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In this course, curated by The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, we will explore key insights designed to foster racial unity in the church. Just as the gospel broke down the walls that kept Jews and Gentiles apart in the first century (Eph. 2:11–22), the gospel can break down walls of racial hostility and bring healing and unity in the twenty-first century. But that process, like any aspect of sanctification, does not happen in an instant. The early church struggled for decades and centuries with Jew-Gentile conflicts. The goal of this course is to first help learners dig into the message of Bible on the issue of race. Then, we will look at the current problem, the sins that have led to deep divides in the church. We will then look at the means for addressing that problem: theological (teaching the full import of the doctrine of the image of God), ministerial (developing biblical thinking and practices regarding diversity in the church), and practical (acting in a way that fosters racial unity in the church, a unity that spreads out into our homes and communities).
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention. The ERLC is dedicated to engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and speaking to issues in the public square for the protection of religious liberty and human flourishing. Our vision can be summed up in three words: kingdom, culture and mission.
The glory of God in the preeminence of Christ in all things and racial reconciliation in the Church are inextricably bound. In the following sermon, John Piper helps us understand this beautiful and biblical truth.
According to a recent national study, if you ask ten white evangelicals whether or not minorities are treated equally in our judicial system, seven would say that they believe that minorities are treated equally. If you ask ten minority evangelicals that same question, eight would say that minorities are not treated equally in our judicial system. How could there be such division in outlook? It’s time to ask questions and see the issues with fresh eyes. The following four videos probe some of these underlying issues.
The concept of race requires an understanding about being made in the image of God. If we are going to do the work of racial unity we need a robust doctrine of the image of God. In this podcast Thabiti Anyabwile lays out what it means to be created in the image of God and how that affects our view on race and racial unity.
An explainer video by the ERLC.
Trillia Newbell & Daniel Darling
The history of America has a long and dark history of racism. The effects of slavery and segregation are still present today–outside and inside the church. Racial unity is based on peace and brought about by peace. Because of the work of Christ, we have been reconciled back to God and reconciled to each other. In this video, Dr. Tony Evans and Matt Chandler use Scripture to discuss racial unity by highlighting its importance and the responsibility we as believers have to demonstrate that unity with each other.
From the 2015 ERLC Leadership Summit on "The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation"
Mika Edmondson explains how white Christians can stand in solidarity with minority brothers and sisters.
Having a correct understanding about race and why racial unity is necessary is the first step. Once this is settled, the next step is to change head knowledge to practical application in our everyday lives. The following resources teach us why racial unity is not an option but a requirement in the body of Christ and should be pursued.
On Revelation 5:9–10
Jackie Hill Perry discusses how churches can seek to uproot sins of racism and insensitivity that can persist in a church: by creating a community that values the image of God in all people.