Statement Against Racial Injustice
First Baptist Church Knoxville condemns the sins of racism; racial injustice—whether systemic, individual, historic, implicit, or explicit; violence; and the unlawful use of force.
We believe and affirm that each person, regardless of race, is created in the image of God and deserving of equal dignity, value, and treatment. We believe that racism, racial injustice, violence, and the unlawful use of force stand in direct violation of that image. We, as members of the ethnically and theologically diverse body of Christ, have the responsibility and are accountable to be like Christ, pursue justice and righteousness, and participate in the mission of God. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to be a blessing to all peoples.
We confess that we have failed to consistently affirm the image of God and be a part of the ongoing efforts to promote equity and equality in our community. We recognize that we have failed to consistently listen and respond to the suffering of our brothers and sisters of color who also bear the image of God. In times when we have been silent in the midst of suffering and wrongdoing, have mercy O God.
We repent of our silence and complicity and commit to the following:
We believe in the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” As people of prayer and humility, we pray for the suffering in our world and commit to following the guidance of the Spirit in this effort.
Through cross-cultural dialogue, individual and collective learning, and listening to testimony, we will strive to learn about peoples, cultures, and experiences, both past and present, that are different from our own for the purpose of being more informed and equipped neighbors in the struggle for justice.
Through intentional worship, pilgrimages, discipleship and missional opportunities, we will strive to learn about, engage, and partner with other groups and cultures for the purpose of coming to a more complete truth about ourselves and our world.
We recognize that these are positive first steps, but faithfully living into our calling is a daily act of obedience.
As the church “in the center of the city with the Savior,” we believe that the ongoing work of prayer, education, and experience will lead us to be better neighbors, model Christ’s love to all people, and better engage our community.
We believe that racism, whether conscious or unconscious, racial injustice, violence, and the unlawful use of force are incompatible in the kingdom of God. As witnesses of the kingdom, we will continue to proclaim Christ’s coming through compassion and loving action.
As we take steps on the journey towards justice, we submit ourselves to Him who is able to keep us from falling and to bring us into His glorious presence without fault—to the only God our Savior be all glory, majesty, power,
and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all time, and in the present, and forevermore! Amen.
What White Christians Need to Know About Racism
As part of our response to the racial tensions facing our country, we invited Pierce Story to speak about racism and racial justice in three educational sessions. Session 3 will air Wednesday, July 15, 2020.
Racial Justice Session - Part 1
Race and Racism for Christian Whites - The definitions of terms and how they are used to divide us.
Racial Justice Session - Part 2
Call to Uprightness - God's call on the church, which positions us as the only entity capable of bringing about racial healing.
Racial Justice Session - Part 3
What Christian Whites Need To Do - How to engage our brothers and sisters in the black community.
Racial Justice Session - Part 4
Racism From Other Perspectives - Hear from Rev. Melvin Wright, Pastor at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, concerning his personal experience of racism and that of his black congregation.