Whatever doubts I may have harbored about having recently fallen down an evangelical rabbit hole were completely erased by the announcement of a racially segregated meeting at the upcoming TGC Women’s Conference (TGCW18). “Women of Color” is being promoted as a “special evening of fun and fellowship” sponsored by Legacy Disciple that will “engage with a few of our TGCW speakers, and also enjoy discussion with one another.”
Legacy Disciple’s stated rationale for the conference is a study in polite rejection.
TGCW18 will hold a special Women of Color (WOC) gathering because of those shared, distinct experiences. I understand that many white women attending TGCW18 deeply and sincerely desire to participate in an event like this so they can learn. Praise the Lord! May their tribe increase! However, we run the risk of the audience growing so large (and perhaps even resulting in our sisters of color being the minority at an event specifically designed for them to be the majority) that the goal of cultivating a space for more honest discussion and direct encouragement for women of color would be compromised.
May your tribe increase but please stay on the whites only part of the reservation. All of the kind and sweet language that is used to justify this “coloreds only” meeting cannot cover up the dangerous, gospel-denying foundation on which it is built. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
The article speaks of different groups of people in Scripture which had “shared [group] experiences” that “are grounds to strengthen and support one another.” Older women, younger women, the original twelve disciples, the three, inner-circle among those twelve and even Peter, whom Jesus chose “for the initial building of his church.” These distinctions are supposed to justify the hosting of a Christian meeting that excludes people on the basis of the amount of melanin in their skin. Somehow, the evidence used to make the case leaves their argument, to put it politely, “not proven.”
However you slice it, this meeting discriminates on the basis of race. Let that sink in for a minute. At a conference sponsored by The Gospel Coalition a meeting is being promoted that forbids participation based on skin color. In the name of serving the greater good. As the sponsors explain, “By hosting this event, we are aiming to build up the whole body of Christ by strengthening a part of the body in a focused manner.”
For the last several years women from the church that I pastor have attended TGCW conferences, always with spiritual benefit. This year only two of the ladies of GBC are going. One is black. The other is white. I called the one with more melanin earlier today to discuss this Woman of Color meeting with her. Jean had heard about it and when I asked her for her thoughts, her response, though unsurprising, made my old pastor’s heart soar. “I will not go….It is not biblical….Until they can show me from Scripture a divided Christ, I will never consider such a thing….Just wait and see what happens if someone invites me to that meeting and tells me that my sister, Julie, cannot go!”
Jean and Julie are representative of the sort of godly women of Grace Baptist Church. Their leadership and service to their church family have blessed our whole congregation. I praise God for the privilege of serving with them.
My conversation with Jean reminded me that, no matter how bizarre the larger evangelical world gets, there are many faithful men and women in churches all across our land who still take God’s Word seriously and are willing to stand on it even when doing so requires them to stand firmly against the prevailing winds of our modern culture.
My Christian brothers and sisters, today as much as ever we must heed the apostolic admonition to guard the good deposit of the gospel that has been entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:14). This stewardship requires us not only to be alert to the open assaults from without but also to the subtle but equally deadly assaults—no matter how well-intentioned they might be—from within.
So, if any ladies who are going to TGCW18 happen to read this and you see a black woman named Jean and a white woman named Julie walking around, do yourself a favor. Ask Jean if she is going to the special Women of Color meeting, then listen and learn as you get a refresher course in the basics of the gospel that will encourage you greatly, no matter what your color.