High-ranking academics from some of the nation’s leading evangelical seminaries have released a statement in response to recent events relating to racial injustice.
“The Broken Wall of Hostility: An Evangelical Statement on the Gospel and Racism” was authored primarily by Dr. Craig Keener, the M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and president of Evangelical Theological Society.
The document includes a wide range of signatories from Asbury Theological Seminary, Moody Theological Seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Truett Theological Seminary (Baylor University), Wheaton College, Dallas Theological Seminary and other instutions.
In a blog post on his website entitled “Racism Contradicts Evangelicals’ Gospel,” Dr. Keener stated that “racism is not a secondary issue, but related to the saving gospel itself.”
Keener wrote about how black and white evangelicals led the calls for abolition in Britain and the U.S. by “calling people back to biblical messages of justice and liberation, in contrast to slaveholder theologians…” He also notes that a majority of white U.S. evangelicals either spoke against the Civil Rights Movement or remained silent about it.
“White and other non-black Christians need to join (and follow) our brothers and sisters in the Black Church in calling for justice and truth,” Keener wrote.
Here is the complete text of the statement:
The Broken Wall of Hostility: An Evangelical Statement on the Gospel and Racism
Today’s situation requires more than a statement, but certainly no less than a statement. As evangelical academic voices, we condemn racism as contrary to Scripture and to the evangelical gospel. Evangelical history includes positively many voices for justice and pioneers of abolitionism, such as William Wilberforce, but also negatively those who assimilated the values of their surrounding unjust culture. Yet the basis of evangelical faith is Scripture, climaxing in the good news of Jesus Christ.
- In this gospel, everyone must come to God on the same terms (Rom 1:16; 3:22-24; 10:12-13; Gal 3:28; Rev 5:9; 7:9), and become one body in Christ (Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor 12:12-13; Eph 4:4; Col 3:15).
- In reconciling Jew and Gentile in Christ (Eph 2:16), surmounting a barrier that God himself once established, God in Christ summons us to surmount every barrier erected merely by human sinfulness.
- Scripture does not discriminate by color, and, on the most common understanding of Acts 8, the first Gentile convert may have been Black and from Africa.
- Jesus, both by his example and by his teaching, summons us to serve and love fellow believers to the point of laying down our lives for them (John 13:14-17, 34-35; 1 John 3:16-18), and to love all our neighbors as ourselves (Lev 19:18; Mark 12:31; Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14).
- This invites us to be swifter to listen to others than to speak (Eph 4:29; Jms 1:19), to mourn with those who suffer (Rom 12:15), and to join them in acting for justice on their behalf (Isa 1:17; Luke 11:42; Jms 1:27).
To sign the statement, click here.