Saturday, 25 June 2022

The Bible in Transmission (Spring 2022) on the Church, the Bible, and Racism

The latest issue of The Bible in Transmission, from Bible Society, is available online here, offering a collection of articles on ‘The Church, the Bible and Racism’.

I have taken the summaries of articles below from Joshva Raja’s Editorial.

Joshva Raja


Joshua T. Searle

What is Wrong with Racism? A Biblical and Theological Answer

As Joshua Searle reminds us there is a non-negotiable biblical mandate and gospel imperative to confront and combat racism. Racism is more than the expression of a set of bigoted beliefs. It operates on many levels and manifests itself in many different ways. It promotes injustice and inequality, and is a ‘blasphemous violation of the sacred dignity of a human being who bears the divine image’.

Mohammed Girma

Racial Justice and the Church: Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy

Mohammed Girma discusses the struggle the Church has in moving from right theology to right practice when it comes to matters of racial justice. The Church needs to set a biblical agenda and engage prophetically in the public discourse about racial justice. Although the BAME community bears the brunt of abuse, marginalisation and injustice, we should recognise that the spiritual damage transcends racial boundaries. The issue goes deeper than skin colour because it is an example of the depth of human brokenness. If the Church is to change mindsets and become an inclusive and equal community, the goal must be ‘re-humanising by restoring the distorted divine image in humanity’.

Chigor Chike

Creating Space for Diversity within Church Communities

Chigor Chike reminds us that racism is about power. Building on his work in the area of ethnic diversity and inclusion, he argues that one strategy for confronting and overcoming racism is the promotion of diversity within our church communities. Diversity is a good thing. Churches wishing to confront racism should create space for diversity within their communities. This will be uncomfortable for some church leaders but they should commit to working with BAME people in order to fight racism.

Owen Hylton

The Reconciled Church: The Antioch Model

Owen Hylton shows that diversity and racial reconciliation are not purely modern inventions of a secular society. Rather they are at the very heart of God’s purpose: ‘God always intended... one day to display his wisdom through the multicoloured, multi-layered, multicultural diverse Church.’ Reflecting on the example of the Early Church in Antioch, Hylton outlines some of the steps churches can take to become reconciled and more integrated communities.

Jason Shields

Race, Justice and Social Analysis

Drawing on biblical views of justice and righteousness, Jason Shields asks church communities to transform themselves. They should alter their thinking and reimagine their prophetic role in challenging and changing the sinful and discriminatory structures within the Church and wider society. He invites churches to be part of an alternative biblical vision for diverse and inclusive communities, one that recognises the dignity of all people.

Chine McDonald

The God of All People

Chine McDonald writes about her experience of being both black and female in a world that in many ways is designed to elevate both whiteness and patriarchy. ‘White supremacy can come in the form of monochrome leadership, theology and practice.’ This is the status quo. However, the Church should be better than this because it should be actively breaking down the dividing walls of hostility that exist between people. The Church should be like a mosaic of different shapes, colours and sizes that come together to form a beautiful picture.

Ingrid Reneau Walls

Transcending the Dehumanising Effects of Slavery and Racism: Hope and the African American Spirituals

Ingrid Reneau reflects on how the Bible became the enduring vehicle for many forms of radical resistance thinking and actions for those Africans cruelly taken into slavery. Informed by biblical stores of exile, liberation, lament and hope, the African American Spirituals gave those forced into slavery the cultural and spiritual tools to overcome the limitations of their present realities and affirm a right to life. In doing so, those who sang and danced the Spirituals rejected the Christianity of those who enslaved them.

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