One in Christ: Bridging Racial and Cultural Divides


Reviewed by: Tim Pietz, Professional Writing major at Taylor University

 


Introduction

Title: One in Christ: Bridging Racial and Cultural Divides

Author: David D. Ireland, PhD

Publisher: Regnery Faith

Publication Date: March 26th, 2018

Format: Print book

Length: 170 pages

OVERVIEW

Race is a scary subject. It’s almost impossible to discuss it in a way that brings people together without ignoring the hard questions. It’s even harder to take that beyond the theoretical and into real life. But One in Christ does exactly that.

Author David Ireland barely uses the words “black” and “white,” and when he does, it’s not to draw lines. Instead, it’s to share stories of how kindness opened eyes, forgiveness conquered hate, and uncertainty transformed into friendship. It’s a vision the church desperately needs to see.

For David Ireland, this vision was brought to his attention thirty years ago. One day, while he was grocery shopping, he noticed people of various races—African Americans, Whites, Latinos, Asians—all in the same building. That’s when God asked him, “Why can’t it be like that in My house?” (from the Introduction, p. xxii).

Now, David Ireland pastors a church of over 8,000 with over 60 different nationalities and serves as a diversity consultant for the NBA. He even did his doctoral dissertation research on race in the church. After this ample experience, Ireland defines the problem in the American church as “monoculturalism”—the tendency to limit friendships to within one’s own culture. White churches, black churches, brown churches—they all stem from this same monocultural mindset. Ireland opposes this mindset with Scripture, citing the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), the early church leaders in Antioch (Acts 13:1, 9), and Jesus’ command to love one another (John 13:35), among other passages (p. 24-25, 81-83, 94).

It’s one thing to confront a problem. It’s another to offer a solution. Ireland devotes several chapters to cross-race friendships, reconciliation, and cross-cultural ministry. He gives specific advice on how (and how not) to build trust, respect, and make people feel at ease. He praises boldness, like Paul confronting Peter for his treatment of the Gentiles. He highlights the importance of the congregation—not just the pastor or worship team—in making a church welcoming to all. He rejects “token” friendships and calls for sincerity. It’s practical, eye-opening advice.

All these factors combine to make a quality book, but what really sets One in Christ apart is its heart. Ireland writes with the humility, conviction, and love of Christ, challenging believers of every race to face this issue together. One in Christ’s message of unity is something every Christian ought to hear.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Believers of any race or culture

Christian Impact

Unity and racial reconciliation

Other Notes

For pastors and laypeople alike

 


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About Evangelical Church Library Association

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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