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Irwyn Ince and Sean Michael Lucas on Applying Scripture to Racism

In the years I’ve spent in the church listening to sermons and teaching, I can think of few times I’ve heard direct applications from the text made to the sin of racism or the sin of apathy toward injustice. Maybe I just didn’t have the ears to hear it. In my own teaching, I may have mentioned racism in a list of sins, or mentioned it as one of the things that will be “no more” in the new heaven and new earth, but I don’t think I’ve ever used an opportunity while teaching a passage to challenge these sins. I want to do better, and I imagine there are a lot of others who do too.

That is why I asked two excellent Bible teachers who bring a great deal of experience and credibility to this topic to have a conversation with me about how to rightly and helpfully apply the Bible to the sin of racism. Irwyn Ince is a pastor at Grace DC Presbyterian Church and director of the Grace DC Institute for Cross-Cultural Mission. He has contributed to the books Heal Us Emmanuel and All Are Welcome: Toward a Multi-Everything Church and is author of the new book The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church at Its Best. Sean Michael Lucas—senior minister of Independent Presbyterian Church in Memphis—is the author of numerous books on persons and institutions with a history tainted by racism, including Robert Lewis Dabney: A Southern Presbyterian Life, The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards: American Religion and the Evangelical Tradition, Blessed Zion: First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi, 1837–2012, and For a Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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