The Table Briefing: The Church’s Role In Racial Reconciliation -- By: Darrell L. Bock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 174:694 (Apr 2017)
Article: The Table Briefing: The Church’s Role In Racial Reconciliation
Author: Darrell L. Bock


The Table Briefing:
The Church’s Role In Racial Reconciliation

Darrell L. Bock

and

Mikel Del Rosario

Darrell L. Bock is Senior Research Professor in New Testament Studies and Executive Director for Cultural Engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. Mikel Del Rosario is a doctoral student in New Testament Studies, Project Manager for Cultural Engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary, and adjunct professor at William Jessup University, Rocklin, California.

“When I was in seminary, we visited a very famous Bible church. The deacons there let us know that this was not a place for us to come.” Pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship recounted an experience he never forgot, especially as an African American man in Dallas, Texas, during the 1970s. On a Table podcast called “Biblical Racial Reconciliation,” he recalls how “the subject on the marquee that particular Sunday was about love,” and he says, “I found that real interesting.”

While this shocking incident may not be normal in American churches today, Evans notes that “11:00 on Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour” in the nation. Where this is not the case, many find segregation evident after worship services have concluded. What role must the church play in bringing a ministry of reconciliation to the community of faith and society as a whole?

In a series of four podcasts, Darrell Bock talks with Christian leaders in the African American community who understand what is needed. This briefing highlights a key theme in these episodes: While society divides, the gospel unites—in a way that moves people from conversation to action in a unity that gives society pause. These leaders discuss how the gospel unites people across ethnic and cultural boundaries. They highlight three key passages of Scripture that reveal God’s heart for racial reconciliation, and they share three ways the church can advance biblical racial reconciliation—both in the community of faith and in the public square.

Society Divides, But The Gospel Unites

Scripture is realistic in acknowledging divisions in society. Passages urging Christian unity appear often in the New Testament. Amid ethnic tensions of the first century, Jews and Gentiles united by their identity in Christ strongly evidenced God’s peace and ministry of reconciliation. This picture of unity in diversity culminates in John’s vision of “an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,” shouting God’s prai...

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