The Gospel as the Foundation for Racial Reconciliation

Thanks, Urban Apologetics Community

I am honored to be leading a workshop at our National Conference. The topic is 

“The Gospel as the Foundation for Racial Reconciliation”

Under-represented groups continuously cry against injustice and inequality throughout our societies. Sin is the cause of injustice and inequity. As an immigrant from Jamaica, I will begin with my own story of learning about racial injustice and inequality in the USA. We will seek to lay out a pattern for racial reconciliation and justice based on our dependence on God’s Word. First, we will look at the issue by addressing the:

  • A pattern of racial reconciliation in the Scriptures
  • The rise of the inferiority myth
  • The black church and the backdrop of the black experience

Then we will suggest some ways to address systematic injustice and racial reconciliation by:

  • Addressing the Biblical Kingdom agenda
  • Prophetically declaring the Kingdom impact on the culture
  • Incorporating urban apologetics in our theological discipline
  • Practically addressing structural changes that are needed

No matter where we emigrate and what injustice we face, God has provided the right balance to deal with these issues. We are all made in the image of God. We are recipients of reconciliation by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We, therefore, have the suitable characteristics to lead reconciliation.

I want to thank Damion R, Adan Coleman, Jerome Gay Jr., Toney Evans, Dr. Eric Mason, Voddie Baucham Jr., and the Urban Apologist Community for resources that served as receipts to this workshop.

Several years ago, I needed information relating to Africa’s contribution to Christianity. I also wanted to be more informed about the rise of the Black conscious community and the Black Religious Cults. Also, this was in part to counter the statement “Christianity is a white man’s religion.” I was introduced to Brother Damion, who introduced me to Tomas Oden’s book, “How Africa Shaped the Christian mind. That started my journey into unbelievable discovery and understanding.

This introduction was the tip of the spare. I later got connected with the Urban Apologetics Community ( and Jude 3 Project. From there, I connected with Adam Coleman. This brother is the real deal.

Thanks to everyone for your invaluable contribution to my workshop.

Happy New Year!

10 year anniversary.004In 2014, how could one truly and radically live out the mission of the Church?  We still have a lot of work to do, and we must earnestly advance the mission of the Church. The Church has to recognize that their primary mission is to advance the Kingdom of God. Jesus prayed for the Church in John 17:11-17:

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me… I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

The Gospel must be preached! I have made a decision to move forward declaring the Gospel. The Gospel is truly ‘good news’ because the events of Jesus’ ministry are the fulfillment of God’s loving decision to heal the broken creation.

In 2014, as we advance the mission of the Kingdom of God, we must maintain a solid biblical foundation.  With the changing cultural environment of our time truth has taken on a relative nature, if not a back seat. The Scripture is being viewed as less authoritative than previous years.

It is quite evident that whenever there is a lack of Biblical foundation and structure there is a potential to wander away from the message of the Bible and the structure of the Church. We must hold to the teachings of the Scriptures without compromise. The heart of the bible is the Gospel Message.

During this period of Church history, we must rely on The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit directs the Church. The Holy Spirit equips and empowers the Church to serve and to proclaim the Gospel. Without the Holy Spirit in our lives we will be carried away in this period of relativity.

There is a deliberate effort to devalue and destroy!

There is an effort to reduce the Bible to less authoritative and outdated. There is a spirit of division that has entered into the church. I pray that in 2014 we deliberately make an effort to unite and hold up the authoritative nature of the Bible. This disunity and lack of biblical authority has allowed the desecration of the sacred. There is a deliberate effort to desecrate the sacred. Is this a result of those who are supposed to guard the sacred have left it open in the name of:

1) Quantity instead of quality,

2) “Delicious instead of nutritious”

3) Conforming instead of transforming

4) Imitators instead of leaders

5) Talkers instead of doers

6) Appeasers instead of truth-tellers

7) Political correctness instead of biblical boldness

8) Popularity instead of prophetic purity

9) Celebrity instead of shepherding

10) Acceptors instead of defenders

2014 will be a year of decisions. Joshua declared, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. What will your decision be in 2014? Will you conform or will you transform. There is no hiding. You will have to make a decision.

We must not sacrifice the gospel message in the name of being accepted in the eyes of the world. In 2014, I make a decision to more forward in advancing the cause of Christ!

Happy New Year!!!

Dr. Dalton Jenkins

Let Us Rise and Build

The theme for consideration this year is “I will Rise and Build”. The scriptural focus is on Nehemiah 2:1-7.  Nehemiah personally answered the call and made the determination that he would rise and build and then was able to challenge the remnant of Israel in verse 18 to let us rise and build.

