Practicing true diversity


Some argue that American evangelicalism is in the midst of a cultural identity crisis. When the term "evangelical" is used, it commonly references white suburban contexts. This is why the key leaders who speak at most evangelical conferences are mostly white males, with the exception of the exact same black guys---Tony Evans, Thabiti Anyabwile, Voddie Baucham, and a couple of others---who are, at times, used to show "diversity." There are usually no Asians or Latinos represented.

Many hope that evangelicalism in America would reflect more of the global realities of Christianity, and Soong-Chan Rah is emerging as an evangelical leader poised to help evangelicals think more about the new racial diversity realities for American Christianity. Rah is the author of Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church, which is the much-anticipated follow-up to the award-winning The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity.

The United States is currently undergoing the most rapid demographic shift in its history. By 2050, white Americans will no longer make up a majority of the population. As the American population demographics shift, the demographics of the American church shifts as well, meaning that American Christianity is becoming more and more ethnically and culturally diverse.

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The church in American is at a crossroads. Like the early church in Acts 15, we are challenged by the intersection of gospel and culture. Drawing from Scriptural truths and real life examples, Rah calls for the development of cultural intelligence to address new social-cultural realities.

Many Colors follows up with a challenge to churches to develop skills, attitudes, and approaches to ministry that equip churches to engage the new cultural dynamics. The book explores the need to learn about our (oftentimes negative) cultural and racial histories, to learn about different power dynamics at work, to explore ranges of cultural expressions, to develop ways of thinking beyond the linear, and to develop cultural intuition. The book also offers practical suggestions to seek ways to honor the presence of God in the different cultures found in the American church.

Many Colors is designed to spur individuals, churches, and parachurch ministries toward more effectively bearing witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News for people of every racial and cultural background. Its message is positive; its potential impact, transformative.

Anthony Bradley
Anthony Bradley

Anthony is associate professor of religious studies at The King's College in New York and serves as a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. He is author of The Political Economy of Liberation and Black and Tired. Follow Anthony on Twitter @drantbradley.


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