PCA African-American Ministries Coordinator Newsletter

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Puritan Board Doctor
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.

I think you hit the nail on the head here when you talk about WASP culture. I often think this is more of a cultural issue than a "racial" one. One of my closest friends is African American. We grew up in very similar neighborhoods and cultures. We have a lot in common, and, aside from the stares that she gets when she walks into a church full of white people, she generally feels comfortable attending churches which are majority white. (In fact, she is a member of a PCA church that only has a few other black families). I think (and I know she would agree) that she is so comfortable because even though she has brown skin, she basically grew up in the same WASP culture that I did. In fact, we've joked before that she's more WASPy than me!

A few years ago, we visited a church in Atlanta together. It was what I guess one could call a "black" church. Even though the sermon was doctrinally very good - and similar to what we would have received at our own churches in terms of content - the service and worship style was SO different. And I'll freely admit that I felt very out of place and a little uncomfortable. I didn't really know what to do or how to conduct myself. I would imagine that many of that church's members would have felt similarly uncomfortable if they had attended my church.

All that to say that I don't think we should let the dominant culture completely rule over the church service. Of course, sermon and worship content needs to stay scriptural and confessional, but why not try to reflect the cultural demographics of our cities? As you say, truth supersedes culture. Why purposely exclude one or more cultures just because our culture happens to control the church?
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Puritan Board Freshman
Brian Withnell said:
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.

I agree with much of what you say - but I do not see your argument then - how is Wy watering down the gospel? On the contrary it is the false teachings he is trying to counter in the black community by training up black pastors. No different from training up Indian pastors in India, Chinese pastors in China, etc. Paul in 1 Cor 9 points out the gospel can be presented in culturally relative ways that do not diminish the gospel.
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