National African American Fellowship Symposium Attendees Urged to Seek First the Kingdom of God In Order to See Revival, Growth, and Racial Reconciliation

K. Marshall Williams, president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention, preached the July 22, 2014, evening sermon at the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference at Ridgecrest, N.C. Photo by Diana Chandler
K. Marshall Williams, president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention, preached the July 22, 2014, evening sermon at the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference at Ridgecrest, N.C. Photo by Diana Chandler

A challenge to holy living and “getting back to basics” highlighted the National African American Fellowship’s (NAAF) Kingdom Symposium March 4 in Atlanta.

“We’ve got to get back to the basics, living holy and clean, seeking first the Kingdom of God,” NAAF President K. Marshall Williams challenged symposium attendees from Matthew 22:36-40 “That is the catalyst and prerequisite that will usher in revival in the church and spiritual awakening in the land. Without strict adherence and obedience to the Greatest Commandment, we do not have a mission.”

Williams, longtime pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, expanded on a theme he preached at the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2014 annual meeting in Baltimore, when he called the convention to the “Greatest Commandment Revival” and encouraged them to love God and their neighbors.

About 100 NAAF members, all African American pastors of Southern Baptist congregations across the U.S., attended the symposium at New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.

Following the Greatest Commandment will speed racial reconciliation, Williams told the group.

“The issue is not about skin, it’s sin,” Williams said. “My ability to be right with you is inextricably linked with if I’m right with God.”

The NAAF board typically meets three times a year but had not coupled a symposium with a board meeting for the past several years.

“The Lord laid it on my heart to resurrect the idea of a Kingdom symposium,” said Williams, who has called for national repentance. “There has been greater intentionality [by NAAF] to speak the biblical mandate as it pertains to the issues of the day and to stand as African American Southern Baptists to call a nation to repentance and personal holiness and brokenness that the world desperately needs to see.”

Among other symposium speakers, Urban Fusion Network founder Chris McNairy addressed the issue of “The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation,” signaling the 21st century as a baseline from which to grow intercultural understanding.

“Reconciliation in a biblical perspective is neither liberal nor conservative,” McNairy said. “Reconciliation is radical as it represents the transformational work of the Godhead [Trinity].”

An inclusive Christian history that recognizes the contributions of all population segments would facilitate understanding and reconciliation, said McNairy, who advocates for better understanding among all ethnic and racial population segments, particularly those living in urban settings. When reconciliation happens, communities emerge within the Kingdom family, he said.

McNairy pointed out key steps to racial reconciliation, namely: accepting biblical teachings on love; highlighting the presence in Scripture of peoples of various races; accepting and emphasizing what the Bible has to say about racial reconciliation; and accepting and teaching the Christian historical realities of North America and the realities of current race relations.

“We came over on different ships,” McNairy said, “but we are in the same boat now.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Jim Burton

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