Phila Presbytery Statement on Racism, Anti-Semitism, and White Supremacy

At our 9/16/17 stated meeting, the Philadelphia Presbytery approved this statement, which the Fraternal Relations Team encourages each church to communicate to its members and community.

Statement by the Philadelphia Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in America
on Racism, Anti-Semitism, and White Supremacy

1.     As the Philadelphia Presbytery, PCA, is called to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, the recent demonstration on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville compels us to publicly denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy as sin.

2.     Racist ideologies and systems (including white supremacy and anti-Semitism) deny Scripture’s affirmation of the equal value and dignity of all people, who are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27-28). These ideologies expressly deny Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Therefore, we reject and condemn every ideology and system that teaches or supports the supremacy of one race or the inferiority of another. We believe, without reservation, that racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy are sin, being abhorrent to God and deeply contrary to Scripture’s command to walk in both truth and love (3 John 1:4; Ephesians 5:2).

3.    Racist ideologies and systems set themselves against God’s intention to reconcile diverse people to one another in a united community, even as he reconciles that diverse community to himself (Ephesians 2:14-16). The Church is to be composed of people from every tribe, nation, and language (Revelation 7:9). Therefore, we reject and condemn every ideology and system that divides people from one another based on ideas of racial superiority or ethnic purity. We affirm our essential unity as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multinational people united in Christ.

4.    We recognize, with grief and repentance, that Christian churches, ministries, and individuals have promoted, participated, or passively benefited from our racialized society. Too frequently, many of us have stood silent and failed to confront attitudes and actions that have disenfranchised and suppressed minority people and cultures. We recognize our own complicity in this area. We depend upon the work of the Holy Spirit and the grace of other Christians to guide us in all truth as we continue to reflect and repent (John 14:26).

5.     With grief and love, we invite those who hold racist ideologies to repent and to conform their thinking and lives to the teaching of Scripture (Romans 12:2).

6.    We commit ourselves to both pray for and act toward a more robustly biblical ministry of reconciliation and restoration in Jesus Christ that reflects these beliefs.

7.     We stand committed to extend hospitality and comfort that comes with the good news of Jesus Christ who will reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20).

Letter to Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Charleston, SC

To our sister home of faith, The African Methodist Episcopal Church, to Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, and especially to the family and friends of The Nine who were so heartlessly slain on June 17th, we extend our love and prayers on behalf of the Philadelphia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America.

We acknowledge and honor you for your long history of faithful Gospel witness, from the harsh days when Denmark Vesey and others who helped found Mother Emanuel were then hanged for alleged crimes against the slave powers, through the revival of your congregation in the fires of the Civil War, and down through your exemplary leadership in the quest for equal civil rights. Through our own blessed acquaintance with your very first A.M.E. congregation here in Philadelphia at Mother Bethel, we have known you to be a church faithful to the God of Scripture and courageous in the pursuit of freedom to worship him who has called you into the light of that beloved community of the children of God for which Martin Luther King, Jr. also gave his life.

We have been profoundly shocked and grieved that an evil enemy would invade the sanctuary of your Bible study hour to perpetrate a hateful and vengeful act aimed at you because of your courageous championing of the dignity of all African Americans. Yet in this dark hour, we have witnessed, along with the watching world, a brilliant light of Gospel witness from the hearts and lips of survivors and family at Mother Emanuel who have shown us all a picture of grace and forgiveness. It was none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who said, ...if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:15)

Therefore, along with a grieving nation and united body of faithful believers, we honor those who fell in the midst of a hallowed congregation:

·         Rev. Clementa Pinckney, your beloved senior pastor

·         Cynthia Hurd

·         Susie Jackson

·         Ethel Lance

·         Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor

·         Tywanda Sanders

·         Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr.

·         Rev. Sharonda Singleton

·         Myra Thompson

Be assured of our ongoing love and respect as you lay these faithful shepherds and stewards of the mysteries of faith to rest and memorialize their service among the congregation and the whole community of Charleston. They will be remembered, as the others in that long list of heroes of the faith in the book of Hebrews, in the words of its author, ...the world was not worthy of them... therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses...let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 11:38 & 12:1-3)

We trust that the great Author of our salvation, now our great Intercessor at the throne of God, will give you peace and assurance of his blessing, now and forevermore.


In the love of Christ, 

The Fraternal Relations Team and The Coordinating Team of the Philadelphia Presbytery
Presbyterian Church in America
Glenn N. McDowell, Moderator