Friday, July 06, 2007

Mythbuster #2

Here is myth #2: There can be diversity without mutual submission. The recent Supreme Court decision concerning the use of ethnicity in seeking diversity in public schools has sparked much discussion and provided much fodder for internet blogs. Most of my evangelical reformed brothers and sisters are applauding this decision because it perhaps puts another nail in the coffin of affirmative action. Well, I am not sure if affirmative action should be buried or not. However, I am sure that unless my brothers and sisters of European descent learn the action of submission to their brothers and sisters of African descent, ethnic diversity in the American church is but a pipe dream, a myth of substantial proportions.
Most of my white evangelical and reformed brothers and sisters are speaking quite positively and eloquently on racial diversity. For this, I commend them. However, until we see white men and women doing what black men and women have longed learned to do(namely sitting under and being submissive to the teaching and authority of those who are not ethnically like them), we will not see real diversity.
Most of the diversity we presently see is black men and women going to where white people are. Even when predominantly white churches call a black man to be the pastor, it is black people going to where white people are most comfortable. Real diversity will happen when we see white people regularly and joyfully going to where black men preach and teach. We will see real diversity when white people learn to submit to the minority culture as black people have had to submit to the majority culture. Paul says in Ephesians 5:17-21 that one of the evidences of being filled with the Spirit is "submitting to one another in the fear of God."
Mutual submission is an undeniable evidence of the working of the Spirit. It is particularly evident when the majority learn the worth and joy of submitting to the minority. It demonstrates that these are they who fear God more than men. Where there is no mutual submission, there is no real fear of God. Where there is no real fear of God, there will be no real diversity. To think otherwise is a myth. I pray the church of Jesus Christ would learn mutual submission and bury once and for all the myth of any serious diversity without it.

16 comments:

K. Elijah Layfield said...

Remember my analogy of a ministry that is a kamikaze attack on racism? I think, from my standpoint, the explosion is the blowing up of any conceived notion of ministry other than servanthood. I'm learning that to labor for racial harmony will cost me a ministry in this sense: Any desire for a ministry in which I'm up front is destroyed, and in its place is a ministry to serve the greater cause of Christ. You're right to spotlight submission. If we care for our brothers and sisters, and genuinely seek their good, our role is support. We haven't done a good job of that. Let's have our hands be about the harmony that our head and hearts long for.

GUNNY said...

Your words, sir, are harsh, but I think in the realm of brutal truth/honesty. I thank you for sharing them.

It's one thing to have a minority "on your team," but another to have a minority (or really someone ethnically different) as the coach of the team you are on.

Of course, it still sickens my stomach that the church drags its feet instead of leading the way with regard to desegregation, but I appreciate at least that people are more open to discussing such things.

Sadly, just as rare as a pastor "being called" to a smaller church in a declining area is a pastor "being called" to servanthood and true submission in obedience to Christ and for His glory.

I pray it will get better in my lifetime and will also labor to that end.

LouLove said...

Brother Carter:

We have had these conversations over the phone, over dinner, at midnight conference snacks, in Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago, Canada, and we will touch on this subject again I'm sure in Miami (Lord willing).

Surely we are not the only ones with insight on this subject; surely we are not the only ones that have discernment regarding this great divide.

Now, having said that, let me ask you a question. When will the Sproul's, Dever's, Duncan's, Piper's, the RTS', Westminster's, Covenant's, the Ligonier's, ACE's, T4G's, the Crossway's, Multnomah's, the P&R's, the PCA's, the SBC's, the BGC's, and everybody else’s of our day wake up and "smell what you are stepping in"?

Maybe we should have a conference called Together for Mutual Submission (T4MS) or something? Surely if we can join hands (for the sake of the gospel) with Arminians, we can join hands and resources for the Biblical admonishment of mutual submission for the cause of the gospel.

I hear you my brother, I sho will be glad when I hear others speaking and writing on this who do not write from our perceived vantage point.

I don't want to take my leave from this post without making a suggestion or two as to how this myth can be attacked.

Here is how it can look.

Capital Hill encourages about 10-15 families to pull up stakes and move to Atlanta and join like any other prospective members Southwest, or how about this. Bethlehem sends 20-30 families to move to Chicago and join New Life Fellowship Church without any pre-conceived notions of i.e. we are coming here as missionaries to help this little Black Church that does not know what it is doing, we are gonna do a lot of good for this little Church, eventually we will make this a little Black Bethlehem.
Okay, I know I'm tripping, but since we are on this trip, check this out.

What about the line up for the next T4G's conference in 2010 consisting only of names like: Carter, Jones, Redmond, Anyabwile, Burns, Lewis, and Andrews.

If they did that would all those attendees who are interested in crossing a lot of barriers for the sake of gospel be as willing to cross the submission barrier? And check this, nobody's talking about leading the T4G, just coming for a few days to be fed from the Scriptures by guys who don't look like you, we do it most of the time.

Okay, okay, that was really over the top, let's make this thing rather easy for some of your readers who attend conferences. Since we know that what I just crazily suggested probably will never happen or should even need to happen, just make it your business next year or start this year in November and come to the Miami Conference or next year attend the New Life Conference in Chicago. Come, sit, listen, learn, be blessed, enjoy good fellowship, loud talking, hard preaching (the "but God" of Thabiti), and go home and tell all of your friends and even vow to pay for them to attend with you. Blog about it, write about it, buy the CD's and send them out, make sure all of your friends and relatives think that they have missed the time of their lives because they were not there.


