The pastor of a youthful and racially-diverse congregation located just a few blocks from the CVS pharmacy set on fire by rioters amid otherwise peaceful protests in Baltimore says it’s time for white Christians to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism in America and to listen to those who are angry and hurting in order to help find meaningful solutions.
“There are deep systemic issues. There is no surface issue that’s really the cause. There’s some deep stuff that’s been going on that’s been going on for a lot of years,” Joel Kurz, lead pastor of The Garden Church in Central/West Baltimore, told The Christian Post on Wednesday.
As the rioting, looting and burning of homes and businesses that erupted earlier this week threatened to overshadow the weeks-long peaceful protests that have been ongoing in Baltimore, the word “thug” began rolling off of lips and popping up on social media accounts, including on those belonging to some Christians shocked by the violent scenes playing out on TV networks like CNN. However, one Baltimore pastor, recalling the Apostle Paul’s transition from the persecutor Saul, warned against simply condemning “rioters as unsalvageable thugs.”
“Resist the temptation to condemn rioters as unsalvageable thugs and instead pray that God would transform these Sauls into Pauls,” Dan Hyun, lead pastor at The Village Church in Baltimore, tweeted just after midnight on Tuesday.
Excuse me; they are thugs, unless and until any repent of their ways (as Paul did). Period.