Racism Theology

Justice is a gospel issue: Opportunities for growth, miraculous and transformational outcomes (Acts 6:7)

So what was the result of the validation, engagement and empowerment strategy of the Apostolic team leadership?

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)

The rest of the chapter and Acts 7 deals with a specific example that is so laden with wisdom that it deserves a series of its own, but suffice it to say: “the number of the disciples multiplied greatly” and even those that were persecuting the early church “became obedient to the faith”.

So what can we learn from Acts 6:1-7, with a view to reviving our church leadership and governance structures?

Firstly, friction happens. Conflict arises. Life makes mess. We shouldn’t be surprised and we don’t have to see such mess as a personal failure. In general we should take conflict as an opportunity for growth. In the particular context of Acts 6, the overtones of racial prejudice resonate with our contemporary context and so also present tools that will help us grow together. What’s most important is how we deal with it. With this in mind, here’s a summary of the Acts 6 series, highlighting the key points:

People often emphasise the spiritual dimension of the passage – the apostles’ laudable commitment to prayer and the word. However, such results weren’t yielded in a vacuum. Leadership and conflict lessons must also be learned from the example of Acts 6. Transfer all this into the specific context of Acts 6’s ethnic tensions and the resulted salvations, and it is clear that that orthodoxy and orthopraxy are inextricably linked. Or, in other words, justice is a gospel issue.

Browse the complete series here.

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