Often times it is easier to answer a call to action when others are joining or have answer a similar call.  Others will act alone if there is something in it for them.

However, the challenge this year is a personal one. Who will answer that call that Bill Haybels call, “Holy Discontent”?  This he said is when something wrecks you from the inside, when your spirit will not rest until you respond to the call.

During this year’s convention we are focusing on the individual call to build.  Nehemiah was in a secure job that carries certain risk but it was a prestigious position.  Upon hearing the news of the destruction of the old city he was moved to act.  It is this initial conviction that placed him in a position to be able to encourage others to act.  As Christians, we have to first accept the challenge and then act on the challenge, if we are going to be effective at encouraging others to act.

This was not a hasty action, one that was not properly informed.  Nehemiah counted the cost. Ultimately, the decision he made could have cost him his life, but he was willing to take the chance.  This move was not for selfish motive but to accomplish the mission of God (redemption-restoration of a broken relationship).  Answering the call of God is worth the risk all the time.

I believe we are living in a time when the motivation to stand alone, on principles, seemed to be abnormal.  However, I have a strong feeling that many are standing alone but are not in the limelight. It will take a conviction of the Holy Spirit to motivate us to abandon our individual pursuits in order to fulfill God’s call on our lives.  What is holding you back from answering that “Holy Discontent”?

Ten years ago I felt this “Nehemiah Unction”.  I could not resist and I could not rest until I answered that call.  The result of that call is this church and this ninth year celebration. Those who are members and regular attendees have also answered that unction and today we reflect and celebrate God’s goodness together.

Many lives have been changed and have experienced that call to come up higher. Yes, it is because others answered the call why we celebrate today. Lives have been changed because you and I answered the call to “Rise and Build”.  Like Nehemiah you have left something or someone to follow God and today we rejoice together.

My prayer this year, is that we all look with ourselves and respond to the challenge of the Holy Spirit.  There is a lot of work to be completed and the challenge ahead is great but God can use a committed heart to do extraordinary feats.  I am praying that the power of the Holy Spirit will cause a “Holy Discontent” within our souls until we get up and act on the call of God on our lives.

What will stir our hearts right now to action? Right where you are what do you see and hear that will cause you to move?  What does God has to do to get you to move?

Individually, we have to see the need and make up our minds that we are not going to delay anymore, even if we are the only one-we will act.  We will not wait on anyone else to act but we will sacrifice everything to be where God wants us to be and to do what God wants us to do.

After Nehemiah answered the call he was able to challenge others to build. If together we are going to build, then individually we have to rise and build.

This year, this is an individual challenge.

The Gospel Message: Contextualization (Acts 10)

The Colonial Era Model of missions continues to today according to Paul G. Hiebert’s essay, The Gospel in Human Context. “The Churches that were planted during the Colonial Era emulated western Churches in theology, worship and Church polity.” Critical Contextualization is necessary in missionary endeavors. “The gospel must be Biblical but relevant to the context. If the early missionaries adjusted too little, these missionaries in the twentieth century accommodated too freely and the result was syncretism.”[1] Every culture possesses both good and evil, and Christianity has the potential to transcend any cultural ethos if the missionaries are allowed by the Church to do so. Even in church-planting efforts, contextualization must be an active part of the planters’ consideration. A new paradigm, or a rediscovered paradigm, has emerged. According to Paul G. Hiebert’s essay, The Gospel in Human Context, “In recent years Evangelical missiologists, especially anthropologists, have emphasized the importance of contextual hermeneutics. A contextual hermeneutics seeks to interpret the scriptures in a way that is Biblically correct but also culturally appropriate and relevant. This approach reflects the importance of the two hermeneutical questions: what did the Biblical text mean originally and what does this text mean for us today.”[2] According to Hiebert, what we need is a more “contextual hermeneutics & critical contextualization that must be informed by Holy Scriptures, guided by the Holy Spirit and discerned by the Church” if we are going to be true to the Great Commission.

In the essay by Paul G. Hiebert, he identified several types of contextualization.[3] Hiebert posited that contextualization is a critical aspect of missions. I agree with him that all of us participate in some aspects of contextualization. The world is at our doorstep, and we have to minister to people within their context without losing the essence of the Biblical message. Hiebert argues that there are “changing perceptions of contextualization among missionaries and missions scholars. Missions must include social, historical, personal and other contexts in which people are living.” He maintained that minimal contextualization is when one is unaware of the contexts in which they live or the depth to which these contexts shape how and what they think.[4] He continues to define uncritical contextualization where there is a watered-down presentation of the gospel leading to syncretism[5] (“This would mean the “old religion” would become mixed in with the new Biblical faith and that culture would have more authority than revelation.[6] Critical contextualization tends to seek a balanced approach to which missionary interactions with societies is both true to the Bible and sensitive to the cultures of the particular people group”) and Divine revelation given in human context.

