Dear NAB Family,
Nearly two years ago, the NAB Strategy Team identified and set in motion eight initiatives pointing to where God was leading us as a conference. Along with church planting, missional training, and spiritual formation, one of those top initiatives was to help our churches pursue cross-cultural engagement, by which we mean a righteous pattern of thought, speech, and action that flows out of our relationship with Christ toward all people, regardless of skin color, social position, or economic status. Regional Ministers, the Strategy Team, and the Executive Team have taken only early steps to discuss our part as a conference of churches in proclaiming the light of Christ as it relates to race and ethnicity. We acknowledge we have much work ahead of us.
The recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia—and the events, gatherings, attitudes, and actions like them that live in shadows in our neighborhoods and in conversations in our churches—reminded us how much our churches together must stand strongly against any and all forms of racism. This is not simply a racial issue or a social issue; this is a Gospel issue. The message of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the KKK, and other hate groups is abhorrent to the Gospel and runs counter to what the Bible teaches. There is no place in this world for speech that inherently demeans or belittles the value of those made in the image of God. Jesus commissioned His Church to reach all peoples with the good news of redemption through His atonement, calling them to salvation by grace through faith.
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Galatians 3:26–29 NLT)
As a conference of churches, we each live in unique contexts, be it Canadian or American, suburban, urban or rural. Our congregations are both large and small. Despite the differences in nationality, location, and size, each church has a vital voice to proclaim the very love of God in our cities and in our countries.
The only place we know to start on a road to healing, reconciliation, and righteousness is to gather our churches in confessional prayer. It is easy for us to see these events as something beyond our reach or outside our borders and not part of the world in which we live. But with the mind of Christ, we admit that at times we have been silent when we should have shouted in protest, and times we have been inactive where we should have acted in grace and love. We are complicit in the power structures that make a better world for some families at the cost of our brothers and sisters of color. We, with humility, recognize that our acts of kindness, compassion, and hospitality have not been equally given to people of all ethnicities.
In the coming months, we will provide additional resources for churches who are seeking to live faithfully in their communities and embrace ways to engage in acts of cross-cultural engagement.
Until then, may we seek the face of our good and great God, confessing our own sins and praying for His peace in our nations and communities.
In His Service,