An Antidote to MLK’s Critique of the American Church
STORY // Jennifer S. H. Smith
In an interview with Meet the Press on April 16, 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. gave the following rebuke of the American church: “I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies, that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated hour, in Christian America. Any church that…has a segregated body is standing against the spirit and teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Incredibly, 58 years later, not much has changed. According to Lifeway Research Group, “More than 8 in 10 congregations are made up of one predominant racial group. And most worshipers don’t feel an overwhelming need to change. Two-thirds of American churchgoers (67 percent) say their church has done enough to become racially diverse.”
Why is the American Church at large resistant to diversity? Is racial and cultural diversity important? The Bible suggests it is. Diversity reflects the very image of God, the family of God, and what heaven looks like. It represents the heart of God as Jesus proclaimed salvation was available to all people. Two churches in two very different places are both going after these things by intentionally creating diversity and celebrating their multicultural communities.
To learn more about how the Multicultural Church Movement is impacting the world, check out these stories: