Evangelical theologians issue joint statement calling racism 'contrary to Scripture' and the Gospel

(Photo: Unsplash/James Eades)

Dozens of evangelical theologians have added their names to a statement condemning racism as "contrary to Scripture and to the evangelical gospel". 

The statement, issued on Monday, acknowledges that while evangelicals like William Wilberforce campaigned for the abolition of slavery, there were also "negatively those who assimilated the values of their surrounding unjust culture". 

"Today's situation requires more than a statement, but certainly no less than a statement," the statement reads.

"As evangelical academic voices, we condemn racism as contrary to Scripture and to the evangelical gospel. Evangelical history includes positively many voices for justice and pioneers of abolitionism, such as William Wilberforce, but also negatively those who assimilated the values of their surrounding unjust culture.

"Yet the basis of evangelical faith is Scripture, climaxing in the good news of Jesus Christ."

The theologians, who include Don Carson, President of The Gospel Coalition, and Dr Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, referred to numerous Bible verses as they spoke of the equality of all people. 

"Scripture does not discriminate by color, and, on the most common understanding of Acts 8, the first Gentile convert may have been Black and from Africa," they said. 

The statement concluded with a call to believers to seek justice and follow the example of Jesus in loving all people. 

"Jesus, both by his example and by his teaching, summons us to serve and love fellow believers to the point of laying down our lives for them (John 13:14-17, 34-35; 1 John 3:16-18), and to love all our neighbors as ourselves (Lev 19:18; Mark 12:31; Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14)," they said. 

"This invites us to be swifter to listen to others than to speak (Eph 4:29; Jms 1:19), to mourn with those who suffer (Rom 12:15), and to join them in acting for justice on their behalf (Isa 1:17; Luke 11:42; Jms 1:27)." 

The statement can be read in full here.