It’s obvious, but racial segregation still exists in the Church. It’s not normally forced, though this surely happens, but it occurs when people segregate themselves from one another by joining churches that express their earthly culture. Obviously, the horrors of the slave trade still have an influence, and racism won’t be completely purged from the Christian heart until glory, but many people won’t even consider attending a church where they’d be in the minority. Thus, as a result of historical events, sinfulness, and cultural preferences, we have churches where the unifying factor appears to be skin-color instead of the gospel. What does Westside Reformed Church think about this?
Racial division is reality, and it’s a tragic reality, when it isn’t necessitated by language barriers. During the Apostolic era, Jews and Gentiles joined hands and worshiped alongside one another. The cultural gulf that had separated them was every bit as extreme as what has existed in America. Before Christ, a Jew was not allowed to eat with a Gentile. The Gentile was considered “unclean” and could not be part of the people of Israel without undergoing circumcision and becoming Jewish. They had different diets, cultural backgrounds, and customs. Even more, there was hatred and violence between the groups. This did not lead the Apostles to establish Jewish churches and Gentile churches, though. They believed that Gentile-inclusion was part of the glory of the gospel itself (Eph. 2:11-3:7). To separate Gentiles or to make them become Jewish would actually contradict the gospel of grace (Gal. 2; 5:1-6; Acts 15). If it was so important for Jew and Gentile to become part of the same local church, we should pray and endeavor for that today, that our churches would express the full diversity of its geographical community.
Practically-speaking, this is one reason WRC uses a liturgy that was not created by white men. Its broad contours come from Jewish synagogues and were used in the Ancient Church (North Africa, Syria, Greece, and Rome). This pattern was recaptured during the era of the Reformation and is used across the world today – by Reformed churches in the Congo and Nigeria and by Presbyterians in Brazil and South Korea. The predominant content of our singing is the Psalms, which were of Jewish origin and inspired of God, and we seek to use tunes that transcend generations. Regardless of your race, you will not find your cultural music here. It will be uncomfortable for you, but that is part of the joy of finding our unity in the gospel alone.