How to Overcome Racism According to the Early Church

We've been talking a lot about race on our campus. As a part of all the many ongoing conversations I was asked in a chapel setting to talk about how we can address the racial tensions on our campus, and everywhere else in America.

During that chapel a female African American student asked me, "Is there anything we can do to heal these divisions, other than to pray? What can we do to bring people together?"

In response I brought up the example I wrote about last week.

You could argue that racism was the Number One problem facing the early church. For example, as I wrote about last week, in Galatians 2 we are told about how Peter, pressured or shamed by fellow Jews, stopped eating with Gentile Christians. Racism was dividing the church. So Paul confronts Peter's racism, calling Peter back table fellowship.

So that's how I answered the student's question. One thing we can do to heal our racial divisions is to do what Paul was urging Peter to do: break bread with people from different races.

Following the example of Jesus, table fellowship was how the early church overcame her racial divisions.

Breaking bread together was how the gospel ideal of "neither Jew, nor Gentile" was put into practice and made a concrete reality.   

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