Brief Reflections on The ERLC Leadership Summit

Cyril Chavis, Jr.

A little over a month ago, I found a website link to a conference hosted by The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission on racial reconciliation. Not having heard much about the ERLC, I visited the website and was pleasantly surprised!

Looking at the identity and mission of the ERLC, the conference schedule, and the speakers, I was in disbelief I had not heard of the conference earlier. There were two full days of speakers and workshops from March 26-27th. It looked like it would be a phenomenal time. Brothers and sisters, I was not disappointed.

ERLC Summit

This summit brought together gifted speakers with experience in diversity and multi-ethnicity issues. They encouraged and motivated the church of God to repent, believe the gospel, and pursue racial unity in our churches, communities, and cities through the power of the Gospel.

Here are a few of the conference’s striking aspects.

ERLC as Host

I have been joyful lately from the efforts of predominately white and evangelical denominations in their efforts to pursue racial unity within the body of Christ, and to repent of racism. It is one thing for Christians as individuals to repent and apply the gospel to racial reconciliation, but it is another thing for a denomination as a whole to host an event to address racial issues. The church is waking up to the fact that we must act boldly and urgently.

In the past, the conversations about racial unity have often been led by a few bold voices. Through denominational and organizational efforts to address this issue with theological accuracy and loving sensitivity, I am joyful that everyone will start to see that racial reconciliation, like murder or unbelief, is a gospel issue.

ERLC’s Diversity

I loved the diversity in race, age, theology, ministry, tradition, and denomination reflected at the event. I saw African American, Anglo American, and Asian American brothers and sisters. I also saw church planters, pastors, writers, laypeople, ministry leaders, and scholars.

The worship team was racially diverse, and the auditorium rang with worship as the conference attendees sang timeless hymns with eclectic flavors. And the speaker line-up was just as diverse as the conference attendees. It was a beautiful thing to see the unity we were preaching reflected in the congregation during those two days.

ERLC’s Speakers

The conference speakers were passionate about racial reconciliation, spoke powerfully on the issue, and were committed to motivating the conference attendees to do the same.

The most powerful moment onstage was Russell Moore’s interview of John Perkins. It was an honor to sit in the presence of such a remarkable civil rights leader and minister of the gospel (Perkins). Given the fact he suffered persecution and torture in Mississippi at the hands of racist whites, it was powerful when Perkins said he was extremely grateful to be sitting on the same stage with Moore, another Mississippian, discussing racial issues.

One could tell the moment was monumental for Perkins, given the many years he has labored for racial reconciliation. Perkins said if there is any time for the church to get racial reconciliation right, now is the time!

After the interview, the whole room offered a standing ovation, in awe of the words of a sage in the faith and at the significance of the moment.

Let’s Fight For Unity

Brothers and sisters, the ERLC’s Leadership Summit on the Gospel and Racial Reconciliation was a powerful event. I would love to see ERLC and their leaders continue to host large events like this one.

The summit reminded me the gospel is the solution to racism, and our world will only see genuine healing as good soldiers of Jesus Christ mobilize to address the issue. Lace your boots up. Strengthen your knees, brothers and sisters. It’s wartime. May Jesus be glorified.

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