Now this is not that crazy, because Carter, this is exactly what you did and continue to do all the time. This is how you sparked my interest in the Ligonier Conference.

"However, until we see white men and women doing what black men and women have longed learned to do (namely sitting under and being submissive to the teaching and authority of those who are not ethnically like them), we will not see real diversity."

What a powerful statement of truth, it puts reality into all of the talk these days regarding racial harmony. It's not the only thing that needs to be done; it is certainly the primary thing that needs to be done.

I have rattled on, forgive me, thanks for the healthy post.

ajcarter said...

Whew! Well, Pastor Love, why don't you tell us what you really think. Please forgive me for getting your dander up. I will have to remember your blood pressure the next time I decide to post :).

Nevertheless, thanks for your straight to the point comments. As you know, blogs are not the best place for meaningful discussions. So you are right, we will need to discuss this matter further when have opportunity to get together.

Love ya, friend.

BTW
Why don't you start your own blog instead of taking over mine?

ajcarter said...

Elijah,

I do believe your hands are seeking to be where your head and heart are. Will you be in Miami for the Pastor's Conference? I would love to get some more time with you.

Blessings

Pastor Lance said...

yo Carter, i know you live in atlanta so i have to ask: have you been hangin with Hank Aaron cause your hammerin it my brother!!!

not to mention brother 'tough love' Louis' faithful and precise comments!

tony's right, blogs aren't the best place to have an important discussion like this. unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll be asked to have it anywhere else.

sad but all too true.

peace
lance

K. Elijah Layfield said...

Tony,

Money is going to be a little too tight to make the trip to Miami in November. But Scotty and I have been talking about taking a trip to see you as soon as possible.

Chris Davis said...

Brother Tony,

I am a grateful, faithful reader of your blog. I live in Phoenix and am planning to make it to the Miami Conference unless you know of any similar opportunities closer to my neck of the woods.

Any ideas?

Pacem,

Chris Davis
chris@wabconline.org

Anonymous said...

Anthony (and Lou),

Amen ...

Tonight I was sat under the Word from a Indian Pastor, where everything was translated into Punjabi ... among Africans, Caribbeans, South East Asians, children of mixed parentage (I think you say bi racial) and even a few Europeans ... there were people converted from Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism and praise God I spoke to a gang affiliate, persuaded to come by his mother who sat there and heard the word....

What was best is that it was everyone in together, which is very unusual in our city.

An oasis and a taste of what heaven will be like ... in a land where I can count the no of Black (and Asian) reformed pastors by using a few fingers.

Believe it or not, I even emailed a fairly large conference in the UK, suggesting names of speakers from CRC and some of Asian brothers from here, but am still waiting on the reply.

Colin Thomas

TJ said...

Pastor Carter
I am very curious as to what you believe the key elements would be in planting a multi-ethnic congregation. Maybe you could blog on that.

TJ

Anonymous said...

I say "Amen" to what you have written. Yet, how much effort do we (African American conservative Christians) spend striving for true diversity in light of the great need to reach the African American community? So we get more African American speakers at the "elite" Bible conferences or we get families from Bethlehem or Capitol to join biblically oriented black churches --- does that help or hurt in the goal to reach the African American community? I fear that the more we strive to be "acceptable" to our white conservative Christian brothers and sisters, then the greater the disconnect from the community that many of us say we are interested in reaching.

Rodney said...

FYI
Tony Evans has also made this observation for many years.
Thanks provocative words.
-
I also think that if we want racial diversity we should be able to have fellowship with churches in other communities regularly, not once or twice a year.

ajcarter said...

I do believe the issue is not so much conferences that are reflective of the diversity we seek. That would be good, but it is not the goal. The submission I envision is within a community where my white brothers and sisters are raising their families under the the pastoral leadership and oversight of black men. True submission, while it would include a couple of days together at a conference, is really demonstrated over long periods of continuous fellowship.

TJ,
Building a multi-ethnic church would have many dimensions which must be pursued. One in particular would be a pastoral leadership that is reflective of the community to which you sense a calling to minister. Many of my white brothers are very sincere in their efforts to plant churches among predominantly African-Americans, but it often comes across as a mission to save rather than to serve. Here's the idea: give up leadership and submit to an indigenous one.

Rod, you are right. Tony has said these type of things in the past. I am glad to know that there is nothing novel in what I am saying.

Colin,
Where were you? Did you spend 90 Minutes in Heaven (like so many others are doing today)? Thanks for your encouraging words and efforts. May God bless them for His glory and the good of His people.

Mattie said...

I grew up in the south, in white churches that had a few "token" minority attenders. A few years ago, my wife and I left the church we had been attending (for reasons too numerous to go into here) and wound up at a fairly large church in our city. This church is pastored by an African American. We have 3 assistant pastors, and 2 of the 3 are minorities. Our church is probably 60/40 white to minority, which is by far the most diversity I've seen at any church I've attended. I have stood on the platform and looked out and truly seen a representation of the Body of Christ is all It's splendor, and it is a beautiful thing. All races, economic backgrounds (though in honesty it would be mostly middle class) and church backgrounds.

Brothers, my point is, all is not lost. There are places, pockets I guess, where the body is diversified.

ajcarter said...

Mattie, you are right. Indeed all have not bowed the knee to Baal. Thank God He still reigns!

Anonymous said...

Mattie,
Thats what we want to hear about, scriptural, culture defying church.

Anthony,
The church in question is in Birmingham, UK.
For a taste as to why we particularly need mixed churches, see -

www.guardian.co.uk/race/story/0,11374,1653120,00.html

Colin Thomas