The Archbishop of Canterbury believes Christians should rethink how Jesus is portrayed as a white man.
Reverend Justin Welby says it needs to be reviewed in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
He feels the anti-racism protests that have swept the world can’t be ignored by the Church.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, the Archbishop was asked if the way Jesus is characterised needs to be looked at.
Rev Welby replied: “Yes of course it does, this sense that God was white.
“You go into churches around the world and you don’t see a white Jesus.”
He went on: “You see a black Jesus, a Chinese Jesus, a Middle Eastern Jesus – which is, of course, the most accurate – you see a Fijian Jesus.”
Rev Welby insisted he did not want to “throw out” the past but says the “universality” of Christ needs a rethink.
“Jesus is portrayed in as many ways as there are cultures languages and understandings,” he added.
“And I don’t think that throwing out everything we’ve got in the past is the way to do it.
“But I do think saying ‘that’s not the Jesus who exists, that’s not who we worship’, it is a reminder of the universality of the God who became fully human.”
The Archbishop said last week that the church is looking at whether some statues need removing after a surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has sparked global protests following the death of George Floyd.
Rev Welby knows justice is crucial to forgiveness and stressed a need to learn from the past.