Denison Forum – “Required” is required reading for courageous Christians

Required: God’s Call to Justice, Mercy, and Humility to Overcome Racial Division offers readers a detailed, yet relatable, perspective on what it would look like for Christians to apply God’s standards to the issues of racial division that continue to plague our country. 

To that end, Bishop Claude Alexander and Dr. Mac Pier unpack this topic around two primary beliefs. 

The first focuses on Micah 6:8 and the Lord’s call “to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God.” The second stems from the first: “that the process of addressing the tensions and the realities underlying them requires awareness, ownership, and agency.” 

As Alexander and Pier go on to explain, the justice, mercy, and humility with which we are called to live necessitate viewing the racial and societal injustice around us as problems over which we must take ownership and action, regardless of whether we had a hand in creating those problems. 

Through exposition of passages like Esther, the parable of the Good Samaritan, and others, the authors demonstrate the biblical mandate to join the Lord in addressing these issues while providing examples of the God-sized impact that various organizations and people have had on their communities by doing just that.

Why Christians should read Required

Required offers Christians clear insights into God’s heart for his people to actively engage with the racial division that continues to place a ceiling on the impact that his church can have on our culture. 

Alexander and Pier offer encouraging examples of Christians that have transformed their corner of society for the kingdom by responding positively to the Lord’s call and creatively looking for ways to be a blessing to those harmed by injustice. And they do so in such a way as to make clear that God has called and equipped each of us to do likewise. 

The big takeaway

In Required, Alexander and Pier manage to leave readers both convicted and encouraged. 

If you will engage with this book, taking time over the course of its chapters to prayerfully ask God to open your heart to the difficult truths revealed throughout, you will finish with a better understanding of the problems we face and God’s power to work through his people to redeem them for his glory and the kingdom’s advancement. 

To truly experience that redemption and play a part in that advancement, however, you must be willing to do the uncomfortable work of engaging with these issues in a real and personal way. 

The church is filled with well-intentioned believers who look at the racial injustices around us with lament, but far too few who decide to become part of the solution. An honest and vulnerable reading of Required will make the need to take that latter step unmistakably clear. 

In their words

Consider these three choice quotes from Required:

  • “Our lives with God empower and inform our lives with others. It is what God requires for life with him that sets a conduit for what is necessary to do life with one another.”
  • “Whenever we speak of responsibility over the history of race and the continued existence of racism, some people will say, ‘Racism isn’t my fault. I’m not racist. I have friends of color.’ I respond that it isn’t my fault either. It is neither of our faults, but it is something that exists for which God calls us to own and change. None of us chose the race to which we were born. God assigned and designed it to us. With its conferral came blessings and burdens that we inherit. Thus, while the existence of racism, prejudice, and bigotry is not our fault, it is our problem. We all must own it as our problem. While we may not bear responsibility for its commencement, we do have responsibility in its continuance.”
  • “Cultures don’t change by merely posting things on the internet, making great declarations that everyone should follow, or getting angry about what’s not right. Cultures change one person at a time; it happens when others see you and me doing good, speaking differently, acting differently, and refusing to allow a political party, a news outlet, or the internet to define our views. Our good works and good words will be noticed. In time, they will follow our example. Good is more powerful than evil. So we need not wait for some messiah figure to make racism go away tomorrow. The Messiah has already come; we just need to follow Him, and the time is now!”

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