In his book, Embracing Oneness, Tony Evans seeks to bring under one heading the subjects of reconciliation, justice and the kingdom of God. He begins by offering a definition of biblical reconciliation saying, ” Biblical racial reconciliation may be defined as addressing the sin that caused the divide for the purpose of bonding together across racial lines based on a a shared commitment fo jesus christ with the goal of service to others”. With that as a target to shoot for we launch into this critique of a major problem among people in and outside of the church.
The book is laid out a fashion that is easy to follow. The first section takes a look at the biblical view of oneness and the divides that liberty have brought us over the centuries. We then move on to a historical view of the black church. Evans does a good job to give a detailed account of the men and women who pioneered the black church and the foundations on which it was built. He also gives an account of the black preacher which serves as a correctional tool for those who are put off by the preaching of those in the black community. Evans lists the changes and the push which the black church has taken to move towards a biblical understanding of evangelicalism and how that fits with the personal story of the African-American and their past. Evans ends by bringing his readers towards a view of the kingdom-minded church which is made up of many members yet are but one body. Ultimately the end of the book points us to a vision where we are one body glorified at the throne of God and are made up of one glorified people.
in our trek towards oneness, Evans gives a wonderful description of what oneness can accomplish when he tells us, “Oneness brings glory to God by moving us into the atmosphere where we can experience God’s response in such a way that he manifests His glory most fully in history”. This quote makes up the driving force that propels the chapters in this book forward. The glory of God is at the center of all these pages, though at times it seems that Evans seeks to elevate the black church above that of the white. Though I do not believe that Evans is intentional in this thinking, It can easily be misunderstood due to the language used in some of the chapters.
I thought this work was very helpful in moving me towards a biblical model which I can use to begin to draw those of different races together under the headship of Christ and authority to his teaching. We as the body of God must seek to be under the authority of both black and white, asian and mexican, irish and english shepherds who point us towards the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. If you are a leader in the church and have a shortfall when it comes to this subject then let me encourage you to pick up this book and let it speak to you and point you towards an attainable goal in Christ.