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Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion? Introduction by Antipas L. Harris


Antipas Harris introduces his new book, the serious challenge behind it, and his invitation to join him in proclaiming anew that Jesus is Good News for everyone.

Without doubt, we are living through troubled times. The world is engulfed in noxious uncertainties: contentious politics, racial unrest, hate groups and global warming, to name a few. Now, amidst the devastation of coronavirus, or COVID-19, many people are turning to – or back to – faith. Amid the constant resurgence of blatant racism, as exemplified in the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, reminds us that we are really battling two pandemics, simultaneously. People are looking for answers, seeking the “peace that passes all understanding,” and a new and better normal. As president of a divinity school, my primary aim is ensuring that current and future ministers are prepared to bear witness more effectively for such a time as this. To that end, seminarians and faith leaders alike will discover refreshing new strategies for overcoming obstacles and deepening faith in my forthcoming book, Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion?

Americans searched for God with renewed interest in the last decade, and it seems that COVID-19 has only intensified this quest. Spiritual fulfillment, after all, is an important dimension of the human psyche. While many people will continue to look to the Bible and their Christian faith for guidance, others question the relevance of the Bible for contemporary times. In any case, people in general are scouring America’s spiritual landscape, hoping to find a faith that is real, one that heals and unifies. I explore this faith anew in Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion?

Let me share an experience I had a few years ago while teaching a graduate course on leadership. A 22-year-old student interrupted my lecture with a question: “What do you say to people who are leaving the church and arguing that Christianity is the white man’s religion?” I was taken aback by the question. First, it was unrelated to the topic. Second, I wondered who in the world would argue such a thing. I knew that this had been a common question back during the Jim Crow era, and I almost brushed it off. However, the discussion that ensued opened a world of discovery. Apparently, my ethnically diverse class of millennials was more attuned to the relevance of the question than I.

Unable to shake the discussion from my thoughts, I embarked on a journey of research and found that many Christians are unaware that much pondering about faith exists outside the church. How relevant is the Bible for understanding today’s complex issues? What does the Bible offer to a nation of multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-generational individuals? The answers to these and similar questions led me to write Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion?

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Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2020

About the Author: Antipas L. Harris, D.Min. (Boston University), S.T.M. (Yale University Divinity School), M.Div. (Emory University), is the president-dean of Jakes Divinity School and associate pastor at The Potter’s House of Dallas, TX, and the founding dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the Criminal Justice System Director for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) and president of the Global Institute for Empowerment & Leadership Development, known as GIELD. He has additional experience as an educator, academic lecturer, itinerant preacher, pastor, youth director, motivational speaker, and Christian musician. He is the author of Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color (IVP, 2020), The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Scripture and Theology (2019), Holy Spirit, Holy Living: A Practical Theology of Holiness for Twenty-first Century Churches (Wipf & Stock, 2013) and Unstoppable Success: 7 Ways to Flourish in Your Boundless Potential (High Bridge Books, 2014). AntipasHarris.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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