To Glorify God by Training Christian Leaders to Reach a Multiethnic Urban World for Christ

One of the last statements I made in Part 1 of my article, Ferguson: The Color of Truth, is foundational to this second conversation and cannot be taken for granted. That question was:

“Do we really want racial healing” as it relates to our social divide? 

I am assuming the majority of us do, even in light of those some might identify as racial huskers. We cannot allow individuals who may profit from an ethnic divide to drown out the voices of the majority of us who are striving for unity.

This must be accomplished no matter their social prominence or their public pulpits. Local pastors and leaders must become the faces of these ethnic talks in their communities. They must bring a biblical counter-balance to national voices that convey more heat than light to our problems.  

This is a critical point I am making as the nation’s attitude about ethnic/race relations is declining. An August 27, 2014 Pew Research poll indicated that both blacks and whites at present believe that race relationships have gotten worse over the past eight years.

According to One American News, only 59% of white Americans believe race relationships are better. This was a drop from 79% percent just eight years ago. There is now a higher level of mistrust amid blacks and whites, but we must believe that we all want an America that stands for truth and justice. This is a reality worth striving for.  

The Church: Uniquely Equipped by God 

However, only the Church is uniquely equipped by God to usher in the kind of sanity required to create such a climate. This means it is absolutely necessary for Bible-believing Christians to become engaged openly in their spheres of influence and lead this conversation. We must not allow national talking heads to define local narratives. 

Yet, you might ask, how do we control this exchange?   

Listening to African-American Concerns 

In our local context, we do this by listening to African-American concerns and pent-up frustrations. We listen to hard things that make talking about race in America so problematic. We must attend to the sins of the fathers as some African-Americans speak of over 200 years of injustice, real and imagined. 

Why listen first? It is because often Evangelical Christians are too quick in giving advice. Sometimes we speedily provide rejoinders that people are not ready for. Like Christ dealing with His disciples, we must wait for the right time. We must let the Holy Spirit guide our sense of timing because, frequently, our audience is not ready to hear the truth (John 16:12). Because, receiving the truth requires the Holy Spirit to break into our understanding and enable us to respond in ways that are consistent with His will.  

Listening also creates an environment whereby others realize their voices and positions are being respected. By listening, we are in no way saying we agree; however, we are saying we want to understand. Before we say anything, we want to ensure they know that we want to comprehend their position. This allows us to move on to the next critical phase, an investigation.

An  Honest Investigation of African-American Concerns 

An honest investigation of African-American concerns is vital. If we are not willing to investigate accusations with an open mind, then we have only feigned listening. This dishonors Christ and those we have falsely given our ear to. It is at this point, being directed by the Holy Spirit; we will discover the reality and fantasy of African-American indictments of American racism and inequality. 

Herein, the discourse becomes more difficult. Why? We must be ready to speak hard things to ourselves (within the Evangelical community) and to the black community. Once we have done our best to arrive at the truth, how do we communicate this truth?  

Speaking the Truth in Love 

We speak the truth in love. This is essential at this stage (Ephesians 4:15). Only under the leading of the Holy Spirit will truth telling manifest the potentiality of bringing the unity Christ’s desires among His people, specifically, and the culture in general. Speaking hard, colorless truths require spiritual skillfulness. It also requires circumspect listening on the part of the black community.  

Two-Way Listening, Investigating, and Truth-Telling 

Until now, I have put the onus on white Evangelicals to listen, investigate, and respond. However, here we have come full circle. The African-American community must now pick up the mantle of listening, investigating, and truth-telling. This is where the reality of, “Do we really want racial healing” comes to the forefront. 

This is perhaps the most difficult part of the tête-à-tête. The dialogue that is supposed to produce fruit that makes understanding and peace a reality. Not perfect discernment and harmony, this will only be possible when Christ returns. It can, however, produce civility. The kind of level-headedness that permits us to discuss events as, they are.

With Christ, All Things Are Possible 

Is all this pipedream? Without Christ, it is. What can the world get right without God? This is one of the reasons why Christian leaders must lead in these exchanges. We must be the filters through which national discussions must pass before our constituency fully digests some of the race-baiting drivel that masquerades itself as objective truth. We must ensure our society realizes that Christ is relevant to every concern within humanity. The church has an obligation to remind 80% of the American population who claim to be Christian, that they must be involved in difficult conversations in a Christ-like manner. 

If we can do these things, we will change the tone and outcomes of our local and national debates. No issue will be too thorny, not structural racism, injustice, black-on-black violence, white privilege, or forgiveness. We can have a semblance of unity until Christ comes, by His grace, if we truly want to. 

Join the Conversation 

“Do we really want racial healing” as it relates to our social divide? 

Crossroads Bible College

To Glorify God by Training Christian Leaders to Reach a Multiethnic Urban World for Christ

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