Pastors John Piper and Tim Keller have made names for themselves on the national stage, as both faith leaders are known for unique stances on many of the issues that plague both Christian churches and society, alike. This week, the evangelical faith leaders came together in New York City to discuss "grace and race" in the church.
The discussion, entitled "Race and the Christian," delved into ethnic relations within Christian churches, as the pastors indicated that they see racism as an ongoing struggle within American houses of worship. The two-hour discussion was held at New York Society for Ethical Culture on Wednesday evening.
During the event, The Christian Post reports that Piper characterized racism as a historical problem that exists across the world -- one that is best described by the Bible's story of sin and the fall of man. Racism, he explained, is rooted in pride and the human characteristic of finding satisfaction in oneself rather than in God.
"That is because humans are in rebellion against God. That's where that comes from," Piper proclaimed. "Exalting ourselves over our maker and of course, if over our maker, over each other. That's a given."
In addressing why he believes racism still exists in churches today, Piper said Christians must embrace grace in order to recognize it and move forward.
"Redemption is not perfection," Piper said. "The redeemed must realize their imperfections."
Keller added that he believes racism is created by a lack of "corporate responsibility" and the presence of "systematic evil." Since converting people to Christianity isn't enough to strip racism out of society entirely, he claimed that the system must change before people will. The Christian Post adds:
...one of the challenges, he presented, is that "white people" don't have a concept of "corporate responsibility" which prevents them from dealing with "corporate evil" or "systemic racism."
The Bible supports the practice of corporate responsibility, Keller further explained. In Joshua 7, corporate responsibility in family is illustrated when Akin and his family are punished for Akin's sin of taking the wealth for himself. Daniel 9 demonstrates corporate responsibility for an entire culture because it shows how the prophet Daniel repents for the sins of his ancestors and sins that he individually didn't commit.
Piper is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., and Keller is the faith leader of Redeemer Church in New York City. Theology professor Anthony Bradley of The King's College moderated the discussion. Read more about what the faith leaders had to say about building and sustaining diverse congregations.
(H/T: The Christian Post)