PCA African-American Ministries Coordinator Newsletter

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LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
LadyFlynt,
My focus was on your claim that I somehow left things out in my response to you in order to promote my viewpoint. I do not leave things out of posts. I always answer posts completely in order to maintain context.

If the medium is inadequate then say that, not that I am somehow leaving out various parts of your posts in order to make you look bad.

There is no reason to go Holier than thou at this point, after you made unfounded accusations.

The topic is interesting, if we can actually stay on it.

CT


Went back and reread (as this thread was dead for a time). Upon rereading I believe you MISUNDERSTOOD my point.

There are some cultural issues that many white ministers cannot understand within other cultural communities. There are cultural issues that a minister who grew up middle class and makes a good living, drives a classy car, and lives in a gated community cannot understand within certain lower socioeconomic spheres.


Also, I did not intend to question your integrity, but my apologies for doing so (I see where I mispoke). And I don't appreciate you questioning mine with calling me "holier than thou". I never pulled an attitude on you. I also DID say, in another post though not directly at you, that this medium is not adequate.

-----Added 6/11/2009 at 02:18:26 EST-----

Perhaps this will help, perhaps not.

As I see it, and not really me, but the Bible; but are we not all members of the same covenant? Really, we can talk about white culture and black culture until we are all BLUE in the face (pun intended). But what we need to capture is a covenantal culture. In the covenant, the differences between races and ethnic peoples are erased forever!!! In the covenant, we should all see the oneness Paul talks about in Ephesians 4:4-6. In the covenant, we should not be separated by anything pertaining to this world.

You may say, that's fine for you, you like your worship because you're white. It's right up your alley. But can we really say that? Don't we all come to Mt. Zion? Don't we all get invited to a preview of the wedding feast? Isn't this the worship of God? Doesn't he provide everything we need to worship Him aright? Shouldn't I be comfortable in any place the Lord calls me to worship? And why is my comfort important? Why should I be offended if the saints don't welcome me as I want to be welcomed? God calls us to worship, we're not calling Him. If my perspective is white, black, yellow, or green, I'm not being called to worship by my God and savior, I'm calling myself. I am making the terms. If we're going to Mt. Zion, I can't say to any brother or sister, I don't want to go there on your bus.

Additionally, isn't the segregation of races and ethnic groups really saying to the hand, I don't need you. Isn't it withdrawing the right hand of fellowship? This is shameful within the church.

But just because someone offends me, does not mean I need to be offended. And just because someone doesn't accept me, doesn't mean I'm not accepted.

These differences are petty and small and do not see the long view or really understand the purpose of worship. We are rehearsing on earth, what is a reality in Heaven. At the wedding feast of the Lamb, there will be only those dressed in wedding clothes. There won't be white men, brown men, yellow men, etc. We're ONE bride, for pete's sake!

Let's reclaim the transcending truth of the covenant. Let's adopt the covenant culture instead of holding onto the stupidity of prejudice.

If you can't live in my culture and I can't live in yours, let's both move and live in the covenant.

In Christ,

KC


It's not segregation in that searching for black pastors does not exclude the support roles of white ministers in this out reach. They are simply dealing with the facts of certain situations.


Native Americans were educated and trained in seminaries so that they could be sent to start churches amoungst other Native Americans that did not trust certain types of white people. Was that segregationist or to the exclusion of white people? No. It was the white people that were being the support system and learning to deal with and reach out in what way they could. (we'll leave out the entire boarding school fiasco...but comparatively, training and sending back in other Native Americans was not damaging and offered something/someone to bridge the gap).
 
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SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
Perhaps this will help, perhaps not.

As I see it, and not really me, but the Bible; but are we not all members of the same covenant? Really, we can talk about white culture and black culture until we are all BLUE in the face (pun intended). But what we need to capture is a covenantal culture. In the covenant, the differences between races and ethnic peoples are erased forever!!! In the covenant, we should all see the oneness Paul talks about in Ephesians 4:4-6. In the covenant, we should not be separated by anything pertaining to this world.

You may say, that's fine for you, you like your worship because you're white. It's right up your alley. But can we really say that? Don't we all come to Mt. Zion? Don't we all get invited to a preview of the wedding feast? Isn't this the worship of God? Doesn't he provide everything we need to worship Him aright? Shouldn't I be comfortable in any place the Lord calls me to worship? And why is my comfort important? Why should I be offended if the saints don't welcome me as I want to be welcomed? God calls us to worship, we're not calling Him. If my perspective is white, black, yellow, or green, I'm not being called to worship by my God and savior, I'm calling myself. I am making the terms. If we're going to Mt. Zion, I can't say to any brother or sister, I don't want to go there on your bus.

Additionally, isn't the segregation of races and ethnic groups really saying to the hand, I don't need you. Isn't it withdrawing the right hand of fellowship? This is shameful within the church.

But just because someone offends me, does not mean I need to be offended. And just because someone doesn't accept me, doesn't mean I'm not accepted.

These differences are petty and small and do not see the long view or really understand the purpose of worship. We are rehearsing on earth, what is a reality in Heaven. At the wedding feast of the Lamb, there will be only those dressed in wedding clothes. There won't be white men, brown men, yellow men, etc. We're ONE bride, for pete's sake!

Let's reclaim the transcending truth of the covenant. Let's adopt the covenant culture instead of holding onto the stupidity of prejudice.

If you can't live in my culture and I can't live in yours, let's both move and live in the covenant.

In Christ,

KC

How do we adopt a covenantal culture with cultures who:

1) are not yet believers?
2) do not hear the call because of the culture of the messenger?

What you are saying I completely agree with, however that is for those who are in the covenant now or if not they are open to receiving the Gospel from someone of another culture. We have to address those who are not "there" yet. I believe God is able to tear away whatever to have us see and hear his Word, however I do not believe we should resign and just say

"We're all part of God's family...so let's have a dress rehearsal for heaven..." We have sin to deal with and if the ears of more than a few will be opened by simply having the person at the pulpit be the right color I say "great" because I know it doesn't take long after that for the suspicion to come tumbling down as well. Now I am talking from a multi-cultural viewpoint because after all those are the churches people want and the ones which demonstrate we can be a covenantal people regardless of race or culture.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Because of culture and sin, groups are hard to (invade) permeate or be accepted in. Suspision is had by every kinman and culture. Ever see a white guy try to adopt a black culture as his own when he doesn't come from it. He is mocked by both sides. Everyone becomes suspicious of his motives.

Self preservation, love of things familiar, the things that bring a community together are things that have commonality and are what tie people together. Cultures are built on commonalities. For some reason Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle has found a way to bring different cultures together. It would be very hard for someone who holds to Exclusive Psalmody and doctrines of Degrees of Separation in some areas to do this.

I read Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret over 20 years ago. I admired what he did. He overcame ego by becoming something he wasn't. He took on to himself aspects of the Chinese Culture so that he could bring some to Christ. He seems to have taken on Paul's attitude in this.

(1Co 9:18) What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

(1Co 9:19) For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

(1Co 9:20) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

(1Co 9:21) To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

(1Co 9:22) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

(1Co 9:23) And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

The one commonality that we all share in this world cross culturally is sin. It is the curse of the Covenant of Works that we have all failed in and have inherited by Adam. It isn't a White, Black, Yellow, or Red thing.

