Race, Justice, and the Church (Orlando)

2017 RightNow Conference Orlando


We live in dark times, and God has called the Church to be a prophetic voice. But we have tragically majored on the minor things, becoming a pathetic voice. In this 30-minute session from the 2017 RightNow Conference in Orlando, Eric Mason, Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship, exhorts believers to return to the weightier issues of following Jesus: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. As we proclaim the gospel, we also show a watching world that the gospel impacts reality now, in our present world.

Dr. Eric Mason is the co-founder and Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia. In addition to his role at Epiphany Fellowship, Eric serves as the president of Thriving, a ministry dedicated to aiding ethnic minorities to be resourced and trained for ministry to the urban context. He also serves on the boards of the Acts 29 Network and Reach Life Ministries. 

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your ministry. 



Our culture is in the midst of all kinds of darkness. We must address cultural issues biblically, with Christ at the center. Rather than being a pathetic voice, we must become a prophetic voice. 

In what ways do you see the Church becoming more of a pathetic voice than a prophetic voice in our culture today?
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What cultural issues are we currently ignoring or dismissing, rather than lovingly engaging? How is this detrimental to the spread of the gospel?
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One of today’s hot topics is race relations. How could the Church become a prophetic voice in this arena?
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Jesus is not afraid to engage hard issues. Often, we like to avoid confrontation, but confrontation lies at the center of the gospel. The cross is God’s commitment to redemptive confrontation. 

Thinking of the gospel in terms of confrontation, how does this change your outlook on sensitive cultural issues? How might it embolden you to engage in these sensitive spaces?
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What does unhelpful confrontation look like? What does helpful and healing confrontation look like?
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Confrontation must always lead to reconciliation. Our honesty and love pave the way to restoration, not toward further division. 

Matthew 23:23 (ESV)

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



Like the scribes and Pharisees, we like to look committed to God in the minutiae without the discomfort of discipleship and sanctification. It’s possible to major on the minors and miss the point entirely.  

In what ways have you committed to lighter issues, to the neglect of weightier issues?
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When we hear the term “social justice,” we sometimes cringe, or imagine a movement that’s separated from the gospel. But as Eric told us, social justice does NOT mean we don’t share the gospel. It means that as we proclaim the gospel, we also demonstrate that the gospel impacts realities in our present world. 

What comes to mind when you hear the term “social justice?” Is it a positive or negative impression? How have political movements or cultural influences impacted your definition of this term?
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How are the gospel and justice married? How do we marry them in the practical sense of carrying out social justice?
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A sure way to proclaim the gospel is to develop common ground with people through a felt need. That then earns us the right to be able to share what we want with others, namely, the gospel. 

Is there a felt need you can rally around with others? How might you begin to build common ground?
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Eric shared about his church’s partnership with Temple University, in which they developed a program so kids could learn coding, how to build apps, and graphic arts. They then used this platform to share the gospel. What creative ideas could you begin to implement that both serve people and provide a platform for sharing the truth of the gospel?
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In what ways have you been more trained by the culture than by Christ?
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Though holding conviction and truth is imperative, how could you become increasingly characterized by mercy?
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Many churches are known more for what they are against, than by what they are for. What is your church FOR? How are you demonstrating that to those in your surrounding community?
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Christ’s death and resurrection has characterized us as a community that upholds justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These marks cause us to shine brightly and bring the realities of the gospel to bear on our physical world. 


For more information about the RightNow Conference, or to find out how to attend next year’s event, visit rightnowconference.org


For more from Eric Mason, see his series on The Book of Jonah, or visit pastoremase.com.