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Suggested Resources on Race and our History for the Presbytery of the Mississippi Valley

Ligon Duncan

This compiliation was originally posted on Ligon Duncan’s personal blog. You can find the original, as well as more great content here.

Important Online Resources:

Race and Church

Thabiti Anyabwile, “Jonathan Edwards, Slavery, and the Theology of African Americans,”

Thabiti Anyabwile, “Bondage or Freedom? Questions in Early American Theology,” The John L. Girardeau Lectures, First Presbyterian Church (ARP), Columbia, SC

Lecture 1 Audio – “Reformed Theology and the Status Quo”

Lecture 2 Audio – “Reformed Theology and Social Change”

Otis Westbrook Pickett, Race and the American Church, Reformation21

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6a

Part 6b

Dr Pickett’s Lament for Charleston

Dr. Pickett is native of Charleston, SC, from a long line of low-country South Carolinians. He is a PCA member (at Redeemer Church in Jackson) and Assistant Professor of History and Political Science at Mississippi College, Clinton, MS. He is a graduate of Clemson University, Covenant Theological Seminary and the University of Mississippi. He loves the South, Southern History and Southern Presbyterianism. These articles offer a sympathetic, but honest assessment of the history of race and the American Church.


Jemar Tisby, “The Image of God in the African American Experience”

Jemar Tisby, Trillia Newbell, and Thabiti Anyabwile, “Doing Racial Harmony,” TGC National Conference


Matthew Tuininga, Presbyterians and the Political Theology of Race, Reformation21

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Review of Carolyn Renée Dupont, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975

Dr. Matthew J. Tuininga is Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI.

The Spirituality of the Church

Adam S. Borneman, Presbyterians, Civil Rights, and the Spirituality of the Church: A Brief Historical Survey in Political Theology Today: A forum for interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue, October 9, 2013

Borneman is pastor of Second PC(USA) in Birmingham, AL, and a graduate of Samford University and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.


David Coffin, Annotated Bibliography on the Spirituality of the Church

Audio Lectures on the Spirituality of the Church

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Dr. David Coffin’s annotated bibliography and audio lectures feature an approach to the spirituality of the church, from a perspective sympathetic to 19th Old School American Presbyterian divines.


Kenneth Taylor, The Spirituality of the Church: Segregation, The Presbyterian Journal, and the Origins of the Presbyterian Church in America, 1942-1973, Reformed Perspectives Magazine, Volume 9, Number 34, August 19 to August 25, 2007 (Third Millennium Ministries)

This article was published in Richard Pratt’s online magazine. Mr. Taylor, the author, taught history at Piedmont College, specializing in the intersection of race, religion, and southern history. He is a communicant at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia.


Matthew Tuininga, Rightly Defining the Spirituality of the Church, Reformation21

PCA History and Race

Sean Michael Lucas, Race and the Roots of the PCA, Reformation21

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Dr. Lucas is senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, MS, and Professor of Church History, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS. He is a graduate of Bob Jones University and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia (Historical and Theological Studies: American Reformed Tradition). He also served as Chief Academic Officer and associate professor of church history at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

David Peterson, Southern Presbyterian Conservatives and Ecclesiastical Division: The Formation of the Presbyterian Church in America, 1926-1973, Master’s Thesis, University of Kentucky, 2009

This thesis argues that “Disgruntled by a liberal-moderate coalition that held power [in the PCUS], many conservatives withdrew and created the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in 1973, the first major division of a Southern denomination. The PCA was not solely founded because of racial disagreements or any single cultural debate; rather decades’ long theological disagreements regarding the church’s role in society fueled separation along with several sharp social controversies.”

Milton Winter, Division & Reunion in the Presbyterian Church US: A Mississippi Retrospective, Journal of Presbyterian History 78:1 (Spring 2000)

This journal article argues that “Mississippi mirrored the tensions within Southern Presbyterianism during an era of civil rights agitation, theological reassessment, and a conservative secession to form a separate Presbyterian Church in America.” Dr. Winter (who did his PhD in history at Union Seminary in Richmond, VA), is a PC(USA) pastor in Holly Springs, cousin of Mississippi Governor William Winter (himself an elder at Fondren PC(USA) in Jackson), and attended First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS for a season in the early 1970s.

Reformed, African American Perspectives on Theology, Culture, Church and Society

The website of Dr. Carl and the-soon-to-be Dr. Karen Ellis. Carl is currently the Associate Pastor for Cultural Apologetics at New City Fellowship, and teaches at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas and Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson. Dr. Ellis was Dean of Intercultural Studies at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA and studied under Francis Schaeffer at LÁbri in Switzerland. Karen Angela Ellis, is pursuing her PhD and works alongside her husband, exploring the zones where identity, human rights and theology intersect. She has performed, spoken and lectured in Eastern Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, Indonesia and in South America. In her twenty year career, she has been seen in classrooms, conferences, on radio, television, film and onstage. Karen holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama.

“Conversations about biblical faithfulness in African-American churches and beyond.” Topics covered include: The Arts, The Bible, The Black Church, Culture/Ethnicity, Family, God, The Gospel, Leadership, Missions, Preaching, Salvation, Shepherding, Theology, Women and Worship.