I went out to evangelize outside a night club one night. It happened to be a night where the black culture was congregating to party. This place accomodated all venues. I started sharing with some of the dudes in the parking lot and someone started to attack me because I was white. When I mentioned that it wasn't a white thing that we all had to deal with our imperfections and sin before a perfectly Holy and Good God the scenerio changed. We are all naked in his sight and have the same problem. I gained an audience at that time with listening ears. Another thing that these guys saw was that I wasn't out to gain anything from them. I wasn't after their money or trying to get them to go to my church necessarly. I was just out sharing the Gospel of Christ with no strings attached. That is something that most people look at when they look at someone invading their space. And it was something that Paul knew. In fact I believe that is why he didn't live off the gospel as he mentions in the previous verses in 1 Corinthians 9. He didn't want to hinder the message as he went to the various cultures to share Christ. But he also says that it is right for a minister to live off of the gospel.

Just some thoughts on the matter.

Be Encouraged,
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
or you dislike being on the losing side of a discussion
What are we to win or lose? What is the prize?

A win is a consensus on the precise nature of the problem. This will lead to a proper solution. A lose would be us talking around in circles, no closer to a proper consensus than when we started.

This discussion is about African American leadership and how by having more of it the Church will be encouraged and grow with more people of diverse backgrounds. African American leadership does not invalidate White leadership nor supplant but adds to it. This is not an either/or but a both/and. We here can very easily monday-morning-quarterback what "should, could, would..." be done but in the end it is those who actually go out and accept the call and do the work of church planting. Wy Plummer has met with these men and hears their cries from the trenches for what they need. White men have said that they will not go into an area because it will essentially be a waste of time without some African American representation. This representation cannot be in the form of the worship leader or some other stereotypical position. It has to be a Black face Black/Brown people can point to and relate with who stands at the pulpit.

My problem here is that I do not think that anyone is that racist or irrational as black folks are being portrayed in this scenario. There are many other alternative scenarios that should be looked at before we settle on this one. For example, in what other scenarios would you think that someone who finds themselves in a tight spot would reject help? If your drove your car into a ditch and couldn't get it out, would you reject help from someone who had a toe truck and offered to help you for free, deciding to just stay in the ditch? If you or your family were starving, would you just reject help and just starve? The answer to both questions is a simple no. I think the better view is that various black folks either are not convinced that they have a problem (lack of true gospel) or that various ministers have a solution to said problem that is better than what they already have access to (the health/wealth sermons, etc.)

Regeneration is not sanctification. Just because a person is now a believer does not mean that they are now free from their sins of racial prejudice. Whites and Blacks are both guilty of racial prejudice. The call for African American leadership is not because of the racial prejudice of Whites in the pews but of African Americans. The lack of African Americans in the pulpits in conservative churches is because of HISTORICAL racial prejudice by White seminaries. So the sins of slavery continue, however not so much in overt or even covert racism by Whites but in the suspicion of both cultures against the other. This suspicion is in so much that it is part of the ethos of American culture. This suspicion has to be addressed.

I have no doubt that there are either various suspicions held by all sides or that there at least could be various suspicions. I think we diverge in belief that such suspicions can or cannot be overcome.

Knowing that, do we just sit back and say, "Just preach the Gospel," and send man after man to areas that are not rejecting the Message but the messenger? I have stated on PB that I believe God has placed us Black/Brown brothers and sisters in the PCA in order that we speak to unregenerate Black/Brown people and get them to church as well as befriend our White brothers & sisters at church. We are ambassadors of Christ and have to deal with the culture and its suspicious ethos. How that is combatted in the Black/Brown community is by Black/Brown people hearing the message from Black/Brown pastors. The message is the same but the messenger is different. Eventually listening to the Gospel under a Black pastor will lead to listening to the messages of Whites and realizing that it is the message not the messenger that is important. However they cannot reach this level of sanctification, if there is such a thing as a "level of sanctification," without going through the others.

I guess in short the call for African American leadership in the PCA is because many Black folk do not hear the message because they are too suspicious of the messenger. These suspicious Blacks and Whites will lose their suspicions when they are able to fellowship with each other and this is facilitated by having more diversity in the pulpit. Now the catch-22 is how are we to get more diversity in the pulpit if there is no diversity in the pews and it is from the pews that we get the pulpit supply... :think:

I think there are problems that are not simply solved by putting a black face into various pulpits.

CT

-----Added 6/11/2009 at 06:53:23 EST-----

LadyFlynt,
My focus was on your claim that I somehow left things out in my response to you in order to promote my viewpoint. I do not leave things out of posts. I always answer posts completely in order to maintain context.

If the medium is inadequate then say that, not that I am somehow leaving out various parts of your posts in order to make you look bad.

There is no reason to go Holier than thou at this point, after you made unfounded accusations.

The topic is interesting, if we can actually stay on it.

CT


Went back and reread (as this thread was dead for a time). Upon rereading I believe you MISUNDERSTOOD my point.

There are some cultural issues that many white ministers cannot understand within other cultural communities. There are cultural issues that a minister who grew up middle class and makes a good living, drives a classy car, and lives in a gated community cannot understand within certain lower socioeconomic spheres.

This goes back to what I said before, Black people (poor/fatherless people etc.) do not live in this super different alternative universe. It might take work for people who have not had/have the same difficulties in life to understand, but that can be overcome. If someone who grew up in a lower socioeconomic sphere, and wanted to be a candidate in a high sphere, and those in the higher sphere said, "No, he doesn't/cannot understand our culture", would you just say "okay that makes sense"?

Also, I did not intend to question your integrity, but my apologies for doing so (I see where I mispoke). And I don't appreciate you questioning mine with calling me "holier than thou". I never pulled an attitude on you. I also DID say, in another post though not directly at you, that this medium is not adequate.

Alright, I apologize as well and we can now move on to having a productive discussion.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
It's not segregation in that searching for black pastors does not exclude the support roles of white ministers in this out reach. They are simply dealing with the facts of certain situations.


Native Americans were educated and trained in seminaries so that they could be sent to start churches amoungst other Native Americans that did not trust certain types of white people. Was that segregationist or to the exclusion of white people? No. It was the white people that were being the support system and learning to deal with and reach out in what way they could. (we'll leave out the entire boarding school fiasco...but comparatively, training and sending back in other Native Americans was not damaging and offered something/someone to bridge the gap).

While the two situations may appear to be similar, they aren't. The native americans were a true foreign mission field in that their culture and society was completely foreign to the white man, and they to him. They had existed for hundreds of years without any outside influences from western culture. We didn't speak their language and our ways were completely strange to them. In those cases we do need to train up indigenous people in order to advance the gospel.

The many other cultures in America who have grown together for the last 2 or 3 hundred years, and speak the same language, live in the same states, and experience the same daily life do not need to be treated as a foreign mission field, In my humble opinion. If we do, we are saying that it is okay to alienate most or part of the church.

