Montana Church Pledges to Leave SBC Over ERLC's Promotion of Social Justice at MLK Conference

"The Fellowship Baptist Church in Sidney, Montana . . . announced Monday that they plan to withdraw from the [Southern Baptist Convention] 'due to the ongoing social justice promoting, leftist progressivism, and mission drift away from the Gospel by the denomination's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.'" CPost 

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rpruitt's picture

We are certainly never to encourage evils like racism, etc.  However, do we, as believers in Christ, "link arms" with theological heretics in order to prove a point?  Todd Friel, like this church in Montana, does not think so.  He has an interesting segment on YouTube titled "John Piper Questions MLK's Theology at MLK Event."

Robert P. Pruitt

Bert Perry's picture

I'm listening to the church's sermon about the matter, and the simple fact is that the preacher is not working from much evidence.  He is rather assuming his conclusion, that the concepts of social justice require an abandonment of the Gospel.  

Now this much is true; at the conference, the SBC does in fact partner with a number of pastors and leaders that they might not ordinarily partner with.  I don't see clear names of heretics like T.D. Jakes there (prosperity theology and modalism), but I would guess that if I looked deeply into each church's doctrine, I'd see some things that would contradict SBC doctrine.

If this didn't have anything to do with the SBC's past actions, I'd say "OK, just separate from them."  But the simple fact here is that the reasons blacks live and worship (for the most part) separately from whites have everything to do with white churches, especially the SBC.  Being on the wrong side of the argument for over three centuries is going to leave a mark, and problems in predominantly black churches often have an unmistakable mark going back to the SBC, the Southern Methodists, the Southern Presbyterians, and so on. 

And as such, it becomes important for the SBC to reach out across some of these lines and make amends--it's the Biblical tradition of atonement, repeated in Micah 6:8.  So while certainly those arguing for social justice can and do make errors, I think history tells us on the "pigmentally impaired" side of the equation that we have an obligation to reach out.  Not carte blanche for "the other side", but we are required to reach out. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Churches would do better to just focus on preaching and proclaiming the Gospel in their communities, and leave the virtue signaling to the celebrities. Just preach the Gospel to everybody, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what their ethnicity is, and let Christ handle the reconciliation. That's the beauty of the body of Christ; we're all brothers and sisters. We ought to look through that lens; not a lens of culturally infected, time-bound racial and ethic tinted glasses.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mike Harding's picture

I am personally convinced that the political left obsesses over identity politics.  It concerns me to see Russell Moore doing the same.  Our church and school are just a few miles north of Detroit. I grew up as a boy on the Southside of Chicago.  We have all ethnicities in our church and school.  They get along great.  We do not obsess about race and I think it is unwise to do so. Such obsession only breeds division and hatred. Tyler's comment is very helpful.  The Gospel will do more to end racial tension than all the social engineering advocated by various left-wing groups. What all ethnic groups need in America socially is a strengthening of the nuclear family and advocating for fathers to get married before they become fathers, stay in the home, and raise their sons and daughters with dignity and respect.  The gospel will help with this social need more than anything. Social engineering which makes it easier for fathers to abandon their families causes great harm.  This has been going on for 60 years and we see the horrific results.

Pastor Mike Harding

Joel Shaffer's picture

The pastor of this church, Jordan Hall was getting all emotional for nothing over his misunderstanding of the MLK50 conference and the SBC.  No one was adding racial justice to the gospel, even when they say that racial justice is a gospel issue.  The apostle Paul apparently viewed racial issues as a gospel issue ("not acting lin line with the truth of the gospel) in his letter to the Galatians.   In Gal 2:11-14  Paul confronts Peter when Peter refuses to eat with the Gentiles so that he does not offend certain Jewish Christians, which led many other Jewish Christians to do the same.   I've read and heard several of the speakers at the conference and all of them, including Moore, work out of the assumption that racial justice is a vital implication of the gospel, rather than part of the gospel.  Pastor Hall is aiming his apostasy guns at the wrong evangelical target.  Unfortunately his misunderstanding leads to slander.  

Joel Shaffer's picture

Churches would do better to just focus on preaching and proclaiming the Gospel in their communities, and leave the virtue signaling to the celebrities. Just preach the Gospel to everybody, no matter who they are, where they come from, or what their ethnicity is, and let Christ handle the reconciliation. That's the beauty of the body of Christ; we're all brothers and sisters. We ought to look through that lens; not a lens of culturally infected, time-bound racial and ethic tinted glasses.

