that those nations would want to heed the warning. Obviously since they had not the Holy Spirit they couldn’t repent.

Bringing this around to the conversation. There are two ditches:

  1. One is an over focus on race by making this the element that binds everything. You are constantly motivated by this in a way that you mistreat others. You have no love for others outside of your own natural people and you seek to divide the church. You become an accuser of the brethren. CRT is this. So would some notion of assuming one group is Supreme over all others and others groups should be subjugated. Genocide would be the extreme of this. And if it is as some of you argue that race doesn’t exist then that means genocide can’t be a thing.

  2. Having no concern for natural relations or stations of life. Or thinking the gospel abolishes them. Feminism is one such example of this. People point to Galatians and say that now we should have women pastors because of the gospel.

I’ve seen people say something like if white people fade away from the earth no big deal. Would you say that about your own immediate family? Would I say if God wiped out all Spurgeon’s that it’d be no big deal to me and I shouldn’t care about that? Would you say that about your own family? We could say that is God’s Providence if it happens and that we will trust him regardless but that doesn’t mean we don’t mourn it or work to preserve our families. So what about a tribe in the Amazon jungle? Should they be concerned about be wiped away from the earth? No big deal if God takes the Chinese off the planet? No big deal if there are no more black people.

I don’t think any of us would say that. We don’t fault a black man for caring about other black people. No I love him more for it.

Should he then become an enemy of white people because of his love for black people? No. He shouldn’t hate others nor divide himself from the church. But if he desires the salvation of black people and their preservation on this earth, amen. I desire that too but I would be a fool to say I have the same amount of natural affection towards black people as he does.

The parable of the Good Samaritan only works if we assume this view of natural affection and higher duties to one’s own people. The fact that it was the Samaritan and not the man’s own people who saved him was shocking. They were more a neighbor than his own people.

Interracial marriage is not forbidden by scripture. I believe people groups are somewhat permeable. God often raises up nations and tears them down. It is wicked to shame those of mixed heritages.
Even as someone in an interracial marriage, it works because one culture in our marriage is dominate. We live as westerners. I still have a love for my extended family and nation.

I don’t want to see white peoples wiped off the planet. I desire their salvation. I also want my kids to pass on my heritage and instill my culture into them. They won’t look like me as much but I certainly don’t think it’s incest to want your children to carry on your characteristics.

I’d like to add that to dismiss ethnicity or race as merely skin pigmentation or to dismiss it altogether is actually racist. It diminishes the beauty of God’s diversity. We don’t have to deny that there are differences among peoples that are natural in order to be able to love each other. Jews and gentiles are both coheirs in Christ and should treat each other in a godly manner. We rejoice in the diversity of God’s creation. In the same way that the Church is made up of people with various gifting and and talents the world of humanity is created with variety. It was God’s design in Genesis that people groups would spread out over the earth making unique culture. It’s His plan at the end to glorify himself in and through all tribes, tongues, and nations. To deny that these differences exist is to deny the beauty and glory in it.

What does this mean about any duty we personally have to maintain it? I think a whole lot of the conversation can be a distraction. As individuals we often get too focused on things we can’t actually have an impact on. I can argue and debate about immigration policies and I can vote but my real impact is local to me. God’s given each of us a place in life. We’d all do better to focus on that then to tear each other apart about things we have little to no control over.

Bitterness, envy, strife are dangerous to our own souls. We have tremendous opportunity to proclaim the gospel to near and far.

Don’t despise natural affections or teach against it but also since they are natural it doesn’t make sense to place too much of a focus on what ought to be natural. But for some who are fatherless and unrooted, you need to work against the sin of not having natural affection. You will be tempted not to have compassion on your closest neighbors. It’s easy to have no sense of loyalty to place or people. We live in a day where even to be patriotic is thought to be hokey.

When I read about the fall of Rome, Christians at the time were horrified and mourned even though Rome had been the city that persecuted them. They still had a sense of patriotism and a natural affection for nation.

For others you will need to work to love outsiders. Our love extends outside us all the way to our enemies. We do have a duty to treat sojourners with justice and kindness. God does defend the needy and the poor. I don’t want to be on the opposite side of whom God is defending.

Anyways there is a lot to think through with this issue. I hope the above was helpful and answered some of your questions.


Quickly, in order of your questions.

  1. No, I would not call it a war. Some demonize whites; those people are a small minority. White privilege is still strong enough you can get on with day to day life with relative ease. Corporate HR hectoring about race is an annoyance but has been with us for some time. It’s largely a white phenomenon, reflecting the white privilege/white majority status of America, more specifically, it’s a white female phenomenon. If you want to know what white guys think about race, watch a standup comedian or watch the NFL. Wokeness is white female projection.

  2. No. Skin color reflects lineage which reflects fatherhood. Race is a shorthand for your fathers. Feeling closer to your people than others is normal.

  3. Whites make up the majority of the population. Given intermarriage and the growth of the Hispanic population, who often identify as both Hispanic and white, the white majority is likely to remain longer than media demographers tell you it will. Also, the more Hispanics or Asians begin to vote for conservative candidates, the more they will become white, as the Catholic ethnics of 50 years ago also did. It’s hard to bring together a large majority. Whites are composed of different ethnic groups. There are different regions, different denominations, and different socio economic statuses. The best way to bring whites together as a cohesive group is to attack them for being white. The Woke are trying their best to turn white people into an ethnic bloc who votes like other ethnic blocs. We’ll see how that works out for them.

  4. Yes, there is a double standard. Yes, more whites are noticing this standard the more they are attacked publicly. As the majority people and culture, whites in America have much around them that reinforces their culture and preferences, and celebrates their ancestors. The major generals and presidents are just about all white guys. The Founding Fathers: white guys with few exceptions. Depending on where you live, the names of the roads, towns, cities and counties are probably named mostly for white people or white things because it was white people who settled it first. That’s just a start. Starting a white club or group feels awkward. Starting a Polish group or an Irish group makes more sense, but it kind of feels LARPy. Most of us have forgotten where we came from if we even know where we came from.

  5. No. See Jacob’s comments.

  6. Helpful. It’s in the Bible. It’s also normal.


Here’s one area where questions of race and/or culture really do matter: our evangelism.

An example. I arrived in Scotland in 2005 and soon after met some American Christians who had come across to be part of a church plant. At one point I told them, “Take everything you know about evangelism in North Carolina (where they were from) … and throw it out our fourth-floor window, because it simply will not work here” - because the background knowledge of faith they could rely on in NC is simply not present here (the UK), and has not been for a long time.

A few months later, they had found this out for themselves. One of the pastors I met that day is now pastoring in Seattle, so perhaps that question of culture applies within the USA as well.