Restorative Racial Justice

A Call to Live in Flourishing Freedom

A Global Baptist Family Standing Together

In light of the ongoing realities of racial injustice in the world, the BWA launched a special Racial Justice Action Group in October 2020 with unanimous affirmation from the BWA Executive Committee. Co-chaired by BWA General Secretary Elijah M. Brown and BWA First Vice President Karl Johnson from Jamaica, the Action group embarked on a two-year journey to:

 

    • Focus the 2022 BWA Annual Gathering around the theme of racial justice featuring keynote speakers, the work of all 14 BWA Commissions, pilgrimages, and other points of prayer and action
    • Engage in theological reflection related to the call for racial justice today within society and the church with special consideration of the subject of reparations
    • Develop tools for ongoing engagement within the BWA, BWA Member Bodies, and Churches so that the pursuit of racial justice will remain an ongoing priority

Alongside the Co-Chairs, inaugural steering committee members of this Action Group included Cassandra Jones (Chair of the BWA Commission on Racial, Gender, and Economic Justice, USA), Everton Jackson (BWA Director of Integral Mission, Jamaica), Michael Okwakol (former BWA Vice President and Founder/President of African Church Empowerment Ministries, Uganda), and Silvia Rapisarda (Pastor of Chiesa Battista di Catania, Italy). Marsha Scipio was added in February 2021 upon her appointment as Baptist World Aid Director. In collaboration with with relevant BWA Commissions and a wider sets of key stakeholders, experts, and leaders, the Action group developed a statement centered on Restorative Racial Justice that was affirmed by the Executive Committee on July 9, 2022, and presented to the BWA General Council during the 2022 BWA Annual Gathering hosted in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, from July 10-15.

BWA Executive Committee Statement 2022-07.1 Restorative Racial Justice

The Need for Restorative Racial Justice

The human propensity to grasp and gather for ourselves that which belongs to our brothers and sisters is an ancient sin that continues to crouch at the doors of our hearts individually and collectively. Across history this tendency has been aided by the sinful lie of racism – to posit one’s self or one’s group as if it is inherently superior – with its many guises that are structured and unstructured, collective and individualized, intentional and unconscious, propagated or inherited.

The Gospel of Jesus redeems us from the sinful chains of inherent superiority for the freedom of inherent co-dignity in the image of God that receives its ultimate expression in “every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne and before the Lamb” in the fullness of worship and equality. Crucially, this freedom is not the eradication of those elements that have most often contributed to racism – nation, tribe, people, or language – but the celebration of this beautiful diversity of co-dignity in equality. 

To live with this vision of flourishing freedom requires repentance, reorientation, restoration, and the pursuit of just righteousness. In so doing it sets both the captor and the captive free.

Historical Racial Justice Statements

Throughout the history of the BWA, the global Baptist family has stood for racial justice. More than 60 resolutions and statements have been issued on the topic of racial justice with three key examples linked below.

 

Ressourcen für Rassengerechtigkeit 

Review the resources below designed to further racial justice engagement. Resources include recommending reading, reflections on BWA’s historical racial justice initiatives, podcasts, children’s books, and more.

 

Justice Conversations

Gemeinsam im Gebet stehen

The Baptist World Alliance hosted “Standing Together in Prayer: Baptists Against Racism,” a unified hour of prayer and dialogue led by Baptist leaders from around the world. Watch a recording of the prayer gathering below.
Rev. Anslem Warrick, Chair of the BWA Commission on Human Rights, Peacebuilding, and Reconciliation voices a prayer for racial justice in remembrance and recognition of the racial justice legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.