Archive for the category “Racial reconciliation”

Why pursue racial integration in our churches?

black-white-handsJ.D Greear has posted at Between The Times the first installment of a multi-part series on racial integration in the church:

With this series, I would like to take as my starting point the assumption that racism is absolutely foolish, that we are ashamed of any racism in our past, that we repudiate every form of racism wherever we find it. There is only one race: the human race. There is one common problem: sin. And for all of us, there is one common solution: the blood of Jesus.

Some might say, perhaps, that I should not assume that as a starting point. And sadly, a case could be made that many Christians are not fully there yet. Still, I think we need to move the discussion beyond shame over our past and toward integration in our future

Many of us have not given the amount of thought that we should to the biblical basis for racial reconciliation. But this is precisely where the discussion should begin. One of the primary plotlines of the Bible is bringing glory to God by bringing back together various races in one common salvation. The redemption that Jesus purchased for us was not merely an individual salvation; it was also an interpersonal, intercultural, interracial reconciliation.

From Genesis 12 to Revelation 7, God brings back together what sin has driven apart. The Pentecost event of Acts 2 is intentionally multicultural. Mark recounts Jesus’ vision of the church as distinctly multicultural: “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:18). Paul calls the racial integration of the church evidence of the “manifest wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10).

In Acts 13:1–2, Luke takes special care to point out that the leadership of the Antioch church was multi-cultural. …

Read the rest of this post by clicking here.

Have you read J.D. Greear’s most recent book, Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart?

African-American missionaries enlarging the Just Kingdom

If Jesus’ followers are to fulfill our missions as ambassadors of reconciliation and enlarge the Kingdom of Justice, we must focus on breaking down walls of ethnic and racial hostility, in our communities and, even more importantly, among ourselves.

break down wallsOne group making remarkable strides in that area is an old-school missional network, the Southern Baptist Convention. Fred Luter‘s 2012 election as the first African American to lead the 167-year-old national association was a milestone on a journey of reconciliation that had seen the number of African-American congregations in the SBC grow by a whopping 82.7 percent between 1998 and 2011. Some 1 million African Americans in about 3,400 churches affiliate with the denomination.

That splash of reconciliation is rippling out into communities around the world, as a Black History Month package of features on CommissionStories.com illustrates. From W.W. Colley‘s 1875 service in Nigeria to Joseph Lyles‘ short-term work in Thailand, to Marie Edwards‘ work in the IMB‘s NAME region, to Isaac Adams‘ ministry in Brazil, God is using a rock-ribbed, historically Anglo denomination to help a lost world understand that, in Christ, the unity of God’s family is abolishing all the distinctions and oppressions people insist on erecting against each other — “no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.”

View the “Celebrating African Americans on mission” package of stories, photos, and video by clicking here.

Learn more about the global and North America work of Southern Baptists.

Southern Baptists elect first African-American president

Baptist Press reports:

Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected June 19 as the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention during its annual meeting in New Orleans.

David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, said the election would send “a great, hopeful, powerful message to our city, our culture, our convention and our country.” Some observers felt it was appropriate that Luter’s election took place on the day many celebrate as Juneteenth, the anniversary of slavery’s end in the United States.

Read the Baptist Press article here.

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