Following months of discussions about racial issues with Open Bible minister Kwabea K. Francis, Open Bible President Randall A. Bach appointed a presidential commission, the Open Bible Churches Unity Commission, which held its first meeting June 12, 2020.
The team includes men and women who bring distinctive personal experience with race-based pain. They are Randall Bach, co-leader; Kwabea Francis, co-leader; Mone Covan; Frank Collins, Jr.; Gus Duarte; Candi Hagan; and Gary Wyatt.
The purpose of the Unity Commission is to lovingly encourage and assist Open Bible ministers and churches to be sensitized to the continued reality of racial bias and discrimination. The Commission desires to help them become aware of what they might not have otherwise recognized, to look within their own hearts for what they may not have seen, and to search out opportunities to build unity in the body of Christ that both honors and transcends racial and cultural differences. The Commission is not suggesting that Open Bible ministers are racist or even sympathetic toward racism. Rather, the Commission believes all ministerial leaders must be invited and challenged to better see and understand the continued legacy of racism that scars relationships and communities today and to stand against racism as well as blatant and subtle racial and cultural bias and discrimination.
“For many months I have been engaged in a dialogue with Kwabea Francis about the reality of racism, racial bias, and racial insensitivity in the United States. What can and should we do? When and where should our voices be heard? We decided we should put together a team to collaborate over how to draw attention to the way minorities are hurt by discrimination and to lovingly help people to search their own hearts for attitudes and insensitivities that are hurtful to others. We will not be political. We will not allow anger to corrupt our love and interactions. But our hearts are stirred that God wants to use us in some way. Shortly after the team’s formation, America was horrified by the video of George Floyd, who died with a policeman’s knee bearing down on his neck. Every Christian knows this grieves the heart of the Lord. We simply cannot hide our eyes from the devastating reality of racial division and pain inflicted upon ethnic and cultural minorities.”
Randall and Kwabea identified the following goals for the Commission:
- Heart transformation – to sensitize views, attitudes, speech, conduct, and relationships regarding other races through the introspection of God’s Word and the love lens of Jesus
- Mind renewal – upon being freshly sensitized to the need, to turn minds away from conformity to racial insensitivity and bias of the world to transformation and reconciliation through Christ Jesus
- Nonpartisan – Although we are continually immersed in political perspectives on every issue, including race, we resolve that our focus is on a Christ-oriented perspective.