The following guest post highlights a helpful book with the same title. It is written by its author Dr. Frank Smith, pastor of the Atlanta Reformed Presbyterian Church. Among Frank's other books are The History of the Presbyterian Church in America: The Silver Anniversary Edition; Worship in the Presence of God (co-editor and contributor); and Tales from the City: Real Stories of Urban Christian Ministry (editor), which detailed the ministry of an interdenominational, multi-ethnic group in Atlanta.
Three years ago, during a summer of riots and “mostly peaceful protests” and destruction of monuments and repudiation of heritage, I was moved to write a book on race relations. In doing so, I would be drawing on my long-time ministry in a largely black neighborhood in inner-city Atlanta, as well as my training as a minister and historian.
Part of the encouragement to me to engage in this writing project came from the online pages of Gentle Reformation. I took heart from Prof. Rut Etheridge’s words there that the societal developments in 2020 would be “a great opportunity . . . for church groups to study these matters.” I, therefore, set out to write a book that would be geared not only for individuals to read, but also specifically to be used by groups, including Sunday School classes, book study gatherings, and schools, such as homeschool, high school, colleges, and seminaries. The result of my research and writing is Race, Church, and Society, first published in 2021 and reprinted in 2022. The book, which is a bit more than 200 pages, is divided into thirteen chapters, and there is at the end of each chapter a section called Points to Ponder—aspects designed with group studies in mind.
I am grateful to the four presbyters from the RPCNA who contributed Words of Introduction. Here is some of what they wrote:
. . . a theological, historical, social, legal, and political tour-de-force which very few would undertake without great trepidation, especially in the BLM age.
Prof. Kevin Clauson, former Academic Vice-President (retired), Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee
Dr. Frank Smith, writing out of a wealth of personal experiences ministering the gospel of King Jesus among the races as well as a deep Biblical and historical understanding of race, has provided a relatively brief, suitably accessible, and often challenging work. Reading Race, Church, and Society, you will learn much and be stretched personally. This book will serve very well as a text for Bible classes, youth groups, high schools, colleges, and seminaries.
Prof. Thomas Reid, Retired Librarian and Registrar, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary
In this book, Dr. Frank Smith presents a no-holds-barred, especially candid discussion.
Dr. Greg Burgreen, Associate Research Professor of Engineering, Mississippi State University
He addresses these controversial topics with as much irenic tone as insightful balance. . . . Frank leads the reader through the landmines of explosive conflict by a successful path, though it may be surprising to some.
Rev. Brian Coombs, Pastor, Messiah’s Church (RPCNA), Clay, New York
In describing the book, various readers have used words such as “fascinating,” “super interesting,” “thought-provoking,” “stimulating,” “not politically correct, simply correct,” and “easy-to-read”. Rev. Drew Poplin, RPCNA church planter in North Carolina, observed that while most books on race today paint a simplistic historical picture and present a complex solution, this book does the opposite—it paints a complicated historical picture and offers a simple solution, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Here is the Table of Contents.
Words of Introduction
Prologue Ministry to “the least of these”
Chapter 1 What Is “Race”?
Chapter 2 The Universal Nature of the Church
Addendum: The Question of Segregation
Chapter 3 Are Some People Less Human Than Others?
Chapter 4 Should We Notice Ethnic Distinctions?
Chapter 5 Is It Biblical to Judge People Groups?
Chapter 6 Does God’s Grace Extend to All Peoples?
Chapter 7 What is the Answer to Racial Conflict?
Addendum: “Sin” Now Translated as “Systemic Oppression” [Babylon Bee satire]
Chapter 8 The Audacity of Cross-Cultural Mission
Addendum: Evangelizing the Native Americans
Chapter 9 Genuine Koinonia
Addendum: Worship Music and Ethnicity
Chapter 10 Being Discerners of the Times
Addendum: Drivin’ Old Dixie Down
Chapter 11 Do Black Lives Matter?
Addendum: Planned Parenthood and Black Lives Matter [Babylon Bee satire]
Chapter 12 The Danger of Social Justice Warriorship
Addendum: The (In)Justice System
Chapter 13 Conclusion
Epilogue Christ’s Dominion Over the Bluff
About the Author
In considering race relations, Rut Ethridge had encouraged Christians to manifest an “open-minded, full-hearted engagement in keeping with God’s holy commands.” This volume was written to foster precisely that attitude.
The cost for a single copy is only $14.99 (plus $4.00 shipping/handling). Checks may be made payable to Presbyterian Scholars Press and mailed to 5830 Millstone Drive, Cumming, GA 30028; or payment made via CashApp ($HopeMills76). For information about discounts for multiple copies, send an email to email@example.com or call (770)241-3946. A Kindle version is available on Amazon.