Debt Owed to Black Inventor

by Bryan Cribb

America owes a debt of blood to Charles Drew-literally. Drew, an African-American doctor in the early twentieth century, developed methods of typing and storing blood. His work led to the practice of blood transfusions, which saved countless lives during and after World War II.

Drew never patented his discoveries. He called them gifts from God. He did not want to create wealth-only health.

Involved in a car accident one fateful day, Drew ironically required the very discovery he used to help others. But the hospital where an ambulance rushed him did not help him. They did not have "colored" blood. Despite Drew's pleas that all people bled the same, the doctors sent him away to another hospital - a "colored" one. He was dead on arrival.

Dr. Charles Drew"Thus, the man who is responsible for typing blood, for storing it, for transfusing it, bled to death en route to a ‘colored' hospital," said Steve Hogg, a trustee of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and pastor of First Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C.

"I think about that when I hear of churches who have no room for people of different cultures or races within their fellowship," said Hogg. "What you and I encounter today may not be expressed in that same way, but it's still there. It's still part of our fabric. It's still part of that conflict humanity is struggling with even now."

Humans too often look at each other not through the eyes of God's grace, but through eyes tainted by sin. The results of sin, Hogg said, finds one people group against another, one race against another, one nation against another. Christians holding to such attitudes are sinning against the God who called all His creation good, Hogg said.

By way of illustration, he quoted from an African-American minister: "If you hate me because I'm ignorant, I'll educate myself. If you hate me because I'm dirty, I'll clean myself. If you hate me because I'm pagan, I'll become a Christian. But if you hate me because I'm black, I can only refer you to God, who made me black."

The same blood that cleansed him, Hogg said, washes all other people-regardless of race, creed or culture. "We should come to God and let him teach us. And when we do that, our hearts are laid open, He judges them and He changes them," Hogg explained. "One of the most painful things we Christians do is lay our hearts and souls open before God and say, ‘God, judge me.' Take it, hold it in Your hand and show me what it really looks like."

Once hearts are laid bare under the light of Christ, Christians will rid themselves of "instruments that kill," Hogg stated. In Micah, the Israelites accomplished this by turning their weapons used to hurt, to kill, to destroy and to maim into helpful tools (Mic. 4:3).

"You say, ‘Well, I don't have instruments like that,'" Hogg said. "Yes, we do. We all do. Our attitudes. Our stereotypes. Our words. Our choices. Our inclinations. Our dispositions. Our behavior. We have weapons of war that cut, that maim, that hurt."

By presenting these to God, He will change any attitude. "Should we not, of all people, be the ones willing to do that?" Hogg asked.

Baptist Press