A People United
Scripture portrays our state outside of Christ in pretty bleak terms—marked by hatred of others (Titus 3:3), being dead in our sins (Eph 2:1), separated from God and others because of our sin, and without hope in the world (Eph 2:12). But, Scripture also points us to the solution—by grace we can be saved through faith in Jesus (Eph 2:4,8)! This salvation brings reconciliation to God and to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (Eph 2:13-22).
We are then brought in to the church, a diverse group of people brought together across countless dimensions of diversity—race/ethnicity, age, socio-economic standing, personality, political persuasion—and made one new people, united in Christ (Eph 2:19). This unity does not remove our distinctives, but puts them secondary to a new common identity as adopted sons and daughters of the King! The apostle Peter beautifully describes this new corporate identity:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
– 1 Peter 2:9-10
This new people is called to love one another (John 13:34), to be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50), to be reconciled to one another (Eph 2:16), and to live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:16). And so, we want to be a people who pursue this kind of love-saturated peace with one another.
Our ethnic harmony efforts at DCC are focused on pursuing conversations and action within a biblical worldview that honors everyone as God’s image-bearers—seeking to act in a Christlike posture, and motivated by love for one another. As we engage in topics of race/ethnicity in these ways, we hope to build up Jesus’ church and be a light to the watching world.
Join The Conversation
The elders, along with a diverse cohort of members, created this paper as a discipleship tool to aid our ongoing discussions of ethnic harmony. By God’s grace, we’re an increasingly diverse body, which together demonstrates Jesus’ work to create a new humanity from all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages—right here in Seattle!
As a diverse people, we are coming from different perspectives, with different experiences, and likely different convictions about the various topics related to race/ethnicity. As such, we want to love one another amidst differences, knowing we’re united in Christ. In our classes and forums, we strive to use these conversation norms:
- Seek to see each other, first and foremost, as brothers and sisters in Christ—beloved and adopted by God (1 John 3:1)
- Apply the “one anothers” (welcome, greet, love, honor, wait for, care for, forgive, bear with, comfort, encourage) to each other as we speak and listen to each other (John 13:34; Rom 12:10, 15:7, 16:16; 1 Cor 11:33, 12:25; Col 3:13; 1 Thes 4:18, 5:11)
- Listen with the goal to understand another’s perspective, not to debate: quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19-20)
- Do not judge, but exercise gracious “plank-eye” correction if needed (Matt 7:1-5)
- Expect and accept differences between our experiences and opinions, but know that Christ has brought us together (Romans 11, 14-15; 2 Cor 5:16-21)
Ethnic Harmony Group
We have an open group for those at DCC who want to engage further on topics of race/ethnicity and live out the biblical call to pursue ethnic harmony. We use this group to post content, discuss topics of race/ethnicity, and share opportunities to take action together.
On Topics of Ethnic Harmony
- On Ethnic Harmony: A Theological Position Paper September 29, 2022
- Continuing the Conversation: A Forum on Racial Harmony this Sunday January 22, 2021
- Abortion and Race January 17, 2021
- How and When We Talk about Issues of Race August 30, 2020
- An Invitation To Our Undivided Forum July 14, 2020
- Does the Bible Endorse Slavery? June 28, 2020
- Discerning Between Straight-Line Issues and Jagged-Line Issues June 28, 2020
- Upcoming Opportunities to Pray With Us June 19, 2020
- Engaging Conversations on Race with DCC June 8, 2020
- Continuing To Engage On Issues Of Race June 7, 2020
- A Prayer of Lament June 4, 2020
- A Call To A 24-Hour Fast June 3, 2020
- Bearing Each Other’s Burdens Amidst Racial Heartache May 31, 2020
- Longing for Justice in a World Gone Mad May 15, 2020
- Mercy Ministry Update | January January 31, 2019
- Racism is a Radical Evil August 16, 2017
- “What if no one else within DCC is like me?” June 11, 2012
On The Nature of the Local Church
- The Local Church as a City on a Hill Amidst Conflict October 23, 2020
- Who Does What in the Life of the Church? September 17, 2020
- What are your Expectations of Jesus’ Local Church? August 21, 2020
Racial Forum: Why and How (01/24/21). In this excerpt from our Forum on Racial Reconciliation, Pastor Justin discusses the purpose for having forums and discussions around difficult topics and specifically about race. We, as Christians, are uniquely equipped by God to care for our neighbors and heal racial injustice because of the gospel, and we want to engage in these challenging and meaningful conversations by keeping a biblically grounded perspective, operating in a Christ-like character, and motivated by an earnest love and desire to build one another up.
