- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: B&H Academic (June 1, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433643340
- ISBN-13: 978-1433643347
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention: Diverse African American and White Perspectives Paperback – June 1, 2017
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—Paul H. Chitwood, Kentucky Baptist Convention
“Removing the Stain of Racism is not only essential reading for all who are committed to racial reconciliation in the SBC, but is a call to genuine repentance and gospel-centered living for Christ-followers everywhere. Readers should reflect with care, doing so with an open Bible along with a prepared heart, recognizing the need for continued faithfulness, further illumination, and enhanced understanding.”
—David S. Dockery, Trinity International University/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“A true gift to the church—whether Southern Baptist or any other branch of the Christian faith—this is a must read for those serious about removing the deep stain of racism.”
—Michael O. Emerson, North Park University
“Though the focus is on the SBC, the writers bring this voice to the church of Jesus Christ in general. I applaud the expertise and courage of each contributor.”
—Bruce L. Fields, Trinity International University/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Yes, racism is alive and at work in the SBC. But so is Jesus. This work deals honestly with the former and points us all to the hope inherent in the latter. Southern Baptists of every shade ought to take up and read!”
—Steven Harris, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“Williams and Jones offer gospel-saturated biblical insights on how we can see Christ purge not only our convention but his global bride from every sinful implication of racism.”
—D.A. Horton, Reach Fellowship, North Long Beach, CA
“As a pastor in a multi-ethnic community and as a parent in a multi-racial household, my prayer is that God will use this book in such a way that a far more wondrous kaleidoscope of colors and cultures will mark the future of the SBC.”
—Timothy Paul Jones, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“This book makes a clarion call to contemporary Southern Baptist Christians and evangelical churches in America to transcend the barriers of race, ethnicity, ideology, and cultural traditions for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of the lost—to the majestic glory and fame of the eternal and immortal Triune God.”
—Celucien L. Joseph, Indian River State College
“It is heartening to see a volume like this one, which is brimming with judicious reflections and compelling exhortations on how we can break down the ‘dividing walls of hostility’ that still separate Baptists.”
—Thomas S. Kidd, Baylor University
“This honest, unveiling confrontation of the SBC’s past is the foundation needed to bring about meaningful change in the present, and establish a renewed SBC in the future.”
—Alex Medina, Vox Media
“The Southern Baptist Convention of the year 2050 will be truly multiethnic, or it will be dead. Which of these two paths is chosen will depend on how much gospel courage this generation will have, and on how much we believe the inerrant Bible we preach. May God use Removing the Stain to help us!”
—Russell D. Moore, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“This powerful book is written for Southern Baptists, but should be read by all American believers. . . . Its great strength is to root the hope of racial reconciliation in the promise of the gospel.”
—Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame
“The aim of this book isn’t lament, but lasting change. But the pathway to lasting change is paved with stones of discomfort that come from honest dialogue. I’m eager to see how the Lord uses this in the life of pastors, churches, and this denomination.” —John Onwuchekwa, Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, GA
“May this timely book encourage all believers toward such humility and courage that this generation might see the beauty of Jesus among us.”
—Ray Ortlund, Immanuel, Nashville, TN
“May many inside and outside of the SBC read this team’s work and so strive to help move their congregations toward the removal of remaining spots, blind spots, and blemishes related to racism, for the sake of Christ’s glory in all the earth.”
—Eric C. Redmond, Moody Bible Institute
“If you want to be a part of the much-needed change for the better in the Southern Baptist Convention, I encourage you to read this book, and, by God’s grace and in his strength, join in the work to remove this stain.”
—Juan R. Sanchez, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, TX
“This collection seeks to lance the boil of racism and drain its unhealthy and sinister content instead of simply providing a band aid for a wound that will not heal on its own.”
—Robert Smith Jr., Beeson Divinity School/ Samford University
“This book will shine as a lamp of reconciliation for generations to come and gives other Christian denominations, fellowships, and institutions an example to follow.”
—Jemar Tisby, Reformed African American Network
“I highly doubt readers will walk away from this book the same. When it comes to racial harmony the authors are bold, passionate, winsome, and gospel-centered.”
—Cam Triggs, Grace Alive, Orlando, FL
“Written with the force and weight reminiscent of Soong-Chan Rah's The Next Evangelicalism, this book should not only be read by pastors and leaders, but should be studied and used as a reference by churches and other gospel movements in their own particular pursuits of racial reconciliation.”
—Darryl Williamson, Living Faith Bible Fellowship, Tampa, FL
“This book is practically and intellectually indispensable for Baptists, and Christians from every denomination, as we face up to our individual and corporate responsibilities toward one another.”
—John D. Wilsey, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
About the Author
Jarvis J. Williams is associate professor of New Testament interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and author of numerous books and articles.
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Many authors are still using racial reconciliation language, but several hint at a deeper understanding of what that really should mean, and several make the point to put racial reconciliation at the end of the process instead of forcing racial harmony at the start.
The chapter by Jarvis Williams is amazing. While he still uses the term “racial reconciliation” a lot, he has a deeper understanding of that than what is often expressed. He calls out predominately white Christian culture and intellectual racism. He acknowledges systemic racism, white supremacy, “race as a social construct”, the evolution of “race” as a construct, and even where he uses “white supremacy”, he is just as much talking about the overall aspects of “white superiority” that apply even when you do not call yourself Alt-right or identify as KKK. He states that “the Bible’s category of race has absolutely nothing to do with racial hierarchy based on biological inferiority”.
