Justice and Race
We know Challenge 2020 came at a unique time in history, especially in relation to current conversations around racism and injustice in America. We also know our students are participating in these conversations, and we don’t want to hold them at arm’s distance. It’s our hope that the resources below help youth leaders engage students with the kind of biblical wisdom and gospel application that transforms their hearts and impacts their community.
From the very beginning of Scripture, we find all of humanity was made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). It is this doctrine of imago Dei that informs the Christian belief that all people are valuable. When we ask the question, “Who is my neighbor?”, we don’t draw boundaries to that answer based on skin color, age, gender or ability. This foundational truth is reflected in the EFCA’s mission to “glorify God by multiplying transformational churches among all people.”
Not only that, but the same gospel that saves us from the condemnation of sin brings along with it implications for how we should live (1 Pet 1:16, Col 3:12, etc.) and the transformative power to help us (Rom 8:13, Gal 5:16). So, as we wrestle with our current moment considering America’s historic struggle with racism, we aren’t reliant on worldly wisdom in our approach. Rather, we believe the gospel shows us the way and gives us the strength to walk in it. The EFCA Statement of Faith says this:
“We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.”
So how do we live out our faith “with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed”? That question prompts us to enter this moment and begin formulating an answer. But it’s only that—a beginning. What you’ll find in these resources is not a once-and-done approach, nor an all-encompassing method. Rather, we know students are looking for answers, and it’s always our heart to meet them where they are at and point them to the true and better Answer, Jesus Christ. His word is neither silent nor insufficient.
We know these are complex issues, and they require grace as we approach them. Yet, it is with the desire to see students find rest, hope and unmatched joy in Jesus that we want to help equip and encourage you in this area. We trust these resources will bless you and your ministry.
A Message from Kempton Turner
Watch this message from Kempton Turner, one of our Challenge 2020 speakers, and use the accompanying questions for small group discussion, one-on-one time and/or personal reflection.
Discussion and Reflection Questions
M – Mourn black death
1. What do you think it means to “mourn with those who mourn”?
2. Why do you think God tells us to mourn and rejoice with others?
3. How does knowing everyone is made in the image of God change how we should see people?
O – Open your eyes
1. Have you ever seen racial injustice where you live?
2. Are there other places you’ve seen injustice? Is there anything you can do about it?
3. How does the Bible wake us up to injustice?
V – Voice God’s heart
1. How does being a Christian give you strength and courage to voice God’s heart?
2. How is seeking justice different for Christians than for those who don’t know Jesus?
3. We know that speaking up for justice is good, so where can you speak up beyond social media?
4. Prayer is one of the best ways to use your voice on behalf of others. What can you start praying for today?
E – Examine Yourself
1. Kempton talked about how racism is rooted in racial pride. How does the gospel change us from prideful to humble?
2. Humility also means we examine our own hearts before we condemn others. Why is that so difficult?
3. When we find sin inside of ourselves, what is our hope?
4. Jesus told us to love our neighbors. How can you love your neighbor (no matter what skin color) more this week?
Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper
Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller
One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love by John M. Perkins
United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia J. Newbell
EFCA’s 2018 Theology Conference: “The Gospel, Compassion and Justice, and the EFCA”
“American Evangelicals and Racial and Ethnic Partiality” by Doug Sweeney
“Miles Walked and a Lived History” by John Perkins
Two More Ways to Engage
ReachStudents Book Club
Join the ReachStudents Book Club, beginning September 2020, with Justin Wevers. We’ll be reading One Blood by John M. Perkins and joining together for discussions via Zoom.
Reserve your spot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Race, Gospel and the Next Generation
Watch this conversation on “Race, Gospel and the Next Generation” with April Warfield (Apex U.S. projects director at time of filming, now EFCA director of multicultural ministries), Justin Wevers (EFCA student ministries director) and Stephen Love (Challenge speaker, church planter).