Its a good thing that Paul didn't just preach the gospel and let Christ handle the reconciliation (Gal 2:11-14).  No, he called out a racial sin that had to be confronted because ultimately it was a gospel issue.   Unfortunately, certain Christians are often blind to racial sin and when Christians actually look to confront it,  they are criticized for advocating a social gospel or embracing  identity politics  or Christian leftist politics. 

Andrew K's picture

JohnBrian wrote:

I guessed that it was Hall's church, then I clicked to the article and was not surprised!

Precisely. The man seems to live for controversy. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

I have nothing to repent for, when it comes to racial injustice. Nothing. Thabiti Anyabwile's article is irresponsible, as are his follow-up ones. This is a worldview divide, Joel. I just don't agree with you.

Paul rebuked Peter for his racist attitude towards Gentiles, which was characteristic of the version of Judaism the Pharisees were pushing during that time. However, he rebuked Peter specifically, in response to a specifically sinful attitude he had. I have nothing to repent for, regarding racial injustice. To be sure, some people do, and they ought to repent. There is nothing in the NT which calls people to repent of things they haven't done.

The only true reconciliation comes in the body of Christ, where people from any tribe, tongue, people and nation can come for perfect forgiveness, reconciliation, atonement and adoption into God's family. There is no black, white, brown, yellow, slave, free, Greek or Jew in the body of Christ - there are only brothers and sisters. The Gospel frees us from the chains of sin, and provides us with the life-giving message to proclaim to others, so they can be free, too. So, in summary:

I look at the MLK conference, and I see little but virtue signaling by evangelical celebrities who wish to be seen as "woke" by an increasingly confused, rudderless, ideologically bankrupt, biblically illiterate and culturally compromised constituency.

How's that for a controversial statement? I suggest folks read Doug Wilson's recent article on this matter. I preached this past Sunday from Leviticus 1, and worshipped the Lord with white people, brown people, and people of all sorts of colors. The color and ethnicity is meaningless to me - all I see are Christians. That's the narrative we ought to push; freedom and identity in Christ, not the color of your skin. The Apostle Peter learned his lesson well, and told us what our true self-identity is (1 Pet 2:4-10). We ought to listen.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Joel Shaffer's picture

Did you listen to the sermons and the panel discussions from the conference?  If not, how can you judge the motive that it is  "virtue signaling by evangelical celebrities who wish to be seen as "woke" by an increasingly confused, rudderless, ideologically bankrupt, biblically illiterate and culturally compromised constituency?" 

 

 

 

 

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding Anyabile's column, it's mirrored in this column by my great uncle, Kenneth L. Dixon, who was at Ole Miss when it was forcibly integrated.  Here's a bit more on Uncle Kenny.  Another historical reference about him is that into the 1950s and 1960s, his native Colchester IL--way north of the Mason-Dixon--had street signs warning blacks to leave before dark.  

As you read this, do not forget for a minute that this kind of thing is remembered deeply by our black neighbors.  If we want to undo the damage that was done by no less than three close to four centuries of being on the wrong side of the race issue--remember that BJU only ended its interracial dating policy 18 years ago--we cannot be ignorant of this kind of thing. As Joel notes, Paul came down hard on Jewish-Gentile hostility for a very good reason, and we ought to do the same for our society's besetting sins. 

Kenneth L. Dixon, "Courthouse Square Is Authentic Picture of Occupied Town."The Meridian (Mississippi) Star, October 2, 1962.

IN OCCUPIED OXFORD, Miss.-This dateline is no joke.

Oxford is occupied—as thoroughly as any occupied town I saw on foreign soil in World War II.

By dawn today, the campus at Ole Miss appeared to contain more soldiers than students. A huge bivouac stretched from the grove in the Lyceum building on down toward the main entrance.

Out at the Oxford-University airport a much larger encampment was stretched out along the ground lining both sides of the single strip runway.

Already an Army field kitchen was set up, starting to serve breakfast to the troops. It had come in during the night, along with the hundreds of other military units that poured steady streams into this town that has become the center of the nation's and the world's attention.

When the sun came up, the campus had been almost cleared of the skeletons of burned cars and trucks, but the broken glass and stones still remained to remind all of the terror of the night before last.

