Jemar Tisby’s New Book and People Who Read The Gospel Coalition’s Twitter Feed

tisbyJemar Tisby‘s much-awaited book The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism is now available.  Jemar is a graduate student in American history at the University of Mississippi and an African-American evangelical in the Reformed tradition who over the last several years has become an important voice in the evangelical community.

I am looking forward to reading Jemar’s book and perhaps reviewing it here, but in the meantime I recommend historian Daniel Williams‘s review at The Gospel Coalition.  Here is a taste:

Tisby claims that the black exodus from white churches in the last two years is principally a reaction to white evangelicals’ support for Donald Trump, so any attempt at racial reconciliation in the church must address white evangelicals’ political choices. Citing religious sociologist Michael Emerson’s view that Trump’s election was “the single most harmful event to the whole movement of reconciliation [in evangelical churches] in at least the past 30 years,” Tisby argues that white evangelicals bear responsibility for the racial polarization that ensued when they cast their ballots for Trump—regardless of their reasons for doing so. Furthermore, he says that white evangelical repentance from racial sins should include specific steps to remove the political symbols of white supremacy, starting with Confederate monuments.

How should white evangelicals react to this indictment? If Tisby and other Christians point out ways in which the president’s actions or rhetoric have hurt racial minorities, white Christians shouldn’t hesitate to join their brothers and sisters in condemning these sins and advocating for justice—even if they voted for President Trump. To pretend that any politician or political party is above criticism is theologically dangerous.

Finally, Tisby claims that Christians who insist they can simply preach the gospel without talking about systemic racism are complicit in racial injustice. Is this correct? This may sound, on the surface, as though Tisby is doubting the gospel’s power to change lives, but it actually accords with historic Reformed theology. Reformed Christians who believe in the “third use of the law” have insisted for five centuries that Christians need to hear the law of God to grow in sanctification. A simple proclamation of a narrowly defined version of the gospel, without application of God’s moral law, is unlikely to correct spiritual blindness and sins. Biblical teaching on God’s call for justice in social relationships and on specific ways in which whites can love their neighbors of another race is required. And when white Christians see ways in which their own church traditions’ records on race are laced with sin, they should admit the wrong and seek justice and racial reconciliation.

Read the entire review here.

Not everyone, however, seems happy that The Gospel Coalition chose to feature a review of Tisby’s book.  Check out some of these tweets:

I know that The Gospel Coalition can’t control what happens on Twitter, but those of us who are not connected to TGC would like to know if these tweets are representative of this organization.  At the very least, these tweets reveal there are still many, many conservative evangelicals who have not come to grips with systemic racism.

ADDENDUM (10:15AM–January 24, 2018):  And the hits keep coming!

These tweets explain a great deal about conservative white evangelical support for Donald Trump.  I wish I had them when I was writing Believe Me.

14 thoughts on “Jemar Tisby’s New Book and People Who Read The Gospel Coalition’s Twitter Feed

  1. Well, Marx would probably have divided you into bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie, proletariat and lumpenproletariat, but of course that’s not what you meant. By ‘Marx’, you simply mean “stuff which makes me angry and that I associate with an out-group”.


  2. I know that I am late to this party, but I would say that these tweets, as a whole, are not representative of TGC, certainly not it’s leadership.

    As a TGC adjacent Evangelical, I feel pretty comfortable in saying that.

    I think that this speaks to a greater divide in Evangelicalism. There is a generational divide that I think is on display here, but also a divide between the pulpit and the pew. I think that TGC, for the most part, represents the Pulpit position, even as they strive to reach the Pew.

    People like Jeffress, Graham, and Falwell notwithstanding, I think that the majority of Evangelical leadership is Trump skeptical. But most of those leaders, with the exception of Russ Moore, aren’t asked on the news shows.

    I say this as a pastor: the number one problem that we have in the Church right now is that the people in our pews are being discipled and (mal)formed by mass media and not the Church. There is only so much I can do with a 30-minute sermon and an hour bible study on Wednesday when people are spending tens of hours every week ingesting Fox News, or MSNBC, or Twitter, or Netflix, or whatever.

    Also, I can’t wait to read Jemar’s book. His online writing and podcast have been great thought partners.


  3. Alex,
    I was hoping you would answer my question about Matt. 24 and 25 in context.

    Nobody on these pages wants to ignore those in need of physical help, but how would you apply your approach? There are thousands of needs in the lives of people. Which group gets priority according to your model?


  4. Yep…read the book. Was on the book launch team. So glad I cut the Fox news feeds and went back to scripture…missions conferences….deeper faith lived out (though I’ve been called …lets see – Anti-American, Traitor, Left-leaning, Socialist).

    Off topic but related….
    I also know a Christian pastor that got last year 260+ emails either with hate or threats since he ministers to immigrants. He’s a naturalized citizen. But many start out “Hey wetback/beaner…go back to _____”. I wonder how many go by a pastors desk to check if its Christlike to send that out…and in my 40 years since following Christ …immigration and race were the only time I had to go to my pastor to check…is it safe in my church for ALL my family…and that only recently.

    One of my first bible studies was by a guy that to study some of Corrie Ten Boom letters you have to get his families permission (she died near where I lived…Placentia, CA). She when to prison for hidding people that become —illegal….inhuman.

    Note to John – Dr Ron Reitvald was a US History prof at CSUF – a Lincoln expert and went to my church in SoCal. He taught on James (for a new Christian like I was…(ouch*).

    Seen the ‘water I swim in’- yep its polluted…called sin.
    Almost done with Johns book “Was America founded”…next read…we’ll see (list is a long one).


  5. Alex,
    Are you aware of the eschatological meaning of the verses you quoted in Matthew 24? Have you ever looked at them in context?


  6. Absolutely right, Ed T.! Imagine the blessings poor people (black and white) would know if only they weren’t burdened with counterporductive programs such as Medicaid or SNAP, eg. No more inconvenient doctors visits! No more lugging groceries home to the children! Truly, America would be great again!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The hilarious thing is, at least one of those tweeters is black. Keep dividing us up according to Marx’s worldview. Christ will have the last word, dear deceived ones.


  8. These tweets sound a lot like what the goats are going to say.

    41“Then He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    Yeah, I’ll get right on that

    Matthew 25:41-46 + Dudley Walden (@KYWrangler) January 24, 2019


  9. From the review: Even though blacks collectively have only 3 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the black unemployment rate is consistently nearly twice as high as the unemployment rate for whites, many white evangelical Christians are more concerned about “reverse discrimination” against whites than about structural racism against blacks.
    What do you call it when 50 years of Big Government policies fail? “Structural racism”. The welfare state and the “war on poverty” and a host of other “progressive” policies haven’t been to kind to black Americans. Yet so many fail to believe that politicians are impotent to overrule basic laws of economics with their good intentions.

    Some things – and probably more than most would like to admit – that are being called “systemic” or “structural” issues are nothing more than consequences from misguided policies suffered by a disparate portion of the population. Others are cultural and duplicated in societies around the world both today and in centuries past.

    Unfortunately, current political rhetoric doesn’t allow for an honest discussion of such topics.


  10. Funny thing is, is that Tisby anticipated almost every critique that is listed here, wrote about then in his first chapter, and correctly noted that they’re the same critiques used to justify the compromise that he’s writing about.


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