More Than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel, By Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice alt

More Than Equals

Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel

The IVP Signature Collection

by Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice

More Than Equals
  • Length: 296 pages
  • Published: June 08, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4922
  • ISBN: 9780830849222

*affiliate partner

"The first step in the reconciliation process," Spencer Perkins writes, "is admitting that the race problem exists and that our inability to deal with race has weakened the credibility of our gospel."

When longtime ministry partners and friends Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice began writing More Than Equals in the early 1990s, their goal was to offer an example of how racial reconciliation is possible—and also critical to Christian discipleship. This landmark book tells the stories of two men from very different backgrounds embarking on the complex, costly journey of healing across racial divides.

Perkins, who witnessed repeated hypocrisy from white Christians and witnessed his bloodied pastor-activist father after a brutal police beating, wondered how it was possible to love white people. Rice, who grew up as a white missionary kid and thought of himself as progressive, was surprised by the tensions he encountered as a volunteer at a majority-black church—and by his own blind spots. As they served together in an intentionally multiracial ministry, both gained insight into why this work is so challenging and how Christians can do it well, in dependence on God.

With biblical grounding, hopeful realism, and practical detail, More Than Equals provides a helpful framework for Christians engaged in the deep ongoing surgery of racial healing. Now available as part of the IVP Signature Collection, this edition includes a new preface by Rice and a study guide for group discussion.

"When Christians truly love and respect one another across racial, ethnic, and social divisions, the truth and power of the gospel are revealed. Although church and society are not in the same place as we were several decades ago, many of the struggles and insights shared by Perkins and Rice have a timeless quality to them. The illuminating stories, cultural analysis, biblical teaching, and personal experiences the authors share continue to make this a profoundly inspiring and important book."

Christine D. Pohl, professor emerita of Christian ethics, Asbury Theological Seminary

"This wonderful book has lost none of its power or inspiration from when it was first published. Interracial friendship may be the most important Christian witness today. Perkins and Rice show us how it is done—with all its struggles, misunderstandings, and the supreme joy that comes from walking alongside another in God's service. I recommend this book to everyone who lives in the hope of God's kingdom."

Dana L. Robert, Boston University School of Theology, author of Faithful Friendships: Embracing Diversity in Christian Community

"More Than Equals reminds us that grace is the most powerful expression of God's love. It inspires us to move toward others, affirming the dignity of all human beings, and challenges us to be reconcilers in a deeply broken world. We need this book today more than ever."

John Perkins, president emeritus of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation and author of One Blood, He Calls Me Friend, and Count It All Joy

"In this era of reconciliation fatigue and disillusionment, this book calls its readers to the foundational truth of Christian reconciliation. Through the compelling story of the authors, the book reminds us that racial reconciliation is essentially a lifelong journey of discipleship, a journey that calls us each to die to ourself every day so that we might embrace others more radically through Christ."

Peter Cha, professor of church, culture, and society at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Living into the reality that Jesus has broken down the dividing wall of hostility is not easy in the United States, where the racist roots are deep and systemic. Perkins and Rice offer honest, painful, and courageous stories in the hard work of dismantling racism. More Than Equals is a clarion call to embody Christian discipleship and subversive love that is as relevant now as it was when it was written thirty years ago."

Sue Park-Hur, denominational minister for transformative peacemaking, Mennonite Church USA, and codirector of ReconciliAsian

"Perkins and Rice exhibit a relationship that in itself proves the chasm between white and black Christians need not remain. . . . Many works have dealt with the reality of racial disunity in the church, but this [book] offers proven solutions."

Christianity Today, 1993

"More Than Equals brings creative possibilities to the door of every parish."

Christian Century

Read an Excerpt


Preface to the Signature Edition (2021)
Introduction to the Second Edition (2000)

Part 1: Admit
1. Race Fatigue
2. Foot Soldier
3. At the Crossroads
4. Who Is My Neighbor?
5. White Blinders
6. School Daze
7. Black Residue
8. Silence Gives Consent
9. A Little Respect

Part 2: Submit
10. From Anger & Guilt to Passion & Conviction
11. Weapons for the Battle
12. Acts: A Reconciliation Story

Part 3: Commit
13. The Character of a Reconciler
14. White Fear
15. More Than Skin Deep
16. Soul Mates
17. Unlikely Comrades
18. Kingdom Choices
19. Friends & Yokefellows
20. Playing the Grace Card

Study Guide


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Spencer Perkins, until his death in 1998, worked with the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development and was editor-in-chief of the magazine Urban Family. For twelve years he and Chris Rice and their families lived together in the Antioch Community and served as elders of Voice of Calvary Fellowship Church in Jackson, Mississippi.

Chris Rice

Chris Rice (DMin, Duke University) is director of the United Nations Office of the Mennonite Central Committee, an international relief, development, and peace agency. He served as cofounding director of the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation, and has worked through the academy, churches, and faith-based organizations to heal social conflicts in east Africa, Northeast Asia, and the American South. He is coauthor of Reconciling All Things and More Than Equals, which both won Christianity Today Book Awards. Chris and his wife, Donna, have three adult children and live in New York City.