He offers that the goal is not simply diversity. When he starts his Fifteen Concluding Exhortations, he does hint at the dilemma of racial reconciliation at least in his opening remarks about Jews and Gentiles. And when he does, he has the order correct, putting speaking intelligently and thoughtfully about matters pertaining to race, the gospel, justice, and then racial reconciliation.
His 15 exhortations include listening, multi-ethnic church plants, stop making excuses (and here he identifies the stain of white supremacy), not just black and white, more leadership, more relationships, remove ignorance -- be teachable, share leadership, remove white supremacy idolatry and images (white Jesus in Sunday school), White Normalcy (maybe the closest you will see to acknowledging White Privilege), Color-Blindness, not playing the race card, befriending the disinherited, acknowledging the lack of credibility on the part of the SBC, and not letting POC off the hook.
Some authors thankfully, leave out “racial reconciliation” altogether. This is a good sign, if you understand that “race” is not a biblical concept and reconciliation implies getting back to a place of harmony. Reconciliation implies we both need to be reconciled one to the other as if we both had equal responsibility for the break, which is far from the case in racism. In any case, the language is problematic at many levels and is helpful to get away from it and focus on better approaches.
Unfortunately, the book itself has a stain. Personally, I find the metaphor of racism described as a stain a poor choice. What were they thinking? It is glaring that the preface starts off with “Nothing is worse than having a clean, white shirt stained by a foreign substance.” Really? I can think of a number of things. Later on the same page, I read “The gospel of Jesus Christ requires and demands all Southern Baptists to do their best to erase this stain from the SBC – or at least make the stain less apparent.” One would argue, “it is just a catchy title”, but each chapter takes the title and applies it into its own area, so you start off with “Conceived in Sin, Called by the Gospel: The Root Cause of the Stain of Racism in the Southern Baptist Convention”. I grant and applaud that in the first chapter they clearly acknowledge that slavery was the reason the SBC was founded. But molding every chapter with a troubling metaphor seems unnecessary.
Why do I have a problem with the title? To characterize racism as a stain minimizes the 400 years of violence and injustice done to people of color -- the murder, the rape of slaves, the rape of their children, the breaking of families, the false imprisonments, the taking of their property, the lynching’s, the dehumanization, and the taking of their hopes and dreams. It is not a stain, it is a history of violence of tremendous magnitude. Further, a stain can be removed and forgotten. Once removed from a shirt, you may have a hard time remembering that it was once stained, or even where. It is not the same with history. Nor should it be. The history of racism cannot be forgotten. It remains a living breathing reality. It must be confessed (named), forgiven, amends made, and relationships rebuilt.
But maybe the intent of the authors is more subtle. If you deliberately stained my shirt, I would be angry, prone to a violent retaliation, or at least to expect amends. So maybe the authors are trying to express the anger for the injustices received and how legitimate are the calls for redress. But I doubt it. That would be expected, but this metaphor lends credence to expect the victim just to take off the stained shirt and put on a new clean one and get on with life. We expect forgiveness with no amends made or offered. So I think the title poorly chosen.
However, that is not to say, that any of the authors took the subject lightly. Even with a poorly chosen metaphor, I found each author to take their particular topic very seriously. Every chapter is worth a read and careful study.
... But if on the other, other hand, by the stain, you mean as Javis J. Williams alludes to on page 45 of his section, "... to work harder at erasing the stains than our racist forbears worked to stain our denomination with white supremacy". I hear him saying that the stain is not racism, it is "white supremacy" -- that is what needs to be wiped out. That I can agree with.
--- My background includes almost 40 years of SBC membership, service at every level except pastor and 2 years on the mission field.
“The Southern Baptist Convention has a big, dark, historical stain on it: racism,” Williams and Jones write in the preface. “The gospel of Jesus Christ requires and demands all Southern Baptists to do their parts to erase this stain from the SBC — or at least to make the stain less apparent. This act requires a relentless obedience to Christian unity.”
The opening contribution by Mohler reflects on how the SBC was “conceived in sin” because of its founders’ support of slavery and a heresy of racial superiority. “Diversity is not an accident or a problem; it is a sign of God’s providence and promise,” he writes. “If the church gets it wrong, it is not just getting race and and ethnic difference wrong. It is getting the gospel wrong.”
Boyce College Dean Matthew J. Hall follows Mohler’s contribution by examining the historical causes of the stain of racism due to the racial hierarchy and hypocrisy of white Baptist leaders through the founding of America, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement. Hall contends today’s Baptists should “allow the ghosts of our racists forebears to haunt us” to be reminded of the abiding susceptibility to pride and hatred.
The heart of the book rests in Williams’ lengthy chapter on a biblical vision of racial unity in the SBC. A New Testament professor at SBTS, Williams surveys racial issues in the early church and analyzes how the Scripture offers a model for racial reconciliation, as the gospel has both vertical and horizontal implications.
The book also features stellar contributions from Kevin L. Smith on addressing racial unity from the pulpit, Mark A. Croston Sr. on the importance of denominational leadership to hire minorities, and Kevin M. Jones on improving Christian education to include more ethnically diverse reading and curriculum. "Removing the Stain" is an historic achievement, not merely for its presence and symbolism, but because applying its wisdom could alter the future of the SBC.