Creating New Wineskins

While many in the U.S. civil rights movement were busy integrating lunch counters, others took on an even tougher challenge—integrating U.S. churches. Sadly, they met with stiff resistance.

A book published three years ago, Divided by Faith, made the provocative claim that "white evangelicalism likely does more to perpetuate the racialized society than to reduce it." Now that book's co-author Michael Emerson joins Curtiss Paul DeYoung, George Yancey, and Karen Chai Kim to write United by Faith—a plea for the church to be the church of Jesus Christ.

"The history of the church in the United States leads one to believe that sustaining multiracial congregations is a near impossibility due to racism," write United's authors. And yet in spite of this tragic history, they argue convincingly that Christian congregations, when possible, should be multiracial and that such congregations can play an important role in reducing racial division and inequality. They define multiracial as a congregation in which no one racial group is 80 percent or more of the people.

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 2003
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