Saturday, June 20, 2015

Anthony Bradley ― Why Did It Take 50 Years For Calvinists To Care About Race?

Anthony B. Bradley is professor of theology at the King's College in New York City. He is also a research fellow for The Acton Institute.

"The Civil-Rights Movement in America lasted from roughly 1955 to 1968 (with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968). That was half a century ago. In what many people would call “remarkable,” 2015 may go down in the annals of American church history as the year that conservative, Calvinist Baptists and conservative Presbyterians decided that racism is a real problem that needs the attention of the church. Why did it take so long?

In the 1950s and 1960s, if you were a white Christian burdened by the racial injustice of America’s past conservative Baptists and Presbyterians during that time would have likely labelled you “a liberal” and relegated the issues of racial justice to the category of “social issues” and not “gospel issues.”

In a capstone of disconnected discussions over the past few years, in 2015 the Calvinistic Baptist community decided to end the moratorium on racial issues as a merely social issue through a series of conversations, conferences, and articles. As I’ve said before, The Southern Baptist Convention, without question, is the leading conservative evangelical denomination in the America on confessing past racism, being completely honest about being on the wrong side of racial oppression, and taking strides toward racial reconciliation (and led by very visible leaders like Russell Moore). For example, Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition initiated, led, and directed a conversation about the response of evangelicals to the Civil-Rights Movement. The entire series was highly instructive and I was honored that Justin Taylor even thought my question was worth investigating. In a follow-up discussion, Russell Moore and Matt Hall had a courageously public and transparent conversation about the failings of Southern Baptists and posted it on social media–an unprecedented move for two white males, in my experience, with high levels of credibility within conservative evangelicalism."

Read more: