Is Christianity a White Man's Religion?

By Sidney


The issue of whether or not Christianity is a white man's religion is interesting. One must wonder why this is even an issue for discussion. No one ever asks if Buddhism is a white man's religion, or if Islam is a black man's religion. It is only Christianity that must face such a test. We can presuppose that Jesus was not white because he was born in a region where the people had color. We also know that Jesus was in Africa for the bible says, "out of Egypt have I called my son" (Ho. 11:1). Furthermore we know that an Ethiopian Eunuch "of great authority" accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord before Paul (who preached to the Romans) is even converted to Christianity. (Acts 8:27-39) Even though we know all of these things, black Christians are still forced to address the issue of whether or not Christianity is a white man’s religion.

Now in the spirit of fairness to those who would pose such a question, one could argue that European missionaries taught a version of Christianity that differs from the message of the gospel. They taught a passive form of Christianity that encouraged blacks not to fight back, but to embrace their low status as the will of God. This argument may have held some validity hundreds of years ago when slaves struggled, fought and even died trying to learn how to read. But today, I know that God shall supply all my needs (Phil. 4:19); today I know that “though wars should rise against me in this I can be confident (Ps. 27:3) So, while such an argument may have held some validity years ago, today, I as well as other black people can read the word of God and discern the truth for ourselves.

Another argument is that southerners used Christianity to justify slavery. Jesus said slaves obey your masters, so he must have been advocating the practice of slavery. So if Jesus said obey, why should we resist? The thing is for us, as black people to remember when reading the bible is to keep things in perspective. Jesus was not talking about slaves in North America. He was referring to the people of that time period who were in bondage to Rome. We have to be careful that we don’t let our own experiences of our racial history in America distort our attempts to understand Biblical history.

Another common argument is that white Christians don’t even want us in their churches. If we claim the same Jesus, why can’t we worship at the same church? This stereotype generalizes so called white churches and really is not worthy of discussion. I have visited many white churches that have embraced me as a brother, welcoming me to worship with them at any time. In fact, it was at a “so-called” white church where I first learned of the martyrdom of black African Christians at the hands of Muslim fanaticals in the Sudan. [Additionally] racism is not advocated anywhere in the gospel, so those churches who practice racism will definitely have to answer for their actions. [Gal. 3:28 states emphatically “there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male or female for all are one under Christ Jesus] Jesus said, “not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

So while these arguments may [sometimes] seem logical, we who know Him, know that “there is a way which seemeth right unto man” (Prov. 14:12), we also know that “the end results thereof are death.” When discussing issues such as this remember, it is human nature to want to complicate things, to know fully the authenticity of everything we come across. This is a good thing. For the acquisition and application of knowledge is vital to the growth and development of any individual, group or nation. However, when it comes to Christianity the bible keeps it simple. “Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead and you are saved” (Ro. 10:9). The bible further acknowledges that, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Ro. 10:13). It seems to me, you certainly don’t have to be white to call upon the name of the Lord.