In Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian, John Piper gives us a sober, challenging read which should shake some of us out of our lethargy, when it comes to racial harmony. Piper brings up his own past, of growing up in a segregated south where the conservative Church turned a blind eye to the black man’s struggle. He exposes his own racism, and labors to show how Scripture and specifically the gospel of Christ, cuts at the root of racism.
Piper is known for his rational thought and his Calvinism. While admitting that Calvinists have historically fared poorly if judged on racial concerns, he nevertheless builds a pretty strong case that each of the Calvinistic doctrinal points should lead toward a greater solidarity between races. None of us are favored because of our own actions, our race shouldn’t determine our fate, what’s more is that Jesus Christ died specifically to redeem men and women of every race. A multicolored and multi-ethnic throng surrounds the throne of the Lamb in Revelation 5. And that should be our goal, to make heaven’s will a reality here on earth.
Along the way, Piper discusses practical aspects for how to implement a culture that aims for racial harmony, and he counters numerous objections. He delves into a cultural analysis too of structural racism and white guilt, among other topics. I found some of the appendices most helpful. One was a detailed discussion of the curse of Ham, which has long been a fundamentalist rationale for rigid racial segregation and separation. Another appendix shared some of the vision and policy statements of Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist.
This book is accessible, and personal. It is also informative and provocative. I believe it is very helpful and may have a lasting impact on the church at large. This topic is worth thinking through and praying long and hard about, and John Piper is just the man to help us on this journey. His prayers and his struggles bleed through the pages of this weighty little book. I hope that people of all colors will pick up this book and see the vision for the multi-ethnic church that Christ died for. We all can learn from the wisdom in these pages. I highly recommend this book.
For some excerpts from this book which I shared already here on my blog, click here.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Crossway Books. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
About Book Briefs: Book Briefs are book notes, or short-form book reviews. They are my informed evaluation of a book, but stop short of being a full-length book review.