A vagrant breeze still brought traces of tear gas—some of which was exploded last night when the troops saw any sign of a crowd gathering in the area of Baxter Hall where Negro James Meredith became the first member of his race to officially spend the night on the Ole Miss campus as a student.

He spent the night there—but whether he slept or not is anybody's guess.

And Wilson?  Let's just say that I'm pretty much done with him after he more or less used brass knuckles on Rachael Denhollander and Boz Tchividjian when she recommended Boz as an independent examiner for the SGM issues.  Calling Boz an "ambulance chaser" when he is in fact one of the Church's foremost experts on child sexual abuse is just way out of line.  This is especially the case when we consider several years after the wedding in dispute, court documents indicated the groom still had sexual urges for children.  No amount of self-defense by Wilson ("the court encouraged it") can hide the fact that Boz nailed it in that case. 

Never mind Wilson's publication of a plagiarized document, Southern Slavery; as it was, ahem.  If you want a demonstration that we in the North need to come to grips with this stuff, look at the copyright date.  Look around your church for BJU grads who attended while the interracial dating ban was still in place.  Relatively young people observed this in person, not through reading history books. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I disagree with the way the entire conference was framed. I see its stated purpose ...

The 50th anniversary of King’s tragic death marks an opportunity for Christians to reflect on the state of racial unity in the church and the culture. It creates the occasion to reflect on where Christians have been and look ahead to where we must go as we pursue racial unity in the midst of tremendous tension.

... as amorphous, vague, subjective and too non-specific to mean much of anything. What, exactly, does this mean? What do people want? What, specifically, must be done? When will this be accomplished? How will it be accomplished? What's the endgame? The truth is there is no endgame. There is only identity politics, employed in the body of Christ for no real purpose.

Two points to remember, then I'll bow out of this one:

  1. Self-identity is rooted in Christ, not race. The Apostle Peter assured Christians that they all, whoever they are and wherever they come from, all part of His holy nation, a chosen people; His royal priests (see 1 Pet 2:9-10). That's our self-identity.
  2. We're responsible for our own individual sins. We cannot repent for things we didn't specifically do. I have nothing to apologize for, and no fences to mend when it comes to racial conflict. Perhaps someone, way back in my family tree, does. If so, I hope he did repent. That has nothing to do with me. We're responsible for our own sins, not our ancestor's sins, or our secular nation's errors in days gone by.

This is why I believe anyone who agrees with the way the way the MLK conference framed this issue is, basically, out of line. This conference, and its aftermath, is virtue signaling. It accomplishes nothing for ordinary people. It does nothing for ordinary Christians.

I'd rather preach the Gospel, proclaim the reconciliation Christ brings to anyone who comes to Him, and leave the secular identity politics to the celebrities. Life is too short.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

As I read that statement, a simple question comes into my mind.  Are racial and ethnic minorities in my town being attracted to my church?  If they are not, there may be reasons that we can deal with.  Is the past behavior of my church a stumbling block for these groups?  If so, public repentance might be wise.  

No argument that our true identity is in Christ, and that our perceived identity ought to be primarily as the same.  That noted, Paul did not need to rebuke Peter because Peter's perceived identity in Christ always trumped his identity as  a Jew.  Paul did not need to say that there was no Jew nor Greek in Christ in Galatians 3:28 because the early church could simply assume the racial divide was automatically healed. 

Really, it's a simple question of whether the groups--tribes, nations--in your town (Matthew 24:14, Mark 13:10)  are being offended by the Gospel, or whether they are being offended, or have been offended, by us.   If there is evidence they've been offended by us--nearly four centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, interracial dating bans and the like qualifies, don't you think?--then a fairly open-ended investigation of what went wrong and how we can overcome it is in order.  We cannot simply assume that because the minorities that are already with us are not complaining, that nothing is wrong. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Tyler, you have made several accusations of identity politics about the racial reconciliation movement within evangelicalism as if this strand of conservative evangelicalism created another copycat of secular thinking and applied it to race issues.  Fortunately, this was not at all the case. First, racial reconciliation is a complete foreign term among those who advocate identity politics. I know this because of the nature of my work dealing with social workers, educators, and community organizers, I’ve had several arguments with those believe in identity politics and I have been attacked for using the term along with its goal of unity between blacks and whites. They are on two completely different tracks.  

