Jesus’ unbelievable message. But have Christians made it believable? Critics contend that Christianity and in particular Calvinism promotes tribalism and tribalistic behavior.
In her January 11th New York Times Op-ed, The Roots of Josh Hawley’s Rage , Katherine Stewart asserts that the fight against Pelagianism  morphed into the right of Christians as the divine stewards of society . She does not place the root of rage in Josh Hawley, fellow Republicans or a Republican party ideology but with a Christian call to steward society.
From her point of view, the Christian message is a “neo-medieval vision.” She warns, “Unless we find a way to address these forces and the fundamental pathologies that drive them, then next month or next year we will be forced to contend with a new and perhaps more successful version of Mr. Hawley.”
The question is whether the rage of Josh Hawley and Republicans is legitimately fed by their faith in Christ. Ms. Stewart mentions teachings from Calvin and Kuyper as potential reasons why they pursue control. Could the root of rage in Republicans be in losing their grip on control?
Her charge is better aimed at the North American church choosing domination over transformation. The Doctrine of Discovery  and, with it, Manifest Destiny  quickly moved the church wayward toward efficient domination and subjugation of society.
The cross , a symbol of death to sinful self, became a symbol of pride for tribal identity. An identity threatened by evil spiritual beings and evil non-tribal members. The cross was a comfort to most believers, but also a tool of fear for non-tribal members.
The predominantly Eurocentric church conspired in proclaiming another gospel. A form of modern day Kinism, this gospel designated its tribal members as the humanity over and against others designated as subhuman.
As a moral authority, it legitimized dismissing the Bible’s creation story of everyone created in the image of God and instead proclaimed the creation of a human species and subhuman species. White Christians widely held belief in their own superiority.
Lawmakers enacted laws like the “one-drop rule”—also known as hypodescent—dating to 1662 in Virginia. As recently as 1985, a Louisiana court ruled that a woman with a black great-great-great-great-grandmother could not identify herself as “white” on her passport (One-drop rule’ persists - Harvard Gazette, Dec. 2010).
The Jim Crow Laws enacted right after enactment of the 13th Amendment in 1865 flourished to protect and enforce the superiority of Eurocentric church members. The laws also served to punish any and all who would challenge their position. The last of the Jim Crow Laws were removed in the1965 and 1968 (Jim Crow Laws: Definition, Facts & Timeline - HISTORY).
But the gravity of the sin has not been acknowledged in the hearts of most believers. Identity in the cross has opened to include members of other tribes, but it has not become a place for repenting from racism.
Christians will never transform the world without putting to death the device and divisiveness of racism. It is a sin unlike gluttony, lust, or greed in that it is tribalistic. It allows for sins like lying, stealing, rape, and murder against others in the name of dominion.
The good news is Christ. His unbelievable message transforms people from every tribe and nation into His holy nation . Christ’s good news is a call and empowering a life worthy of the calling to the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
A few suggestions I hope you find helpful:
- On a personal level explore the sin of commission and omission in regard to racism. The jokes, innuendos, or attitudes that come out are just the tip of an iceberg. Seek transformation in this area first. Pay attention to the bodily discomfort or emotional responses that are difficult to name when dealing with people outside your group. David sought the Lord about the hidden things in his heart and the Lord delivered him. Intervene when you hear others being treated or addressed in a manner that does not honor them as created in the image of God.
- Listen and do not dismiss when people share experiences of racism. People need to have someone who will understand them. The best experience is of mutual benefit and learning.
- Seek and celebrate the Lord’s reign and crucify the need to be dominant. Have faith, hope, and love.