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The following quotes caught my attention as I read Shai Linne’s book The New Reformation: Finding Hope in the Fight for Ethnic Unity (Moody, 2021). Collin Hansen also interviewed Linne on TGC’s Gospelbound podcast.


I firmly believe that all the tools necessary for the successful pursuit of ethnic unity in the church are found in the Bible. (15–16)

When Martin Luther sinned in this way [anti-Semitic hate speech], he was contradicting the doctrine he espoused, not adhering to it. The same can be said for each and every one of us when we sin. I’m not going to blame Reformation teaching for the sin of Martin Luther or Jonathan Edwards any more than I would blame the teachings of the New Testament when I disobey God. (96)

When it comes to the issue of “race,” we should look to the Bible, rather than the culture, to guide how we think about it. . . . If we are going to make any progress in these discussions, the Bible must have first and final say on this topic. (104–05)

It’s difficult to feel like an issue is important, let alone urgent, if you’re purposely removed from the people most affected by it. (106)

[Hatred, pride, favoritism/partiality, oppression, and idolatry] are particular sins that manifest themselves in the realm of ethnicity. (113)

Any unity that is not of God will ultimately be thwarted by God. Unity that is of God will be blessed by God. . . . One of Satan’s tricks it to take natural unity but dress it up in Christian disguise. (120)

It’s no accident that immediately following the account of the Tower of Babel, in the very next chapter we get introduced to Abraham. Through Babel, God scattered people throughout the nations. But it wasn’t to leave them there without hope and without God in the world. Through Abraham’s seed, God had a plan to bring them back and unite all ethnic groups to demonstrate that what the people of Babel meant for evil, God meant for good. . . . God’s purpose was that the nations formed through the disobedience of Babel would ultimately be united through the obedience of Christ. (121, 125)

In Paul’s mind, [Peter’s refusal to eat with Gentiles; Gal. 2:11–14] was a gospel issue. Returning to the ethnic and cultural division of the past was a violation of the truth of the gospel. What does the gospel say? The gospel says that Jesus died for all people groups without distinction. Jesus made no ethnic distinctions in who He died for, so why would His people make ethnic distinctions in who they fellowship with? (130)

When it comes to ethnicity, the proper response for the Christian is not to ignore it. Or gloat about it. Or be ashamed of it. Or feel guilty about it. The proper response is to thank God for it and leverage it for the glory of God. To my White brothers and sisters in Christ, please don’t tell me that you don’t see color. I know what you mean. You’re trying to communicate that you treat all people equally and that you judge people based on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. That’s great. We should all do that. But God was intentional when He gave me brown skin. He didn’t give it to me that it might be ignored. He gave it to me that it would be appreciated and that He might be praised for His creative genius. So don’t rob God of His praise by ignoring it! (133)

It really baffles me that so many of us who embrace the doctrine of Total Depravity have such a hard time imagining that we might be guilty in this area. With a proper understanding of the doctrine of sin, we should actually find it surprising if most Christians didn’t struggle with ethnic sins to some extent. (147)

When there are people who love Jesus and the Bible on the “other side” of the argument, we shouldn’t automatically assume we are the ones who are correct and in alignment with Jesus. In fact, we both might be wrong. Jesus had a way of indicting and offending everyone at some point in His ministry. Are we the special ones with whom Jesus just happens to agree at every point? (155)

What we see here is that the oneness of the church is meant to be seen, not hidden. The Lord is teaching that when the church is walking in the unity that was purchased for us at the cross, it has a direct impact on our witness to a watching world. The unity of the church is one of the means that God uses to convince unbelievers that the God of the Bible is real. (162)

There are many conversations surrounding ethnicity in the church today. I see a lot of anger. I see a lot of sarcasm. I see a lot of unforgiveness and mockery. What I don’t see is a lot of humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love. (164)

