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One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love Hardcover – April 3, 2018
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Praise for One Blood
John Perkins’s new book, One Blood, is an open invitation for the body of Christ—whether a church, denomination, or individual—to take inventory of our progress. Are we living by Christ’s standards, or have we succumbed to those of the world? While the latest research reveals that the average church is stagnant at best, Christ has challenged His church to stay in the race and get His work done! John Perkins’s book poses some tough questions and offers practical advice for doing just that.
Senior pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
President, The Urban Alternative
“Perkins rightly states that true reconciliation with our brothers and sisters ‘from every nation’ has been long overdue, and we continue to witness disastrous results. ... Dr. Perkins's insight and guidance on this subject are well worth considering by today's church leadership as well as individual members of the body of Christ.”
Founding pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life
I’m not quite sure where to begin with Dr. John Perkins’s latest and, perhaps, final book, One Blood. I think the best way to capture the heart of this book is that, ultimately, this is a love letter to the church. By this, I’m not suggesting that this is a nebulous or fluffy invitation to a feel good, pop psychology about the injustice of racism. Rather, it’s both fierce and tender, pastoral and prophetic, lamenting and hopeful. Dr. Perkins—both through his words and corroborated by a life faithfully lived—invites us to a deeper love for God and for neighbor—including and especially those that don’t look like us, think like us, or feel like us. And in a world today of so much pain, fear, and division, we need to desperately be reminded of God’s reconciling truth, grace, and love.
Pastor, humanitarian, and author of Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?
This is a powerful, prophetic appeal to people of faith to address our nation’s tragic history of racial injustice. Like Daniel, Amos, and Micah, John Perkins has profound insight on the health of our nation and the sin of racial bigotry that has burdened us for too long. One Blood is an altar call for justice to which we should all respond.
Founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, clinical professor at New York University School of Law, and author of Just Mercy
John Perkins has been giving me a transfusion of reconciling love for forty years. We may be one, but John has always had the better blood, more of Christ’s healing and renewing love. So over and over, both for me and for so many, John has infused us with fresh vision and bold passion for God’s reconciling love and justice. This wise book testifies that that same blood is still vital and pumping hard!
President, Fuller Theological Seminary
I am so thankful that John Perkins has written One Blood. It is a must-read for all people. John carefully and powerfully weaves Scripture, his personal story, illustrations of true reconciliation with an encouraging style that brings hope. I loved reading it and so will you.
Founding pastor of Lawndale Community Church and chairman of Christian Community Development Association
One Blood is indeed, in Dr. Perkins’s own words, a “manifesto” and the culmination of his life’s work and calling to realize biblical reconciliation. There’s a clear sense of urgency and candor about the days ahead for the church, the all-important role of the gospel message, and the baton that has to pass to the next generation.
I often say Dr. Perkins is a true national treasure. Here he has written his very heart and soul—a history and biography—in One Blood, and has poured all of himself out in beautiful, selfless love. This book is a must-read for any and all who share the burden for this ongoing fight.
Lead pastor, Churchome (formerly The City Church)
New York Times bestselling author, Jesus Is ____.
From the Back Cover
“There is no institution on earth more equipped or more capable of bringing transformation to the cause of reconciliation than the Church.”
Words of wisdom to the next generation from a pioneer of the civil rights movement
John M. Perkins was born in Mississippi in the 1930s into a sharecropping family and lived through the hate-filled and tumultuous decades thereafter. He has dedicated his life to biblical reconciliation. Now, at age 87, he entrusts the church with the truths he wants us to know while there’s still time.
One Blood looks at everything from lament and forgiveness to racial tensions and mutual fear. You’ll learn why "racial reconciliation" isn’t the goal. And most importantly, you’ll learn how to walk forward on the path toward oneness in Christ.
As racial tensions rise, the world needs the church to lead now more than ever. But true leadership starts with listening.
Let’s gather round and lean in as wisdom speaks.
Dr. John M. Perkins is the founder and president emeritus of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation and cofounder of Christian Community Development Association. He has served in advisory roles under five U.S. presidents, is one of the leading evangelical voices to come out of the American civil rights movement, and is an author and international speaker on issues of reconciliation, leadership, and community development. For his tireless work he has received 14 honorary doctorates. One Blood, along with Dr. Perkins other books, provides an enduring legacy for a man who continues to leave his mark on American culture.
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The book itself is a life-time of lessons shared as a blueprint for needed change. The key to this change, which is consistently reinforced throughout the book, is found in the Church. As noted in the introduction, “[C]ommunity development can only take us so far – because this is a gospel issue. The problem of reconciliation in our country and in our churches is much too big to be wrestled to the ground by plans that begin in the minds of men. This is a God-sized problem. It is one that only the Church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can heal. It requires the quality of love that only our Savior can provide. And it requires that we make some uncomfortable confessions.” The recipe for this pursuit of justice is what Perkins lays out simply, boldly, and clearly: know who we are as human beings and as the Church of Jesus Christ, practice lament, confession, forgiveness, and repentance, persevere, pray, and pursue love. To help show us that these things are realistic and possible, there are even four stories of local churches who are putting these things into practice highlighted for us to glean from.
As a Christ-follower, I have always committed to trying to live in the way that Perkins describes here (and in his other writings) – so I find this as another fresh reminder of things that I need to be doing myself, even as I find myself gaining some new insights along the way. As a pastor, I have consistently tried to model this and teach the same ideas to the people in my spiritual care (as a college professor, the same is true in the classroom and with my students) – so I find myself vigorously nodding in agreement when, in chapter one, he writes that “the black church can’t fix this. And the white church can’t fix this. It must be the reconciled Church, black and white Christians together imaging Christ to the world.” He adds later, at the chapter’s end, that it’s “going to take intentionally multiethnic and multicultural churches to bust through the chaos and confusion of the present moment and redirect our gaze to the revolutionary gospel of reconciliation.”
Most of the time, I find at least some degree of disagreement with an author or a book. But honestly, in this case, I am finding it difficult to find anything significant – or anything at all – with which to disagree. I’m not saying that this is the perfect book or that John Perkins is a perfect man who never has anything wrong to say. I’m just saying that this book, One Blood, is one of the most important books to read at this time in our nation’s history. It is a gold mine of wise instruction that will serve well as a very practical tool for use in ministry, teaching, and discussions with various people. I believe this book to be an invaluable resource for the Church, with implications reaching far beyond the black-white struggle that is most prominent in our culture and throughout our communities. I highly recommend this book to all who follow Jesus, and even to those who don’t. I especially commend it to pastors, church leaders, denominational executives, college and seminary professors, and anyone interested in pursuing true reconciliation within a context of broken relationships, especially those broken along ethnic lines.
Well done, Dr. Perkins, well done. Thank you for your faithfulness to Christ and to the cause, and for the influence you continue to have in our lives!
He draws from his deep reservoir of experience and highlights examples of those who are carrying the baton. I hope that everyone involved in difficult conversations regarding race relations would read this book and continue to live out the truths found in the gems of his wisdom. It won't be easy, but it's the path forward. And the church can lead it.
I heartily recommend this book. I believe it has a great deal of hope to share.
John Perkins deserves sainthood, that is all.