Racial Injustice: A Call to Prayer and Fasting - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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From The Office of The President

Racial Injustice: A Call to Fasting and Prayer

Today we stand with our African-American brothers and sisters and with the Black Community to grieve with them over the deep burdens of pain and distress borne for generations and manifested once again in these days of trouble and turmoil.

Our country is being torn apart once again by racial injustice. We are reeling, we grieve, and we lament the public killing of George Floyd. In the wake of his death, the social fabric of our country has been gashed by violence that has multiplied the damage and injustice in our communities. Christ calls us faithfully to respond against the racial injustices in our country from the heart of our Christian mission.

Geneva College stands against racial injustice because we stand with our Lord Jesus Christ, with every violated brother and sister in Christ, with every oppressed neighbor, with every ignored sojourner and neglected foreigner, in their oppression and suffering. As we grieve, we must remember that the grief borne today is not new within our African-American communities, but the burden of many generations.

How shall we stand as a College? I am calling the College community to a summer season of prayer and fasting against racial injustice. Let us engage in this biblical, spiritual discipline together personally and publicly in the College community through the remainder of the summer each Wednesday, at least until we gather again for the fall semester.

We will fast and inquire of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of all nations, for peace and mercy against racial injustice in our land, asking that He might justly overthrow every rule, authority, principality, and power that sets itself up against the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our peace and who alone can bring us peace. And we will ask that the Lord will make Geneva College a home of healing and hospitality and refuge, where we can experience the wholeness of Christ’s body, learning what is good--to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God…together.

In the broader community, on Wednesday, June 17th, the College will be involved in Beaver County’s Week of Solidarity being organized by the Beaver County Community Law Enforcement Community (BCCLEC). And the College will convene pastors’ meetings with African-American pastors in the county and with our local pastors in Beaver Falls this to consider how the College can better accomplish Christ’s purposes for racial reconciliation on campus and in our local community.

We will do this in pursuit of faithfulness to our very reason for being as a ministry of education: pro Christo et patria, “for Christ and country.”

We acknowledge that racism is endemic to the human condition after the fall. The temptation, the threat, and the fruit of racism persists in every human person, community, and institution. As our own abolitionist heritage as a College professes, racial injustice permeates our society.

Yet we are not exempt; and if we do not respond, we are without excuse. We know that African-American brothers and sisters of ours have experienced the degradation and pain of racism even within our own walls. We are working to make Geneva a better home for our brothers and sisters, for our neighbors, and for sojourners in our midst—particularly for those despised, rejected, or ignored on account of race, ethnicity, or nationality.

The word of Christ teaches us clearly on this matter. As we were reminded in Chapel earlier this year, the Scripture, speaking to all of us Gentiles together says,

But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:13-16)

As our Geneva College Faculty has stated so clearly, Christ compels us through His faithful Word to reject racism in ourselves, in our community, and in the world. Speaking for the College, the Faculty has said:

We affirm that every person, regardless of race or ethnic background, is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26).

We also affirm that racism…constitutes a heinous sin against people of color and is utterly inconsistent with God’s purpose to bring together a redeemed people from all nations (Revelation 5:6-14).

We further affirm that intimidation or threats of violence against people of color (indeed, against any people) are inconsistent with the respect and love that God calls us to demonstrate to all people regardless of race or ethnic background (Genesis 1:26; Matthew 5:44).

These are not new positions at Geneva College (see https://www.geneva.edu/about-geneva/diversity). But we are determined today to move our missional commitments more deliberately into missional practices.

Jesus Christ has come to save sinners like us from every tribe, and nation, and people, and language. All true followers of Jesus are of one race—the singular human race created by God. Geneva College is a tiny corner of God’s kingdom; here in Beaver Falls we are learning and longing together to live out the gospel truth, that there is no Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Therefore, our first step is prayer and fasting. The United States is not the nation of Israel, nevertheless we do well to pray for the Lord of every nation to heal our land—“If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Calvin L. Troup, PhD, President
June 4, 2020

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