DOCL Keynote Address: The Changing Face of the Church (Acts 15)



morning well thank you everyone for coming and welcome to today's proceedings this year marks the 16th annual day of common learning at Seattle Pacific day that we set aside each year to engage in deep thoughts and conversation around the topic of interest and concern our theme this year is always reforming this October marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation the date went professor priest and monk art Luther publishes 95 theses the theses are lists of propositions that advanced Luther's propositions against what he saw as abusive practice by the church selling plenary indulgences certificates believed to reduce the punishments of sins the Protestant position would come to incorporate doctrinal changes such as complete reliance on Scripture as a source of religious authority in the belief that faith in Jesus and not good works is the only way to obtain that's pardon for sin the indulgences controversy controversy set off by these theses was just the beginning of the Reformation a schism in the Catholic Church which initiated profound and lasting social and political change in Europe the initial movement within the Germany diversified and other reform impulses arose independently of Luther for example the spread of Gutenberg's printing press provided the means for rapid dissemination of religious materials in everyday vernacular our theme always reforming is an honor of this significant of in the history of the church and in acknowledgment that the life of the church and within Christian communities should never be static or stagnant but rather always reforming for the sake of faithful witness to our world we're delighted that dr. Soong Chandra from North Park University is with us this morning as our keynote speaker this afternoon we invite you to participate in one or more of the 23 breakout sessions described in her program and afterwards we invite you to join us again for a film screening on homelessness and sense cities I trust that you'll be intellectually and spiritually enriched by today's offerings thank you for joining us as we consider the importance of always reforming here to introduce dr. raw is our Provost Jeff Van Duzer [Applause] good morning it is really my privilege to introduce to you Reverend dr. Soong Chandra and to welcome him to our campus dr. oz currently a professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago where he's taught for over a decade now but I want to take you back actually to a little more than two decades ago it's a 1996 year that I suspect was before some of you were born when Zosia and a group of other six or seven other ethnically diverse young people began to meet together in a prayer group and to pray and dream about planting a church in the Central Square neighborhood of Cambridge Massachusetts Central Square is a very diverse a very urban neighborhood and Cambridge is often been an overlooked neighborhood living in the shadow of Harvard Square and during the two prior decades the area had suffered from increasing crime in general decayed this was the neighborhood that dr. raw was drawn to in his career group met over the spring in the summer and then in the fall 1996 Cambridge community Fellowship Church was launched and dr. Ross served as a founding senior pastor for about a decade of what became and continues to be today a multi-ethnic Church living out the values of racial reconciliation and social justice in an urban context and it's this intertwining of a heart for social justice a call to ministry all done in the context of an urban setting that seems to be the thread that winds through dr. Ross career as he notes on his own web page in urban ministry is for him a passion and he's characterized the urban environment as complex constantly changing and always challenging its heart for social justice finds expression service on the board of World Vision and evangelicals for justice he's previously served on the board of the sojourners of Christian Community Development Association he is the author or co-author of a number of important books including return to justice forgive us confessions of a compromised faith prophetic lament a call for justice in troubled times and the book that actually grounds his talk for this morning for the next evangelicalism freeing the church from Western cultural captivity dr. raw received his bachelor's degree from Columbia University is m.div from gordon-conwell Theological Seminary this THM from Harvard University is demon from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and his THD from Duke University it's hard to imagine there any more of things out there for him to go get on a personal note dr. rosemary has two children he is a Baltimore Orioles fan and a little known fact that apparently we were able to pry out of one of his colleagues before his family moved to the United States he was a child model in Korea so please join me in welcoming Reverend dr. Seuss Thank You SVU thank you so much for this very kind invitation I'm gonna have to figure out who who ratted me out that make about my child model in use I was actually in Korea that summer we were on a family trip for the first time for my kids to go in Korea and we were in this little souvenir shop in Seoul and I saw a pack a post card that said customs and traditions of Korea and for whatever reason I noticed the photo cover photo of this pack and I said that looks really familiar as I opened it up and I started leaping through about the 20 postcards that are there and three of the postcards featured me so if you go to Korea look for those photos my photos are still out there 45 years later while I'm on before I still out there in Korea I'm so thankful for this theme and this opportunity to address you on these very critical matters the theme of always reforming the idea that change is kind of constant and in the world that we live in the gospel doesn't change the truth for the gospel is the same yesterday today and tomorrow but the context into which the gospel is spoken and communicated oftentimes will change and very dramatically it will change and so oftentimes when we think about things like Reformation we have to understand that it's not the gospel that changes it is the context that has changed and the gospel now speaks into that new context so the idea of theological Reformation is also in some partner cultural adaptation and that the cultural changes that occurred 500 plus years ago was what led to many of the theological reforms the advent of the printing press and the innovation around communication changes in governance and in the nation-state an emerging worldview that was radically different from