NEW YORK — Bishop Claude Alexander, senior pastor of The Park Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, called racism a sin problem that the Church is equipped to address and must confront in order for the Gospel to move forward.
At its worst, he said, while the Church played a crucial role in the abolition of slavery, as an institution, it was complicit in the maintenance of slavery at a time when it was preached as God's Word.
"Racism is sin. The denial of the image of God is sin. The denial of place is sin. The denial of essential personhood is sin. The denial of access and opportunity is sin. Nobody is better equipped to deal with this by way of just our nature than the Church. We're equipped to name sin, to call for repentance, and to bring about reconciliation," said Alexander.
Speaking Monday at the "National Discussion on Race" conference convened by Movement Day Global Cities at Bethel Gospel Assembly in New York City on Monday, Alexander opened his discussion with a reference to John 4 which highlights Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman.
"It's always interested me how John writes at the beginning of verse 3. He writes, he left Judea and departed again to Galilee but he needed to go through Samaria," Alexander said.
"Now, if you were in the early Church you would understand how significant that statement is. We don't if we're reading with the untrained eye, but the trained eye read that this is such a significant event that John includes it among the many things that he left out.
Bishop Claude Alexander, senior pastor, The Park Church, Charlotte, North Carolina speaks at the "National Conversation on Race" conference convened by Movement Day Global Cities at Bethel Gospel Assembly in New York City, New York on Monday October 24, 2016.
"Jesus must need [to] go through Samaria. He had to go through what others would usually avoid due to the racial tension that existed. And the term Samaritan, for the Jew, was a pejorative term. It was akin to the N-word today. It applies to the racial identity of those Jews who intermarried with Assyrians during and after the Assyrian invasion," the bishop said.
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