In Acts 10, we see that the Holy Spirit was the guiding hand in this missionary endeavor and that the message was all about Jesus Christ. Peter did not go to Cornelius with a message of cultural change, but one of spiritual revolution. Good deeds do not complete the conversion process, but a full acceptance of the person and work of Jesus does. It was at this point in the message that the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his friends and family who were present. Lawrence O. Richards in his book The Bible Readers Companion said,

The fact that Gentiles were given this gift, just as the apostles had been on Pentecost (cf. Acts 2), was proof of God’s acceptance of Gentiles into the Church. Peter’s phrase “at the beginning” (v. 15) suggests that this event was unusual because it involved Gentiles, and speaking in tongues, γλώσσαις (glossolalia), was not a common phenomenon in the early church.[7]

It was at the introduction of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Scriptural prophecies that the Holy Spirit did what only He could do; He came into their hearts, anointing them with the evidence of other tongues, γλώσσαις (glossolalia). In Acts 10:43, Peter said about Jesus, “He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”

Before an invitation was given, the Spirit already readied the heart of Cornelius, filled him and anointing him. This process of the Anointing of the Holy Spirit began way back in Acts 10:1. It was evident in Matthew 4 at the introduction of Jesus’ ministry and at His baptism by John the Baptist. Cornelius saw something among the Jews that moved him. He practiced two out of the three virtues of the Jews at that time: prayer, alms giving, and fasting. He was obedient to the Holy Spirit and now as the full counsel of the gospel was being revealed he accepted and as a sign of God’s acceptance of this Gentile He gave them His Spirit with the sign of the γλώσσαις (glossolalia). Since these two men, the seeker and the messenger, were obedient to the direction of the Holy Spirit, Acts 12 indicated that The Good News spread rapidly, and many more became believers. The message Cornelius heard was the same message that was preached in Acts 2:38, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”[8] This is the gospel message; that there is salvation only through Jesus Christ. This salvation requires that one repents as stated in Acts 3:19 and accept Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior as seen in Acts 4:12. Here we have seen the gospel being presented in context of the culture; however, the message did not change and the requirements remained.

When we examine the ministry of Paul, we can see that he was born in a Hellenistic Greek culture, Tarsus; he was a Jew and Roman citizen. To add to the complexity of contextualization as stated in Acts 22:3, “he was educated under Gamaliel as a strict Pharisee?”[9] Yet we can learn a lot from the apostle’s presentation of truth that was based on Jesus Christ, and he was more concerned, I think, with critical contextualization of the gospel. Paul did not stray from the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He has provided a way for sinners to reconnect with God through conversion. In Acts 17, we witness Paul on Mars’ Hill, the pinnacle of philosophy, as he gently used their context to present the Gospel. Paul looked around and noticed how religious they were and pointed them to Jesus by speaking in their context. This method can be seen throughout the Pauline Epistles. It is very noticeable in Luke’s writings in Acts 15, about the story of Peter and Cornelius. On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached a sermon that had its basis in the life, work and teachings of Jesus Christ (Acts 3). What developed later was an institution that formed the basis of what we call Church today. The challenge that the early Church faced was how to contextualize the gospel. In the story of Peter and Cornelius this was evident. It took the revelation of the Holy Spirit to transform Peter.

Presenting the Gospel has to be strategic, holistic, and deliberate. This requires meeting persons in their context and applying the gospel contextually. There is a physical and a spiritual dimension to mission and the Church; if it is going to be effective we cannot continue to present a one-sided Gospel. I agree to some degree with Hoekendijk as he challenged missionaries to identify and integrate with the suffering masses, seeking to realize God’s shalom on earth, but he fell short of advocating for a holistic approach inclusive of the Church.[10] He went to the left of the evangelical community and focused on social, economic, and political liberation and less on the church as the vehicle to present the gospel message. Holistic approaches to mission are demonstrated in countries like Africa and Latin America; Asian church leaders have embraced Creation Care, an environment mission’s agency hosted by God and Creation conference in Kenya. In a recent article in the Christian Today magazine-July 2010, a “faith-based model”, in Mieze, Mozambique, they “teach rural poor how to use trade to rise out of poverty”. The founders of the program (Iris Ministries), Don Kantel and his wife, said, “We are determined to create a holistic model for transforming life among Africa’s poorest families through job creation and evangelistic outreach”.[11] Here, they were strategic and deliberate while maintaining a holistic approach to mission. They show the communities how to become self-sufficient economically and at the same time teach them about the life-transforming message of the Bible. In a unique way “the project brings together farming, animal husbandry, long-term orphan care, education, and newly planted church, all in a sustainable way with indigenous leaders”, a mission geared towards orphans and vulnerable children. As we bring the Gospel to the world we have to be aware of the context but we have to be anchored in a strong scriptural foundation.