There are Irish-Americans. Do they need their own pastors and their own churches? There are Italian-Americans. Same thing? German-Americans? Russian-Americans? I, for one, see the trend of trying to differentiate yourself from someone else, as a terrible end to democracy. We each want our own voice, as if our voice is any different from anyone else's. The minority voice (and I do think I am in a minority even though I am white... I am an Orthodox Presbyterian), wants to be an equal voice with everyone else. That is not a bad thing, in and of itself. But if we believe we are not represented because we have a federal head (of some kind, i.e. congressman, mayor, pastor, etc.) who is not like us, then aren't we really just searching for our own Pope? This will not solve anything. It isn't even a good compromise. It allows us all to choose (for the wrong reasons) those to whom we will submit ourselves. In God's kingdom, should we be making a choice based upon our own criteria, or upon His?

Pastor Eric Watkins of Covenant OPC in St. Augustine, where we are membered, openly states that he is multi-racial. He is black, white, and Cherokee, and probably something else. He and his wife, who is white, have adopted two children who are both black. He embodies the covenant. But to us, he is our pastor. I don't think about his ethnicity when he preaches or teaches. I don't secretly wish for a white man to replace him. I'm not submitting myself and my family to him just because we have no other options at this time. It doesn't even enter our minds.

The point is, we will divide on whatever we are holding onto most dearly. And if we erect churches already based on division, a division that is not involuntary, as in language barrier, but voluntarily chosen, because that is our culture, what are we doing but allowing the world, the flesh, and the devil to have a front row seat?

There is great merit and wisdom in doing this because it will bring together what God has never meant to be separated. If we plant purple pastors in purple neighborhoods because the purple people don't really like or trust the orange people, we are defacto allowing sin to flourish. Of course, we do it with the best of intentions, to win the purple people to Christ. But we can't ignore the clear mandate of the gospel in order to accomplish that.

I am in no way saying that we should not send black pastors to plant churches everywhere a church is needed. A black man may be who the Lord calls to that work. But to make the decision based, not upon the qualifications of the scriptures (which said nothing about race or ethnicity, btw), but upon the color of his skin and the neighborhood we want to work on next? I can't see how that is biblical. We should be planting churches, period. And we shouldn't be trying to target any one people who happen to be different from another.

That is why I happen to like the OPC model of church planting. We don't go into a neighborhood and say we need an OPC here. We evangelize anywhere and everywhere, wait for the seed to grow, and if they are desirous to be OPC, we'll send men to them to help lead and shepherd them. The demographic model will need to be thrown out at some point. It is just not biblical.

In Christ,

KC

-----Added 6/12/2009 at 09:07:46 EST-----

How do we adopt a covenantal culture with cultures who:

1) are not yet believers?
2) do not hear the call because of the culture of the messenger?

What you are saying I completely agree with, however that is for those who are in the covenant now or if not they are open to receiving the Gospel from someone of another culture. We have to address those who are not "there" yet. I believe God is able to tear away whatever to have us see and hear his Word, however I do not believe we should resign and just say

"We're all part of God's family...so let's have a dress rehearsal for heaven..." We have sin to deal with and if the ears of more than a few will be opened by simply having the person at the pulpit be the right color I say "great" because I know it doesn't take long after that for the suspicion to come tumbling down as well. Now I am talking from a multi-cultural viewpoint because after all those are the churches people want and the ones which demonstrate we can be a covenantal people regardless of race or culture.

Okay, how is this different from changing the gospel message in order to win some? As I replied to another earlier, I am not opposed to sending any man anywhere as long as the gospel is preached. But if we make the decision based on a demographic, that is clearly not biblical. It is changing our message to do so. Yes, the message is still the same, but we feel we need to change the coating so that the bitter pill will be easier to swallow. That is wrong.

We don't even do that in foreign missions. We're just looking for anyone who can speak the language, we don't really care what color they are.

The point is, if God is for us, who can be against us? It's almost like you're saying that God will accomplish more in black neighborhoods if black evangelists are sent to them. Is His arm so short? I apologize for being so bold to you as I don't really know you and you don't know me, and I mean no offense. But I would encourage you to see that our God can accomplish anything. It doesn't matter what the odds are against it. It doesn't matter what the obstacle is, God will knock it down.

The power of the gospel is not hampered by anything. It tears down strongholds, it runs swiftly, and it cannot be shaken. But the power of the gospel is not in the way it is presented or who presents it. It is with the Holy Spirit and with power! May God forgive us for wielding our gospel sword so feebly.

I have probably said too much and too boldly. All I want to get you to see is that we need to worry more about the message, than the one who is presenting it. God will call His man, but we still have to commission and send him. Please don't make that decision based upon the color of his skin.

In Christ,

KC
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
It's not segregation in that searching for black pastors does not exclude the support roles of white ministers in this out reach. They are simply dealing with the facts of certain situations.


Native Americans were educated and trained in seminaries so that they could be sent to start churches amoungst other Native Americans that did not trust certain types of white people. Was that segregationist or to the exclusion of white people? No. It was the white people that were being the support system and learning to deal with and reach out in what way they could. (we'll leave out the entire boarding school fiasco...but comparatively, training and sending back in other Native Americans was not damaging and offered something/someone to bridge the gap).

While the two situations may appear to be similar, they aren't. The native americans were a true foreign mission field in that their culture and society was completely foreign to the white man, and they to him. They had existed for hundreds of years without any outside influences from western culture. We didn't speak their language and our ways were completely strange to them. In those cases we do need to train up indigenous people in order to advance the gospel.

The many other cultures in America who have grown together for the last 2 or 3 hundred years, and speak the same language, live in the same states, and experience the same daily life do not need to be treated as a foreign mission field, In my humble opinion. If we do, we are saying that it is okay to alienate most or part of the church.
Grown together? That is exactly the point, African American have not grown together with the rest of the culture. Their inclusion into America by having the same rights happened how long ago? A few decades?

There are Irish-Americans. Do they need their own pastors and their own churches? There are Italian-Americans. Same thing? German-Americans? Russian-Americans? I, for one, see the trend of trying to differentiate yourself from someone else, as a terrible end to democracy. We each want our own voice, as if our voice is any different from anyone else's. The minority voice (and I do think I am in a minority even though I am white... I am an Orthodox Presbyterian), wants to be an equal voice with everyone else. That is not a bad thing, in and of itself. But if we believe we are not represented because we have a federal head (of some kind, i.e. congressman, mayor, pastor, etc.) who is not like us, then aren't we really just searching for our own Pope? This will not solve anything. It isn't even a good compromise. It allows us all to choose (for the wrong reasons) those to whom we will submit ourselves. In God's kingdom, should we be making a choice based upon our own criteria, or upon His?
A people who were forcibly subjected to submit to others because of the color of their skin now are very particular or like I stated before suspicious to who they will submit. Now again we have "In God's Kingdom" but are we talking about Kingdom people only? Those who know the true gospel would not have a problem in listening to anyone or following anyone but are we talking about those who know the true gospel of Christ or some perversion?

Pastor Eric Watkins of Covenant OPC in St. Augustine, where we are membered, openly states that he is multi-racial. He is black, white, and Cherokee, and probably something else. He and his wife, who is white, have adopted two children who are both black. He embodies the covenant. But to us, he is our pastor. I don't think about his ethnicity when he preaches or teaches. I don't secretly wish for a white man to replace him. I'm not submitting myself and my family to him just because we have no other options at this time. It doesn't even enter our minds.
You are a Christian. You are White. If you were a Christian who was Black you would also not have these hangups. However we are talking about people who cannot be classified as Christian because they gospel they have heard IF they heard it is not Christian. So should an unregenerate people in sin behave or be expected to behave, think, act, love, endure...like Christians?

