Okay, so I’ll admit I’m using a little click bait here to get your attention. The headline MLK vs BLM may lead you to believe that I’m going to compare the movements; I’m really not – at least not in the expected way. No, instead I want to compare MLK and BLM through the lens of the Holy Spirit as a mechanism to get to my real point. Intrigued? Read on!
Jesus told us that a good tree doesn’t bear bad fruit and a bad tree can’t bear good fruit and that we will know people by their fruit. In Galatians 5 Paul outlines for us clearly what good and bad fruit look like. Allow me to remind you:
Bad Fruit Galatians 5:19-21
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. (I’ve always wondered what “and the like” would be!)
Good Fruit Galatians 5: 22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
Pop Quiz: Which movement is based on the Spiritual Fruit and which has fallen into acts of the flesh? (Hint – this shouldn’t be a difficult question).
And there’s a clear reason for the difference – The Holy Spirit!
Martin Luther King was an American Baptist Pastor whose civil rights philosophy did not diverge from scripture and was in fact based totally in scripture. He loved his enemies; he prayed for those who persecuted him; he was peaceful so long as it was dependent upon him; he forgave those who did him wrong; he didn’t judge; his hope was in the Lord not men; he was hated; he was beaten; he was jailed yet he never raised a hand or encouraged others to resort to violence. No, what he did was love others as he loved himself and was light in a very dark world. And through the power of the Holy Spirit leading him, encouraging him, holding him up, and speaking through him MLK was victorious against the agents of darkness in this country. Today, although clearly not perfect, the tenants of his “dream” have come to pass.
The current protests, on the other hand, are not exhibiting spiritual fruit rather quite the opposite. We see hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and I would argue the idolatry of identity politics. God plays no role in the current movement’s approach; there is no light only darkness against darkness. This is why we’re seeing mobs accost people, violence between competing groups and even murder in our streets with people gloating over the deaths.
I love a quote I saw just before I started writing today from Voddie Baucham who said, “We are not seeing terrible things in our culture because we vote the wrong way. We are seeing terrible things in our culture because men love darkness rather than light.”
Amen, Brother, Amen.
I think that the MLK/BLM divide is a great case study in what happens when you take God out of the equation in the dealings of men. When God is involved men of God endure the harshest treatment yet prevail due to God’s hand upon them because of their obedience and faithfulness to Him. When God is not part of man’s engagements the true identity of man emerges – totally depraved and willing to do anything to satiate their carnal desires no matter how vile or the cost to another man.
One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is actually a two-part role of holding back sin and convicting the world of its sin. In other words, the Holy Spirit both works to keep us from sinning and convicts us of those sins when we fall so that we will not just seek forgiveness with God but will repent and turn from our rebellious ways.
I think what we are seeing today – which really is the point of this blog – is what the world will look like when the Holy Spirit is taken from the earth and men are left to their own devices. I hate to tell you this but it’s just going to get worse.
As we move toward the end times (I don’t think we’re there now but marching that way), God will become less and less important to men and those who hold onto the faith will be hated, persecuted, arrested, and killed, according to Jesus. Then when Jesus returns those in the faith will be brought into the air with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17) which means the place where the Holy Spirit dwells will be returned to Jesus and the world will be without believers and the Holy Spirit. Then the tribulation comes!
What we are seeing in the streets of Portland, Kenosha and other cities is just a glimpse of what the world will be like without the Holy Spirit. Basically, it will be social Darwinism with men at each other’s throats, the strong preying on the weak, and evil on full display
Some of you may be reading this thinking, “But Tom, the current protests are justified because of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Jacob Blake and dozens of others! The only way to make change is to challenge those who are killing black Americans!”
Jesus changed the world by dying for sinners.
Rev. King changed America by committing non-violent civil disobedience.
To make Black Lives truly Matter you need to do things God’s way not your own. There’s a reason scripture says that if you live by the sword you will die by the sword. God’s ways are not our ways which is why they are so hard to follow! However, we Christians MUST follow them no matter the personal cost because it is the only way to do things on earth as it is in heaven.
BLM is a far cry from MLK in this regard. Rev. King never lost sight that God was first in his life and that how he acted did not just reflect on him and his movement but on Jesus as well. Today we admire MLK – a man most the nation reviled at some point during his life and who was assassinated out of hatred and bigotry. But we must admire him not just for what he stood for but for whom he stood – Jesus.
My Christian brothers and sisters I’d ask you to pray hard regarding this issue. We need more Jesus in our nation. We need more Holy Spirit in our nation. We need more lights shining in the darkness. We need to show everyone the Jesus we know.
Our God is sovereign and what is happening is completely in His control. Our job as the disciples of Jesus is to stay true to the Gospel no matter the cultural circumstances. That said, the goal also is to bring others to a place where they can meet Jesus!! So go – make disciples teaching them everything Jesus has taught you, especially how to love their enemies who really are their neighbors.