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As the Apostle teaches in Ephesians, the unity of the body of Christ is objective, grounded in God’s gracious election and redemption in Christ. The thickest barrier, dividing Jews and Gentiles, has been broken down as “one new person”—Christ as head with his body—has appeared on the stage of history. We are now called to work at maintaining visibly the unity that we already have in Christ, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:2-6). Though simultaneously justified and sinful, like each of us, the church cannot throw up its hands in the face of the racial division that threatens its call to visible unity in faith and love.
Study after study confirms that more African-Americans claim to be Protestant Christians than any other group, affirm core Christian and evangelical doctrines; are more likely to attend church regularly and engage in daily Bible reading and prayer. So why is Sunday still the most segregated day of the week? What divides us? A lot of things, Jeremy Tisby argues in The Color of Compromise.
Growing up in white evangelicalism, I was inculcated in the belief that America was a “shining city on a hill” founded by and for Christians who were increasingly threatened by a hostile culture. “Communism” was the usual name for this, but it was an umbrella for a lot of things, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. The “good old days” for which our...
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