To give you a history lesson, the term Racial Reconciliation was born out of the life and ministry of a black evangelical evangelist/civil rights leader by the name of John M. Perkins. At the height of a boycott that he was leading in a rural Mississippi town in 1970, Perkins was thrown in jail and brutally attacked and tortured by White Police officers It took him a couple years to recover and during that time he reflected on what had happened. The white police officers that brutalized him were all faithful attenders/members in the local Baptist and Presbyterian churches and the gospel that was preached to them may have reconciled them to God, but ethically did nothing to reconcile them to their black brothers and sisters in Christ.   The concept of Racial Reconciliation was born out of love that Perkins began to show towards “the white enemy” that almost killed him. Before the beating, his ministry and gospel preaching was entirely focused on poor black Mississippians. But in the early 1970’s he began to advocate the unity we have in Christ based on the reconciling work of Jesus and the need for black and white believers to develop deep, intentional relationships of love in demonstrating that reconciliation. Within developing these relationships between blacks and whites, Perkins recognized the need for repentance (both individual and corporate) in this process. From the early 1970’s and on, Perkins became one of the leading Christian voices in evangelicalism speaking on race issues and the gospel, especially when he began to write books.  Tyler, you may not believe that the concept of corporate repentance is Biblical based on your understanding of scripture (which I get) but it is grossly mistaken to mistake Perkins and others for somehow using it as an identity politics tool to manufacture white guilt, especially since the racial reconciliation movement among evangelical Christians preceded the growth of Identity Politics movement by at least a decade. Perkins is a man of the Bible. When he read the book of Lamentations, along with the prophets of the OT, and Nehemiah, he applied the model of corporate repentance to the racial issues at hand (I get it that you probably don't agree with his hermeneutics) By the way, Perkins sees repentance as a two-way street. Perkins’ books and many other evangelicals’ books by other authors such as Breaking Down Walls and More than Equals have not fallen into the lie that identity politics crafted that somehow black people can never be racists  The book Breaking down Walls attacked that secular thinking in the early 1990's.

By the way, Dr. Perkins and many others within the Racial Reconciliation movement would wholeheartedly agree with you that our self-identity is rooted in Christ and not race. In fact, Dr. Perkins has mentioned this throughout many of his books. His newest book (and probably his last because he is 87 years old now) is called “One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race.” he lays the foundation of Racial Reconciliation by deconstructing the concept of “Race” because there is only a single human race. According to one reviewer, “Perkins explains that we are descendants of Adam—all nations were created of “one blood”—and the church as a redeemed people who stand on level ground because of the “one blood” of Christ. Again and again, Perkins calls the church back to this “one blood” identity as the foundation for biblical reconciliation. As he does so, an important message emerges: The church must reckon with its past. For many, reconciliation seems needlessly mired in yesterday’s mistakes and troubles; according to Perkins, there is no other way. “We must go back before we can go forward.”  Which is why he insists that we revisit the notion of “race” itself. Citing relevant passages of Scripture (Gen. 1:26; Mal. 2:10; Acts 17:26) as well as the research of Dave Unander, professor of biology at Eastern University (and author of Shattering the Myth of Race: Genetic Realities and Biblical Truths), Perkins argues that race as commonly understood does not exist. From the unified perspective of biology, history, and Scripture, there is only one human race. Indeed, “race as we know it today is mostly a social theory that was devised and refined over the centuries to serve the economic and religious goals of a majority culture, first in European territory, then later in America.”(although I would also argue that it has been co-opted by many within the minority culture in order to leverage power) Our job, then, is to discern ways the American church has “color-coded” Christianity on the basis of the myth of “race” and allowed cultural prejudices to creep into our understanding of the Bible.”

Why am I sharing the story of Dr. Perkins?  Because he was one of the main participants in the MLK 50 conference.  He laid the foundation for Biblical Racial Reconciliation. He is the one Russell Moore and others from Gospel Coalition looks to rather than identity politics. If you want to see Christians actually using and abusing identity politics, go check out the Red Letter Christians website.  Check out Sojourners!. There are plenty of articles from both progressive evangelical groups that show how deep the secular thinking has penetrated their worldviews (especially as they advocate for sexual minorities). My question for you and others who so quickly agree with your shallow assessment is what have you read from different evangelical authors about Biblical Racial Reconciliation?  If you haven’t done any of the research and haven’t interacted with authors such as Perkins you are not really equipped to make such harsh judgments because all they really add up to is an identity politics/white guilt strawman argument. Which brings me to what I will be addressing in Part 2 (that you used Anyabile's column as an umbrella representation of the MLK 50 conference, when he wasn’t even a speaker there).        

