Taking a knee

  • Posted By: Devoted
  • Tags: BLM
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by Dawid Pieterse

Introduction: Following the death of an African-American, George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests have increased. We have witnessed some good and some bizarre actions as a result. As the protests continued, people around the world have protested against police brutality and racism by kneeling on one knee and white people asked for forgiveness. It did not resonate well with devoted Christians around the world and people are widely divided on the intended meaning. Dr Dawid J Pieterse, an ex-South African who now resides with his family in Houston, Texas, USA since 2012, gives insight into this bizarre demonstration of “support” to a violent movement from a biblical perspective.  He wrote:


Psalm 95:6 says, ‘Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.’

Bowing and kneeling have long been associated with worship and reverence (see 2 Chronicles 6:13Psalm 138:2Daniel 6:10). In fact, the Hebrew word for “worship” actually means “bow down.” But is bowing or kneeling the only posture we are to take in worshiping or praying?

The first instance recorded in the Bible of bowing in reverence is in Genesis 18:2 when the three heavenly visitors came to Abraham. He knew they represented God, and he bowed to the ground in welcome. A few generations later, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, ordered all Egyptians to bow to Joseph as a sign of respect for the former slave promoted to second-in-command (Genesis 41:42–43). So, very early in human history, bowing or kneeling came to represent taking a humble position before someone of greater importance. Bowing and kneeling before rulers and false gods had become commonplace by the time God gave the Law to Moses. God wanted to set some new boundaries about the worship owed to Him. The second commandment says, “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything. . . . You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Exodus 20:4–5). God reserves any form of worship for Himself, and bowing down before someone or something else as a form of worship is forbidden. In Revelation 19:10, John falls at the feet of the angel who was explaining a vision to him, but the angel immediately corrects him: “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!”

So, from a Biblical perspective, Christians should not bow down, kneel down before, for and/or on behalf of anybody. We also are not required to repent on behalf of anybody or what other generations did. Salvation and forgiveness are  personal matters between a person and God. And if anybody has committed or did not respect the life of any person, no matter the color, he/she has to repent before God and to the person/s. This does not mean we bow down before the person/party. We only bow down or kneel before God in repentance.

By implication, those who bow down and kneel imply that black lives are more important and superior than any other life, which is not the case from a biblical perspective. Christ died for all. For Christ all lives matter. All lives are valuable and matter and should be treated accordingly.


(Note from the editor: This is a platform that allows others to speak out against social ills. Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said that “there comes a time when one must take position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right”.   Read also our article from the same writer in Issue 27 of Devoted, Are you supporting a movement blindly? … do your homework first.)