To add to this requirement is to add to the gospel itself, just as the Judaizers Paul addressed in his letter to the Galatians added to the gospel a circumcision requirement. It is proper at this point to recall that Paul pronounces a curse upon those who add to the gospel (Gal. 1:8-9). This circumcision was a requirement brought on by the Judaizers to address a real ethnic quandary in the early church. A great enmity existed between Roman-born and Roman-conquered Jews and Gentiles at this point in Jewish history (Eph. 2:11; Phil. 3:2-3). Prior to obtaining union with ethnically Jewish Christians through Christ, the Judaizers expected Gentile converts to become one with the Jews through circumcision. Paul makes clear that no such requirement can be placed upon the Christian except that which has already been required: repentance unto life and saving faith (two sides of the same coin).
“7Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. . . 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise,” (Gal. 3:7, 26-29; NASB).
Pastor Thabiti has not required anything new. His addition to the gospel requirement is an addition that has been pushed for years in other sectors of Western Evangelicalism. Yet, his addition is an addition and must be sharply condemned as such. At this point, let me clearly state what no one else seems to be willing. What is being preached in the name of racial reconciliation in many circles today is an addition to the gospel, which amounts to a fundamental denial of the true gospel. In other words, this is nothing less than heresy, which must be condemned in the strongest terms. Pastor Anyabwile and others are telling Christians that they must add to their repentance a continual, public, irremovable recognition of collective guilt and penance. It posits a sin for which Christ’s blood cannot atone, a dividing wall defiantly indestructible even in the face of Christ and His gospel.
What we see in Christ, however, is that an abolition has taken place. As Christ did not come to this earth to identify with only one specific ethnicity—but rather with mankind in general, so that He might bring many sons to glory (Heb. 2:9-11)—so too we are called to find our primary identity in Him not in our own particular ethnicities and, in so doing, we also find our primary identities as being intertwined with one another (regardless of ethnicity). As such, we identify with one another as Abraham’s descendants according to belief, not according to ethnicity.
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