Joel Shaffer's picture

I am behind on a few projects so I probably won't get to part 2 response until tomorrow. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Upon further reflection, I should have aimed my fiery comment about MLK50 at Anayabwile's article, and those who agree with him. I apologize.

To zoom out to the larger issue which prompted the MLK50 conference (and J.D. Hall's own virtue signaling, which prompted this post), my general disgust with this entire approach ...

  1. MLK50's own framing of racial reconciliation in its promo materials,
  2. some excerpts I've seen from this conference,
  3. and the whole concept of corporate racial reconciliation in general

... is because I don't believe it's framed in a biblical or constructive way. My two main concerns, as I wrote before, is that this approach undercuts these two principles:

  1. self-identity for believers is only in Christ, and
  2. people are responsible and will be judged for their own individual sins, not the collective sins of their ethnic people group or nation.

No matter how carefully the MLK50 speakers nuanced their approach, and no matter how substantive and scholarly the authors are whom you mentioned (and I've no doubt they are scholarly and careful), Anayabwile's article is representative of the popular face of this movement. And, I believe that approach destroys those two principles! There is a movement in evangelicalism which is caving into a cycle of perpetual self-recrimination for white Christians. For goodness' sake, David Platt just preached a sermon at T4G in which he advocated for racial reconciliation on the basis of Amos 5:18-27. This is eisegesis gone mad.  

The framing is the issue, Joel. There's a foreign lens being employed here. How can I, personally, repent for racial sins in my ancestor's past? How can I "build a multi-ethnic" congregation, as Platt says I ought to? Should I target my evangelism, in a way affirmative-action advocates would appreciate? What on earth should I do? We preach the Gospel to everyone, and let God call His people. What on earth does the skin color of the flock have to do with anything? How can I shape the skin color of my congregation, and why should I even worry about it?

I suspect this is an American aberration. I shudder to think what this kind of lens would do to small Christian churches in Israel, or in majority Muslim countries. Would this filter work in that context? Would it even be appropriate? Let's step outside our American comfort zone, and consider the wisdom of this dangerous approach!

I appreciate your perspective, Joel. I just think Anayabwile's perspective (which, I believe, is the popular face of what the MLK50 folks are advocating) is wrong. So very, very wrong. So very, very dangerous.

I wish we could have a conversation in person, Joel. I'd be so much easier than these comment boxes! If you'd consider turning your comments into an article about racial reconciliation (what it is, what it looks like, why it's necessary), then I think it would make an excellent and substantive front-page article for Aaron to consider for publication. I'd personally be very interested to hear a substantive argument for this; I've never heard one.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew K's picture

I've lived overseas for many years, and attended international congregations that were far more multi-ethnic than any I've ever seen in the States. Based on these experiences, here's my take on churches trying to make themselves more multi-ethnic:

The unvarnished though arguably lamentable reality is that people (with few but notable exceptions) seek out others that are like them in some way, esp. that share relatively similar experiences or cultural backgrounds. Thus, people largely tend to gravitate toward churches filled with people that are like them in those things they consider significant. Think of young people attracted to a church filled with young people, for example. etc. 

I can think of only two sets of circumstances whereby this may be overcome.

1) If the range of acceptable churches from which to choose becomes narrowed (as in many overseas situations) and...

2) If the differences dividing the minority believer from those in more majority-homogenous congregations somehow lose significance (so those of us with English and Irish ancestry are freely mingling without hesitation, for example).

Given that neither of these options is likely to happen anytime soon in your typical American community, I think we need to be careful that a focus on building a multi-ethnic congregation remain a laudable but tertiary goal.

Ron Bean's picture

Andrew K's previous post got me thinking. Are Korean, Hispanic, and African-American churches concerned that they are not multi-ethnic?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Ron, very often ethnic churches are primarily described among linguistic lines as much as along ethnic lines, especially Hispanic churches, but you would be correct that many ethnic churches continue to be a mostly mono-ethnic church even when they share a common language with the host culture.

And the result--as anyone who grew up near Chicago or Detroit might be aware--is that these mono-ethnic churches wither as soon as the host ethnicity gets a bit more prosperous and moves to the suburbs.  That's why the Catholics have closed so many churches in inner cities--they never transitioned from being the Polish/Italian/German church to being the community's church.   I'd argue it's a very regrettable consequence not just of chance, but of the European practice of the state supporting the church.  

