America — Not as Mature as We Should Be

America — Not as Mature as We Should Be

John Piper:

The church is the assembly of those in whom the gospel has taken root. Therefore, it is the group where the reconciling power of the gospel will be seen — or not.

On this issue, given our history, we are not as mature in America as we should be. God’s word in Hebrews 5:12-14 rings true in this regard:

Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Maturity in the text is defined as having our powers of discernment trained by constant practice in distinguishing good from evil. Most Christians have not trained their powers of discernment in matters of racial and ethnic issues. Many of us shepherds have not done all that we could or should to help the sheep grow in the maturity — the wisdom — that comes with “constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

Some churches have never taken the first baby steps in thinking about race and ethnicity. Others devote so much focus to it that people get sick of the issue, and backlash sets in. Neither of these extremes is helpful. The aim is biblical maturity — thoughtful, balanced, careful, informed, humble, experienced, wise, Jesus-exalting, God-centered, gospel-strengthened growth in the way we think and talk and act in regard to race and ethnicity — and in relation to people different from ourselves.

Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), 45-46.

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Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Melissa, and their four children, and is the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.