the previous generations worldview these are all factors that were cultural changes that would lead to the theological reform that was necessary for that time I would argue that we are in that time period again when there are social changes and demographic changes and cultural changes that might require reform but before we look ahead let's look back let's look back and say what is one of the earliest reforms what is the earliest place where we encounter a reformation and it might not be 500 years ago it might be actually 2,000 years ago when in the early church in Acts chapter 15 we encountered this movement towards reform Acts chapter 15 as many of you know it tells us the story of the Jerusalem Council the Jerusalem Council was convened because there were some drastic and dramatic cultural changes that were occurring in the church at that time the church when it first serves as many of you know started in the context of Judaism it was essentially a sect or a subset of Judaism and and founded a profound expression in the early stages within the context of Judaism but some demographic changes were occurring within that time period the most significant of course would have been the transition from a Jewish Judean an ascent to Christianity to much more of an inclusion of Gentile Christianity what it started off as a subset of Judaism by the time we get to about that chapter 15 and we encounter the stories of the book of Acts were beginning to see that demographic transition from a Jewish settlers unity to now more and more Gentiles Christians in the church this of course is found in the backdrop of some historical animosity between Jews and Gentiles the pious Jewish male would pray I thank you that I am NOT a dog I thank you that I'm not a female and most of all I thank you that I'm not a Gentile this the history of animosity and tension between Jews and Gentiles and in this backdrop you are seeing the drastic demographic changes the transition from a a Jewish population of Christians to much more Gentile population of Christians and that's what we encounter in Acts chapter 15 at the Jerusalem Council a reform was needed because there were social changes that were occurring especially demographic changes in the culture at that time now let's flash forward 2000 years and talk about some of the changes that are occurring over the last 20 30 maybe even 50 years of the church's history Dana Roberts Boston University professor of physiology and historian notes that if you were to ask the question what is the typical Christian in the year 1950 and you pulled together all the Christians of the world and say let's find one person that represents Christianity in the world in the year 1950 and if you were to describe that person as a white male in his 50s living in an affluent American upper middle-class suburb that would be a fairly accurate picture of the face of Christianity in the year 1950 so these faces except for the guy in the right hand corner that's Larry the Cable Guy except for the guy in the right hand corner these are the faces that would say this is what Christianity looks like in the year 1950 if you ask that same question now in the year 2017 the answers of course would be drastically dramatically different that answer would be more likely a peasant woman outside of my most Nigeria more likely to be a teenager in Mexico City more likely to be a university student in Seoul South Korea the face of Christianity as there are notes has shifted from a Western face to a much more southern hemisphere and eastern hemisphere the Ligeti ins has popularized this notion by looking at the different ways that Christianity has changed for about five centuries he knows that Christianity was linked to the story and narrative of North America and Europe the overwhelming majority of Christians resided in North America and Europe Marin and Johnson who do Atlas or Christianity notes that if you in the year 1900 were to put a thumbtack in the map to say where is the population center of Christianity he would put it right in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean because so much of the world Christian population would have been in Europe and North America but Jenkins notes that that has changed over the last hundred years or so over the past century the center mean in the 20th century the center of gravity has shifted away from Europe in North America to Africa Asia and Latin America we will see a new movement Christianity in the 21st century but the vast majority of believers will be neither white nor European nor a euro American so what jenkins notes and what Meredith Johnson also note is that that thump in fact you would have put in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean would now be outside of Timbuktu Africa because the population center of Christianity has shifted so dramatically away from Europe in North America to Latin America Africa and Asia you can see these numbers that in the year 1900 the overwhelming majority of Christians in the world resided in quote/unquote the white continents of Europe and North America eighty to eighty-five percent of Christians would have been found in Europe and North America a very small percentage would have been found in places like Africa and Asia and Latin America by 100 years later from 1900 to about 2005 you can see already the dramatic change in the population of global Christianity so that now 19 percent of African African makes up global Christianity 17 percent of Asia Christianity makes up global Christianity you see the greatest drop of course in European Christianity which goes from 60 80 % of the world population down to 26 percent so that now we can say by the Year 2005 about 60% of the global Christian population resides in Africa Asia and Latin America the quote-unquote non-white continents of the world the projection is is that by the year 2050 we will see even more of a dramatic change in that African Christianity makes up almost 30 percent of global Christianity Asian Christianity is 20% and European and North American Christianity is now below 30% of the global Christian population I have there in quotation marks white and non-white because if you look at the patterns within European Christianity you will note that European Christianity is also significant percentage of non-white European Christians such as the fastest-growing church in London which is a Nigerian church the fastest growing Church and Stockholm Sweden which is also an African Church so everywhere you look within Europe the churches that are growing tend to be pan-african or immigrant churches so if we project those numbers into the 2050 projection we would find that probably 80 to 85 percent of the world Christian