The point is, we will divide on whatever we are holding onto most dearly. And if we erect churches already based on division, a division that is not involuntary, as in language barrier, but voluntarily chosen, because that is our culture, what are we doing but allowing the world, the flesh, and the devil to have a front row seat?
The focus is on adding African American leadership not separation. The hope was one day to have a Black Church which from it they could send out Black men. PCA-MNA has realized that what is best is exactly what you are posting about here, to send out men two by two who are multi-ethnic. To diversify the foundation of a new church plant by having pastors of differing ethnicities.

There is great merit and wisdom in doing this because it will bring together what God has never meant to be separated. If we plant purple pastors in purple neighborhoods because the purple people don't really like or trust the orange people, we are defacto allowing sin to flourish. Of course, we do it with the best of intentions, to win the purple people to Christ. But we can't ignore the clear mandate of the gospel in order to accomplish that.
And if we plant purple pastors and orange pastors in purple neighborhoods or vice versa are we not fulfilling the clear mandate of the gospel as well as addressing the problems of the culture?

I am in no way saying that we should not send black pastors to plant churches everywhere a church is needed. A black man may be who the Lord calls to that work. But to make the decision based, not upon the qualifications of the scriptures (which said nothing about race or ethnicity, btw), but upon the color of his skin and the neighborhood we want to work on next? I can't see how that is biblical. We should be planting churches, period. And we shouldn't be trying to target any one people who happen to be different from another.
Now where did this leap in logic come from? Who said these men are not qualified in scripture? And who says that we shouldn't be trying to target sinners over believers?

That is why I happen to like the OPC model of church planting. We don't go into a neighborhood and say we need an OPC here. We evangelize anywhere and everywhere, wait for the seed to grow, and if they are desirous to be OPC, we'll send men to them to help lead and shepherd them. The demographic model will need to be thrown out at some point. It is just not biblical.
Had an OPC member come to our church because he heard we are multi-ethnic and wanted to know how. He was told it was simple, we had a RE and TE who are African American. He asked if we had any interns who might want to answer a call to the church... The demographic model will be thrown out when demographics don't matter.
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Grown together? That is exactly the point, African American have not grown together with the rest of the culture. Their inclusion into America by having the same rights happened how long ago? A few decades?

This is no different from the ethnic groups who had to learn how to get along with all the other groups in the settling of America. I will not even pretend to know what it is like to be part of a people group like that, but if other groups can do it, then any group can do it. It just takes time and effort.


A people who were forcibly subjected to submit to others because of the color of their skin now are very particular or like I stated before suspicious to who they will submit. Now again we have "In God's Kingdom" but are we talking about Kingdom people only? Those who know the true gospel would not have a problem in listening to anyone or following anyone but are we talking about those who know the true gospel of Christ or some perversion?

I am sorry that this perspective exists. But no African-American living in the US today has ever been a slave unless they are 150 years old. They may still feel the after affects, but as I said before, if someone doesn't accept who I am, that doesn't mean I'm not accepted. I know this is a huge hurdle, but with God, all things are possible. We do not have to change Him in order to change anybody. We should have the freedom and wisdom to send anyone we want.

You are a Christian. You are White. If you were a Christian who was Black you would also not have these hangups. However we are talking about people who cannot be classified as Christian because they gospel they have heard IF they heard it is not Christian. So should an unregenerate people in sin behave or be expected to behave, think, act, love, endure...like Christians?

Of course not, but this is no reason to send whoever is qualified by the inward man, not by the outward man. There is no reason to make this about race. It is not about race, but about the power of the gospel to change lives. You are giving these same people a license to be racist in the reverse. That is just as wrong as someone being a racist against African-Americans. If we are to eradicate racism in America, that does not mean one race has to change and the other doesn't. They both have to adjust their perspective.

The focus is on adding African American leadership not separation. The hope was one day to have a Black Church which from it they could send out Black men. PCA-MNA has realized that what is best is exactly what you are posting about here, to send out men two by two who are multi-ethnic. To diversify the foundation of a new church plant by having pastors of differing ethnicities.

If the focus is on adding African American leadership it is heading in the wrong direction. That's the whole point of Paul's instructions to Timothy and Titus. The qualifications have nothing to do with race. I am positive that some of the leaders of the early church were of African descent. But they weren't chosen for their color. They were chosen for how God was working in them.

And if we plant purple pastors and orange pastors in purple neighborhoods or vice versa are we not fulfilling the clear mandate of the gospel as well as addressing the problems of the culture?

I'll give you an example that was a contributing factor to the Old School, New School controversy and the schism of 1837. The Plan of Union of 1801 was made with the idea that that congregational and presbyterian churches could have their pulpits filled by either congregational or presbyterian ministers. It was thought to be a sound idea by some because it would foster peace and unity. But since the two bodies were so doctrinally far apart, with the congregationalists getting the better of the deal, it was finally realized what that would do to the church long term. Eventually the doctrine was diluted, which lead to expulsion of the churches by the general assembly.

Now this example does not fully equate to the matter at hand, but what it does show is that where compromise is made, where bending to the apparent needs of the people is granted, error and dilution of doctrine ensue.

We have to be so careful with how we grow the church. Because we always have error mixed in with it. That error can become a poison that goes directly to the roots. So, we should look to the scriptures to see how we should proceed. The scriptures, as far as I can tell, do not advocate bending to culture in order to win men to Christ. Look no further than Paul in Corinth. He wasn't advocating they needed to bend to their culture in any way, shape, or form.

Now where did this leap in logic come from? Who said these men are not qualified in scripture? And who says that we shouldn't be trying to target sinners over believers?

Read it carefully, I didn't say the men weren't qualified, I said that the qualifications do not include skin color. The qualifications are for the inner man, not the appearance of a man.

We are not trying to target sinners to make them believers. We should be preaching the gospel to anyone and everyone, not just the people we think need it the most. I need to hear the gospel daily. I need to respond to it daily. Believers need to hear the gospel, too. Targeting is man's way of trying to manipulate God's kingdom. You know what, without "targeting," myriads upon myriads have been saved. God is Sovereign. He knows exactly what His elect need in order to come to a saving knowledge of the truth. He may send a missionary off to some corner of the world who is only with one tribe for a month and is senselessly martyred. Yet the one seed he planted and God waters, could take over that whole tribe, country, and continent.

That's what I'm getting at. You don't seem to be looking at the long view. You want to take back Satan's foothold in some place or other, that's good. But in so doing, don't compromise, or give him one inch. This culture is like a tool in his hand. He is wielding it well. But we know the weapons with which we fight. They transcend all manner of his wiles. He is defeated and he knows it. We need to remember that in the end, he is undone. We need to start acting like we're victors through Christ, and send WHOMEVER God chooses to take back the ground upon which Christ is King, forever.

Had an OPC member come to our church because he heard we are multi-ethnic and wanted to know how. He was told it was simple, we had a RE and TE who are African American. He asked if we had any interns who might want to answer a call to the church... The demographic model will be thrown out when demographics don't matter.

