Wednesday 5 November 2008


  • The 'race' for the 'White'house has been won by one who is non-white.
  • The 'race' for the black and white F1 chequered flag has been won by one who is non-white.
  • We are now one year on from the momentous decision by the Baptist Union Council to offer an apology for the transatlantic slave trade.
I was fortunate enough to be part of the discussions at BU Council last year, and on my return I penned the following letter to the Baptist Times (published Nov 22nd 2008). I think it bears repeating...

As one of those who participated in the 'kairos moment' of the Baptist Union Council discussion of the enduring legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, I offer the following reflection. Many will rightly see the unanimous statement agreed by Council as the Baptist family becoming a more inclusive gospel people. I want to suggest that it is not just about inclusivity: It is also about us becoming a prophetic gospel people.
The question before us is this: In what ways are we, as British Baptists, a gospel people offering good news for all nations?
We in the Baptist Union of Great Britain are the inheritors of empire; some of us represent the beneficiaries of empire, some of us represent the victims of empire, but all of us are diminished by our shared imperial heritage.
As the prophetic people of God, we are called to expose and oppose those systems which oppress and diminish humanity, which mar the image of God in all of us. I believe that those of us who have inherited power can shape a prophetic act of gospel witness by seeking to find ways of restoring divine balance within humanity. An apology thereby offered becomes a commitment to reverse the effects of empire, to repent and turn away from our legacy and from our complicity in the ongoing effects of empire.
In this way, we begin to offer genuine good news, we become a genuine gospel people, prophetically witnessing to the world that in Christ there is neither slave nor free, for the healing of the nations.

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