Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, who also serves as president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, issued “A Call to Racial Unity” Jan. 15 at the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Exclusive on the steps of the Arkansas capitol.
Photo courtesy of the Arkansas Baptist News
Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, who also serves as president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, speaks Jan. 15 at the inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Exclusive on the steps of the Arkansas capitol.
Floyd, the event’s keynote speaker, told pastors and other leaders that “racism is Satan’s tool” for dividing the church.
“Pastors and churches must be the prophetic voice of not just doom and gloom, but the voice for hope and future,” Floyd, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, noted.
“The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is that he paid the price to make sure America had this long overdue conversation about racial unity,” Floyd said.
Racism is “completely opposite of the gospel and reconciliation,” he said. “We are here today to notify Satan and his demonic forces [of this]: The power of God is greater than the power of evil, the power of sin and even greater than the power of racism.”
Every day Christians “must call out to God and ask Him for the next Great Awakening, the next spiritual awakening to begin right here in your city of Little Rock and our state, Arkansas,” Floyd said. “Each Sunday in your churches, call out to God for the next Great Awakening in America to occur right here in our state of Arkansas.”
The Jan. 15 event marked nearly 50 years since the death of King in April 1968 as well as the first year that Arkansas has celebrated its first exclusive King federal holiday.
Previously, Arkansas celebrated Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. A new Arkansas law designates the King holiday as the third Monday of January, akin to its federal observance; Lee will now be commemorated in a state holiday on the second Saturday of October.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended the statehouse gathering, along with Dale Charles, president of the Arkansas State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and event organizer Arthur L. Hunt Jr., senior pastor of the Hunt Cathedral of Faith in Dumas.
Floyd, in his message, stated: “This I know: Silence is not the answer [to racism] and passivity is not our prescription for healing.
“From pastors to politicians, from business leaders to Bubba and the boys, we must not be silent any longer. Hope is not a strategy. You cannot just hope it goes away and it does. Nor can you sit passively in the church pew believing this is enough. Passivity has never been nor ever will be a prescription for healing.”
Christians must “rise like never before in our generation resolving that the sin of racism will stop now and not be forwarded to generations in the future,” Floyd said.
“We are not black churches. We are not white churches. We are not Latino churches. We are not Asian churches. We are not Native American churches. We are the church of Jesus Christ. We are members of the same body. You are my brother. You are my sister. Let the church rise. In the true church of Jesus Christ, the walls of racism and injustice come down. We are one church serving one Lord Jesus Christ.”
The full text of Floyd’s message can be accessed at the Arkansas Baptist News: arkansasbaptist.org/read/floyd-issues-a-call-to-racial-unity-at-arkansas-capitol-on-mlk-day.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tim Yarbrough is editor of the Arkansas Baptist News, arkansasbaptist.org, news journal of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.)