The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change, By Rick Richardson and Brenda Salter McNeil
The Heart of Racial Justice
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: January 11, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4873
  • ISBN: 9780830848737

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Racial and ethnic hostility is one of the most pervasive problems the church faces. It hinders our effectiveness as one body of believers. It damages our witness. Why won't this problem just go away?

Because it is a spiritual battle.

In response, we must employ spiritual weapons—prayer, repentance, forgiveness. In this book Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson provide a model of racial reconciliation, social justice, and spiritual healing that creates both individual and communal transformation. Read this book if you want to learn how to

  • use your faith as a force for change, not as a smoke screen for self-protection
  • embrace your true self and renounce false racial identities
  • receive and extend forgiveness as an act of racial reconciliation
  • experience personal transformation through the healing of painful racial memories
  • engage in social action by developing ongoing crosscultural partnerships

This classic is now part of the IVP Signature Collection, which features special editions of iconic books in celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of InterVarsity Press. It includes a list of definitions and a discussion and activity guide for groups. A new companion Bible study is also available.

"This is a much-needed work that properly and firmly locates the ministry of racial reconciliation in the biblical context of spiritual warfare and of spiritual transformation. The book identifies God, not us, as the main actor of this kingdom ministry, passionately calling us to join him."

Peter T. Cha, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, coeditor of Growing Heathy Asian American Churches

"Brenda and Rick, through their partnership and new paradigm, are providing us a way through the increasing racial and ethnic divide in our world. Racial and ethnic divisions require reconciliation that transforms the whole person and issues in corporate change. This new paradigm does not make the process easy but provides a path of hope forward for an increasingly troubled and divided world."

Geri Rodman, president emeritus, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/Canada

"The combination of profound spiritual insight and powerful social application is unique! Brenda and Rick have written an important book for communities of every ethnicity. Read it and be transformed!"

Rev. Ronald V. Myers Sr., M.D., chairman, National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council

"If there is hope that our country will ever see progress in race relations, it undoubtedly lies in the hands of our next generation. Thankfully, this book by Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson equips them—and the rest of us slow learners—with astute insights, grounded strategies, practical help and heavenly visions. It reminds us that diversity was no accident; it was God's idea all along, and these two visionaries invite us to embrace it and celebrate it as it was always meant to be."

Jo Kadlecek, coauthor with Pamela Toussaint of I Call You Friend: Four Women's Stories of Race, Faith and Friendship

"In a time when we are surrounded by social cynicism toward issues of race, The Heart of Racial Justice welcomes us back to the table of redemptive love and community. It is not set with easy answers but with honest and passionate conversation about the irrefutable reconciling nature of the gospel. We are drawn to this table because the authors embody in their own lives the very nature of the reconciliation which they envision. They are wise teachers more than harsh prophets, loving mentors more than judgmental critics, and experienced guides more than sermonizing spectators. They dare to believe there is hope at this table, and we leave nurtured with provisions to join the movement for reconciliation."

Keith R. Anderson, coauthor of Spiritual Mentoring

"Brenda Salter McNeil is one of the most compelling voices for reconciliation in our day. She has joined with Rick Richardson, one of her long-term partners in the ministry of racial reconciliation, to write this important book. In this book the authors challenge emerging leaders in the church to choose to become a reconciliation generation. To this end The Heart of Racial Justice provides spiritual tools to equip people to dismantle the social construction of racism. This book makes a valuable contribution to the growing conversation on racial reconciliation."

Curtiss Paul DeYoung, professor of reconciliation studies, Bethel University

"What Rick and Brenda do in this biblically grounded book is to make reconciliation practical through the example of their friendship, reflecting on those who have gone on before them and building on (and appreciating) what each one has to offer. I highly recommend that you take time to read The Heart of Racial Justice. It is a blueprint for the Christian church."

John M. Perkins, author of Let Justice Roll Down, from the foreword

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by John M. Perkins
Preface to the Signature Edition
1. Is There Still a Race Problem?
2. Mission Impossible?
3. A Better Way
4. A New Model
5. How Worship Builds Bridges
6. Embracing Our True Selves
7. Receiving and Extending Forgiveness
8. Denouncing the Powers and Principalities
9. Ongoing Partnerships
10. The Trumpet Call
Appendix 1: Definitions
Appendix 2: The Principalities and Powers
Appendix 3: Exploring the Heart of Racial Justice: A Strategic Tool for Leaders
Recommended Resources


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Rick Richardson

Rick Richardson is director of the Billy Graham Center Institute and its Church Evangelism Initiative, and professor of evangelism and leadership at Wheaton College Graduate School. He previously served as evangelism and discipleship pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois, and helped launch Willow Creek Community Church's first multisite campus. His books include Reimagining Evangelism and Evangelism Outside the Box.

Brenda Salter McNeil

Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a dynamic speaker, an author, and a trailblazer with over thirty years of experience in the ministry of racial, ethnic, and gender reconciliation. She was featured as one of the fifty most influential women to watch by Christianity Today in 2012 and is an associate professor of reconciliation studies in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University, where she also directs the Reconciliation Studies program. She is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church and is on the pastoral staff of Quest Church in Seattle.