Racial Forum: Elder Q&A (01/24/21). Following our Forum on Racial Reconciliation, Pastors Adam, David, and Justin answered questions from forum attendees that range from agreeing on definitions, to helpful topical book recommendations, to how can we engage with those outside the church on these topics, and more.
The Gospel and Our Differences (01/14/24). We consider why/how Jesus’s gospel brings unity amidst our many differences by looking at a case study from the earliest days of the church.
Is Christianity Against Diversity? (01/16/22). Is Christianity, as is increasingly claimed, merely a white, western, patriarchal religion, used to oppress?
A Prayer to the God of Steadfast Encouragement (12/05/21). We address the importance of harmony among Jesus’ people amidst our many differences.
How Fear Separates Us (01/24/21). We consider how fear separates us, especially when it comes to racial reconciliation.
God’s New Humanity (01/19/20). We consider the new humanity that God is forging, in Christ, and our role displaying it.
A Gospel Forged People in a Divided Age (01/20/19). We consider what it means to be a gospel-forged people in a politically divided age. The big question before us is simple, yet profound: as Jesus’ people, how do we not mirror the divisions in the world, but heal them?
The Racism-Crushing Gospel (01/14/18). We wade into the rough waters of racial trauma in our country and our response to it, as followers of Jesus. This topic is messy, controversial, and filled with sorrow—which is exactly why we need to discuss it.
Countless books, articles, seminars, sermons, blogs, podcasts, and media have been produced addressing topics of race/ethnicity, racial injustice, and ethnic harmony. Below is a very short list of some recommended resources to help you enter into the conversation with a biblical perspective—understanding racism as sin and recognizing the power of the gospel to bring together people from every nation, from all tribes, peoples, and languages.
We’ll be updating this list periodically, so we encourage you to bookmark the page. For more content and an opportunity to contribute to the conversation, join the Ethnic Harmony group linked above.
On Ethnic Harmony: A Theological Position Paper. The DCC elders, along with a diverse cohort of members, have written this paper to be a discipleship tool that presents what we believe God says, or does not say, on this important topic to increase understanding, aid our ongoing conversations, and strengthen our “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). It includes an introductory letter from the elders, a series of Affirmations & Denials, and Frequently Asked Questions. This is a great starting point to get your biblical bearings in these conversations which can be really fraught with difficulty, ambiguity, and frustration.
Divided by Faith. Written by two Christian sociologists, this book explores the history and recent data to articulate why we still find ourselves largely in segregated churches, even 50 years after legal desegregation. We recommend this book as a place to start for folks who are interested in understanding recent history and relevance on the current conversations in the church and wider culture on topics of race/ethnicity.
United by Faith. Written by four Christians working in multi-cultural churches, this book proposes that multiracial (and multicultural) churches are an essential element in ethnic harmony. They present the biblical imperative for diversity within the local church, as well as some of the challenges such diversity presents. We’d recommend this book as a starting place for those asking what the church can do to help address racial issues.
Beyond Racial Gridlock. Written by Dr. George Yancey, a Christian scholar who focuses on topics of race/ethnicity, this book is a Christian analysis of the prevalent racial worldviews in the modern United States, with an appeal for a Christian approach called “mutual accountability.” We recommend this book for those who want to better understand how different people approach these topics, inside and outside of the church, and how we can approach conversations with a biblically grounded worldview.
The New Reformation. Written by Shai Linne, a hip-hop artist, author, and pastor, this book weaves personal narrative with the biblical vision of ethnic unity for the glory of God, addressing relevant questions for modern reformed American evangelicals. We recommend this book as an encouragement to pursue ethnic harmony rooted in our justification by grace alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
Talking about Race. Written by Isaac Adams, United? We Pray podcast host and pastor, the book is full of practical biblical wisdom on how to engage conversations about race/ethnicity. We’d recommend this book for anyone who is looking to get involved in the pursuit of ethnic harmony but is unsure where to start.
