Thursday, January 10, 2008

Grace over Race

The latest issue of the magazine Modern Reformation has now been published.

Here's a summary from editor Eric Landry:
Nearly 150 years after the emancipation of Southern slaves and just 50 years after the beginning of the Civil Rights era, race still captures our attention: in the summer of 2007, the case of the so-called "Jena Six" in an old battleground-Selma, Alabama-was played out in the blogosphere, newspaper headlines, and nightly news. Such "old" news has probably been replayed in a dozen ways in as many situations since. This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the forty-fifth year of his landmark book, Why We Can't Wait. The institutional church, meanwhile, has not been an innocent bystander to a culture's sin. All too often the church has been complicit in the actual subjugation, explicit segregation, and implicit bigotry that American minorities have had to bear: church gun clubs using pictures of Union generals, even President Lincoln, as targets; and pastors being run out of churches for allowing the possibility of a mixed race marriage. Sadly these examples are none too rare even in our confessional communions.

It is to the issue of confession that we turn first with Reformed theologian and Editor-in-Chief Michael Horton's contribution to this issue. Paired with Dr. Horton's is an article (originally preached as a sermon) by Baptist pastor Thabiti Anyabwile. His article, "Corporate Christian Mergers," shows how Paul's apostolic instruction in Ephesians 2 is a necessary development of the central narrative of Scripture: the reconciliation of God to his creatures.

As long as we keep our discussion of grace and race at this level, very few people are challenged or even encouraged to pursue the sort of reconciliation that is made real by the gospel. To help bring this issue down to earth, we're looking at three different ways grace and race meet. First, in the lives of minority ministers: Presbyterian seminary professor Julius Kim examines the unique pressures felt by bicultural ministers as they seek to navigate a careful passage through expectations of their traditional and new cultures; Justin Taylor, an editor at Crossway and a popular blogger, paints a picture of God's kingdom work through his narrative on transracial adoption; and Presbyterian pastor Chris Sandoval talks about the difficulty of translating the basic insights of the Reformation into language and concepts Hispanics can understand and appreciate.

Also in this issue is a personal conversation between Michael Horton and Ken Jones, pastor of Greater Union Baptist Church in Compton, California, and co-host of the White Horse Inn radio program. What brought these two friends together and what sustains their friendship and partnership in pursuit of a modern reformation? You won't want to skip the transcript of this broadcast interview!