This Black History Month sermon, "I Have Come to Testify to the Truth," is a lesson on why the word of God does not sanction what scholars now call "American slavery." American slavery, a legal and oppressive system of labor that existed from the 17th century to the 19th century, must be distinguished from the form of servitude that God allowed in the scriptures. It is very important to distinguish the two systems because many erroneously equate the two forms of servitude. As a result, many have struggled with their faith by mistakenly believing that God sanctioned American slavery or any form of oppression.
This sermon is in no way an exhaustive look at American slavery nor the scriptures that apply. However, it is meant to at least demonstrate that by his very nature, and by his commands, God did not approve of the form of oppression that was legal in this nation for two centuries.
Join Michael Burns, a teacher in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Church of Christ, and his wife MyCresha as they build upon two decades of learning and experience in the disciplines of history, theology, and cultural studies to examine the powerful influences of culture and race in the Kingdom of God and examine how the church can interact with the world when it comes to these potentially explosive topics. Each of the four parts of this series ends with group discussion questions and is appropriate for individual viewing, use in a small group or Bible Talk, or for an entire congregation.
I met Wyndham in the spring of 1975. I was a freshman at NC State University and he was the campus minister. God indeed does move in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. I think about the barriers the Lord used Wyndham to break in my life.
Every three or four months, my wife Caryn and I travel the 100 miles from Northern Virginia to Charlottesville to strengthen and encourage the disciples there. We are tent-makers (aka, not full-time ministry) trying to serve God in the best way we can. We always enjoy our time with this small but growing fellowship, the Blue Ridge Church, led faithfully by Drew and Jenny Mines. Charlottesville is near and dear to my heart. I lived there for four years as a University of Virginia student back in the 1980s. Three other family members (siblings and spouses) attended UVA as well, and now my daughter is a part of the Blue Ridge ministry as a student at James Madison University.
In June, the Johannesburg Church of Christ recently had the privilege of hosting the "Crossing the Line" workshop facilitated by Michael and MyCresha Burns from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Church of Christ. The workshop was a tremendous help in understanding cultural influences and how misunderstandings and race can be used by Satan to divide churches. The morning session was geared toward the ministry staff and in the afternoon, we workshopped the topic with over 200 family group leaders.
I could have written an article with this title a year ago, but it would not have been quite as jarring as this one is. In the past year, I have expanded my knowledge considerably of my black friends’ worldview, and have altered mine in the process. This has been a very rewarding and very disturbing adventure for me. Let me give you some advance warning regarding this article, especially if you are white. I am about to not just disturb a sacred cow, I’m going to kick it in the gut. Buckle your seat belt and hold on tight – but please keep reading!
In Crossing the Line: Culture, Race and Kingdom, Michael Burns opens the doorway into dialogue and discussion of race and its impact on the culture and kingdom of God. Issues of racism, race, and culture bring out deep passion and potential conflict in the world; and because disciples live in this world, they affect us, our mission, and our unity. Every potential problem like this, though, can be a pitfall or a platform. It can be our undoing or an amazing opportunity to put the power and wisdom of the true gospel on display.
Newly-appointed Boston Church of Christ elder, Darryl Owens, addressed the pressing questions of race in the body of Christ in his sermon entitled, "Rollercoaster of Love... Say What?!" One of the highlights was providing a simple, practical way to have meaningful, loving conversations about race.
Welcome to the “Crossing the Line” series from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Church of Christ. This series is not intended to be the definitive and final word on the complex questions of race and culture in our world today, but it does represent countless hours of prayer, discussion, research and getting the perspectives and opinions of hundreds of disciples from around the world who were engaged in conversation before undertaking this endeavor.