[1] Paul G. Hiebert. The Gospel In Human Context, 100.

[2] Ibid., 101

[3] Paul G. Hiebert. The Gospel In Human Context, 82 – 94.

[4] Paul G. Hiebert. The Gospel In Human Context, 84.

[5] Ibid., 89 – 91 and 107

[6] A. Scott Moreau, Harold Netland and Charles van Engen, Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria, UK: Baker Books; A. Scott Moreau, 2000), 226.

[7] Lawrence O. Richards, The Bible Readers Companion, electronic ed. (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1991), 718.

[8] W. Hall Harris, III, The Lexham English Bible (Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010), Ac 2:36.

[9] Logos Bible Software. (Access 2010) – Make of Logos Bible Software.

[10] Johannes Christiaan Hoekendijk, The Church Inside Out, (London: Scm Press, 1967), 25-31.

[11] Cassandra Soars, “A Hand Up,” Christian Today, July 2010, 13.

The Gospel Message: Peter’s Address – Acts 10:34-43

The gospel message is all about Jesus and what He did and is going to do.  Peter summarized this in Acts 10:37-41.  The commission to go and preach was given by Jesus in Acts 1 and the authority and power to preach was given in Acts 2.  The revelation for mission was given in Acts 10 that laid the foundation for the selection of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:2 where the Holy Spirit instructed, after they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”  Paul later became the face of missions to the Gentile world.  The gospel must be grounded in the Bible and consist of the message of Jesus’ life, work, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return.  Those who have first received the Gospel Message must carry out this message, and the Church is the organism that has been authorized to deliver this message.  The work of the Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus in John 16:6-11, is clearly at work in the story of Peter and Cornelius.   Jesus said But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”  The Holy Spirit was going to convict the world, in this case Cornelius.  In the case of Peter, the Spirit’s ministry of guidance and revelation of truth was demonstrated. Finally, the Spirit wanted Peter to present Jesus to Cornelius. This ministry of representation, according to John, is demonstrated through us who represent Christ here on earth.

We understand that the gospel message is sent to the world, not just to one group of people.   Matthew 28:20 said, “go into all the world” and in Acts 1 it gave more detail as to the meaning of the world: “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Again we see the Holy Spirit taking the lead in first equipping the messengers before they were sent.  Those in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost were anointed by the Holy Spirit and sent to bring the Gospel message.  They sometimes struggled with the fact that many were accepting this message, but that did not stop the spread of the Gospel.  Peter was one who struggled with seeing the world outside of Jerusalem and the Jewish context.

The Holy Spirit however, gave him a lesson; this lesson was that God is impartial and all need the Gospel.  As the Holy Spirit taught Peter, we need to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts on this matter as stated in Acts 10:15, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”  We are to be willing to take the gospel message to the world, and have no exception.  Once Peter understood the message, he was able to go into Cornelius’ home and present the gospel and fellowshipped.  This was a remarkable accomplishment, a Jew not only going into a Gentile’s home, but he was staying for a while and eating with them.  The food was not declared clean by Mosaic Law but by the fulfillment of the Laws through Jesus Christ.  He was truly a missionary.  A missionary is simply a messenger, bringing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.  As we endeavor to bring the gospel and assume the mantle of a missionary, there must be an understanding of contextualization of the gospel, wherein the message does not change, but the application of the message in the local context will vary.  This is true of Paul in Acts 17 when he spoke to the Athenians about their monument to the unknown God.  Paul used their context and presented the Gospel.  In the July 2010 Christianity Today issue in the article, “Love where you live”, J. R. Kerr said, “A city gets transformed when neighborhoods marked by the gospel are redeemed.  To do that, we need to stay 20 or 30 years.”[1]  This missionary enterprise is an investment, or a life commitment.

[1] Collin Hasen, “Love Where You Live” Christianity Today, July 2010, 36.