Jeff Warren is pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church in North Dallas. Bryan Carter is pastor of Concord Church in South Dallas. Both congregations are large, and both pastors are excellent communicators. The surface similarities end there.
“Let me just tell you straight up—we are white; we are white,” Warren said as the two men began their joint session on the gospel and racial reconciliation at Movement Day Greater Dallas. “We seek to be less white than we are, but yeah.”
More than 2,500 people attended the second-year event, representing a diverse cultural and ethnic constituency of Christian leadership from business, education, health care, nonprofit organizations, government and churches. The goal of the gathering is to transform the city through the cooperative efforts of God’s people.
“His church is white; my church is black,” Carter added. “We are here to talk about: How do we bridge the gaps? How do we make Dallas greater by connecting and not allowing our races to separate us?”
Responses to ‘Black Lives Matter’
Following the turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., and the death of Eric Garner in New York City, Warren said, he began to write about race and used the hashtag #blacklivesmatter.
“I did so knowing, frankly, how some white folk would respond—but a preacher’s got to preach. And sure enough, I waited, and in came the response: ‘All lives matter.’ Missing the point altogether. If you’re sitting there thinking, ‘What’s the point?’ you’re probably white,” Warren said.
“White people don’t understand what it is to live in a culture—in a nation—where you believe, and it may be the case, that some people might think your race does not matter. White people don’t understand this,” he said.
Previous speakers noted Dallas is home to some of the largest populations of both affluent and poor people. Following up, Warren said: “Dallas is the tale of two cities. But we believe the gospel is the answer, and the church is the vehicle through which racial reconciliation will come.”
That will only happen after a time of introspection and confession, he said.
“We must come before God Almighty, because he knows our hearts, and come before each other and admit we are all wrong. We’re all wrong. The problem is what the Bible calls sin.
“We’ve got to recognize that I’m a sinner in need of rescue—I am the problem,” Warren said.
Several key principles allow racial reconciliation to become a reality, Carter said.
For racial reconciliation to occur, it must be intentional, he said.
“The truth of the matter is that we are all sinful, and we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we are divided racially, economically, culturally, socially and geographically. It is the gospel that becomes that central point of reconciliation,” Carter said.
“Reconciliation” comes from a Greek word that means to undergo a change for the better, he noted. “The idea behind this word is to put something down to pick up something better. It is to put down prejudices; it is to put down indifference; it is to put down unforgiveness; it is to put down a grievance in order to exchange it for oneness and togetherness.
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SOURCE: The Baptist Standard