Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?: How the Bible Is Good News for People of Color, By Antipas L. Harris
Is Christianity the White Man's Religion?
  • Length: 168 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: May 19, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4599
  • ISBN: 9780830845996

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Among many young people of color, there is a growing wariness about organized religion and Christianity in particular. If Christianity is for everyone, why does the Bible seem to endorse slavery? Why do most popular images of Jesus feature a man with white skin and blue eyes? Is evangelical Christianity "good news" or a tool of white supremacy?

As our society increases in ethnic and religious diversity, millennials and the next generation of emerging adults harbor suspicions about traditional Christianity. They're looking for a faith that makes sense for the world they see around them. They want to know how Christianity relates to race, ethnicity, and societal injustices. Many young adults have rejected the Christian faith based on what they've seen in churches, the media, and politics. For them, Christianity looks a lot like a "white man's religion."

Antipas L. Harris, a theologian and community activist, believes that biblical Christianity is more affirmative of cultural diversity than many realize. In this sweeping social, theological, and historical examination of Christianity, Harris responds to a list of hot topics from young Americans who struggle with the perception that Christianity is detached from matters of justice, identity, and culture. He also looks at the ways in which American evangelicalism may have incubated the race problem.

Is Christianity the White Man's Religion? affirms that ethnic diversity has played a powerful role in the formation of the Old and New Testaments and that the Bible is a book of justice, promoting equality for all people. Contrary to popular Eurocentric conceptions, biblical Christianity is not just for white Westerners. It's good news for all of us.

"Unless we ask questions, we don't get answers. Antipas Harris, without hesitation or trepidation, has not only realistically and learnedly dealt with the quintessential 'elephant in the room' looming in the minds of many black millennials, but he has expanded our vision and understanding of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and cultural relevancy. I love his acknowledgment of the problem and his clarity in rendering a biblical solution. This is indeed good news for all of God's children!"

Dale C. Bronner, founder and senior pastor of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, Atlanta

"Antipas L. Harris has produced a pivotal and timely work. He boldly probes the question that few have dared to address, Is Christianity the white man's religion? Harris shows that Christianity and the Bible promote justice and ethnic relevance for all people. The nature in which our current faith reading lenses need historical correction vis-à-vis our propensity toward westernized acculturation and racialized hermeneutics is critical in our attempts at reconciliation and effective ecclesiology. Harris deserves applause for further addressing an important matter with depth and clarity."

Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, dean of Dickerson-Green Theological Seminary and associate professor of biblical languages and literature at Allen University

"Is Christianity the White Man's Religion? sensitively touches some of the most inflammatory and diversely viewed areas of the Bible. It invites readers to explore their own sensibilities and motives and come to their own conclusions. Dr. Harris has definitely jumped into the ocean of divide with both feet, and this book will definitely make waves. . . . He has presented this controversial topic with truth, tact, and sensitivity. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to share the gospel of Jesus Christ without prejudice, and I sincerely hope that all Christians of all cultures get a copy and begin a journey that so many have refused to take. Antipas L. Harris asks the question, Is Christianity the white man's religion? Read this book and I'm sure you'll find the answer."

John Francis, founder and pastor of Ruach City Church

"Many folks look at Christianity and conclude it is not for 'people like us.' Antipas digs down to the roots of Christianity before history and culture began to interpret it. He has created a resource that centralizes the Bible and helps connect Christian faith in light of lived injustice. This book is a gift for those who are seeking authentic spirituality but feeling dissonance between their spiritual hunger and how Christianity is being lived out."

Nikki Toyama-Szeto, executive director of Evangelicals for Social Action/The Sider Center

"Dr. Antipas Harris courageously confronts the academic view and spiritual ramifications of a debate that has existed in the black community and beyond for years! The lack of understanding is limiting our ability to represent the body of Christ. This book's genius is that every person concerned about how our world has become so polarized will see that the roots are in part wrapped around the misrepresentation of religious rhetoric—sometimes innocently conveyed—and how it's had its hand in the historical cookie jar! At the end of the day, we who are spiritual must take the lead on becoming one, which is our responsibility. . . . Jesus prayed that we might be one! Enjoy the read!"

Bishop T. D. Jakes Sr., senior pastor of The Potter's House of Dallas

"In this very timely and provocative book, practical theologian Antipas Harris revisits the age-old question of Christianity's relevance for people of color. Given the resurgence of certain strands of white supremacist iterations of Christianity and the attendant political and ethnic polarization that results, Is Christianity the White Man's Religion? seeks to offer the church a way forward. Adding his voice to the chorus of voices that are struggling to keep American Christianity from losing its soul, Harris deserves a reading by students, ministerial practitioners, and engaged citizens."

Eric Williams, curator of religion at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Read an Excerpt


Part 1: The Church and Threatening Contemporary Ideas
1. The Striking Question
2. A Crisis of Faith
3. The Quest for the Souls
4. The Church and the Search for Identity

Part 2: Have We Been Taught to Misread the Bible?
5. The Christian's Scandalous Thinking
6. The Color of the Bible
7. The Genesis Curse?

Part 3: A Faith that Cares About People from Different Cultures
8. Reading the New Testament Through Dark Lenses
9. Social Justice and the Bible

Part 4: Where Do We Go from Here? The Streets Are Waiting
10. A New Way to Think About the Faith



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Antipas L. Harris

Antipas L. Harris is the president and dean of Jakes Divinity School and serves on the pastoral staff at The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas. He is an ordained minister, a theological educator, and a musician with degrees from LaGrange College, Candler School of Theology (Emory University), Yale Divinity School, Boston University, and St. Thomas University. Before being appointed to his current role by Bishop T. D. Jakes, Harris founded the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk, Virginia, where he led initiatives that addressed the intersections of faith, justice, and community development.