population will be of non-european descent what I want you to note is the transition from this number to this number is adjusted that eighty to eighty-five percent of the Christians in the world are not why whereas here eighteen eighty five percent divisions in the world were white in a hundred and fifty years we completely flipped these numbers from eighty five percent white to 85 percent non-white this number was what existed for about fifteen hundred years of church history so in a tenth of the time fifteen hundred years of church history has been flipped on its head completely flipping over the numbers of the makeup of global Christianity this is a revolutionary moment that we are living right in the middle of this is a dramatic graphic global Christian transformation that is occurring right before our eyes now I'm going to assume that for many of you this is not new news this is a historical reality now this is not a speculation of what may come this is the acceptance of the reality of the situation many many authors historians missiology and well documented this drastic change Andrew walls lawmen sonatina Robert Barrett and Johnson Philip Jenkins they've all well documented that we're living in an era where Christianity is flipping over in its demographics one of the questions I'm asking though is that not only are we seeing this huge demographic change in global Christianity are there also similar changes that are occurring in u.s. Christianity particularly u.s. evangelicalism in 1965 the immigration reform act change what America began to look like for the jenkins notes that because of this change in 1965 we will begin to see very drastic changes in American society in the ethnic makeup of American society these are some important dates to look at in 1965 there was a change in the immigration laws now one thing to note about this change is that this change did not mean that America all of a sudden said let's let anybody and everybody in it wasn't that in 1964 200,000 immigrants came in and in 1966 6 million immigrants came in there has actually never been a moment where a rarity in society has said let's just fling the doors open and let anybody and everybody in correction one time when Columbus showed up and the Native Americans in Iowa said some folks in and with kind of the unfettered immigration it's the only time in American history where that has happened the rest of the time there's always been very strict limitations particularly on the number of immigrants so for example if you are in the Philippines now and you want to legally immigrated to the United States you are put on a waiting list that's about 25 to 35 years long there's always been strict restrictions on the number of immigrants in fact when we look at the transition here it's not the number of immigrants that increased completely uncontrolled it was actually the shape and distribution of immigrants that changed in 1965 so prior to 1965 that most immigrants coming from Europe and North America post 1965 gradually more and more immigrants are coming from Asia and Latin America so that from 1965 forward you get a very slow but gradual increase of diversity because there are no there's no there's a different distribution of immigration you note the time as well 1965 this is at the height of the civil rights movement and so in 1965 did was not let's let any money in everybody into our country what it did was it actually it did away with racist laws prior to 1965 there were a number of laws that said we would not take certain immigrants from certain parts of the world the first of these laws was called the Chinese Exclusion Act can anybody guess what that might have done yeah they really weren't hiding anything here that would be clear we want to exclude Chinese it's how we want to exclude Chinese people what should we do let's pass the Chinese Exclusion Act to exclude Chinese people there was a series of laws like this explicitly saying we don't want certain people from certain parts of the world and we will pass laws to ban them from coming into a country I'm so glad we're so past that as a nation so what you're seeing sixty-five is not the flinging open of the doors of immigration let's let anybody in everybody in there's a Russia but many of people kind of cross the wheel Brad that's fake news that didn't happen what we see instead is the gradual increase of immigration in fact when we look at Mexican immigration this is the Pew Research Foundation not the most liberal think tank in the world saying that between 2009 to 2014 net immigration from Mexico was minus 140,000 we're losing immigrants to Mexico not gaining immigrants from Mexico unlike what the political pundits might be telling us in fact if you remember 25 years ago no most of you were born but if you remember 25 years ago there was a time when we started talking about this illegal immigration problem the undocumented immigrant problem and the numbers that got thrown out there was there are 10 to 12 million undocumented immigrant immigrants in our country we've got to deal with that 20 to 25 years later and we're still talking about the problem what's the number were so dealing with 10 to 4 million so we're not talking about we went from 10 million undocumented to 40 million undocumented we're still roughly at about the same number because the net immigration is roughly zero so we're dealing with is not this unfettered immigration that has occurred over the last few years but a slow gradual immigration in fact what we're seeing in the diversity of America is not tied to immigration patterns it is tied to birth rates it's 90 birthrate so with the slow influence of that immigrants I'm sorry non-white immigrants by 2008 a third of the u.s. population was non-european descent by 2011 we had already passed a significant threshold half of all the births in the United States were now of non-european descent this is a huge moment in American history the demographics are changing not on the adults but among the children in birth rates now the next number is should be pretty obvious five years after the birth rate changes five years later the incoming kindergarten class numbers change so that five years after the birth rate changes is when the first incoming class is of non-european descent the majority is of non-european descent it starts moving a little bit faster so that the projection is by 2023 half of all the children in the United States will be of non-european descent that's only six years away six seven years away that's we will see this drastic change or half the children in America where we have non-european ascendant this number is important to me because I work at a Christian College and those of you here here in the