Bryan Loritts, the Lead Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Silicon Valley, delivered a challenging keynote to open the 2016 ERLC National Conference.
Titled “Right Color, Wrong Culture: Pursuing Multi-ethnic Cultural Engagement,” the keynote opened in a light-hearted manner but quickly pivoted to a more serious tone.
“I am a black man,” declared Loritts. “But my blackness must never trump my Jesus-ness.”
“I have to remind my brothers and sisters of that,” Loritts continued. “Our blackness must never trump our Jesus-ness. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. White folks are not our enemy.”
But Loritts also challenged his white listeners not to get comfortable with injustice.
“Can you really call yourself an evangelical and not deal with injustice?” Loritts asked. “I think racism makes Jesus angry. And to not get angry over things that make Jesus angry is to be out of step with the Gospel.”
“Have the courage to create uncomfortable moments when someone says something out of step with the Gospel… If Jesus had hung on to comfort, we would be spending an eternity in Hell.”
The keynote concluded with a video chronicling the history of racial reconciliation in the Southern Baptist Convention.
In the video, ERLC President Russell Moore gave a powerful reminder to Christians.
“As we look around and we see heightened tensions and resurgent racism, we have the opportunity as the church to model to the outside world – this is what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God. We not only love one another, we not only listen to one another, but we carry one another’s burdens.”