Rooted Recommends: The Gospel In Color, A Theology of Racial Reconciliation

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Parents, if you want to give your kids a gospel perspective on racial reconciliation and God’s design for our wonderfully varied humanity, you’ve got an excellent resource in a pair of new books: The Gospel In Color, A Theology of Racial Reconciliation for Parents, and The Gospel In Color, A Theology of Racial Reconciliation for Kids.

This pair of books is written by Jarvis Williams, Associate Professor of New Testament at Southern Seminary, and Curtis Woods, Associate Executive Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. They are joined by artist Rommel Ruiz, whose vibrant illustrations make the teaching come alive, in both its pathos and its joy.

Both books follow the same simple format. Four basic questions outline the direction of the teaching: What is race? What is racism? What is the Good News of Jesus Christ? What is reconciliation? Starting in Genesis, the authors explore the origin of racism in the Bible, and they move into the New Testament to share the story of Jesus, his atoning death for all peoples on the cross, and his purpose that we find reconciliation and unity with God and each other. The writing is straightforward and simple but not simplistic, direct about the pain and horror of racism while full of grace and hope in Christ.

The parent book invites moms and dads to spend some time in prayer and study before learning with their child. Each chapter concludes with questions for adults to consider and further recommended Scripture, followed by a “Talking with Kids” outline. This guide offers goals for the conversation, vocabulary words to define with younger children, targeted Scripture to read as a family, and a concluding prayer.

After a brief how-to section for parents in the front, the book for kids speaks directly to kids. At the end of each chapter, kids are invited to read and respond, memorize Scripture, and explore ways to pray about what they are learning. The authors offer direction in how to use the book with kids ages 6-9, and another set of suggestions apply to kids over age 10. Don’t be fooled by the gorgeous picture-book quality of the books themselves: evil, sin and suffering are directly addressed, and gospel hope is offered on every page. Middle schoolers and high schoolers have a lot to gain from this book, and parents will be challenged to grow in their own understanding of and desire for racial reconciliation.

The books may be used apart from each other but will be most effective when used together. When children see their parents broken-hearted about racism and equally committed to letting God change their hearts, the family can grow together in love for God’s people. This is the heart of the authors, expressed in the book for parents:

Our prayer is that the Spirit would use our work to help you teach your kids the message of gospel-centered racial reconciliation. May this book support you as you lead your kids in seeking the unification of all things and people in Christ through the gospel. Our hope is that our book would celebrate the beauty of the gospel in color, and that together as believers, we would proclaim our unity within diversity, and teach our kids to do the same.

 

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