Tony Carter Reminds Christians Why We Must Pray, Preach, and Practice Amid Ferguson


I have been asked on several occasions what are my thoughts about the events in Ferguson, MO and the subsequent fallout around the country. Though I have not shared my thoughts publicly, I have had the opportunity to converse with people one and one and have found those conversations challenging, encouraging, and fruitful. I have hesitated to speak or write publicly because I don’t have what I believe are important facts. Besides, I don’t believe God has called me to pastor the nation. There are those seemingly more suited to speaking to the broader context on such issues. I am called to East Point Church, and there is enough in that corner of God’s vineyard to keep me busy. Consequently, on this past Sunday at EPC, we prayed for those involved in and around the events in Ferguson and for ourselves. I shared my thoughts with the church to which I am first and primarily called to speak. Having done that, I thought it might be helpful to share those thoughts now in a more public arena.

I find the difficulty with making judgments about the incident in Ferguson is that there are no innocent parties. It seems to me that both Michael Brown and Officer Wilson must assume some of the fault. Whether we realize it or not, the cultural lenses through which we view and experience the world often cloud our judgments of difficult and culturally sensitive situations. For example, if you sympathize mostly with Michael Brown, you will focus on the faults of the officer. If you sympathize mostly with Officer Wilson, you will focus on the faults of Michael Brown. Personally, I find myself sympathizing with both parties. Thus the tragedy for me is not simply that Michael Brown was killed. It is also that Officer Wilson was put in a position to have to make such a tragic choice. And exacerbated by the fact that the grand jury was told to decide a case where public consensus was not possible.

Still, unless we hide our heads in the sand and futilely believe that such situations in our society are an anomaly or will just go way, as Christians we are called upon to speak and act biblically at times like these. For me that involves three fundamental principles: Pray, Preach, and Practice.

We Must Pray (Psalm 20:7)

We must pray for the Brown family. We must pray for the Wilson family. We must pray for those men and women involved in the judicial process and those in legislative office, both local and national (1Tim. 2:2). And when we have prayed for others, let us not neglect to pray for ourselves. We must pray that our trust will be in God and not ourselves or anything else. Psalm 20:7 reminds us: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” The temptation at times like this is to put our trust in political systems, and social activism. History has shown us that political and judicial systems can be right, even when we think they are wrong, and wrong sometimes when we think they are right. The only sure truth is in Jesus Christ. Therefore, our hope must always be in the sovereign Lord who judges rightly though our systems and we often do not.

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SOURCE: The Front Porch
Tony Carter

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