Jackson and Perkins tackled the problem of racial equality within the church. As always they gave the biblical perspective of racism. Then history of black evangelicals is the result of the separation of the white evangelicals from the blacks. Where the church is now and how integration is happening within the church. While also addressing the policies supported by both blacks and whites evangelicals. There was a plan made in 1973 to level the playing field for minority groups. This plan is called affirmative action; Jackson and Perkins give the benefits and shortcomings of this plan. Blacks still think the government is against them because of the criminal justice system and the black poverty. Within one chapter Jackson and Perkins attempt to address many different issues within the church’s response to racism.
The Bible teaches on subjects relating to racism but not the direct topic. There are three biblical principles the authors listed which impact the church’s opinion on racism. First “True freedom comes from God.” Resulting in a improper since of freedom for those who seek it elsewhere. The bible also teaches, “Equality among believers comes from Jesus Christ.” Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves, it also refers to believers as brothers and sisters. The last one is “True brotherhood is achieved only in Jesus Christ.” For these reasons the white evangelical need to reach out to their black brothers and sisters. The church needs to take the biblical principles that Jesus taught and apply them to their life. “The unity that we are referring to must come from within us spiritually and then affect our approach to life, relationships and politics.” It will only be in this manner that the church will achieve racial reconciliation.
There is a long history of black evangelicals within America; they have shaped the current image of the United States. “Racism is one of America’s original sins and one of the toughest problems to overcome.” The first blacks to come to the United States were on the Mayflower, as slaves. The Republican Party was the driving force during the civil war to abolish slavery. “Churches became the anchor of the black community in the reconstruction era after the Civil War.” Somewhere along the way there was a splitting of this support from the Republican Party. This support was during changed the civil rights movement. “This lack of support put a wedge between the strongest branches of the Christian movement.” During this movement the white and black evangelicals separated. The price of this separation was the L.A. riots; “This kind of race riot could happen again if we do not address racism within the walls of the church.” This division within the church must be overcome for the entire nation to gain the unification many minority leaders desire.
As a church we are to a point where the black and white evangelicals want to voice the same concerns when it comes to voting. Currently; “Black church leaders in those states began to lead their flocks toward a unified Christian front.” The republicans should acknowledge the black values voters and support them. The process of integration is not easy because the church is filled with fallen human beings. Yet “many pastors no will no longer speak of the white-led church versus the black-led church.” The church is slowly addressing this topic of racism; it is still not at the point where Jesus teaches us to love our brothers. “The church must deal with racism, or God will deal with the church.” This is a very important role for the church to figure out so it can present a united front to the nation. The book uses a example of a white church who opened their doors as a relief shelter to individuals fleeing from Hurricane Katrina. The church was majority white and the majority of the refugees were black. This was a great benefit to the church and the refugees.
Historically the black population has voted for principles which are of a “social justice” nature; where as whites historically vote for “personal righteousness issues”. These are the different opinions of policy which divide the two evangelical movements. “It’s important to remember that we need both perspectives-righteousness and justice-to allow the glory of God to be seen.” The nation needs both of the different issues therefore it is not a problem of who which issues they emphasize.
When the civil rights movement hit the nation in the 60s and 70s; one of the policies thought up was affirmative action. This policy is designed to benefit minorities by “leveling the playing field.” Though this policy was a good idea, once it was implemented, the results have been less than desired. “Sadly, after affirmative action was formally instituted, the 1970s yielded only one more percentage point of poverty reduction among black families.” On the flip side the labor force has increased in both women and minorities. “Between 1982 and 1995, the percentage of female managers in the United States rose from 40.5 percent to 48 percent.” The policy of affirmative action while unproductive at reducing poverty; it has bolstered the amount of females and minorities within the workforce. Churches need to follow this example and “open their hearts and their organizational charts to train the next generation of minority and female leaders.” Those who are young now will follow in the paths of those before them so if their parents are in a life not pleasing to God the children will blindly follow.
“Nearly two-thirds of the African Americans surveyed believed that the criminal justice system is rigged against them.” This statistic is extremely disappointing if it were false but the statistics prove they are correct. “Blacks make up 43.9 percent of the state and federal prison population, which totals 2.1 million inmates.” The truth is blacks are more likely to go to prison; Jackson and Perkins want to not incarcerate non-violent criminals. While these inmates are in prison they learn things that create worse human beings. Non-violent criminals should go to treatment.
The book mentions poverty, yet because it is within another chapter they do not address it directly. They mention The Black Contract with America on Moral Values; this is a six point plan which will assist the black man to overcome poverty. The six principles are: family reconstruction, wealth creation, educational reform, African relief, prison reform and, health care.
The goal of reuniting the church is to transform our nation through a unified body of believers. This can be done by churches first accepting each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Their need to be evangelicals who are willing to reach out to those minority groups in their community. This goal will only be achieved by seeing one color the red blood of Jesus Christ. Once the church has reached a point of reconciliation they can then spread it out to their community. Black and white evangelicals once worked together for a propose of the kingdom of heaven, we need to restart that work.