Jarvis Williams and Kevin Jones have given the Church — particularly the Southern Baptists in this case (though certainly not limited to them) — a real gift in their new book, Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention: Diverse African American and White Perspectives from B&H Publishers. I really can’t speak too highly of this book, of the various essays that compose it, and of the resources for local congregations (and even Christian colleges) in opening the dialog about racism in the Body and how we can remove its stain from the Bride of Christ’s clothing.
The Southern Baptist Convention (like the Methodists) have a history wrapped in that sinful garb of racism. It was given birth through confrontations in the Church over the place of slavery. The SBC certainly confessed of that sin in 1995, but nothing much has been done by way of the hard work of reconciliation since that confession. That’s precisely why Williams and Jones have given us this collection.
Removing the Stain of Racism contains a number of essays in conversation with one another — “Diverse African American and White” authors — that help to develop the book’s overall point: That Paul’s vision in Ephesians 2.11-12 cannot be realized until we Christians do this hard work of racial reconciliation. Some of those voices are more important than others, I think: Jarvis Williams’ and Terry Davis’ chapters really cannot be missed! But its hopeful “Postscript” says it all: This stain can be removed.
There are some closing resources to this book — the sample syllabus is a must for college religion profs! — that make it a valuable resource in a number of contexts.
Don’t miss this book! It’s a hard read, but its prophetic call cannot be ignored: The hard work of racial reconciliation still lies in front of the Church.
I received a free copy of this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for my honest review here.