taking the words of Jesus seriously

We are in a kairos moment and we must reckon with the fierce urgency of now! There is an all-out assault on truth, and we are in the eye of the storm. We no longer need to wonder what we would have done if we were alive during the Jim Crow Era — our nation is harkening back to exclusionary tactics and policies that disenfranchise and disregard the disinherited.

Amid a global pandemic, Gov. Ron DeSantis is threatening to cut state funding to school districts in Florida requiring students to wear masks. Politicians are crafting sinister legislation to suppress voting rights. Critical Race Theory has been strategically misappropriated into a catch-all phrase that’s deployed to denounce historic facts and discredit leaders with the audacity to renounce imperial propaganda. This strategy is suppressing the truth in many congregations and classrooms. (For example, Senate Bill 3 in Texas seeks to remove seminal content like Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from the required curriculum.)

Lamentably, supporters of these trends exist in and outside the Church. Tragically, this un-Christlike behavior is not only alive and well within too many congregants, but is also present among some fellow ministers. In fact, some pastors are leading the charge of culture wars.

There is a spiritual battle going on within the body. As ministers strive to articulate a holistic gospel and call congregants to become “repairers of the breach” (Isaiah 58:12), too many members of the body feel emboldened to rebut pastors and denounce them as Critical Race Theorists. Dr. King once said, “Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”

We must prophetically declare the truth in this seminal moment!

John 8:32 says, “The truth will set you free.” We desperately need God’s truth to elucidate fact from fiction, truth from deception, and the gospel of Jesus Christ from Christian nationalism. The truth will help us realize the ways we have conformed to the patterns of this world.

Unbridled privilege is the enemy of biblical truth. Scripture is clear: the devil’s sole purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. Satan uses unbridled privilege as a vehicle for this mission.

The devil uses privilege as a constant temptation, baiting Christians away from the will of God into sin and self-centeredness. Unbridled privilege destroys our witness and credibility in the world, prohibiting disciples from taking on the mindset of Christ, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and seeking the peace and prosperity of our communities. Satan aims to seduce us into exploiting privilege for selfish gain rather than strategically leveraging it to further the kingdom and sacrificially love our neighbors.

Scripture provides a blueprint for faithfully stewarding privilege. We use all we have — our influence, power, resources, social capital, and voice — to advocate for systemic accountability, just policies, fiscal practices, and communities where all God’s children can flourish…not just some.

Micah 6, Proverbs 31-89, Isiah 58, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 4:18-19, Acts 6:1-7, and Acts 16: 16-40 offer tangible takeaways for stewarding privilege. Each passage also illustrates that what we have is not just for us. We are blessed to be a blessing — to defend the dignity of the vulnerable, advocate for needed change, address injustice, reinvest in our communities, and seek the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

When we exploit our privilege for selfish gain, we forsake transformational opportunities to bear witness to who and whose we are. We miss the chance to participate in the freedom, liberation, and deliverance the Spirit is willing into existence where captivity, disenfranchisement, and despair have reigned for far too long.

In my new book Subversive Witness, I strive to soberly address privilege and illustrate how it can hinder us from perceiving and responding to God’s call on our lives. But I also strive to demonstrate how privilege can be generative and liberating, compelling us to participate in the inbreaking reign of God in innovative and surprising ways.

We are called to make God’s name known and love shown throughout the world. And we are commissioned for such a time as this!


About The Author


Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is the author of "Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores," which won a 2018 Book of the Year Award for InterVarsity Press and was named Outreach Magazine’s 2019 Social Issues Resource of the Year. Gilliard also serves as an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary and on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association. In 2015, the Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.” Gilliard’s forthcoming book "Subversive Witness: Scripture’s Call to Leverage Privilege" will be released August 24, 2021.

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