Christian College and and other Christian colleges better take heed of this number there's too many Christian colleges 10 years ago they were at 2000 there were 95% white now there's still 95 percent white there are about five hundred because they're not paying attention to these numbers because if you really want to see these Christian colleges flourish you are going to have to really take into account that the incoming class of 2023 forward is going to be extraordinarily diverse and if your student body is not ready for that and if your student body and your administration and your faculty is not ready for that then you're gonna die as an institution pretty quickly so 2023 is an important number because that again shows that change not because of immigration but because of birth rates and of course the inevitability of 2042 which is that half of the u.s. minority population in the entire US would be of ethnic minorities now when people see this number these changes in the demographics of American society there's one fear that I keep hearing and this fear was actually heckler first by Harvard professor Diana Eck she didn't say it as a fear but it came out as such the fear was that the more immigrants you get the more non-europeans you have in America the less Christian America is going to be in fact these non Western Europeans only to bring non Christian faith into American society in fact there has been some places and maybe it's even in your hometown and in your neighborhood where 20 years ago there wasn't a Buddhist temple and now there is a Buddhist temple 20 years ago that wasn't a Hindu temple and now there is a Hindu temple but people that freaked out about this Buddhist temple in their neighborhood they're saying oh no we have a Buddhist temple of my neighborhood what's going to happen what if they have an evangelistic crusade to reach our teenagers they're going to be refer to our teenagers you know nothing about Buddhism that's not how that works what's going to happen with all this this Buddhist temple that's in our neighborhood so what happened was folks got really preoccupied with that one Buddhist temple it ignored the 15 Korean churches that started at the same time the Chen Chinese churches that start at the same time the five lyosha the three current churches all these other churches that started at the same time as that one Buddhist temple because what Stephen water points out from the University of Illinois is that the new immigrants represent not the D Christianisation of American society but the D Europeanisation of American Christianity notice the very profound distinction there because immigrants are coming in does not mean we become us Christians it means Christianity becomes less European in its demographic and in its face above all the new immigrants make it decreasing ly plausible for Americans that think of Christianity as a white person's religion and although it may not be a period in many congregations American Christians are increasingly people of color will see this in the large and growing denominations Baptists and Pentecostals if you got all the Baptists together they would split off the first factors over there second Baptists over there but it still if you got all the Baptists together you would have a very diverse group of people you got all the kinds of consoles together the confusion but you have a very diverse group of people there is diversity in the growing large denomination the smaller declining denominations tend to be mono-ethnic overwhelmingly white Lutheran's ninety-six percent line I'm still looking for that four percent Lutheran's of color and medam yet I'm sure they're out there according to the statistic but the more by the ethnic overwhelmingly white you are the more likely you are to be a declining denomination what we're finding is that the fastest growing religious identification is spiritual but not religious in 1991 they had that number it was at four percent of the u.s. population 25 years later at 2015 it was 20 percent of the u.s. population now that mostly largely are white mainline young people and white evangelical young people walking away from church saying I have that spirituality and if you quiz me on through Jesus's and those kinds of things I believe it I know it but I don't go to church on Sunday I might go to a bar and hang out and talk about spirituality but I won't go to church on Sunday or to become part of an organized religion that is the fastest growing religious identification it went from 4 percent to 20 percent if I can put it in kind of stark terms this is the greatest threat to path angelical Christianity in the United States right now the growing number of young people are particularly young white people in particular who are identifying a spiritual but not religious the group that is not a threat is the group that went for a point four percent of the population 2.9 percent of the population in the same time period so in that 25 year time period you're welcome 24.9 still under 1 percent that group is the Muslim community they are not a threat to Christianity it's the former Christians that are a threat to the decline Christianity not the less than 1% of Muslims in the world that's not in the United States that's not a threat to American Christianity it is actually the decline of mostly white millenials evangelicals and main liners who are now leaving the church and saying we are spiritual but not religious what we're dealing with then is a drastic change in the population of American Christianity this is very evidenced by a part of the region of the country that was always seen as spiritually dead I moved to Boston in 1991 I lived in Maryland for most of my life but when I went to Boston to start seminary my church laid hands and prayed that I would not lose my salvation and the evil city of Boston they they prayed said Lord protect this young man from the evils of Boston I'm driving up i-95 from Maryland to go up to Boston scared out of my mind that I'm going to lose my faith in the wicked city of Boston when I got there I found something radically different people that told me in everywhere I went that Boston was an evil city and there are two things about Boston first of all Boston as better sports teams in Seattle that I learned the second thing under the Super Bowl the people Super Bowl the second thing I'd learn about Boston is that it is a spiritually vibrant community there are some amazing things that are happening in the city of Boston in fact in the year 1970 there were only about 300 churches in the entire city of Boston that's relatively small but Boston's not a huge city half a million people the karoon estimate is actually 2006 by 2006 about 30 years later