When Heaven and Earth Collide
Alan Cross has been a friend of mine for quite some time now. As long as I have known him I have known of his concern for racial division in the US, but more specifically, racial division within the church. A man who practices what he preaches, Alan serves Gateway Baptist Church as their pastor and has led Gateway to faithfully engage all people, regardless of color or social identification. I was really excited when I heard that his book, a labor of love for him, was going to be published. When I got a copy to read, I was not disappointed. In this book Alan shows himself to be one part storyteller, one part historian and one part theologian, and he does each area justice. His writing is compelling and thorough and so very helpful to those that want to follow Jesus, and embody his character. Alan does not mince words and does not mind speaking powerfully when it comes to his calls for us to be like Jesus. This quote is but one example:
The error of white evangelicals in the South in regard to racial issues and the power structures that supported the established racism was simply that they worked hard to affirm a culture in government, society, and their communities and churches that supported their way of life and their prosperity instead of using the blessings that they had received to be a blessing to others.
Intertwining historical review with cultural and biblical analysis, Alan lays bare the false presuppositions that founded the church's opposition to racial and ethnic integration and challenges them with piercing biblical insight. Alan shows a keen insight into the historical issue of racial prejudices hiding under the auspices of the church and a robust understanding of the theological complexities that are at play.
If you are interested in racial reconciliation, and if you care about the church's role in that effort, this book would be a good place to start. I hope you will take the time to grab a copy for yourself.
Purchase the paperback here.
Purchase the Kindle version here.