Race, Justice, and the Church (Chicago)

2017 RightNow Conference Chicago


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 31-minute session from the 2017 RightNow Conference in Chicago, 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. Eric received his Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary as well as a Doctorate degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. 



Eric emphasized taking seriously the relationship between the gospel and justice. Jesus connects justice with intimacy with God. We cannot ignore justice issues—we should instead pursue the things of God: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. 

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.


Eric said that we should be a unified, committed community that prophetically—not pathetically—speaks into the culture around us. In what ways do you see the Church becoming more of a pathetic voice than a prophetic voice in our culture today?
Log In to Continue

What cultural issues are we currently ignoring or dismissing, rather than lovingly engaging? How is this detrimental to the spread of the gospel?
Log In to Continue

One of today’s hot topics is race relations. How could the Church become a prophetic voice in this arena?
Log In to Continue


In Matthew 23:23 (above), Jesus calls the scribes and Pharisees—the religious elite—hypocrites. Hypocrites act like they're righteous but are full of deceit. We can avoid hypocrisy by being in the Word of God and allowing its information to lead to our transformation.

How has the Church been hypocritical both today and throughout history?
Log In to Continue

Why does hypocrisy turn people away from Jesus? What can the Church do to battle hypocrisy?
Log In to Continue


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?
Log In to Continue


Eric defined justice as making proper judgment about things based on what God has to say about it. He spoke about the pressing issue of racism. He said if something justice-related is on your prophetic vicinity, it needs your voice.

What are your concerns about race and the Church? How could you be a prophetic voice in this area?
Log In to Continue

How do the gospel and justice relate when it comes to racial reconciliation? What would it look like to restore the dignity of ethnic minorities?
Log In to Continue


The scribes and Pharisees also lacked mercy and faithfulness. Eric used the example of the mercy seat to explain how mercy always sits on top of the Law. As receivers of mercy, we should be slow to judge, quick to extend mercy, and faithful to God in all things.

What would it look like to extend mercy to the people in your life?
Log In to Continue

How is faithfulness lived out in terms of justice? How can you express your faithfulness to God through with justice in mind?
Log In to Continue

Eric talked about how we need the Holy Spirit to expose and purge the impurities in the Church so we don't poison the world with hypocrisy or a false gospel. What are some of the impurities that need to be cleansed in the Church? In your own life?
Log In to Continue

How could you put Eric's points about justice, mercy, and faithfulness into practice this week?
Log In to Continue


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.