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Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 by

Call it tough love. Alan Cross, a Southern Baptist pastor and NewSouth author, wants to hold accountable Christians who fail to follow the teachings of the Bible in times of social change and strife. Cross had this to say when 1603063501speaking with NPR recently about how Christians have responded to the killing of George Floyd: “The way that we live and work in the world, how we care for our communities, how we care for our neighbors. Those are all things that the Bible speaks really clearly about.” There is no Biblical or theological justification for not decrying police brutality of African Americans or the great social injustices they still experience.

In his book When Heaven and Earth Collide, Cross critically examines the role Southern churches historically played in the civil rights movement, when many actively supported segregation and racial violence. He claims that the Christian reluctance to denounce racism comes from the religion’s habit “to use God as a means to an end” to avoid uncomfortable conflict. As a Christian, he says, “you should see the pain of people around you and say ‘What can I do?’”

Cross has also recently become outspoken about the response of churches to coronavirus. As churches around the country ignore state and federal regulations and continue to hold worship services despite the risk of COVID infection, Cross argues that our focus must be on safely conducting ourselves before reopening prematurely. “Whether we fight this virus in such a way as to marshal all of our resources to save every life we can should not be open for discussion.” Pastors must balance the dual responsibilities of gathering for worship and putting others’ interests before their own—both Biblical tenets, our author asserts.

Learn more about Cross and his opinions at The New York Times, The Bulwark, NPR, and WBHM. When Heaven and Earth Collide is available for purchase from NewSouth Books and your favorite physical and online booksellers.

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