“This is not a Gospel issue.”

“The Bible’s only reference to a multiethnic church is in Revelation 7.”

“The Church is pushing social agendas. Social Justice is not a biblical issue.”

“Let’s just focus on the Bible.”

“The Church isn’t about who feels welcome, but about uplifting the name of Jesus.”

Just a handful of phrases that I have heard over the years from brothers and sisters in the Lord who greatly disagreed with me and the church over topics of racial injustice.

In Faithful Anti-Racism: Moving Past Talk to Systemic Change, Chad Brennan and Dr. Christina Edmondson work to help readers “grow in your wisdom in regards to racial dynamics,” as well as, equip them to “rely on God’s power and leading” in working towards antiracism.

Dr. Edmondson is a Certified Cultural Intelligence facilitator, mental health therapist, and brings her expertise as a consultant in ethics, equity, and Christian leadership development to her podcast. Brennan is a coordinator of the Race, Religion, and Justice Project, and founder of Renew Partnerships. His ministry focuses on diversity and race in faith-based organizations. With these strong backgrounds, the two have worked hard to create a clear, practical, and important word for followers of Christ.

From applying the Bible and understanding our past to not relying on a magic fix to racism, each chapter equips the reader with practical steps.

Through Scripture, research, input from leading experts, Edmondson and Brennan use each chapter to describe a quality of a ‘Faithful Antiracist’. A validating and eye-opening part of each chapter for myself included common dialogue heard regarding these topics. For those who are skeptical of the biblical basis of these arguments, Edmondson and Brennan discuss comments about colorblindness, the Bible passage saying “there is no Jew or Greek,” and the origins of social justice–many examples are used to shed light on various views and then used Scripture and research to bring truth to each of them.

I read my Bible every day – why do I need another book to tell me how to love others?

Edmondson and Brennan note that Christians have less accurate racial views and are often less motivated to address racial injustice.” This may not surprise us. Polarizing views of COVID-19 have split the Church; why wouldn’t the disease of racial injustice do the same? This also does not surprise me as a person of color who has heard many comments about the inappropriate place of race dynamics in the Church and the Gospel. As I read, I was called to reflect on my own prejudices and racist thinking, and I thought of a lot of experiences I had with racism in the Church. From applying the Bible and understanding our past to not relying on a magic fix to racism, each chapter equips the reader with practical steps.

Each chapter contains additional resources–including research, videos, and interviews–and wraps up with discussion questions and a recommended prayer. Strong effort is made towards keeping this book as concise as possible to make it an accessible read for all people, but it also supplies you with plenty of other options for further study.

One aspect of this book that may be a bit different than others on antiracism is the research-based assessment tools based on the Bible and leading experts through the Racial Justice and Unity Center, a partnership formed from Brennan’s Renew Partnerships. These helpful tools provide personal and organizational assessments that give effective measurements towards progress, making it an excellent resource for individuals, churches, and faith-based organizations.

But I’m not a racist…

As sin has entered all of us, we must acknowledge that we have something to do regarding racial injustice and how to work from perpetuating it further. Former thoughts can be challenged through the truth of Scripture and truth of the content in this book to acknowledge it. Regardless of where you are on your journey towards antiracism, we must carry the burdens of one another. Brennan and Edmondson explain that “supernatural love for others” should drive these efforts.

Who needs to read this?

Everyone. We won’t reach full progress on this side of eternity, but we can equip ourselves, “compare our life to Scripture, rely on the power and leading of the Holy Spirit, and surround ourselves with Christians who can provide encouragement and accountability.” This is a book all who call themselves followers of Christ need to read - whether you are a white Evangelical or not.

Rachel C. Varghese is a teacher, writer, and homeschooling mom who supports the Better Samaritan as Communications Associate. With her past ministry and church staff experience, Rachel is passionate about learning, living out, and equipping others with the Word in all aspects of life.