How to preach on race

Today, at the Lifeway Pastors blog, I have an article encouraging white pastors to preach on racial reconciliation. It’s not a subject we’ve often addressed from the pulpit, for a variety of reasons. I also give three ways to do this. The first is the most obvious: preach on race when the biblical text in front of you addresses it:

The best way, in my view, to embed the priority of racial reconciliation into the everyday lives of our people is through the faithful application of the text. By this I mean through expository preaching. I’m a firm believer in the systematic, Jesus-centered preaching of whole counsel of God. The task of a pastor is to declare what God has already said in His Word.

Racial reconciliation is not something that has to be forced onto the text. In fact, if you are preaching systematically through Scripture and you do not preach on it, you might be skipping it. The thrust of God’s promise to Abraham and the promises to Israel are His desire to be made known among all nations. And almost every New Testament book embeds its presentation of the gospel with its unifying, reconciling power.


  • You can’t faithfully preach the Great Commission passages without stopping to acknowledge them as the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to build His church from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
  • You can’t preach Galatians without preaching on the racial divisions that flared within the early church.
  • You can’t exposit Ephesians without spending time on the gospel’s bringing together of diverse people into “one new humanity” (Ephesians 2:15).
  • You can’t preach through Acts 1:8 without seeing the ingathering of the peoples of God as a sign of God’s promise to call a people to himself from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
  • You can’t do a series on the book of Revelation and not behold the majestic beauty of the diversity around God’s throne in Revelation 7 and 9.

Sadly, I’ve heard many messages from many “New Testament churches” that never touched on the priority of racial reconciliation found in Scripture. Why is this? It could be that we, as white evangelicals, don’t see it as a priority because we don’t see the problem of racial tension in our midst. It’s time pastors start seeing and preaching what is already there in the text. The heart of God’s people must be stirred to make this as much a gospel priority as Christ has in His inspired Word.

Read the rest of the article here: