Horizon Weekly | 17 June 2020
By Gerry Taillon
CNBC National Ministry Leader
In recent days the world’s attention has been focused on racism. It is the opposite of who we are in the Canadian National Baptist Convention (CNBC). Racism in any form is wrong and must be opposed by every Christian and every church. There is no justification for any kind of prejudice or discrimination against any person based on their race, colour or ethnic background.
My first pastoral ministry was with a church in Saskatchewan that ministered to two Indigenous First Nations reserves. I was young and inexperienced and made many mistakes. The First Nations people received me with incredible grace and patience. From them, I learned many valuable lessons that have become the foundation of my ministry and influence me to this very day.
By God’s grace, the CNBC has become a rich tapestry of culturally diverse churches and leaders. More than 50 percent of our churches in the CNBC come from Indigenous or new Canadian roots (neither French nor English Canadian). Every Sunday CNBC churches worship God in many languages and many cultural traditions. We in the CNBC embrace that diversity and see it as the reality of the Kingdom of God on earth and as a reflection of heaven.
The Scriptures tell us in Revelation 7:9–10 (ESV), that in heaven the Apostle John saw “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” We today are labouring with Jesus to see this heavenly reality become a reality here on earth. The events of recent days in Canada and across the world remind us that our work in this area is far from over. There is still much to be done.
The CNBC is part of an alliance of evangelical churches called the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC). On June 2, 2020, they issued a statement on racism. Let me quote it here.
The EFC condemns racism and its underlying denial that all people are loved by God, are created in His image, and have equal dignity and value.
Racism is a form of discrimination that values and privileges some groups of people above others and denies the personhood of some based on skin colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.
We call upon churches to combat racism and its related attitudes and injustices. We join in the collective grief and lament of so many that this problem, with its horrible implications and impact on the lives of so many, continues on.
This is not only an American and Canadian problem, but is universal. Racism has impacted Canada and continues to plague us, as we are reminded by current demonstrations in Canada and the legacy of racism told in the pages of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the lived experience of our sisters and brothers of colour.
Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to be peacemakers and ambassadors of reconciliation, and to break down the walls that divide, including racism. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and peace, and we invite you to join us.
Let us pray and work together with God so that all peoples in Canada and around the world might know the freedom and joy that comes from being part of God’s family. May we live out Galatians 3:28 (NIV), “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”