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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    How the Bible supports dismantling racism

    February 10, 2021 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 4 of the 2020 Advocate, which focused on the theme of dismantling racism. Click here to read the Advocate. 

    We are made in God’s image:

    “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them.” Genesis 1:27

    In Psalm 139, David expresses how he is “fearfully and wonderfully made” just as all of God’s creation was made.

    Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:9-10

    Discrimination is forbidden:

    “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”  James 2:1-4

    Love your neighbor as yourself:

    “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39

    In Romans 8-10, Paul explained that all the commandments can be summed up in “Love your neighbor as yourself.’ He said “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore; love is the fulfillment of the law.”

    Galatians 5: 13-26 describes what a spiritual life should look like. Verse 14 says, “For the entire law is fulfilled if we keep this one command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”


    Ephesians 4:17-32 lists instructions for Christian living. In verse 25, we are told that we must speak truthfully to our neighbor because we are all of one body.

    Referring to the predominant cultures of his time, Paul said in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Paul repeats the importance of unity again in Colossians 3:11; he said. “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”

    In First Corinthians 12:12-30, Paul uses the metaphor of a body to describe the importance of ethnic diversity in a church and the coinciding unity. In Corinthians 12: 13-14, he said, “we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”

    Compared to biblical times, the world is even more racially and ethnically diverse, everyone filled with wonderful gifts. This is God’s desire. In Revelations 7:9, John writes a message form Jesus that states “there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.”

    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."