“The mission of the Reformed African American Network is to fuel modern reformation in the African American community and with a multi-ethnic mindset by providing biblically-faithful resources, by connecting Christians who adhere to Reformed doctrines–especially African Americans, and by building theology in community from a Reformed and African American perspective as well as with others from diverse ethnic backgrounds.”

This is the blog of Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC, council member of The Gospel Coalition, plenary speaker for Together for the Gospel.

Books and Essays:

Thabiti Anyabwile, The Decline of African American Theology: From Biblical Faith to Cultural Captivity (IVP, 2007)

Thabiti Anyabwile, The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors (Crossway, 2007)

Thabiti Anyabwile, Reviving the Black Church: New Life for a Sacred Institution (B&H, 2015)

James Bannerman, The Church of Christ (Banner of Truth, reprint, 1868), Vol. 1, pp. 94-275.

Anthony Carter, ed., et al, Glory Road: The Journeys of 10 African-Americans into Reformed Christianity (Crossway, 2009)

Anthony Carter, On Being Black and Reformed: A New Perspective on the African-American Christian Experience (P&R, 2003)

Anthony J. Carter (M.A.B.S., Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando) is cofounder of the Black Alliance for Reformed Theology, its director of ministry, and editor of its online journal, Vinedresser. He is assistant pastor for preaching and teaching at Southwest Christian Fellowship, Atlanta.

Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert, What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission (Crossway, 2011)

Carl Ellis, Free at Last! The Gospel in the African-American Experience (IVP, 1996)

Carolyn Renee Dupont, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975 (New York University Press, 2013), 181-198.

Michael Emerson and Christian Smith, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Daniel Hays, From Every People and Nation a Biblical Theology of Race (IVP Academic, 2003)

Stephen R. Haynes, The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Stephen Haynes is Professor of Religious Studies, Rhodes College, and the author of many books, including Noah’s Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail in Annotations on a Letter that Changed the World from a Birmingham Jail by Peter Lillback (Providence Forum Press, 2013)

Bryan Lorritts, Letters to a Birmingham Jail: A Response to the Words and Dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Moody, 2014)

Sean Michael Lucas, For a Continuing Church: The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America (P&R, 2015).

Sean Michael Lucas, “Owning the Past: The Spirituality of the Church in History, Failure, and Hope,” Reformed Theological Seminary Journal, 1.1 (2016) forthcoming.

Charles Marsh, God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights (Princeton University Press, 2008).

John Piper, Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian (Crossway, 2011)

“Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to organizations, education, famous personalities, or government programs to address racial strife, Piper reveals the definitive source of hope—teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife, and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God.”

Peter Slade, Open Friendship in a Closed Society: Racial Reconciliation in Mississippi after the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Guy Waters, How Jesus Runs the Church (P&R, ), especially pages 66-70.

Jarvis Williams, One New Man: The Cross and Racial Reconciliation in Pauline Theology (B&H Academic, 2010)

PCA Documents (available at ):

2002 Declaration on Racial Reconciliation

2004 Pastoral Letter on the Gospel and Race 2015 Duncan/Lucas Personal Resolution

2016 Overtures:

Articles on PCA Personal Resolution

Sean Michael Lucas in ByFaith Magazine:

PCA’s action in Christianity Today:


Ligon Duncan, Sean Michael Lucas, and Jemar Tisby, RAAN video explanation of Personal Resolution, June 2015: rights-remembrance/

Trip Lee, Alex Medina, and Jemar Tisby, “How Did You Become Reformed? Trip Lee, Alex Medina, and Jemar Tisby on the Journey to Calvinism as Minorities,” The Gospel Coalition, April 5, 2016:

Trip Lee, Alex Medina, and Jemar Tisby, “What About the Minority Experience in America Do Whites Often Miss? Trip Lee, Alex Medina, and Jemar Tisby on Loving Our Whole Christian Family,” The Gospel Coalition, October 6, 2015:

Sean Michael Lucas, lecture on “Divided by Faith,” given at RTS, August 2015:

Sean Michael Lucas, “Confessing Generational Sins” and “The Spirituality of the Church,” Reconciliation and Justice Conference, January 2016:

Sean Michael Lucas, in “Division and Reunion: A Reflection on American Presbyterianism,” PC(USA) General Assembly, June 2014:

Sean Michael Lucas, “Telling the Truth: How the Gospel Shapes Corporate Confession and Repentance,” Race and the Church Conference, January 2016:

Peter Slade, “Open Friendship in a Closed Society: Racial Reconciliation in Mississippi after the Civil Rights Movement,” The Project on Lived Theology, Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, November 2014:

1 Comment

  1. george canady

    Dr Duncan, if I may suggest, a Few men of our time have been given the gifted privilege of sight by our LORD to influence the influencers on topic of the historic ethnic exclusion of the elect by the elect from the American Bride of Christ .

    We thank God for the example He has given us in you.

    It is my prayer that our Father give you strength of endurance as you faithfully follow through on the special joy of participating with our God in bringing the light of the truth to all of the elect so that the Bride maybe more spotless on the day of Jesus return.

    Praying for us now.

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