Ur Video: Dever & Wallis on Justice and the Gospel (Part 1)
Is racial reconciliation part of the church's mission or a distraction?

The summer issue of Leadership features an interview with Mark Dever and Jim Wallis about the role justice ought to have in our gospel ministry. Over the coming weeks we'll be posting video segments of the interview hosted by Leadership's managing editor, Skye Jethani. In part 1, Dever and Wallis focus on whether or not tackling racism is part of the church's call or a distraction from its core mission.

We want to hear your reaction. Which perspective do you believe aligns best with Scripture and the church's mission? Stay tuned for more video from the interview in the days ahead.

July 28, 2010

Displaying 1–7 of 7 comments


August 02, 2010  11:17pm

Would the Romans consider themselves threatened by the 'racism' of the Jews or any other conquered nation? The idea that the 15% of our nation that are black people, having withstood hundreds of years of slavery and torture, are somehow now a threat to white people is laughable. Calls against black racism are really protests against justice. When black people have hung, burned and tortured thousands of white people for the crime of being white, then you will have a case. If I were black, I'd probably hate white people for what they had done to my race, and for what they continue to do.

Report Abuse


July 30, 2010  11:38am

I Think Dever was going by talking points he thought of in advance and Wallis was just babbling bringing in one or a few experiences and steryotyping the entire american church scene as thinking his background is normative- though it is not sure what he wanted to say because it was a kind of long ramble. I think Wallis's confusion is that theologically he identifies the church has a group of individuals as opposed to Dever who has a much more collective mindset where the Church has a specific mission, and other stuff (i.e. the implications of the Gospel) are to be done usually as christians as a part of living in the world as Christians. Not all us of have the same call of God and we all have different passions God has given to us and they are all important.

Report Abuse


July 30, 2010  4:05am

Jason, How welcome is a frank discussion of race, especially as it relates to our understanding of God's desire that we practice Justice and Mercy. Because most of us fear the discussion and avoid it, mincing our words and stepping carefully lest we are condemned by those who hew to the new and officially sanctioned paradigms. Bearing in mind the values of humility and goodwill I should like to respond to you briefly. Whites of course discriminate often in order to help fellow ethnics, but this is a strictly non-institutionalized bias, in fact illegal almost everywhere, and of course favoritism is practiced by all ethnic groups, which is stunningly obvious. The reasons why are many, ethnic solidarity in the face of oppressive attitudes and policies of competing groups, a 'comfortableness' in surrounding oneself with others who share a common culture, background, language, etc. Whites are as subject to discrimination in education opportunities and hiring as anyone else, depending on who does the selecting and hiring, and not only that - this discrimination in often legally sanctioned and enforced by 'affirmative action' laws and dictates, and we all know that police, Courts, prisons and GUNS back up laws. I ask you where is God's Mercy and Justice in that? Racism is not a strictly white affair, but rather universal. You say 'we' have the power. Perhaps you are alluding to 'white privilege'. This 'privilege' should properly be considered a 'class privilege' not available to all whites. My mother for instance, a white, chopped cotton when young and worked as a waitress for many years. Some 'white privilege'. And as far as whites being a majority - in 1900 we are told that whites were 33% of humanity, now comprising 16%, with a projected percentage of 3% in the year 2100. Not quite the majority. There are no 'white countries' per se, and those considered to be face the common threat of unchecked immigration. But finally, and most important, what IS a Godly response to this? I recall the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves. And yes, that is what we must do. But where is the Justice in letting our homes be invaded, our livelihoods be taken from us, our rights trampled? Is it God's will that New England, for example, become another Haiti or El Salvador? Now it's easy enough to say "I will give all", but should you give also your childrens all, or your neighbors all? In loving our neighbor we must not hate our destroy others. And should the Church take sides in what is a worldly, political struggle? Is that not aligning the Church with the 'powers of air'? May God have mercy on us, sinners all.

Report Abuse

Casey Taylor

July 29, 2010  9:41pm

That was probably one of the more helpful videos Ur has posted because it was longer and more contextualized.

Report Abuse

Jason Dye

July 29, 2010  12:26pm

Steven, You seem to have a problem with 'anti-racists' and call them (us?) self-loathing and/or hateful. Rather, I suggest, that anti-racists are trying to bring about a conversation about racism as it is actually practiced in the American system. (fwiw, I am a 3rd generation US citizen who's ancestors come from western and northern Europe and Puerto Rico) "White names receive 50 percent more callbacks for interviews. We also find that race affects the benefits of a better resume. For White names, a higher quality resume elicits 30 percent more callbacks whereas for African Americans, it elicits a far smaller increase." http://www.nber.org/papers/w9873 "These outcomes suggest that blacks are only slightly more than half as likely to receive consideration by employers relative to equally qualified white applicants... Most commonly, however, stereotyping and discrimination remain invisible to the job applicant. In fact, despite certain fairly striking examples of racial dynamics in testers' interactions with employers, the vast majority of disparate treatment occurred with little or no signs of trouble." http://www.princeton.edu/~pager/race_at_work.pdf I could go on forever, really. But the fact is, as far as it concerns education (or really, the lack of), incarceration and the criminal system, gentrification (which I witness as a systemic ethnic cleansing) and now heightened anti-immigrant fervor (another turn for ethnic cleansing), combined with deliberate smearing of vaunted figures such as Shirley Sherrod and Rep. John Lewis make me stand up and notice that we live in a world that is not free, that gives favor to whites - specifically if one is male and middle class. It may seem like whites are being targeted. No. Not at all. We're the majority. We have the power, whether or not we choose to acknowledge that. I would rather choose to fight oppression, to side with Jesus on behalf of the widows and orphans, imprisoned, foreigners, disabled and sick. To do otherwise is to side *against* Jesus and for the rulers and powers and principalities of the air.

Report Abuse


July 29, 2010  3:44am

Race is a fact, and racism is two-edged. Many 'anti-racists' are motivated by vengeful hatred or (in the case of whites) self-loathing. Please address the very real concerns of anti-white discrimination in education and employment opportunities, anti-white hate crimes, massive immigration and 'ethnic cleansing' of whites from entire neighborhoods and communities through violence and intimidation, as well as concomitant job losses (in construction trades for example). When 'anti-racists' are as concerned with white suffering as well as with the problems of peoples of color then I will find their arguments and complaints more credible.

Report Abuse

Steve G

July 29, 2010  12:36am

We really need the next part, because Mark did not really answer the question (though I think his short answer is the church shouldn't be involved). Throughout history it has been Christians who champion the rights of the downtrodden and ended up changing the culture they lived within, as Jim talked about (it started with an individual, cf John Wesley's ministry to those who weren't "religious enough" for the church in his day). While not every church will follow a specific lead or issue, I believe God WILL call some individuals and some ministries to deal with specific issues (ie, racism) in ways that go far beyond the church. I also believe that more often than not we are called as individuals to step up in our areas of influence and make a difference outside of the church. It is called chivalry, and a part of living a life of integrity. Especially in affluent North America - if we are just focusing ministry on ourselves (in the church) we are not living out the ministry of making disciples, of teaching men who will be able to teach others. Also, our ministry is to proclaim the kingdom of God as Jesus did - part of that message is certainly justice.

Report Abuse