One Blood Book Review
One Blood Book Review
The American church is in a critical moment in history. The scars and wounds of America’s past have been laid bare and are more apparent than ever. The present reality of systemic racism in the lives of minorities, the hurt from a divisive political landscape and the confusing, sometimes conflicting response within the church has illuminated the need for a biblical response and action going forward. Conferences, podcasts, sermons, blog articles and books have diagnosed how the American church arrived at this defining moment historically, socially, and politically. Yet there is a great need for a practical and theologically rooted response that demonstrates how the body of Christ can move forward as one. “One Blood” by John Perkins utilizes history and theology to aid the church in the journey forward. John Perkins humbly yet declaratively presents the essentials on how the church being a people of one blood can be minsters of biblical reconciliation.
Perkins calls “One Blood” his manifesto to describe his parting contribution to the church’s progress in matters of race and the Gospel. With six decades of experience in the “reconciliation conversation”, Perkins has earned the right to speak authoritatively to other ministers of reconciliation, yet his work does not come across as dogmatic. Perkins strikes the perfect balance between practical instruction and theological reflection and authors a book for lay members and church leaders who seek to deepen their biblical understanding concerning race and reconciliation. Perkins argues that the work for biblical reconciliation must be done by a united reconciled church. After working with people and organizations both inside and outside of the church Perkins says,
“…I’m just now seeing clearly that the black church can’t fix this. And the white church can’t fix this. It must be the reconciled church, black and white Christians together imaging Christ to the world” (p. doudoune moncler 33).
People who are reconciled to God and not reconciled to their brother illuminates an error in reading Scripture and living out biblical truths. Perkins writes that changing this status quo means “changing the way we read the Bible” and “being more alert to the ways that cultural prejudices have crept into our understanding of the Bible” (p. 47). While exegeting passages such as the angels heralding the Gospel in Luke 2, the creation of man in Genesis 1, and the formation of the multi ethnic church in Acts 10, Perkins demonstrates how Scripture supports a unified humanity because “God made all nations from one blood” (p. 50).
Perkins deconstructs the “myth of race”, which has plagued the American church for centuries, and demonstrates how the church should biblically view race. He challenges church leaders to participate in a “transformative journey” to embrace and teach a biblical Gospel (p. 52). Perkins illustrates his point drawing from Abraham’s journey to becoming the father of many nations. Moving from a stagnant and culturally comfortable place that does not promote biblical diversity will not be easy, but it is an urgent task for the American church if it is to answer the call of the Gospel to be ministers of reconciliation. Perkins writes, “Our only choice is to get on with our Abrahamic journey into the unknown and discomfort of all that it entails” (p. 51).
A diverse church realizes the Revelation 7:9 vision. After painting a picture of what the church must look like, Perkins addresses principles that the church must do. With pastoral care, theological awareness, and historical sensitivity, Perkins examines the church’s need to lament, confess, repent, forgive, persevere, love, and pray to become a united church. These principles must be driven by the reality that all members of the body of Christ are from one blood and are motivated to be reconciled to one another by the love of Christ.
In addition to Perkins’ wisdom and experience he includes stories from pastors who are leading multiethnic church bodies. These “Living it Out” inserts serve as models of local church bodies doing this work well. These stories support the idea that what Perkins is calling for is not idealistic or unrealistic, but the result of people intentionally loving each other well and putting forth unified efforts to reflect Christ to the world.
One Blood is a necessary and important read for the church leader or lay member who desires to know how the church can specifically and effectively carry the mantle of biblical reconciliation. The fissures in the American church body today are results of incomplete Gospel presentations and shallow theological propositions. In One Blood, Perkins skillfully and winsomely presents a manifesto that deepens understanding the gospel and demonstrates an actionable way forward.