There’s the phenomenon that I can only refer to as the Collective Groan. This may be hard for some readers to understand, particularly if you’re used to viewing things from a more individualistic standpoint. I, along with many other Black people in America, don’t view these killings as isolated incidents in a vacuum, but as tragedies that have occurred within the context of our historical narrative as a people. The horrors of slavery; the lynchings of the Jim Crow era; the weaponization of firehoses and dogs in the Civil Rights Movement; the injustice of redlining; the murders of Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr.; the bombing of a church in Birmingham, killing four Black girls; the mass murder of Black church members at a Bible study in Charleston; national headlines, seared into the African American psyche like a scorching hot branding iron seared into the flesh of a slave, combined with all of the daily humiliations, indignities, and brutalities that don’t make the news, from the blatant discrimination that our grandparents told us about, to the glass ceilings that drove our fathers and uncles to despair; “the talk” about interacting with the police that’s become a rite of passage in so many Black homes, and the myriad other ways that existence in America for so many Black people for so long has equated to a lifelong struggle to be viewed as fully human—all of these things contribute to the Collective Groan that causes so many Black people who see a White police officer kill an unarmed Black person to say, “Here we go again.” (173–74)

It’s far easier to dismiss someone as a “racist” than it is to love them enough to consider their genuine concerns. It takes far less effort to write someone off as a Marxist than it does to pray from the heart that God would comfort them in their grief, even if we can’t understand it. (180–81)

Euodia and Syntyche [Phil. 4:2–3] needed to be reminded that, despite whatever was causing their disagreement, they’re going to be spending eternity together! Our temptation in the midst of conflict is to highlight our differences and use them as brick and mortar as we construct our walls of separation. Paul was having none of that. Despite our differences, all Christians share in the same heavenly Father, the same Savior, the same Spirit, the same faith, the same hope, the same universal church, the same covenant, the same promises, and the same destiny. Those things are more essential to our being than our ethnicity, our cultural background, or our political party. Let us remember this when we’re tempted to “other-ize” Christians we disagree with. (182–83)

In the most profound way imaginable, the Christian who says “we” means something entirely different post-conversion than she did when she said it before coming to the Lord. The old “we” was limited to our family members, our nationality, our ethnicity, our subcultural group, our political party, our gender, our alma mater, our coworkers, our fellow sports fans, etc. But in Christ, there’s a new “we” that supersedes every previous group we once identified with. And this new “we” is diverse. Extraordinarily diverse. The new “we” is Black and White, male and female, youthful and elderly, Republican and Democrat, metropolitan and rural. It’s scholarly and it lacks formal education. It’s blue collar and it’s white collar. It’s upper class and it’s lower class. It’s international, it’s multilingual, it’s multicolored, it’s blood-bought, and it’s glorious. This is the new “we.” (189)

I love being Black, and I’m so thankful God made me this way. I’m also thankful that I was born when and where I was—in close proximity to New York City, the birthplace of hip-hop culture, just as that culture was beginning to develop and expand beyond the five boroughs. I love Black culture, Black women, Black preaching, Black music, Black humor, and the way we season our food. One of the greatest experiences of my life was the first time I went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., with my wife. Seeing the perseverance, resolve, and creativity of my ancestors and our ascension from the dark bowels of slave ships all the way to the Presidency of the United States is humbling and inspiring. . . . And yet, with all that said, in Christ, my primary “we” is not Black people. It’s the church. It’s the people of God. It’s the “saints in the land . . . the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Ps. 16:3). It’s wild to think about, but the reality is that I, a Black, dreaded, hip-hop head from West Philly, have fundamentally more in common with a White coal miner from the mountains of West Virginia, a White stay-at-home mom from South Dakota, or an aging Chinese-American doctor from the Bay Area—if they are Christians—than I have with my Black, hip-hop head cousin from South Philly who doesn’t know Christ! This is the glory and beauty of the new humanity. (190, 191)

We don’t have the right to cast off the fruit of the Spirit in the name of standing for truth. (193–94)

Ethnic diversity is not virtuous in and of itself. Hell is also a very diverse place. . . . Unity is not virtuous in itself. Hell is also a very unified place. (210, 211)

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