If You're Racist and You Know It, Please Get Out

Today is the sixty-fourth annual Holocaust Remembrance Day (or Yom Ha'Shoah). It's a day that was originally intended to honor the memory of the six million Jews who died in concentration camps at the hands of the Nazi Party. Over the years, it has grown to incorporate the memory of those who fought to save them like Oskar Schindler.

Of course, memorializing the Holocaust hardly means that its effects died with Hitler. More than 200,000 Holocaust survivors around the world live in abject poverty and daily need. As if that wasn't bad enough, acts of anti-Semitism have increased in recent years with Europe continuing to be especially dangerous.

Even here in the United States, thirty-two swastikas have been found on college campuses since November 2015. Most recently, two appeared at my alma mater, Moody Bible Institute—a school with its own Jewish Studies program. One of them was traced back to a student who was disciplined but not expelled.

A few Moody students felt that this was an inadequate response and started a petition to have this student and all future students who engage in racist activities subject to immediate expulsion.

As I followed the conversations about the petition on Facebook, I noticed people falling into two, classic camps: the mercy people and the justice people. Some were saying that expulsion was excessive because we should restore the person with gentleness. Others were saying that it was necessary because we should purge the evil from among us.

While verses were traded back and forth like artillery fire, it was clear that everyone agreed breaking fellowship was certainly a biblical option. But no one could agree if a first offense was ever grounds for immediate action.

On the one hand, Jesus said to give a fellow Christian three chances to repent. And on the other, Paul said to not even eat with slanderous Christians. It's understandably perplexing.

However, one of the key differences between Jesus' words and those of Paul is that Jesus was speaking of ignorant sin and Paul was addressing intentional sin. Looking at both of these texts, Jonathan Leeman offers this insight from his book, "Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus":
When a sin is so deliberate, repugnant, and indicative of a deep double-mindedness that a congregation is left unable to give credence to a profession of repentance, at least until time has passed and trust has been re-earned, it should proceed with excommunication, determining to test for repentance after the fact.
We often forget that the goal of discipline, even in its most extreme forms, is restoration. Breaking fellowship is not an end to fellowship but merely a needed maintenance stop along the way. And we must all remember that when genuine repentance is offered, genuine restoration cannot be withheld.

Though Christian colleges are not churches, the body of Christ is still present and community guidelines must be enforced. Some may say that tagging a parking garage with a swastika is not indicative of “deep double-mindedness”, but the hate that symbol represents certainly was. The thousands of men and women who today still bear their numbered brands like cattle testify to this.

Such evil cannot be tolerated under the banner of Christ. And sometimes that requires lovingly extreme measures to ensure.


If you're not sure what you can do to remember the Holocaust today, give to help those who survived it.


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photo credit: BASTARD SQUAD via photopin (license)