Demographics only matter if we think small and we think God's arm can't reach there because we're not the right size or shape. Where the Bible talks about demographics is where every nation, tribe, and tongue gather to praise the name of God, and His Christ, TOGETHER.

In Christ,

KC
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
:surrender:

I see. Thanks for the Presbyterian history lesson. I have a long way to go to get to that course at Whitefield so thanks for that. Learn something new everyday.

I have only, since attending my liberal seminary, been leaning toward culture. I can see now how much and to my detriment so I will keep that in check. I have always been accused of being "too hard" and especially before I was told that I needed to soften up. However that was pre-PCA. If I remain honest to my personality I would not stand for someone telling me that they will not go into an area unless they have someone else with them. Perhaps it is my time with the Marines as a corpsman because my attitude has been, still is, and will probably always be "Suck it up!" If God has called you to an area, pray up and get moving, so in keeping with my personality and not the softer, gentler side of being culturally sensitive that I will begin to shed I say "Suck it up!"

I can see your point and the slippery slope of addressing sin with essentially sin is not the way to go. :doh: Addressing the evils of racism by allowing it to continue but in another form does not address it but merely sanctions it. If it was not okay for Whites to be separatists then it should not be okay for Blacks, Brown, purples, oranges.... Even if the claim is they are separating to unite...? :scratch:

If the issue is sin then we address it Biblically, however if the issue is culture and not a sin in the culture but actual culture then that is addressed by being salt and light. I can't think of any instances where if we approach culture any culture with the Gospel and the fruits of the Spirit those people will not eventually realize we are serious and begin to pay attention.

In defending a point I began to prioritize addressing the needs of the culture over the mandates of God. I pray you guys are able to make the distinction between my posts and Wy Plummer's newsletter. We are not both one and the same and I do not want my opinions to be misconstrued as his as I was not speaking for him but for myself. Still working out this whole culture thing. I have been on both extremes and am kinda settling on the side that it is only important if we make it so, otherwise it is just another obstacle to the gospel.

Thanks for your patience and boldness. Firm but gentle...little bit of steel & velvet there. I appreciate it.


For those who have been praying, Thank you!
:pray2:

I still say we need more men of color in the PCA but I will gladly accept more men of character regardless of color....as long as their Cuban. ;) And it is the OPC that has a church in Cuba so I guess I ain't got nuffin bad to say about you OPC'ers.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
This goes back to what I said before, Black people (poor/fatherless people etc.) do not live in this super different alternative universe.

I agree, because it's not just blacks who are poor/fatherless people..many others live in the same situation..and it reaches out over all colors of people.

And it is just as difficult for them to extend beyond that as it is for 'blacks', which is one of the reasons I get so tired of it coming across as if it's just a certain group of people who 'suffer' this plight..
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
:surrender:

I see. Thanks for the Presbyterian history lesson. I have a long way to go to get to that course at Whitefield so thanks for that. Learn something new everyday.

I have only, since attending my liberal seminary, been leaning toward culture. I can see now how much and to my detriment so I will keep that in check. I have always been accused of being "too hard" and especially before I was told that I needed to soften up. However that was pre-PCA. If I remain honest to my personality I would not stand for someone telling me that they will not go into an area unless they have someone else with them. Perhaps it is my time with the Marines as a corpsman because my attitude has been, still is, and will probably always be "Suck it up!" If God has called you to an area, pray up and get moving, so in keeping with my personality and not the softer, gentler side of being culturally sensitive that I will begin to shed I say "Suck it up!"

I can see your point and the slippery slope of addressing sin with essentially sin is not the way to go. :doh: Addressing the evils of racism by allowing it to continue but in another form does not address it but merely sanctions it. If it was not okay for Whites to be separatists then it should not be okay for Blacks, Brown, purples, oranges.... Even if the claim is they are separating to unite...? :scratch:

If the issue is sin then we address it Biblically, however if the issue is culture and not a sin in the culture but actual culture then that is addressed by being salt and light. I can't think of any instances where if we approach culture any culture with the Gospel and the fruits of the Spirit those people will not eventually realize we are serious and begin to pay attention.

In defending a point I began to prioritize addressing the needs of the culture over the mandates of God. I pray you guys are able to make the distinction between my posts and Wy Plummer's newsletter. We are not both one and the same and I do not want my opinions to be misconstrued as his as I was not speaking for him but for myself. Still working out this whole culture thing. I have been on both extremes and am kinda settling on the side that it is only important if we make it so, otherwise it is just another obstacle to the gospel.

Thanks for your patience and boldness. Firm but gentle...little bit of steel & velvet there. I appreciate it.


For those who have been praying, Thank you!
:pray2:

I still say we need more men of color in the PCA but I will gladly accept more men of character regardless of color....as long as their Cuban. ;) And it is the OPC that has a church in Cuba so I guess I ain't got nuffin bad to say about you OPC'ers.

Being a former Marine, I know just what you mean. I can be a bit sharp at times. I hope I wasn't making my case too boldly. I love you, Frank. If you're ever in the Jacksonville/St. Augustine Area, I hope you'll look me up. We'll go worship the Lord together.

In Christ,

KC
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
If someone who grew up in a lower socioeconomic sphere, and wanted to be a candidate in a high sphere, and those in the higher sphere said, "No, he doesn't/cannot understand our culture", would you just say "okay that makes sense"?

There is a difference in reaching out to hurting people and helping them up (into right doctrine and even into an education to advance into a pulpit and to reach out to more) and denying someone from advancing...polar opposites. I have further thoughts on this scenario, but I cannot discuss them.
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
Being a former Marine, I know just what you mean. I can be a bit sharp at times. I hope I wasn't making my case too boldly. I love you, Frank. If you're ever in the Jacksonville/St. Augustine Area, I hope you'll look me up. We'll go worship the Lord together.

In Christ,

KC

Like I said, no worries. I prefer boldness. I didn't get the sense that you had an axe to grind on this so I was able to read what you posted and what you meant with no problem. Perhaps even over these 1's & 0's a former devil dog and doc still relate without even knowing it...or maybe it's just God or.....

J-ville?! Yeah that'll work. My out-laws live there, so now I have an excuse to visit. :cheers2:
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Because of culture and sin, groups are hard to (invade) permeate or be accepted in. Suspision is had by every kinman and culture. Ever see a white guy try to adopt a black culture as his own when he doesn't come from it. He is mocked by both sides. Everyone becomes suspicious of his motives.

Self preservation, love of things familiar, the things that bring a community together are things that have commonality and are what tie people together. Cultures are built on commonalities. For some reason Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle has found a way to bring different cultures together. It would be very hard for someone who holds to Exclusive Psalmody and doctrines of Degrees of Separation in some areas to do this.

I read Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret over 20 years ago. I admired what he did. He overcame ego by becoming something he wasn't. He took on to himself aspects of the Chinese Culture so that he could bring some to Christ. He seems to have taken on Paul's attitude in this.

(1Co 9:18) What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

(1Co 9:19) For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

(1Co 9:20) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

(1Co 9:21) To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

(1Co 9:22) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

(1Co 9:23) And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

The one commonality that we all share in this world cross culturally is sin. It is the curse of the Covenant of Works that we have all failed in and have inherited by Adam. It isn't a White, Black, Yellow, or Red thing.

