Two more police shootings of black men—Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Parts of both moments captured on video. Protests in Dallas end up with at least five police officers dead. Naturally, passions run high in such moments. What are we to think? Who’s in the right? Why is this happening again? Are we blind to racial injustices? Is our society unraveling at the seams?
While the dust continues to settle, once again we’re confronted with how the experiences of many African Americans in this country widely differ from that of the majority population.
With these events fresh in the headlines, how should white Christians respond and relate to the anger and hurt of black Christians over racial injustices? Earlier this year we posed this question to Garrett Kell (lead pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia), Darryl Williamson (lead pastor of Living Faith Bible Fellowship in Tampa, Florida), and John Onwuchekwa (lead pastor of Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia).
Rather than being reactive, Onwuchekwa encourages people to be proactive—initiating conversations, seeking clarity, desiring others’ perspectives. In short, he says, the ideal posture should be that of a student.
“A good place to start with this issue,” Williamson says, “is to start with the theological urgency.” While our salvation is not determined by works, true Christian faith evidences itself in good works and caring for our neighbors. “There are eternal consequences to looking squarely at injustice and doing nothing. And so the people of God are expected to respond to injustices. We see very much that God cares about injustices.” Ultimately, Williamson argues, if we’re not moved by injustice then we have a “God problem.”
For his part, Kell opens up about how in the last five years he’s had a change of heart. It became clear to Kell, while working alongside a black pastor, that he was ignorant on many of these racial concerns. He explains how this newfound insight has altered his calling as a father and pastor.
Watch the full 13-minute video or listen to the podcast to hear these three leaders discuss how the church hasn’t always been right on these questions, the value of multi-ethnic ministry, how love ought to motivate us, and more.
- Is Black Lives Matter the New Civil Rights Movement? Mika Edmondson shares three major similarities, and four major differences, between the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter.
- Ugly Stain, Beautiful Hope: My Response to Mika Edmondson. Albert Mohler argues that black lives do matter. We have to say that even more powerfully than Black Lives Matter.
- Cops: My Kinsmen According to the Law. As we continue to scrutinize police practices, remember that the men and women at the center of the dialogue are, in many ways, just like you and your family.
- Lecrae’s Story Is Our Story. We’re outsiders. Never completely fitting in. Anomalies. That’s Lecrae’s story. It’s my story. Hopefully, it’s yours, too.
- What Was the Turning Point in Your Church Regarding Race? When it comes to race relations, as the pastor goes, so goes the congregation. Sandy Willson, George Robertson, and Ed Copeland on ethnic diversity and church leadership.
- What the Church Alone Offers the Community on Race. Russell Moore, Ed Copeland, and Sandy Willson explain why the church cannot be duplicated or outdone by today’s political and economic alternatives.