2016-06-30 11:38

A multi-racial church isn't multi-cultural (Joziyouthnews)

I think Sunday remains the most racially divided day in South Africa, whether you are a charismatic, catholic, ZCC, Methodist, etc. Most congregations are made up of one predominant racial group and seldom talk about racial issues.

So I wasn’t surprised with the pain created by the racial error of Rivers Church Sandton’s, Pastor Andre Olivier in his last Sunday morning sermon. Even though Rivers is a multi-racial church, it created racial tension and conversation on social media and mainstream media with allegations that he said that “blacks are lazy and white people didn’t take anything from anyone”. (Listen to part of his sermon

The true church of God has always been the destroyer of racism and champions of equality. Just look at the history of the church in the abolition of slave trade, civil rights, human rights, healthcare etc. Any church that promotes racism is a cult not a church, finish and klaar. I was telling my wife that we all see and interpret things through different lenses; white, black, coloured or Indian. South Africa has a strong history of racial oppression and is almost like a ticking time bomb. Pastor Andre’s interview on 702 in response to the allegations was too instant; one must take a minimum of 24 hours to reflect before responding to anything in the media. Also, I felt he should have first apologized and ask for forgiveness first before making his comment, which he didn't. Apologize, not for what was said but the pain created by what was said. He must take responsibility for it first. I expected Pastor Andre to evaluate his comments through the eye and experiences of a black South African, objectively take ownership and apologize. He will easily be forgiven but not accepting that what he said was offensive to some people will only create more anger in a country where the playing field was and is still not level.

Sometimes I feel that most worshipers like a racially divided church and most people wouldn’t want their church to become more diverse.

Most of us know our church has not done enough to become racially diverse. Surprisingly, most churchgoers are content with the racial status quo in their churches. In a country where cultures are mixing up daily, it’s hard for Christians to say they are united in Christ when they are congregating separately,”

I believe that in South Africa the church is still the most racially divided institution. At 9am on Sunday morning when we stand and sing we are dividing Jesus into many broken parts.

Sadly, for many pastors, the issue of racial reconciliation seldom comes up in sermons. From my perspective, 4 in 10 (43 percent) of Pastors only speak on racial issue once a year or less. Twenty-nine percent of pastors rarely or never do. So I must commend Pastor Andre for daring to speak about it and for his apologies later on. We have no reason not to forgive you Pastor Andre.

The Bible talks a lot about men and women from every tongue, tribe, and nation being in heaven, so it might be good to get accustomed to that heavenly expression here and now. A multi-racial church sometimes isn’t a multi-cultural church. We must enjoy our diversity!

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