there were 600 churches in the city of Boston there was a net gain of 300 there was actually a gain of 450 churches because 150 of those 300 churches closed down and then 450 new churches started up but notice here that the churches that are right now in Boston most are ethnic immigrant churches and most speak a service in the language other than English in the time period in 2001 to 2008 six five-year time period 98 new churches were planted in the city of Boston that's phenomenal that's a phenomenal rate of growth and church planting almost a hundred churches planted in a city of half a million people 76 churches reported their language of worship half of those churches reported they spoke in a language other than English the 22 nits did not respond the survey was done in English they spoke a language other than English they didn't respond to the survey what we're talking about is a significant change in the demographics of Christianity Boston scene is spiritually dead why because the revival in Boston is not happening in the white churches it's happening in the Asian communities the african-american communities the spanish-speaking as noted here of the ad a new churches planted in a 10-year time period half of those churches are spanish-speaking aggregations a quarter of those churches are African african-american churches and 15% variation are Asian American churches there is a dramatic change in the demographics of Christianity in the world today and Christianity in the United States so one response is to be fearful that immigrants are going to make America less Christian the other response is even more secular and more wrong which is to say we have to keep America white let's make America white again let's make sure that the founding founding makeup of this country remains the same we want to stop that 2042 number as much as possible and so what we need to do then it is we either double down on the systems and structures that maintain the power reality and the power distribution so that we can retain the systems that made America white before and make America white again so there's a doubling down over the last several decades but especially in the last couple of years on a system that says that a narrative that says we need to keep America a certain way we have we have to make sure that this diversity this Browning in America does not happen so that's what we read about in that chapter 15 verse 1 and 5 where it says certain individuals came down from Judea to Antioch and we're teaching the believers unless you were circumcised according to the custom taught by Moses you cannot be saved that some of the believers who belong to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said the Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses what is happening in acts 15 one-in-five the old guard is nervous about the demographic changes and so if we want these Gentiles to be Christian we need to make them Jew first and then they can become Christian so there have to be kind of a another cultural hoop they had to jump through in order to become accepted as Christians in that society and that's calmer I would describe as a cultural captivity a cultural captivity to a particular culture that says convert to that culture and then we will accept you into the Christian faith that variation is now found in the 20th and 21st century in the United States where there is a Western right cultural captivity of Christianity if you are going to be accepted as a Christian you must convert not only to being a follower of Jesus but you must also culturally convert to a form of lightness and what it does is it perpetuates the narrative that has existed for several centuries now in the United States the narrative of white supremacy let's unpack that a little bit more to say what has happened in our society that has led to this narrative of cultural captivity and white supremacy Peter Berger and Thomas Luckman talk about the way social systems are constructed without going into too much detail about this diagram what we're seeing here is how various factors work through a system and strengthened and built that system the process of individuals externalizing their values the process of those values getting institutionalized within a system the process of that institution now internalized and that value system within the individual so that the cycle continues and it strengthens the social system and the social reality this social system however needs fuel to further that system it needs fuel to keep it going and it's not relying upon other types of energy it is actually meeting what we call mediating marriages there are different ways this is spoken of mediating narratives George Lakoff uses the term metaphors Rudi Jennings and bull camera uses the term imagination these are different ways of saying that in order to keep a social system in its current state and continuing to perpetuate narratives metaphors and imagination is necessary to continue to keep that system and especially if it is a dysfunctional broken system the narratives become important to sustain that dysfunctional broken system what weak points out that there is something called the myth of redemptive violence that says in order to keep this narrative of exceptionalism this the system of exceptionalism you must introduce the myth of redemptive violence America as the arsenal of democracy America as an armed nation able to use violence for the purpose of peace that narrative is a dysfunctional narrative that further perpetuates the existing system one of those narratives that is perpetuating the existing system that must be reformed that must be confronted as I'm arguing is the cultural system of white Western captivity of the church in Western culture and that social reality is affirmed by the mediating narrative of white supremacy and that white supremacy is the engine the fuel which fuels this cultural captivity which fuels the centering of whiteness in Western Christianity and in global Christianity right now so let's talk about some of the mediating narratives and where they come from one one background for this comes from the work of Kelly Brown Douglass at Goucher University she writes in the book stand your ground about the myth of the white anglo-saxon Protestant where did this mythology come from she traces it back to the first century to a Roman author by the name of passages who writes of a book called Germany and in that book he notes that these northern tribes in northern Germany the tribes of northern Germany that they have a project physical appearance and the way he describes it is kind of lightening skin light and hair color light and eye color and larger and frame and in stature now that's you know the description itself is relatively harmless but what Tacitus does is the equation where he commits that physical appearance to a particular ability and he knows that these German tribes that have lighter skin lighter hair lighter eyes and larger stature they have a cleaner capacity for self-governance meaning they do better at democracy than other groups catheters notes that this is the link between the genetics and the physical appearance of a people group and their capacity to self govern or their capacity to do democracy that translates into this purity of the physical appearance translate to the purity of love that the purity of the blood of the northern Germanic tribes especially within the counters the Anglo tribes creates this mythology that there is a unique people group called the Anglo Saxons who are lightly skin like the air cover like eye color and larger in stature who excel at democracy this is one of many different threads of white supremacy the belief that the purity of whiteness results in a particular type of excellence in this case in self-governance now I'm here listening to this thing that's crazy who would equate physical appearance to the capacity for democracy who become who would equate the lightness of skin to the capacity for democracy I was at a conference a evangelical conference and I was speaking on this issue and a woman raises her hand and says I have to submit with you I said are you disagreeing with my analysis I can refer to this text I can tell you about what I read I agree with your analysis I disagree with you that that's not true what do you mean is I believe that Middle East Muslims do not have the capacity for democracy that white Americans do this was in a Christian conference in a gathering of under people explicitly stating what what Tacitus has said 2,000 years ago that a physical appearance and genetic appearance and a purity in that blood results in a capacity to do certain things better than other people this is flat-out racism this is also white supremacy that thought process by the way comes through the culture and it becomes an evident in the 15th and 16th century and this idea of maintaining purity the purity of race the purity of a exceptional people and ends up in a group that also begins to emphasize purity we call them the Puritans who believe not only in the purity of their religious affiliation but also the purity of their blood and so that ideology comes into the United States in the form of the belief that Western bodies and Western minds have a superior capacity to other bodies and other minds therefore even go to the continent of Africa because the Western body and mind is the true image bearer of God and take into possession other bodies that are not less than bodies as chattel slave labor and bring them into the new world therefore you can go into the continent of North America and South America view Ain a continent filled with millions of people and thousands of civilization and say I discovered something my good friend Mark Charles I'm writing a book with my choice a navajo christian says if you really believe that's how discovery works that you can discover something that's owned by somebody else by all means leave your iPads and iPhones here I will come around in this cover them for you we'll see if you still agree about how discovery works but that's what was stated because the assumption of a superiority or a supremacy of the European body and mine and soul and spirit over and against red bodies and brown bodies and black bodies and the belief that we bring something superior therefore the North American continent is a blank slate that dysfunctional narrative that dysfunctional imagination has been in the fuel for much of the formation of this cultural captivity for a demographic for a theological reality that the demographic reality is now running up against what's another example of this how has this assumption of white supremacy been a part of the norm of our society this is the work of Willie Jennings that I'm kind of building upon here and the question is whose gaze or whose perspective determined one's worth in American society who determines who is valuable and who is not and why they are valuable and why they are not whether might white male gazes upon the black male what is the perception of the black male that is carried out into society because the white male has determined that is what the black male is a patch or a threat think for example the acceptable black male in American society that black male is the entertainer is the athlete is the hip-hop star as long as they're Christian talks about Reformation so you're talking about black males as pets who are acceptable is as long as they stay in that role the great prophet Dave Chappelle next repeal says that one of the reasons he walks away from 20 to 30 million dollars from Comedy Central is because they were trying to make him into a pet he knows that every strong black male comedian at one point in their career has to appear in granite Eddie Murphy Tyler Perry Marc Lowrance Jamie Foxx strong black men to make them appear more as pets they put them in some kind of dress to make them less threatening or maybe another example would be then let's say you are a Super Bowl leading quarterback type of them and you have great stats and you've done really well and because of your success on the football field as a as a player that has led his team quarterback that has led his team to the Super Bowl you are seen as an acceptable black male who has an athlete successful athlete is considered a pet but the second you take a knee you are no longer the patch you are now a threat and you must be eliminated and not allowed to play in the NFL again [Applause] whose fans love because you're singing about propitiation and Reformation and justification I think all those great things that roll off your tongue as a rap star so you have this hip-hop artist who appeals to the larger Christian evangelical audience but the second he posts a tweet about slavery and racism he is no longer the pet he is now a threat and those threats must be eliminated not allowed to be in roles of position and influence anymore because you've moved away from being the pet to being the threat the biggest threat to American society according to the media is the unidentified black male they are unidentified black male today on the north side of Chicago was caught was guilty of over liquor store I'm unidentified black male shot up a car this afternoon on the west side of Chicago an unidentified black male was involved in a gang shooting on the south side of Chicago this unidentified black male is approximately 15 to 40 years old where he's anywhere from 150 to 350 