Prejudice and the People of God

I just read a book review on another blog that I read everyday.  I have not purchased the book yet but will be ordering it today from Amazon.  I like SharperIron quite a bit though do confess that I do not always agree with everything but then I do not agree with myself after a day or two sometimes and so that isn’t much of a qualifying statement.  I wanted to give you the first couple of paragraphs to get you interested and then let you click over to their blog and read the rest.  I do want Vision Baptist Church to be a church for all people.  I do find it very hypocritical to have a church with a world vision and a desire to reach all the world and all peoples that is afraid to have them in the church with them.  I find it quite wicked to desire to send a missionary to a black man in Africa and yet not cross the street to win the black man on the other side of the street.  So far God has given our church a tremendous attitude it seems.  I do not mean that it couldn’t get better because I am sure that there is always room for improvement but we are reaching out to one and all and loving it.  Read the following and let me know what you think at church the next time we see each other:

According to at least one disgruntled vandal, I reside in the “MOST CORRUPT AND PREJUDICE CITY IN THE USA.” If this marquee at an abandoned theater tells the truth, Rockford seems to be an unlikely spot for a racially and culturally diverse congregation.

Whether it’s hung out on theater marquees or hiding just under our own upturned noses, the reality is no less real. With very few exceptions, churches today are segregated, and, contrary to what we biblical separatists would wish to believe, the lines of division are not always doctrinal, but racial and cultural. Corporate fellowship with “other” races and cultures is an exception rather than the rule. When we do accumulate a few minorities in our congregations or institutions, they’re treated almost as celebrities—poster children—walking proof that “no, we’re not!” Aren’t we?

I do not know much about A. Charles Ware, which is slightly appalling, since I grew up in his neck of Indiana. That I’d barely heard of him prior to reading his book makes me wonder just how “outside” of “our” circles he is—and what I’ve learned of him since makes me wonder just why.

Dr. Ware is senior pastor of Crossroads Bible Church and president of Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, Indiana. He founded Bethel Bible Christian School and co-founded a racial reconciliation organization called Voice of Biblical Reconciliation. He was graduated with B.R.E., M.Div., and D.D. degrees from Baptist Bible College (Clarks Summit, PA), Capital Bible Seminary (Lanham, MD), and Baptist Bible Seminary (Clarks Summit, PA). He has worked with Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis; he was a speaker for a nouthetic counseling ministry conference, and he is a board member of ABWE missions.

Dr. Ware is also black. He has written a book titled Prejudice and the People of God. I have two policies when it comes to books: 1. I never bash a book I haven’t read. Ok, well, almost never. Rarely. I imagine the unread books I’ve bashed are books you have bashed a priori, too. (The old “you don’t have to try drugs to know they’re bad” theory.)

2. I always judge a book by its cover. In the visual marketing sense, I certainly plead guilty to prejudice. For this book, there is another cover out there, but I prefer this one.

After reading Prejudice and the People of God last weekend, I think that the primary thing I don’t appreciate about Dr. Ware is his directing his church’s Katrina relief to the Salvation Army rather than to Global Grace.

The man loves the Bible. His perspective on the sin of racism is informed primarily by his saturation in the Word and honed by his preeminent allegiance to the God of the Word. It is because he esteems the fundamentals of the faith so highly that he promotes racial reconciliation among believers so persistently. He does not use the platform of this book merely as a soapbox for his social agenda. He showcases the Gospel and springboards from it to gives us a glimpse of how the people of God could and should love if the Gospel is to be lived out and if God is to be glorified in His Church (”glorified” in word, but also in deed and truth).

Dr. Ware’s book is balanced. For the first half of Prejudice and the People of God, I deliberately avoided finding out whether Dr. Ware is black or white, and it was not hard to stay in the dark. Preferences or a leaning favoritism were not blatant in his writing, and there was little if any evident reference to his own skin color until nearly the end of the book. He is truly a gentleman and a scholar.

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