The Hills Church : Glorifying God through Transformed Lives

Race, Racism, and The Gospel

​The following statement was drafted by the Pastoral Team of The Hills Church and delivered to the congregation by Tom Wilson on Sunday, August 20, 2017 in response to the tragic events and protests in Charlottesville, VA in August 2017.
I was born in the 1970s and came of age in the 1980s. The world I was born into was very different than the world many of you were born into. I wasn't alive when President Truman desegregated the military in 1948. I wasn't alive for Brown vs. the Board of Education that desegregated schools. I wasn’t alive to witness nine brave African American teenagers walk into a formerly all-white high school in
Little Rock, AR. I wasn’t alive to see African American students walk through an angry mob led by a state governor to enter the University of Alabama. I wasn't alive to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. share his dream. The world I was born into had already witnessed these things and fought these battles. The world I was born into was a world that many of you here today prayed for, fought for, and risked your life for. For this I am grateful.

The world I came into was a world that taught that racism in any form is wrong; it is sin; it is a denial of the gospel itself, a denial of the stated truth of the words of Scripture, and a denial of the very design of God Himself. The world I came into was the world where I still vividly remember watching my father become enraged when a man spoke a racial slur towards one of my friends who happened to be African American. On that day it marked in my mind and seared into my heart that racism wasn’t just wrong, it was horribly wrong and should not and would not be tolerated period. For this I am thankful.

One of the great blessings of my life has been to be part of this congregation that is racially diverse, a congregation made up of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Caucasians. But when I think of this congregation, of you who are my people, I don’t think about going to church with African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or Caucasians; I think about each of your names. I don’t go to church with people from different races; I go to church with Christians, with those united around the gospel and the Lord of that gospel, Jesus Christ. I don’t pray for each of you by the color of your skin, your ethnicity, or your nationality. I pray for you by name.

We as a pastoral team hope that what we have been witness to at Charlottesville and in protests like it is the final death pangs of a hatred and a movement that is a scourge, shameful, ungodly, and sinful. But we fear that what we might be witnessing is the rise of a disease that some thought we had rid ourselves of. So we cannot be silent and leave any question about the sinfulness and shamefulness of racism or white supremacy. We want to be very clear: White supremacy and racism by any name and in any form is sin, a denial of the gospel itself, the design of our Creator, and rebellion against the Lord whom we serve. No matter what label it is given – White Supremacy, Neo-Nazism, White Nationalism, KKK, or the Alt-Right – it is wrong; it is sin.

So let us, the people of The Hills Church, live out the gospel by coming together not united around the color of our skin, our ethnic background, or our national identity. Let us come together united around He who we call Lord, Jesus Christ, united together to live the gospel among ourselves, united together to live in the kingdom that says our identity is not found in the color of our skin, but in Christ.

The Pastoral Team
The Hills Church
August 20, 2017