I recently ran across the blog for Together for the Gospel, or T4G. I’ve since learned that T4G is a popular conference for Reformed clergy, theologians, and laity. I had not heard of them before, but then a friend told me my book was mentioned on the T4G blog. So, naturally, I was curious to learn more about the group. (I don’t consider myself a Calvinist, but I’m sure I’ve adopted a few Reformed values through the years—especially having worked with the folks down at Christianity Today magazine.) 🙂
Anyway, it’s not my intention to stir up a debate about Reformed theology or anything like that. But the T4G blog post that graciously mentions Reconciliation Blues intrigued me. In the post, Mark Dever, a Washington, D.C., pastor and T4G cofounder, expresses regret for the wording of one of the group’s statements of belief. The line in question reads:
“We further affirm that evangelical Christianity in America bears a unique responsibility to demonstrate this reconciliation with our African-American brothers and sisters.”
Apparently, T4G heard back from some folks about this wording, which Dever acknowledges could be misinterpreted to mean evangelical Christianity is comprised first and foremost of white believers. This is not what they meant, but Dever concedes that the statement is indicative of a “white presumptive” vocabulary, which assumes that the white evangelical perspective is the most important one.
I thought this was an interesting post, not only because of Dever and T4G’s admirable humility on the matter but because it offers an opportunity for us to ponder our use of language and how it can sometimes inadvertently divide us or expose our biases. Dever goes on to say some other things about racial identity vs. Christian identity that are worth pondering as well.
Any thoughts out there about the use of “white presumptive” language? Can other racial and ethnic groups be guilty of something similar?