By Darrell B. Harrison and Cameron Buettel
Grace to You Editor’s Note: While this short series was first published over a year ago, we believe it could not be more timely. As worldly, corrupting influences seep into the church, we trust that these vital truths will help God’s people calibrate their hearts, minds, and words according to Scripture. The following blog post was originally published on May 6, 2019.
Can white people be saved?
That’s a ludicrous question, or so you would think. Today it’s an actual point of debate and discussion in the church. It’s also the title of a new book from InterVarsity Press. That the book even exists—and that it was released by a once-respected Christian publishing house—is emblematic of an alarming and escalating trend within evangelicalism: Some professing believers are making skin color into a gospel issue.
For example, Kelly Brown Douglas, a dean at Union Theological Seminary, doesn’t hesitate to give an answer: “You can’t be white and follow Jesus.”1 Douglas doubled down on her staggering assertion by declaring: “Just because you look like a white American doesn’t mean you have to act like one. The first step on the road to recovery is to own one’s whiteness and realize how it keeps you from your true identity as a child of God.”2 That kind of biased rhetoric is now pervasive among social justicians.
Another prime example is pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, a council member with The Gospel Coalition. While Anyabwile doesn’t go to the anathematizing extremes of Douglas, he still has no qualms accusing generations of white people of guilt by melanin regarding the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “My white neighbors and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and this country are complicit in murdering a man who only preached love and justice.”3
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