By Demetrius Davis
It is possible to be a follower of God and simultaneously a persecutor of the people of God. Like Saul, you need a Damascus road experience where the Christ of your construct meets the Christ of true Christianity.
You need a Damascus road experience because what you’re persecuting against, you should be participating in or with.
When we meet Saul, who would become Paul, in The Book of Acts, he is against the church. He is anti all things related to this new movement called Christianity. Take note that Acts is the fifth book of the New Testament. This same Saul, who was persecuting the movement in chapter 9, would be building up the movement throughout the rest of Acts. This same Saul, who we meet trying to kill the movement in the 5th book of the New Testament, would write what we know as the following 13 books of the New Testament after Acts. What he was persecuting against, he is now participating with.
The Damascus Road will do that to you. The Damascus Road will straighten out crooked theology. It will realign you from simply defending culture, tradition, and a way of life, to defending the truth of the gospel.
I want to say to the Evangelical community that the game is on the line, and many of us are running the wrong way. Many Evangelicals are simply running the wrong way in the midst of what could go down in history as the most significant movement for civil rights and social justice in the 21st century. You seem to love tradition and America more than principles of justice and righteousness.
When we examine the ministry of Jesus, wasn’t it inherently and deeply social? Was not it aimed at the lifting up the oppressed, of the bound, of the marginalized, of the least of these?
How he engaged with the Samaritan woman at the well, despite her socially marginalized position. How he protected the woman caught in adultery from an extrajudicial murder while the crowd had stones in their hands. How he restored sight and mobility to the disabled.
While many claim to be pro-life, I want you to come and be pro-life with us when it comes to unarmed Black men and women being gunned down by police. Be pro-life by not rejecting or seeking to recast the very pro-life statement, “Black Lives Matter.” Be pro-life by being pro-fair wages, pro-gun-control, pro ending mass incarceration that has stolen to lives of hundreds of men and women.
I want to submit that to be anti-justice is to be anti-Jesus. I want to propose that being against freedom, equality, equity, and an end to oppression, is to be against Christ. I want to submit to you that guarding systems of oppression and protecting privilege with the gospel is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to present to you in short that the game is on the line, and you are going the wrong way.
You need a Damascus Road experience because while many are anti-social justice and have cast it as ungodly, it is what the word of God and the cross of Jesus Christ is all about.
It will shift you from defending the loudest of these to defending the least of these. It will shift you from partnering your religion with the power structure to partnering your religion with the plight of the poor.
In Psalm 82:3, the psalmist writes,
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.”
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet shares in chapter 1 verse 17,
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow’s cause.”
And, in the verse we’ve come to know well, Micah 6:8, Micah proclaims,
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
You need a Damascus road experience because your practice of religion has become reckless.
To my fellow Evangelicals, I want to say this with love: Where some of the leaders and members within Evangelicalism have taken the church down this road of Trumpism, racism, militarism, and White supremacy is reckless. The religion you practice in public is more about your hate for liberals than your love for the LORD. Your public practice of religion seems to be more about protecting capitalism, greed, and Whiteness than protecting the faith. When the group that claims to stand for morality full-throatily endorses a professed genital grabbing, every other sentence lying, adultery with pornstar committing, racist, xenophobic leaders and tries to wash their vote in their religion, your religion has become reckless.
If your mission is anti-social justice,
if your mission is about upholding white supremacist ideals,
if it’s against fairness and equity,
if it’s against the government protecting the human dignity of Black folks,
if it’s against protecting immigrants,
if it’s against human dignity for the LGBTQ+ community,