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The Role of the Church in Bridging Racial Divide

Before he was a civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King was a pastor. One who believed that bringing an end to discrimination and segregation must start with the church.

But today, 50 years after Dr. King’s untimely death, it seems little has changed.

Evangelist and author John Gray is the new pastor of Redemption Church in Greenville, SC – a church known for its racial and cultural diversity.

“We as the church need to be at the forefront of what Dr. King was saying.  Dr. King was not a civil rights leader first.  He was a pastor who was a Christian who utilized Biblical foundational truths as an impetus for social change,” says Pastor Gray.  “This is why he was a revolutionary.   Let us not minimize him the civil rights.  He was a Christian man, and he fought because of what he saw in the word.  And that, to me, is the power of the church.  If we could ever grab that the principles of the word give every individual we'll ever see equal value.”

Pastor Gray says before the church can change the world, it must first change from within.

“People don't want to hear about Jesus from us.  Because they see the infighting and the insecurity and the judgment,” Pastor Gray says.  “But how do you begin in a church where many evangelicals see Jesus one way and then there are others from different race that see Jesus another way.  It looks like we have two different cultures and two different Jesus's.”

He believes changing those perceptions, starts in the pulpit.

“Pastors need to roll up their sleeves, stop wearing robes, show me your scars.  Show me where you failed. Show me where the blood saved you.  Show me where the cross found you so now I understand that there's grace for me,” says Pastor Gray.  “If we keep screaming hell and condemnation first and works, as opposed to grace and the blood, then we are going to lose a generation.  Again, it has to start in the church.

The reality is this, until the church reconciles that they have tried to mask Jesus behind their prejudices, we're never going to heal.”

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