In the same way, many evangelical and fundamental churches (e.g. 4th, South Baptist of Lansing, MI in the 1980s and 1990s) find themselves doing OK, but with little connection to the neighborhoods they supposedly serve. 

So far starters, I'd argue that needlessly maintaining a mono-ethnic or racially homogeneous church in a heterogeneous community is a waste of resources.  It's also hard to reconcile with the fact that the original deacons were chosen as a result of a squabble between two groups (Judean and Grecian Jews), the fact that the church rapidly moved from a solely Jewish context to a mixed Jewish-Gentile context, and the like.  

And for that matter, let's try to imagine whether John Perkins would have gotten the snot beaten out of him if he had been at the same church as those jailers.  The simple reality of the matter is that when we're around people who look and think differently than we do, they show us our blind spots.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Darrell Post's picture

I agree with Tyler's point about the folly of repenting for the sins committed by people who lived and died before we were born. If the underlying principles leading to such repentance are accurate and in force, then the applications go far beyond racial dynamics in America.

In 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland and their U-boats started sinking British ships. Nazi atrocities over the next 6 years would shock the world.

I have not yet had the DNA ancestry test, but based on my known family history I am roughly 45% German, roughly 40% British, with some Dutch and French mixed in.

So do I need to apologize to myself?

If I get the DNA test and my German share turns out larger, do I need to apologize twice?

 

Andrew K's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

I agree with Tyler's point about the folly of repenting for the sins committed by people who lived and died before we were born. If the underlying principles leading to such repentance are accurate and in force, then the applications go far beyond racial dynamics in America.

In 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland and their U-boats started sinking British ships. Nazi atrocities over the next 6 years would shock the world.

I have not yet had the DNA ancestry test, but based on my known family history I am roughly 45% German, roughly 40% British, with some Dutch and French mixed in.

So do I need to apologize to myself?

If I get the DNA test and my German share turns out larger, do I need to apologize twice?

 

Be ready for some potential surprises. I discovered I had significant chunks of West African, Jewish, and Native American coming in from my Hispanic grandmother. And here we all thought she was 100% European (Spanish), since she looks very white. This means I had some ancestors who were slaves and some who had their land stolen... by some other ancestors. But you can bet I'm up for reparations. Smile

To add even more genetic fun, I've read that from these tests, most "African-Americans" are actually about 25-35% white European. Considerations about how that happened are something African Americans would prefer not to think about, for obvious reasons.

Our racial categories are a mess.

Darrell Post's picture

Andrew, you are right. Some of the articles I have read indicate how surprised many people are when they get the test (granted, it is in the financial interest to push surprises so more will want to pay for the test). But often people wrongly assume a grandparent is 100% Irish based only on the fact the grandparent has an Irish name and came to America from the emerald isle. But digging further back, ancestors may have moved from a different European country to Ireland.

I know from someone who took the DNA test that their database is still very much a work in progress. So they repeatedly send out updates showing how your estimated ethnicity has changed based on the latest research.

Andrew K's picture

Darrell Post wrote:

Andrew, you are right. Some of the articles I have read indicate how surprised many people are when they get the test (granted, it is in the financial interest to push surprises so more will want to pay for the test). But often people wrongly assume a grandparent is 100% Irish based only on the fact the grandparent has an Irish name and came to America from the emerald isle. But digging further back, ancestors may have moved from a different European country to Ireland.

I know from someone who took the DNA test that their database is still very much a work in progress. So they repeatedly send out updates showing how your estimated ethnicity has changed based on the latest research.

True, but most geneticists agree that on the continental level, they are quite accurate. National is where it gets tricky. English, Dutch, and Scandinavians, for example, are pretty much genetically the same people. Thank you, Vikings. :O 

Bert Perry's picture

.....it was in the distant past, Darrell.  Again, BJU's interracial dating policy persisted until 2000, Wilson's pamphlet came out first in 1996 and was then reissued in 2005 under the name "Black and Tan", and quite frankly a lot of the arguments I've seen for older music in the church more or less boil down to "white Protestants' music prior to Elvis is OK, other peoples' music not so much."  Check out Anthony Bradley's twitter feed (and other public sites) for more examples.  Check out J.D. Hall's site "Pulpit and Pen."  (quite frankly, Hall inadvertently makes Anyabwile's point for him, but isn't smart enough to realize he's done it)  Ask Joel about the DWB (driving while black) citations he's seen.  Even if we are not aware of racist things we've done personally, the sheer volume of idiocy over the past four centuries and continuing into today means we are going to have to make some adjustments.