pounds is anywhere from 5 foot 7 to 6 foot 7 inches tall if you have seen such a black male you must contact the authorities immediately because he is a threat to your society he is a threat to your world and so that's why a 17 year old and a hoodie on armed with nothing but skittles and iced tea in his pocket is a threat that's why a large six foot four 300-pound unarmed 18 year old is a threat even if the person that shot him this six for five 275 pounds with a gun the the the 18 yo is still the greater threat unarmored that's why even a 12 year old boy playing a playground in Cleveland is a threat because he is simply the unidentified black male these narratives of who gets to determine who is a pet or threatened Society is part of the narrative of white supremacy what happens though when the black male gazes upon somebody else his perspective one of them for example when the black male gazes upon the white female history teaches us that Emmett Till was what happens to the black male from cases upon the white female history shows us that the black male it's been seen especially as a sexually violent threat to the white male that black male must be eliminated and dealt with as quickly as possible that's why it was not an axe we're a presidential candidate in his opening address to announce his presidency when he says Mexicans are rapists that is not cold that is explicit racism playing into this whole narrative to identify a male of color as a rapist first and foremost is clearly playing into this narrative of the gaze of the white male determines the threat of anybody and everybody else how do we see this in the way as we engage a larger narrative of ministry as was mentioned I do a lot of work in urban ministry and I began to question and ask questions about how do we view urban ministry and how is that gaze of urban ministry determined by the dominant culture rather than by those who are actually living in the city so I started looking at book covers over a long period of time and how these book covers reflect a narrative from the perspective of the dominant culture that the dominant cultures perspective determines how we view something like urban ministry so the very early stages of it is that American society Western society white society huge cities as a city set on a hill the words are John went through the words of many of the colonialists who said we're going to build a great Christian society and our urban centers are going to be that Christian society but what happens is that these urban centers start having an influx of Italian Catholics slaughtered Jews publish Jews and in Eastern Orthodox Christians because of that along with african-americans moving into urban centers the perception of the city changes from new Jerusalem's city set on hill to a secular city to much more of the unheavenly city so now the perception of the city is determined by the gaze of the white male who says these places are evil they are Babylon by choice no longer Jerusalem the chosen City there are six cities and we understand their pathology in the city home is a dirty Street is there hope for this city and this is where the narrative begins the term so now that there is a determination that the white males Ches of the city is of a dysfunctional City who needs now to save the city well it's a church that takes on trouble it's people who dare to look the cattle out there they there is an urban challenge where we can reclaim America's cities we must take our cities for God we must be sent apostles to the city we're going to be the change agents for these cities we're gonna unleash white pastors and skinny jeans into the urban settings to be an unstoppable force to do greater things in the city because greater things have yet to come greater things have yet to be done in the city yay yay yay yay they'll think would be about this narrative the narrative that centralizes the case of the white male over and against all other narratives that you have to send urban apostles from the suburbs to the city this adds into and perpetuates the narrative the mediating narrative of white supremacy it adds into and it perpetuates the social reality of a broken system that perpetuates white supremacy Revelation chapter 18 says it in this way fallen fallen is Babylon the great Babylon the Great is the secular system that has been structured and created the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of our luxury then I heard another voice saying but you've got to come out of her my people which is strange because we're his people and somehow we were in the midst of Babylon you must not for taking her sins so that you did not share in her play and the kings of the earth committed fornication and lived in luxury with her will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning and the merchants of the earth weep and mourn from her since no one buys a cargo anymore here's the truth God in His intimate in their infinite and right judgment will judge al-alam we the Christians are going to be asked though how much were you in bed with that llama how much did you prostitute yourself with Babylon the systems of the world that social narratives of the world how much did you process your self to wither to such an extent that you are now indistinguishable and known as to call you out of that corrupt and broken system how much is the church brought into prostitution with a narrative of white Empire how much is the church in America brought into the narrative of power and Empire and religious freedom and the right to appoint the right supreme court justices and the right to hang on to white supremacy how much has the Church in America has bought into that narrative of white supremacy and Babylon I would say my 81 percent of them has bought into that narrative so we're seeing then is a dysfunctional broken jacked-up narrative that instead of the church finding that narrative and saying let us now bring the Reformation that renewal the revival to a broken and messed up system we have instead bought into that system and we have actually continued to buy into that dysfunctional narrative in that sense come out of her come on over for it is a system that is destined for brokenness so how then do we do this and you offer you just a couple of things before closing chapter 15 verses 2 through 4 gives us a little bit of a snapshot of how that cultural captivity in the early church is broken Peter and Barnabas were appointed to go up to Jerusalem the true on their way and as they traveled and Phoenicia and Samaria they true how the Gentiles have been converted this news may all the believers very glad when they came to Jerusalem that were welcomed by the Church of the Apostles and elders to