In Macon, Georgia, 1st Baptist Church split just before the Civil War to form two churches—a white First Baptist and a Black First Baptist. They have remained separate until this day. But now pastors of the two churches are talking about repenting and reconciling. Today, even though 75% of Americans claim to be Christians, the Protestant Church in our country is fractured in many ways—by class, ethnicity, politics, and denomination, —to name just a few divisions. Such splits contradict the teaching of our Lord. While he did not envision a centrally organized body, He did want to see all His followers accept and love each other. By loving and serving one another, we would be a powerful witness to a watching world. We read this in John chapter 13, “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” God’s people accepting and loving one another is a powerful witness to onlookers. It shows we are indeed genuine in our faith. We win others to Christ, not by our pure theology, our music, our dress, or our politics; but our love, respect, and justice are what wins them.
Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More