And put bluntly, if we're blind to this, it is going to kill our ministry among people who see it all too clearly.   And let's be blunt about the matter; didn't God tell us to minister first in Jerusalem, then Samaria, then the rest of the world?  What, then, is to be made of a situation where we drive right past the neighborhoods surrounding our church buildings to do ministry somewhere else?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Darrell Post's picture

"we are going to have to make some adjustments."

Who is 'we' and what adjustments? I attend a diverse church that reflects the immediate community and race is not an issue. We have families whose ancestry comes from Asia, Africa, and Europe and the warmth and fellowship among all the people is apparent every time we assemble. I don't know that we have any members who originate from South America, but we did send missionaries there. But it is truly refreshing to be in a place where we are all one in Christ regardless where we came from.

G. N. Barkman's picture

For those who are interested in seeing your church develop into a multi-racial congregation, we have seen positive results from the following.

1)  Genuinely and warmly invite people "of color" to your church services.  2) Invite sound preachers from minority races to preach from your pulpit.  3)  Encourage families in your congregation to adopt multi-racial children.  (We have at least five families who have adopted black children.)  4)  Encourage families to host foreign exchange students who are racial minorities in America.  5)  Preach on the sin of racial discrimination.  6)  Begin an ESL ministry.  (English as a second language.)

I'm sure there are others, but those are the ones that come readily to mind.  It took several years of working at it before we successfully saw black Christians become members of our congregation, but we now have Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians in our church.  It seems so natural now that we rarely give it a second thought.  One of our black men is a deacon and Sunday School teacher.  I see other promising minorities that I hope to see become involved in ministry soon.

G. N. Barkman

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Bert Perry wrote:

.....it was in the distant past, Darrell.  Again, BJU's interracial dating policy persisted until 2000, Wilson's pamphlet came out first in 1996 and was then reissued in 2005 under the name "Black and Tan", and quite frankly a lot of the arguments I've seen for older music in the church more or less boil down to "white Protestants' music prior to Elvis is OK, other peoples' music not so much."  Check out Anthony Bradley's twitter feed (and other public sites) for more examples.  Check out J.D. Hall's site "Pulpit and Pen."  (quite frankly, Hall inadvertently makes Anyabwile's point for him, but isn't smart enough to realize he's done it)  Ask Joel about the DWB (driving while black) citations he's seen.  Even if we are not aware of racist things we've done personally, the sheer volume of idiocy over the past four centuries and continuing into today means we are going to have to make some adjustments.

And put bluntly, if we're blind to this, it is going to kill our ministry among people who see it all too clearly.   And let's be blunt about the matter; didn't God tell us to minister first in Jerusalem, then Samaria, then the rest of the world?  What, then, is to be made of a situation where we drive right past the neighborhoods surrounding our church buildings to do ministry somewhere else?

Bert, I don't think it matters how long in the past something was -- it matters what we have done, approved of, or encouraged.  There were plenty of us at BJU in the 1980's, a good 15-20 years before BJU's apology, who thought the interracial dating policy was stupid, wrong-headed, and just flat-out wrong.  Having attended there does not make us responsible for the policy any more than anyone else who has attended or worked for an organization that has policies they disagree with (and who hasn't?).

BJU was right to apologize corporately for a corporate wrong, and if my current church had encouraged racism in its policies, leadership, or even attitudes fostered among the congregation, then a corporate apology would make sense.  That hasn't happened, and even though our church is largely (but not completely) white in composition, we don't need to apologize for what others have done, or how others have been treated historically, though we would happily express our disagreement with and opposition to such wrong actions and attitudes.  We do have families who have adopted children of other races.  We have one black/white couple at our church. We welcome and are friendly to anyone who attends, no matter what culture or race (or level of piercings, etc. that might be considered "outside the norm").  We have had speakers from other races. We strive to act biblically, in every way we can.

