Race and the Evangelical Slavery Problem

Pop Quiz. First Question: Who are some of the most beloved figures of American Evangelicalism? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Hodge. Great theologians and preachers all. Second Question: Even though most African American Christians believe in a generally evangelical theology, why do so few identify with evangelicalism as a broader movement? Answer. Consider these names: Jonathan Edwards (owned at least 6 slaves), George Whitefield (slave owner, fought for legalization of slavery in Georgie, used slave labor in his orphanage, bought 20+ slaves in his lifetime), Charles Hodge (defender of the slave trade). Also, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody and Billy Graham all preached to segregated audiences even while on some level denouncing the slave trade (source: The American Evangelical Story by Doug Sweeney). In other words, history shows us that white evangelical heroes of the American past have either outright participated in slavery or at least…

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Other Cincinnati Church Plants/Planters…

Paul Peterson has compiled a list of new church plants in the Cincinnati area. To see these other churches is very exciting and I can’t wait to meet all of them. The days of territorialism and competitiveness are dead, and I’m glad for it. Churches on mission need to work together to reach their respective communities. Thanks, Paul.

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Cincinnati Metro Now Ohio’s Largest Metropolitan Region

Recent census data has revealed that the 7 county Cincinnati metro has surpassed Cleveland in terms of overall population, clocking in a 2,133,678 people. We’re getting ready to add to that number this summer. The region gained 12,550 people, compared to Cleveland’s decline of 8808. This is very exciting news for us, because growing population centers bode well for new churches as people moving into an area are in flux; churches provide stability and relationships. We have also been studying intently two areas of need in Cincinnati: the west end and more recently Mt. Auburn. From what can be gathered from zipskinny, the west end is about 80% or more African American with great concentrations of poverty. Mt. Auburn is a little more diverse, with about a 50/50 ratio of black to white and greater diversity of economic factors. Mt. Auburn is much more dense and has about 5 times…

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Cincinnati, the murderous sexpot

Today, Al Mohler summarizes a new Forbes study which ranks US cities in terms of their sinfulness. Since I plan on planting a church in the Queen City this summer, I was interested to discover two areas where Cincinnati ranks as particularly transgressive. In terms of murders, Cincinnati ranks #7, with 28.8 murders per 100,000 people. Certainly, this is no small contributing factor to the gentrification effort currently underway in Cincinnati’s most crime riddled neighborhood, Over the Rhine. In the last ten years or so, city planners have performed a major surgical strike in the downtown area by clearing out one of the country’s largest public housing projects and have replaced it with multi-income housing. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen, but that’s where I plan on living. Cincinnati is also a steaming and sizzling lust engine, ranking #8 as the most lustful. Forbes…

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What I’m Learning About Building a Racially Unified Church

I’ve had some interesting conversations lately about Christianity and racial unity. The first was a couple of months ago with a couple who have adopted a bi-racial child. They were part of a church who heavily emphasizes racial reconciliation and shows it with action. This has been a dream of mine, but honestly, until recently, it has seemed near impossible to accomplish. The typical scenario is this: (1) White church wants to be more diverse. (2) They engage in tokenism by hiring a black person to either do music or be a community pastor with emphasis in reaching black folks and trying to get them to come to the white church. (3) He fails. (4) The church abandons the endeavor while patting themselves on the back for trying.

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Racial Unity in Church Planting

Laura and I visited Cincinnati today. I was there a week ago and really sensed a leading from the Lord to seriously pursue planting a church there in the urban downtown area. I blogged about it last week. A wise friend told me recently that when you’re looking to plant a new church, you want to see some tangible evidence that God’s hand is in the project and He is working to pull things together. In light of my trip there today, here are some ways that I definitely see God working. 1. This church plant was being planned before I came along. I was fascinated to find out, while meeting the Cincinnati Baptist Association Director of Missions, that his association has determined inner-city Cincinnati as his top priority for this year. While I was thinking that I would have to come into a new city to start a new…

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Racial Unity, Arts, Mercy, College Students and Church Planting

There are several streams of ministry desires that have been in my heart for some time. Some seemed more realistic than others. For example, Laura and I have a strong passion for racial reconciliation, but this problem seems so overwhelmingly difficult that I had relegated it to the “would be nice, but…” status. Essentially, the people that I have spoken with who understand this issue well told me that it would be very difficult for a white man to address the complex issues of black America with any degree of credibility.

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Cocky, Obnoxious Jerks Make Great Church Planters

To what extent is the calling of a church planter connected to personality? I recently attended an Acts 29 boot camp that also included an assessing process. This process included two personality profile tests, several questionnaires regarding doctrine and personal history, and 3 references. After the boot camp, Laura and I spent two hours in a dimly lit room in an abandoned warehouse filled with Gestapo types who asked us about our personal lives, ministry experience and whether or not we knew a certain “Morpheus.” Most importantly, they were interested in discerning a definite sense of calling. What I found quite interesting in all of this was the notion that certain personality types make better church planters. The bar-fighting hothead who was a cheerleader dating running back in high school seems to be a good fit for church planting because these guys score high on qualities of entrepreneurship. This was…

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I Got My Money’s Worth

The Acts 29 boot camp gave me what I paid for. I went there hoping to be told about (1) Me and (2) my aim to plant a church in Cincinnati. God used them to provide me with both.

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Driscoll and Stetzer on Church Planting Partners

The Acts 29 Boot Camp in Raleigh concluded this afternoon with a great Q and A session from Stetzer and Driscoll. They were off the cuff and unscripted, and clearly these guys have a Bert and Ernie love for each other. Stetzer would be a great guy to have your back in a church plant or a bar fight. This guy is a beast. Though they don’t agree on everything, there is clearly a love and mutual respect. Thankfully, they answered the question I submitted regarding planting churches as a team. Although A29 is committed to the leadership of elders in a church as opposed to the senior pastor as CEO model, they also recommend a single church planting “lead pastor” rather than a team of several lead pastors.

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