I went out to evangelize outside a night club one night. It happened to be a night where the black culture was congregating to party. This place accomodated all venues. I started sharing with some of the dudes in the parking lot and someone started to attack me because I was white. When I mentioned that it wasn't a white thing that we all had to deal with our imperfections and sin before a perfectly Holy and Good God the scenerio changed. We are all naked in his sight and have the same problem. I gained an audience at that time with listening ears. Another thing that these guys saw was that I wasn't out to gain anything from them. I wasn't after their money or trying to get them to go to my church necessarly. I was just out sharing the Gospel of Christ with no strings attached. That is something that most people look at when they look at someone invading their space. And it was something that Paul knew. In fact I believe that is why he didn't live off the gospel as he mentions in the previous verses in 1 Corinthians 9. He didn't want to hinder the message as he went to the various cultures to share Christ. But he also says that it is right for a minister to live off of the gospel.

Just some thoughts on the matter.

Be Encouraged,

Randy, all Glory to God :) My husband was the "crazy white guy" that did street ministry in E. St. Louis and North St. Louis. I will say that personal street ministry is different than starting a church. I will not say things are impossible, for we know that all things are possible with God. But I will say that if a group (PCA in this case) feels it's more practical to open some doors in this way first (black ministers), then should we deride them for trying to reach out people that are lost? We aren't speaking of Christian people that see things as we do. This is just ONE method...just as we should exclude other possibilities, we probably should not exclude this one either.


Hermonta, some people have acted as though our family lives in some kind of alternate universe...so yes, total lack of understanding, or rather refusal to try to understand, does happen.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
SemperEruditio & KC


If you're ever in the Jacksonville/St. Augustine Area, I hope you'll look me up. We'll go worship the Lord together.

:offtopic:

Where about's are you at in the area?

J-ville?! Yeah that'll work. My out-laws live there, so now I have an excuse to visit. :cheers2:

And where about's in the area does your family live?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Randy, all Glory to God :) My husband was the "crazy white guy" that did street ministry in E. St. Louis and North St. Louis. I will say that personal street ministry is different than starting a church. I will not say things are impossible, for we know that all things are possible with God. But I will say that if a group (PCA in this case) feels it's more practical to open some doors in this way first (black ministers), then should we deride them for trying to reach out people that are lost? We aren't speaking of Christian people that see things as we do. This is just ONE method...just as we should exclude other possibilities, we probably should not exclude this one either.


Hermonta, some people have acted as though our family lives in some kind of alternate universe...so yes, total lack of understanding, or rather refusal to try to understand, does happen.

I think the way things are approached does matter. Opening doors is laudible. Different cultures and ethnic backgrounds are all protective of their commonalities. So when we attempt to make way into them methodology might matter. I personally do think having someone from a cultural background of the same does matter. But you also must remember that just because some one is of a particular skin color doesn't make them necessarily fit the description. A black African will not necessarily be welcomed in our black culture as a Black American might not be welcomed in a Black African culture. Even over in Africa the Blacks don't culturally mix well with each other. So there has to be a starting point no matter what the ethnic background is. That starting point will vary from person to person as well as from culture to culture. Finding the starting point is the difficult part whether it be philisophical, theological, or just culturally. Maybe it will have to be all three.

I am all for opening doors as long as it doesn't violate truth or conscience. Some people because of conscience will not be able to invade certain cultures. That is just a fact.
 

LadyFlynt

Puritan Board Doctor
Randy, all Glory to God :) My husband was the "crazy white guy" that did street ministry in E. St. Louis and North St. Louis. I will say that personal street ministry is different than starting a church. I will not say things are impossible, for we know that all things are possible with God. But I will say that if a group (PCA in this case) feels it's more practical to open some doors in this way first (black ministers), then should we deride them for trying to reach out people that are lost? We aren't speaking of Christian people that see things as we do. This is just ONE method...just as we should exclude other possibilities, we probably should not exclude this one either.


Hermonta, some people have acted as though our family lives in some kind of alternate universe...so yes, total lack of understanding, or rather refusal to try to understand, does happen.

I think the way things are approached does matter. Opening doors is laudible. Different cultures and ethnic backgrounds are all protective of their commonalities. So when we attempt to make way into them methodology might matter. I personally do think having someone from a cultural background of the same does matter. But you also must remember that just because some one is of a particular skin color doesn't make them necessarily fit the description. A black African will not necessarily be welcomed in our black culture as a Black American might not be welcomed in a Black African culture. Even over in Africa the Blacks don't culturally mix well with each other. So there has to be a starting point no matter what the ethnic background is. That starting point will vary from person to person as well as from culture to culture. Finding the starting point is the difficult part whether it be philisophical, theological, or just culturally. Maybe it will have to be all three.

I am all for opening doors as long as it doesn't violate truth or conscience. Some people because of conscience will not be able to invade certain cultures. That is just a fact.

I agree, I also believe that it's more about culture than ethnicity. Sometimes though, the two are closely related...not always.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
I just want to say that there has been some good dialogue in this thread and a lot of points worth thinking deeply about. Thank you.

... Mixing cultures can be a tedious thing if done without a loving and flexible heart. Many black churches (for example) tend to march to the beat of their own drummers. :D Unfortunately, not a single white church can even keep a beat of their own. Regardless, I believe that in Christ we can bring glory to God in unity. I pray for it, I pray for it...
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
SemperEruditio & KC


If you're ever in the Jacksonville/St. Augustine Area, I hope you'll look me up. We'll go worship the Lord together.

:offtopic:

Where about's are you at in the area?

J-ville?! Yeah that'll work. My out-laws live there, so now I have an excuse to visit. :cheers2:

And where about's in the area does your family live?

Bobbi,

I was just in your neck of the woods last night for a bible study. Do you know Billy and Flora Campbell? I think they were once membered at Pinewood. I was at their house.

We live off of Normandy right across from the Herlong Airport. I work at St. Vincent's down by the St. John's. We moved here in Nov. 06.

Blessings,

KC
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
kceaster;


I was just in your neck of the woods last night for a bible study. Do you know Billy and Flora Campbell? I think they were once membered at Pinewood. I was at their house.

No, I don't know them, but looking at the old church directory if they still live where they did..then yes, were out closer in my direction, but they live a little further out.. I live South OP/ North Middleburg near Doctors Inlet..
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
This whole discussion is sad.

I teach at a high school in which there is no majority race. Guess what? It has probably the most accepting and peaceful group of students I've ever seen. There are no fights that have occurred there as long as I have taught there (5 years). That is not what I have seen at other schools. The people there are so multicultural that it is amazing ... yet nobody pushes on someone else what they want. There are expressions of culture of individuals, but the whole is not a single culture but a blend. I have seen every which different combination of racial couple you could imagine (not that I would encourage children that are not ready to marry dating ... I'd rather see courtship). All this is without the benefit of everyone being in Christ, right here in suburban Northern Virginia.

I know Wy personally. And while I know his background and his love of Christ, I think some of what he is saying exacerbates the situation. It doesn't help to have the cultures not blend ... that is, each culture remain separate. The best we can have is a "melting pot" instead of fragmentation. If all the cultures would loose the worst of each and retain the best we would all benefit. I've seen it in action in my school, I only wish adults would be just as ready to join in rather than segregate themselves. The church ought not be pushing cultural fragmentation but cultural amalgamation of the best of each, and prune away those portions that are immoral.

