When 16,000 college students gathered at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s latest Urbana conference to talk about missions, one of the main debates became how evangelicals should engage with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
In practice, they aren’t engaging much at all. Evangelicals are among the least likely of religious groups to support BLM, and the most likely to hold conservative positions on race, according to new research from Barna Group.
There are exceptions: One of the latest additions to the BLM camp is pastor and author John Piper.
This past December, many were surprised when worship director and BLM activist Michelle Higgins took the stage at Urbana.
“Black Lives Matter is not a mission of hate. It is not a mission to bring about incredible anti-Christian values and reforms to the world,” said Higgins, who directs worship and outreach at South City Church, a Presbyterian Church in America congregation in St. Louis, Missouri. “[BLM] is a movement on mission in the truth of God.”
Higgins’s speech sparked pushback from some evangelicals. The disagreement was covered by The New York Times (NYT), and InterVarsity itself released a statement noting that it “does not endorse everything attributed to #BlackLivesMatter.” Two black Christian academics—Anthony Bradley and George Yancey—also called on believers to distance themselves from the movement.
About 13 percent of evangelicals say they support BLM, less than half the share of practicing Christians (28%) or those who attended church in the past week (30%) who also do so. (Barna defines evangelical based upon adherence to nine theological points, instead of by self-identification or church attendance as in most polls. Practicingmeans respondents who self-identify as Christian, say their faith is important to them, and attend worship services at least once a month.)
The only religious group less supportive of BLM is practicing mainline Protestants, according to Barna numbers broken out for CT. Just nine percent support the movement.
Almost 1 in 4 evangelicals (23%) say they do not support the BLM movement, more than practicing Christians (13%) or those who attended church in the past week (14%).
The Christians who do support BLM aren’t doing it very loudly. No evangelicals said they supported the movement on social media in the past week, and none reported attending a march, protest, or meeting related to the cause. Just four percent of practicing Christians and five percent of those who attended church in the past week supported the BLM movement on social media, while only three percent of those who attended church in the past week said they had attended a march, protest, or a meeting related to the cause.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today