Redemptive Kingdom Diversity. Written by professor & author Dr. Jarvis Williams, this book is a biblical theological survey of the People of God, showing the theme of God’s diverse people from Genesis to Revelation. We recommend this book for anyone who is looking for the biblical theme and purpose of ethnic diversity in God’s redemptive work in creation.
The Beautiful Community. Written by professor & pastor Dr. Irwyn L. Ince Jr., this book examines the unity-amidst-diversity of our Triune God as the inspiration, example, and imperative for the unity-amidst-diversity of the Church—as we reflect something of God’s glory and wisdom to the world around us. We recommend this book for anyone looking to grow in the vision for and pursuit of a beautifully diverse church.
Helpful Articles on Specific Topics
Neil Shenvi’s Anti-Racism Glossary. Neil Shenvi has done some great work in evaluating the current cultural language around topics of race/ethnicity through a biblical lens, which he’s put into a helpful glossary format. Beyond this, he’s also posted many book reviews and presentations on various aspects of the current cultural dialogue.
White Privilege. This episode from Coram Deo Church’s Wednesday Conversation Podcast is a very helpful, biblically grounded, discussion of the concept of white privilege. It’s worth listening to especially if you are unfamiliar with the concept, and even more so if the concept elicits strong emotions (in either direction).
Structural Racism. John Piper writes briefly and clearly on how sin can impact structures and systems, as well personal actions, within the biblical worldview. This is another very helpful resource if you are unfamiliar with the concept, and even more so if the concept elicits strong emotions (in either direction).
Identity Politics and the Death of Christian Unity (video). Jonathan Leeman evaluates “identity politics” from a Christian worldview, discussing the helpful and unhelpful aspects of this current political position. This is helpful in understanding much of the current cultural dialogue, and the concepts of intersectionality, truth claims from experience, and the oppressed-oppressor binary.
Repentance. This article by Sam Storms clearly outlines the biblical nature of repentance and how we are to deal with our sin, and the sin of others (including, but not limited to, the sins of racism and ethnic partially). This is an especially helpful resource if you’re trying to understand the debate around personal and corporate repentance.
Understanding Historical Figures. This podcast by Jude 3, featuring Drs. Vince Bantu & Vincent Bacote, discusses how to engage with historical figures, especially those of our faith, without resorting to cancel culture. This is an excellent, humble, and practical perspective in understanding historical figures with honesty.
Representation. This TGC article by David Gundersen explains the concept and impact of representation within the Christian worldview and experience. He explains how representation communicates to those represented (and those not represented), and invites us to consider what and how we portray ourselves and our churches in light of the meta-narrative of Scripture.
White Fragility Book Reviews (George Yancey’s review | Tim Challies’ Review: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Since its release in 2018, Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility has been extremely influential in shaping the dialogue around racism. She writes from a paradigmatic secular opinion, which is often in conflict with the Christian worldview. These reviews engage the book with a biblical lens.
As in Heaven. Season 2 of this podcast by the Gospel Coalition is focused on race and is a great resource to learn more and engage with the history, diversity of experience, and current cultural conversations around race from a range of biblically grounded perspectives.
United? We Pray. Pastor Isaac Adams and his team work through topics related to race with biblically grounded thought and clarity, and a hopeful and prayerful posture. This is a great resource for folks wanting to engage the topics of race/ethnicity thoughtfully and prayerfully.
Jude 3 Project. This podcast aims at engaging the conversations of race biblically and distinctively from African scholarship. This is a rich, thought-provoking, gospel-minded podcast worth listening to for those within and without the black Christian community.
Other Resource Lists
Acts 29. DCC is part of the Act 29 network, which is a diverse, global family of church-planting churches.
The Gospel Coalition. Offers a number of articles on topics of race/ethnicity and unity.
Desiring God. Offers a number of articles on topics of race and ethnic harmony.
9Marks. Specifically geared towards helping churches stay and grow in health, 9Marks offers a number of articles for church leaders and members on topics of race/ethnicity in the church.