I do not think in heaven we will have African-Christians, White-Christian, Asian-Christian and such. I would think we will all be one in Christ and the culture pure. The church ought to strive for it here. (And while I am one of the "frozen chosen", i.e., presbyterian, I would certainly welcome an "Amen brother!" from time to time in my church.
 

SemperEruditio

Puritan Board Junior
This whole discussion is sad.

I teach at a high school in which there is no majority race. Guess what? It has probably the most accepting and peaceful group of students I've ever seen. There are no fights that have occurred there as long as I have taught there (5 years). That is not what I have seen at other schools. The people there are so multicultural that it is amazing ... yet nobody pushes on someone else what they want. There are expressions of culture of individuals, but the whole is not a single culture but a blend. I have seen every which different combination of racial couple you could imagine (not that I would encourage children that are not ready to marry dating ... I'd rather see courtship). All this is without the benefit of everyone being in Christ, right here in suburban Northern Virginia.
Yes and what do the churches look like on Sunday? What does the congregation at your church look like on Sunday since the school you teach at is multi-cultural? I am a military contractor and have been either in the military or working for the military for 19 years. It is the pinnacle of multi-culture yet I would not assume to claim it is free from any racial tensions or presume to use it as a model.

I know Wy personally. And while I know his background and his love of Christ, I think some of what he is saying exacerbates the situation. It doesn't help to have the cultures not blend ... that is, each culture remain separate.
First you are giving Wy to much power. Secondly where did Wy say that the cultures should remain separate?

The best we can have is a "melting pot" instead of fragmentation. If all the cultures would loose the worst of each and retain the best we would all benefit. I've seen it in action in my school, I only wish adults would be just as ready to join in rather than segregate themselves. The church ought not be pushing cultural fragmentation but cultural amalgamation of the best of each, and prune away those portions that are immoral.
Then perhaps you missed where Wy makes it clear that the fastest, growing church the majority of people want are the multi-ethnic.

I do not think in heaven we will have African-Christians, White-Christian, Asian-Christian and such. I would think we will all be one in Christ and the culture pure. The church ought to strive for it here. (And while I am one of the "frozen chosen", i.e., presbyterian, I would certainly welcome an "Amen brother!" from time to time in my church.
Should I find it interesting that you say "from time to time..."? By this should I assume that you do not have a multi-cultural church yet happen to teach at a multi-cultural school? What happens on Sunday to change the demographics?
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Yes and what do the churches look like on Sunday? What does the congregation at your church look like on Sunday since the school you teach at is multi-cultural? I am a military contractor and have been either in the military or working for the military for 19 years. It is the pinnacle of multi-culture yet I would not assume to claim it is free from any racial tensions or presume to use it as a model.

I know Wy personally. And while I know his background and his love of Christ, I think some of what he is saying exacerbates the situation. It doesn't help to have the cultures not blend ... that is, each culture remain separate.
First you are giving Wy to much power. Secondly where did Wy say that the cultures should remain separate?

The best we can have is a "melting pot" instead of fragmentation. If all the cultures would loose the worst of each and retain the best we would all benefit. I've seen it in action in my school, I only wish adults would be just as ready to join in rather than segregate themselves. The church ought not be pushing cultural fragmentation but cultural amalgamation of the best of each, and prune away those portions that are immoral.
Then perhaps you missed where Wy makes it clear that the fastest, growing church the majority of people want are the multi-ethnic.

I do not think in heaven we will have African-Christians, White-Christian, Asian-Christian and such. I would think we will all be one in Christ and the culture pure. The church ought to strive for it here. (And while I am one of the "frozen chosen", i.e., presbyterian, I would certainly welcome an "Amen brother!" from time to time in my church.
Should I find it interesting that you say "from time to time..."? By this should I assume that you do not have a multi-cultural church yet happen to teach at a multi-cultural school? What happens on Sunday to change the demographics?

From time to time would be an improvement. I'm not sure why there is so much disparity. While I would like to see people more enthusiastic, I also know that the church I attend is one of the best from a teaching standpoint anywhere. Participation in worship is extreme compared to a lot of churches (responsive reading of scripture is a large part of the service, the classic confessions are recited, the Lord's prayer is done by the congregation every week) which is better (Biblically) than a church in which the congregation could be an after-thought. But even so, it would be good to have the rafters of the church echo with the praise of the saints.

The problem isn't with Wy, but in my view that his position exists. When a church has an "African-American" anything, they have missed the point. I agree with a lot of what he is saying ... and it makes me sad. Sad because I know it can be better, but not as long as we talk about what race people are. I have attended a church that was majority black (while far from my home) and while it was different, I joined in the culture that was there. It did not feel uncomfortable at all, almost completely because I knew they were my brothers and sisters in Christ (I was invited by a friend, and that probably helped as well).

If we teach the brotherhood of believers above everything else, if we treat each other as we would want to be treated, if we become something other than a "hyphenated" American (or whatever country in which we live) then we have a chance. The church ought to be on the forefront of removing the hyphen from our own classifications. I see no reason to hold on to "native" or "English" in my classification of myself, and while I see some rational for "American" my priority and self-identification is Christian. Sometimes "Christian-warrior" or "Christian-servant" as my duties within the body dictate. I would rather not see us separating into "Jew and Greek" all over again. It is unbecoming the church.
 

Narnian

Puritan Board Freshman
Go away for a few months and I miss all the fun stuff!

I have known Wy for almost 30 years and have supported his ministries since their inception. (which reminds me, I think I am overdue for sending in my support). He was one of my elders and a friend. He gave up a promising career at IBM to go to seminaryand spent many years at a multi-cultural church in Baltimore (New Song) including as co-pastor with a white pastor (Steve Smallman, Jr.).

He did express some discomfort at the concept of an "African-American" ministry and almost didn't take the position - but he also realized the need to bring the truth of the reformed faith to the black community and that this was an opportunity to plant many new PCA churches where they are rarely planted.

Unfortunately race does play a factor in how people percieve us no matter what race we are. But if we truely believe the reformed faith is the truth it will be the best hammer to knock down barriers.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Brian, then what do we think about my church, which is in a city with more blacks than whites, that is still a white church?
Facts are facts: my church does not look like her city.
We should be asking why. We should be willing to agree that this is a problem. My church is probably the best in our city, which means that black people who aren't there, but are going somewhere, are not going to the best. Why?

The problem isn't that our church is too white--it's that it isn't black enough.

I had a black friend in college (anecdotal evidence, I know) who told me that I never have to think about going into a store, or meeting a new person, or going to a party, and wonder if people will automatically hate me/be afraid of me/be suspicious of me, etc.

And that is 100% true. I am not saying that the converse is always true for black people everywhere--but it is NEVER true for me. I never think at all, "will people stare?"
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Go away for a few months and I miss all the fun stuff!

I have known Wy for almost 30 years and have supported his ministries since their inception. (which reminds me, I think I am overdue for sending in my support). He was one of my elders and a friend. He gave up a promising career at IBM to go to seminaryand spent many years at a multi-cultural church in Baltimore (New Song) including as co-pastor with a white pastor (Steve Smallman, Jr.).

