I was puzzlingly enthused,encouraged and perplexed by Dr. John Piper’s response to Lecrae’s recent interview on Truth’s Table. Immediately, I realized that Dr. Piper’s response could be so (much) more than that. It could actually be a seed that could sprout into dialogue and action that are both sorely needed, centering on the major question he asks in his blog post: “What are the implications when young [B]lack men and women state they are loosening ties with [W]hite [E]vangelicalism?” I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll share my insights in hopes of continuing this incredibly important issue.
Why was I so enthusiastic about the post? My journey into ‘[W]hite [E]vangelicalism” had largely been a one—way street. Like many young [B]lack men and women who have found Jesus and been nurtured in the context of this particular movement, I have imbibed deeply of its fountains. White evangelicalism’s heroes became my own and the institutions they have built, have become those in which we have served. I have been serving with one of the largest of such organizations for 17 years—practically my entire adult life.
Young Black folks have embraced the teachings, proclaimed them passionately and studied the debates astutely. We have embraced the declarations of the Reformation, the Confessions and Creeds. We have defended them against any adversary even when they were at odds with our own traditional Black churches. Though many in our own communities have criticized and questioned our loyalty when we have raised financial support to join the missionary and church planting movements launched by White evangelical entities completely foreign (and often historically hostile) to our people, we pressed on—determined to serve Jesus and believe in the best of our White brothers and sisters. Our faith in them was often was in the face of evidence to the contrary as we were consistently stereotyped, and misjudged and held to different standards than others.
Young, Black Christians who hold to the same creedal confessions of evangelicalism rarely experience someone of Dr. Piper’s platform, influence or credibility in white evangelicalism engaging us on our terms. In that context, his listening was very meaningful. Using his platform to comment on what he heard was even more significant. Why? Because we’re used to the exact opposite. Normally, our voices and words have been ignored in dealing with issues of race, justice and unity in the church. Truth’s Table wasn’t celebrated but attacked when the groundbreaking podcast first aired. The hosts, Ekemini Uwan, Dr. Christina Edmondson and Michelle Higgins were called out, not called upon to share their insights. Similarly, Jemar Tisby, who co-hosts the Pass The Mic podcast has been castigated for speaking on racial issues. Even someone like Dr. Eric Mason, with all the bona fides of Dallas Theological Seminary, Acts 29, books and countless other “[W]hite [E]vangelical” credentials still finds himself wondering aloud why people question his loyalty to the Gospel when talks about race.
Continue reading Berry’s essay on his website: Dr. Piper: Lecrae & #Facts about “White Evangelicalism”
Faithfully Magazine’s related article: John Piper’s Response To Lecrae Shows White Evangelicals Have More Work To Do