whom they reported everything God had done through them this is good news one of the ways we come back this captivity is to actually rejoice in the good things that God is already doing to share the good news of the church throughout the world to share the good news of the growth of the churches of the United States to share this good news and to join together in the celebration of this good news I'll give you a couple of instances one for example we celebrate that the growth of the church in America is being driven now by the immigrant church we rejoice in it and not Wafaa bring our hands over we delight in the move of God through the immigrant churches in the United States we also might think of different ways we look at the move of God throughout the world so for example I'm of a certain age where when I went to mission conferences in college in seminary we were really focusing on a particular topic of Prayer in my early years of college at seminary we're really praying for the fall of the communist bloc countries we're praying that the Iron Curtain would fall that God would allow the gospel to go into places like Russia and into China and and guess what got answered a friend got answered where they occurred and in fall the gospel did have access into these countries so then by my senior year in seminary my mission professor was in Eastern European and get this if you want to know what is the most Christian nation in the world right now in terms of the actual number of Christians you know the country is not the United States it's China China has about 30 million official Christians according to the state church numbers once you start adding the numbers that are related to the house churches and the underground churches the projection is anyone with 200 to 300 million Christians in China how many people are there in the United States 300 million it's possible that right now there are more Kris chyna the people in the united states so God answered our prayers we prayed for the gospel to go into these places and so we actually started switching our prayer life and we stopped praying for maybe the communist bloc countries but we started praying for a new people group and that people grew over the last twenty to more in five years as in the focus of our prayer life that people group has been Muslims we've been praying for creative ways to take the gospel into the Muslim world over the last 2025 years it's been the focus of our mission conferences the books that were written mission classes we were praying for God to reach the Muslim countries and the Muslim people for the last 2025 years and yes what once again God answered our prayers but in a very interesting and unique way he says actually you don't have to go to Syria or Lebanon you don't have to go to a war-torn nation where your life might be jeopardy I'm just going to send you twenty to twenty five thousand refugees from these countries and as the church love them and care for them and share their gospel [Applause] community but it was the Christians who stood at the front and says no we don't want you here so God is doing some amazing things are we going to be a part of that good work of God and I will leave one more challenge that part of what's happening in acts 15 verse 2 and 4 is the mutual learning Paul and Barnabas are not only going to places teach that are learning from these communities there is a mutuality in learning and so one way to break the cycle of white supremacy is for the whites not to be suffering all the time to have these places where that supremacy is challenged and undermined and here's one of the best ways to do that to have mentors spiritual leaders pastors professors that are of a different ethnicity than yourself a few years ago I was speaking at Wheaton College Ohio I shouldn't say that that's all a random Christian school in the Midwest this Eli division and I said to that school you have a wonderful reputation for missions given a great mission sending agency for the 20th century but now in the 21st century if you are a a right student wanting to be a missionary into the world and you've never had a non-white mentor you're not a missionary or a colonialist you're going to colonize the world with your brand of white evangelical Christianity that is not the full gospel of Jesus Christ so what you need to do is find mentors pastors professors staff who are going to mentor you cross culturally and then the other thing I said was and if your school doesn't do that you need to ask for your money back that's why I've never been asked that to speak because if you work faculty staff and administration does not reflect what America is going to look like in 2022 you're not getting your money's worth because you're getting an education that's fit for 1965 soap a 1965 tuition is that's the education that you're getting sorry but how do we then change the equation we start with earning from one another we start reading each other's books a little bit more we start putting ourselves into the submission and authority of those that are different from ourselves that is where we break this cycle of supremacy and that reform is that's really needed in the 21st century thank you very much [Applause] just before dr. rock came up to speak I said bring the preach and he did thank you very much for that profound exhortation I hope that it's been convicting to us all if you would like to learn more from dr. rod we have a book table out in the foyer with several of his books at least check that out at the end of today's session we also have a 3:30 talkback session in Denver a 150 where you can come and ask questions and have a discussion with dr. raw you'll see in your program that we have many many opportunities to continue your learning today on 23 sessions in the afternoon with cross-disciplinary input faculty staff students lots of opportunities to learn more I would encourage you to attend those they are held at one o'clock and again at two o'clock and then in the afternoon at 4:30 there will be a film screening of under the bridge which is a wonderful documentary on homelessness and tent city many of you may have heard that we will be hosting 10 city 3 again here on campus in November and so this is a great opportunity to come and learn more about tent cities and also to hear from Lori's young who's an activist that's feature did not film he will be there and there to answer questions at the end of the film screening I thank you all so much for coming I hope that you've been encouraged I don't think you've been convicted and I hope that you will take the opportunity to learn more throughout the day thank you and you're dismissed [Applause]

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