Faith Without Works Is Dead

On the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Wallis gathered with other faith leaders on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to give this call to action:

"Let us confess our sins, repent of them, and turn this nation around."

In recalling the life of Rev. King, we remember that he was not just a civil rights leader. First and foremost, King was a faith leader. As people of faith, we must make an act of confession. Confession is telling the truth to God and the world about ourselves. Jesus says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Without confession to the sin of white racism, white supremacy, white privilege, people who call themselves white Christians will never be free — free from the bondage of a lie, a myth, an ideology, and an idol.

White racism is our great sin, America’s original sin — foundational to our country. But we have yet to fully name it as the sin that it is. A group of elder church leaders just did so in a declaration called “Reclaiming Jesus,” saying this:

“We believe each human being is made in God’s image and likeness. Racial bigotry is a brutal denial of the image of God … Therefore we reject the resurgence of white nationalism and racism on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership.”

It is time to apply our theology to our public life.