Clearly, we were naïve about the ugly realities of segregation, and how little it was or could be realistically “directed by a Christian conscience.” In that era, we consistently argued that racism would never end without the spiritual transformation of each individual’s heart. That was and remains true enough. But we were completely ignorant about the nature and stubbornness of structural injustice. We worried how “forced integration” would impinge upon the freedom of individuals (mostly, the freedom of whites) without recognizing that segregation already denied freedom to millions of African Americans.
In short, during this crucial era of American history, CT did not lead as much as reflect the moral ambiguity and confusion of that era’s white evangelical churches. Though today we champion racial justice as a vital component of Christian discipleship, we must acknowledge and repent of this part of our history.