He did express some discomfort at the concept of an "African-American" ministry and almost didn't take the position - but he also realized the need to bring the truth of the reformed faith to the black community and that this was an opportunity to plant many new PCA churches where they are rarely planted.

Unfortunately race does play a factor in how people percieve us no matter what race we are. But if we truely believe the reformed faith is the truth it will be the best hammer to knock down barriers.

I remember his hesitation, and I thought he made the wrong choice. I've only known him for about 20 years (at least I think that is about the right time frame), and I pray for him regularly. I remember his being at Reston Pres. and deciding to move to Baltimore for the ministry there, and I thought it would be a good thing at the time. I remember his moving into the present position and thinking that the position shouldn't exist (much like what I remember his letter saying). The pragmatism of the idea is what I felt was just plain wrong. While I could not have voiced the opinion then, I think what I would call it now is letting go of the bedrock of the theology of unity for the pragmatism of outreach. Evangelism is important only if it is the true gospel that we preach. If we water down the gospel, then perhaps it would be better carried forward by others that will not compromise the unity of the church. <sigh>

Ultimately, I rest on the sovereignty of God's election that those who are chosen will be saved, even if the means will not include me. The vessel that I (and everyone else) is will have an impact for God's gospel, and the Lord will save those whom he has chosen. So I obey the command to share the gospel and trust God will use it. When I see the same of others, I have to trust God as well. Walking by faith means that my trust is in God, not my ability to be pure in sharing. I pray to that end, and pray also that I will honor God in what I do, knowing all the while the only acceptance I have before the Father is through the merit of the son.

Are we all not broken vessels? Are we all not jars of clay? The treasure we carry is beyond us ... yet God sees fit to use even me.

-----Added 6/14/2009 at 09:45:17 EST-----

Brian, then what do we think about my church, which is in a city with more blacks than whites, that is still a white church?
Facts are facts: my church does not look like her city.
We should be asking why. We should be willing to agree that this is a problem. My church is probably the best in our city, which means that black people who aren't there, but are going somewhere, are not going to the best. Why?

The problem isn't that our church is too white--it's that it isn't black enough.

I had a black friend in college (anecdotal evidence, I know) who told me that I never have to think about going into a store, or meeting a new person, or going to a party, and wonder if people will automatically hate me/be afraid of me/be suspicious of me, etc.

And that is 100% true. I am not saying that the converse is always true for black people everywhere--but it is NEVER true for me. I never think at all, "will people stare?"

Jessi, I'm not sure what to think. Do you share with your neighbors the truth of Christ? Do the other members of your church? If a black person walked into your church and someone was bigoted toward them, would they face discipline from the church, be forced to apologize to the same public level of the bigotry? I know of a "black church" in the midst of a white community where I grew up, and I always wondered why they did not join the churches that were already there but instead setup their own.

Christ is not divided so why is the church? If there are doctrinal differences (what is believed is different) then I can see it. But it would seem strange indeed if race controlled doctrine.

As to never thinking if you would be hated, perhaps you have never experienced reverse discrimination. I can remember the first time I was ever in a crowd of black people (I was in 4th grade) and another little 4th grader came up to me and kicked me. The other children around me said things to me that made me realize they didn't like me, and made me afraid (being threatened for being white was not fun). So I do have not only a concept of wondering if being in a group of another race will cause me to be hated, but have first hand experience of it happening. Just as their are ignorant hateful white people, there are ignorant hateful black people. The gospel of Christ is the only hope for either group, and both groups must repent, accept the image of God in the other, and walk in newness of life. While you may never have moved into a position of being in an extreme minority, there are plenty of places that white people (who don't wish to die) should not go (and not necessarily into black neighborhoods).

With the entire race represented in the spread of the gospel, we (the church) ought to be the most culturally mixed. We should be the example to the rest of the world that says race is unimportant. Yet perhaps churches like your church is not being the light on a hill that it ought (unless it is a very local congregation and the neighborhood is homogeneous).
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Jessi, I'm not sure what to think. Do you share with your neighbors the truth of Christ? Do the other members of your church? If a black person walked into your church and someone was bigoted toward them, would they face discipline from the church, be forced to apologize to the same public level of the bigotry? I know of a "black church" in the midst of a white community where I grew up, and I always wondered why they did not join the churches that were already there but instead setup their own.

Well, I don't live in the city, but the country, so my neighborhood isn't quite the same as the city. But I don't know my neighbors, so no, I don't share the gospel with them :(
No one at all in our whole church, I am confident, would be bigoted toward a black person. That isn't the issue. We do have a couple black families, and they are loved the same as the white families. Though if there were an incident, of course there would be church discipline. The issue is: why are Reformed churches white, even in areas that are not? I am not saying that every church needs to have X amount of people from every culture--I am saying that the church should match the demographics surrounding her. My church may be a little off, since most of the people drive in from out of the city to attend (like we do). But not everybody and I don't think the fault is my church, but OUR practices. Our=my denomination and beyond.



Christ is not divided so why is the church? If there are doctrinal differences (what is believed is different) then I can see it. But it would seem strange indeed if race controlled doctrine.

I think that is the point of this thread: Reformed Churches should not be white churches, and that is what MANY of us see.

As to never thinking if you would be hated, perhaps you have never experienced reverse discrimination. I can remember the first time I was ever in a crowd of black people (I was in 4th grade) and another little 4th grader came up to me and kicked me. The other children around me said things to me that made me realize they didn't like me, and made me afraid (being threatened for being white was not fun). So I do have not only a concept of wondering if being in a group of another race will cause me to be hated, but have first hand experience of it happening. Just as their are ignorant hateful white people, there are ignorant hateful black people. The gospel of Christ is the only hope for either group, and both groups must repent, accept the image of God in the other, and walk in newness of life. While you may never have moved into a position of being in an extreme minority, there are plenty of places that white people (who don't wish to die) should not go (and not necessarily into black neighborhoods).

Honestly, I have been in the minority, and even then, never felt that I would be hated! Call it ignorance, arrogance, or pride, but I assumed that I would fit in fine, and I did. I am speaking of time spent in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Jamaica. (None of which were touristy parts.) If I were to walk through a very black part of a city, then I would feel threatened, but I recognize this as my own sin and fear and this is because I (possible wrongly) assume the place is dangerous, and not the people. If I walked into a store that was owned by a black person, I would not be afraid of being disliked or afraid of being mistrusted. I cannot say the same in an opposite situation for my friend. Regardless of the white storeowners' thoughts, my black friend would have to wonder if she were being watched.



With the entire race represented in the spread of the gospel, we (the church) ought to be the most culturally mixed. We should be the example to the rest of the world that says race is unimportant. Yet perhaps churches like your church is not being the light on a hill that it ought (unless it is a very local congregation and the neighborhood is homogeneous).

EXACTLY!!! And the fact of the matter is, at least in the U.S. and in Reformed congregations--we are not that example!!! I do not think there is any inherent difference between any races at all. So I don't think that there is something white about the truth--I just think that we let the WASP culture be the church culture, and that is an injustice to the truth--which is beyond culture.

Blessings♥
 
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