"Where do we go from here?" Not only the title of one of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s books, this question was also asked by multiple speakers at the MLK50 Conference, a gathering of churches in Memphis April 3-4 sponsored by The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC.
The conference focused on racial unity in the church on the anniversary of MLK's assassination 50 years ago, bringing together a diverse group of speakers to talk about his legacy and the Gospel, and what it means for the church today.
Russell Moore, president of the ERLC, challenged the audience of mostly pastors and ministry leaders that MLK's message was not safe, but it was relevant. "Often, we can fool ourselves into believing that somehow, history itself will take care of problems of racial injustice," he said.
He said pastors are criticized by their congregations from being "too political" or "not political enough" when talking about issues of race. Churches across America are still splintered, still segregated. But Jesus through Scripture provides the solution: repentance, and faith (Matt. 23).
Eric Mason, pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, urged his audience that Jesus has secured unity through the work of the Cross, and the Bible demands that the church maintains unity today. To do so, we cannot ignore the impact of the past on the present day.
Writer, preacher and activist John M. Perkins said that the "sin of the evangelical church is that we have divided along culture," such as political views, Northern and Southern cultures, and race.
Other speakers talked about how fighting racism starts in the church, emphasizing the necessity of self-examination, personal study on issues of race and racism, and the posture of humility, listening, and repentance.
You can listen to all recorded sessions on The Gospel Coalition's website.