Our elders recognize that there is a need to offer biblical instruction on the topic of race. This is not because we believe that we are demonstrating sinful thoughts or attitudes on this topic as a church. Not hardly. Our purpose is not corrective but instructive. This topic—filled as it is with human beings, human history, and human conflict—deserves nothing less than our best biblical thinking in order that we might honor Christ as Lord in our conversations with one another and with our neighbors.
Here’s how pastor Kevin DeYoung put it:
As Christians, we should always be eager to reason carefully and winsomely from God’s Word. While I don’t believe every controversial issue surrounding race in this country is theological in nature, I do believe that every culture-wide conflict is bound to have a number of theological issues at its core. The issues in the early church may have looked like practical disagreements about meals and food and ceremonies, but the apostle Paul saw in them the most important issues of the gospel. Paul always brought his best theology to bear on the most intractable problems facing his people. We ought to do the same.
With that commitment in mind, last summer DeYoung set out to help the church honor Christ as Lord on the topic of race in a series titled, Thinking Theologically about Racial Tensions. DeYoung teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary and pastors at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He’s a pastor and a scholar devoted to sound doctrine for God’s glory in the church. DeYoung and Christ Covenant Church were kind to allow us to put this material into an eBook for you as a means of instructing you in the Word.
Download the eBook with an introduction from Heritage’s elders.
Here’s how DeYoung set up his series:
Over the coming weeks I hope to explore several theological issues related to our ongoing racial tensions. I fear that we are going about our business in the wrong order. We start with racial issues we don’t agree on and then try to sort out our theology accordingly, when we should start with our theology and then see how racial issues map onto the doctrines we hold in common. Good theology won’t clear up every issue, but we might be surprised to see some thorny issues look less complicated and more hopeful.
Lord willing—and with the caveat up front that this list could change as we go along—I’d like to write about three topics over the next month: The image of God, Sin and guilt, Life together in the church. In short, I want to explore how Christian anthropology, hamartiology, and ecclesiology might encourage, confirm, clarify, and correct our thinking.
Working from the Scriptures, DeYoung published several articles. Read these articles alone or with a friend. We wrote an introduction from our elder team and drafted some questions to help you along. The questions are provided at the end of each section. We hope they help.
If you’d prefer to read this material on the web in its original article form, here you go:
- “Part 1: Introduction—Faith Seeking Understanding“
- “Part 2: The Image of God“
- “Part 3: Sin and Guilt“
- “Part 4: Life Together in the Church“
- “Addendum: With Liberty and Justice for All“
For many of you these articles will be a tall glass of water, refreshing and clarifying your understanding with the Word of God in a way you’ve longed for. Jesus always speaks as one having authority and when we give ourselves to his Word we grow all the more to trust him. For many, these pieces might feel heavy. We’d encourage you to work through them slowly, but to work through them nevertheless. For all of us, this is a good exercise in slowing down to think God’s thoughts after him in order to live faithfully as Christians.
May this equip us all to be more faithful to our mission: to preach the gospel to any person at any time at any place. May this famously difficult subject be an entry point for us to speak the good news to a world that needs good news.
For the elders,