What we are NOT going to do, is to try anything artificial to try to get the church to be more multi-racial, and it's not specifically one of our goals.  We want to reach the people around us (and there are a lot of people from different cultures and backgrounds in the greater Research Triangle area here).  We do want our church to reflect those around us, but we are not going specifically after people from any one race or culture in order to get our church to "diversify," though we will certainly welcome diversity that comes naturally through God adding to the church those he chooses to.  We won't be talking about "white privilege," "racial reconciliation," or any of those concepts.  What we will do is, as Tyler said above, preach the unity of all Christians in Christ, reach out to people from every people, tribe, language, and nation, and we certainly will firmly preach against and put down any racist attitudes or actions by anyone in the church.  We have a hard enough job preaching and teaching what is in the Word.  Crusading for racial justice is not on the agenda, though justice that comes by changing lives through preaching the Gospel is always welcome.

Dave Barnhart

Joel Shaffer's picture

Having read Anyabwile's article along with the push backs from WIlson and White and Anyabwile's responses, I am not in agreement with Anyabwile's view of corporate repentance.  It is way too broad and actually undermines the value of corporate repentance.  I think if everything is corporate repentance (including Christians corporately repenting for MLK's death from 50 years ago) than nothing is corporate repentance.  As much as I've liked many of Anyabwile's other articles concerning race, this was one where he went off the rails. 

An example of how I think corporate repentance can be appropriately handled was when the GARBC over 20 years ago corporately repented of refusing to allow a group of Black fundamental Baptist churches join the GARBC  back in 1960 or 1961. So in response to being rejected by the GARBC, this group of black churches formed their own association (Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Association) The sinful decision to refuse these black fundamental Baptist churches was not only made by powerful individuals within the GARBC , but it was made representing a non-profit corporation fellowship of over 1000 GARBC churches.  Individual sin from powerful individuals in this situation affected a religious system of churches, and the sinful religious system affected individuals within the GARBC.   By the early 1970's, the GARBC began to open its doors for fellowship to all churches (not just white churches) and with the focus by GARBC approved agency Baptist Mid-Missions planting African-American congregations and the development of Crossroads Baptist Bible College, as black and white Baptist Christians and Churches were intersecting with each other, many realized that there was a giant elephant in the room (which was that the GARBC as an entity had sinned against those who are part of the FBFA).  So the GARBC leaders (board members/national representative) publicly repented of the past GARBC's sin against this group of black Baptist Churches and the FBFA publicly forgave them at a GARBC national conference (it may have been a joint conference with the FBFA....my memory is hazy).   This also led to reconciliation where there is no harbored resentment between both groups.  In fact, several of the FBFA churches now hold dual memberships between both the GARBC and the FBFA.  They've had joint conferences together and have been enriched by fellowship with each other.  Dr. Charles Ware (President of Crossroads Bible College) has been a key figure through the whole process of both repentance and reconciliation.  I recommend his books "Prejudice and the People of God: How Revelation and Redemption leads to Reconciliation" and a couple books that he co-authored with Ken Ham, "Darwin's Plantation: Evolution's Racist Roots" and One Race, One Blood."  And I think Ham is at his best when he argues against the sociological implications of evolution.  

Although many on Sharper Iron believe that Anyabwile's view on corporate repentance is the popular view by those who attended the MLK conference, I would encourage everyone to withhold their assumptions about the secular influence on identity politics of the attendees and become listeners first.  Yes, you will hear about systems of sin/racism that still exist today, but also you will hear some surprising things as well.  I had to chuckle to myself when people were getting worked up about this conference and its "liberal/progressive" leanings and I had heard live one of the African-American speakers (can't remember which one right now) publicly denounce in his message at the  conference how certain churches (within his SBC denomination) were hiring black associate pastors at mega-churches that weren't qualified.  That doesn't fit the "politically-correct" narrative of those who oppose this conference have assumed.    At the same time, because evangelicalism (even among conservative evangelicals) are not monolithic in its theological and social-political beliefs, there are probably some that are more secular in their approach and back up their arguments with eisegesis.  I haven't had time to view Platt's sermon from the T4G conference, but preaching about racial reconciliation from Amos 5 is off the rails as well, when he easily could've gone to several passages in Paul's epistles and even a few passages throughout Acts.    I have a few thoughts about diversity and multi-ethnic churches to share, but I will have to wait a little bit because of my time limitations. 

Tyler, I may take you up on writing an article about Racial Reconciliation on Sharper Iron, although I won't be able to start on it for a few months.