Home Christian News Ed Stetzer: Josh McDowell, Evangelicals and Race: A Verdict Demands Evidence

Ed Stetzer: Josh McDowell, Evangelicals and Race: A Verdict Demands Evidence

evangelicals and race

 

This article is a companion piece to Ed’s article, published September 28, 2021, in USA Today. Click the image to read that article.

A generation of young evangelicals found help in grounding their faith by the writings of Josh McDowell. The books More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict were particularly influential for baby boomer Christians growing up in an increasingly secular world.

Evidence That Demands a Verdict was first published in 1979. It was ranked the 13th most influential evangelical book since World War II. Josh’s influence has been huge.

We’ve also all seen the news by now that Josh McDowell apologized and stepped away from his ministry because of comments on the issue of race made at an event on September 18, 2021.

We should respond first by praying for Josh and his own stated desire to spend time listening and learning. But this is also an opportunity to look squarely at the issue of evangelicals — especially white evangelicals — and race.

The verdict of those outside evangelicalism on evangelicals and race is not good, and it does not speak well of our witness for Christ.

It’s time for evangelicals to change the verdict many have reached on evangelicals and race. Evangelicals can do this by producing the evidence that they are driven by the timeless truths of the Bible and the love of God for all peoples. People of color who love Jesus must be convinced that white evangelicals who love Jesus also love them. But we can’t do this without facing reality and allowing the Lord to remove blinders that still limit the perspective of too many.

The verdict of those outside evangelicalism on evangelicals and race is not good, and it does not speak well of our witness for Christ.

An Enduring Issue

Why is it that we still seem to struggle with this issue 150 years after slavery and nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act? Why can conversations with those of different races be so stilted, appreciation of our cultural differences so hard, and inter-racial friendships feel so forced?

Why is it that so few African Americans go to white churches and vice versa? That so few churches reflect the racial demographics of their host community? That so many white parents would still rather have their daughter marry a non-Christian white man than a godly, Christ-honoring African-American young man? Why the judgment on Mexicans?

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the editor-in-chief of Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Founding Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible story. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves as interim teaching pastor of Calvary Church in New York City and serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church.