If The Color of Compromise was only six chapters long, it would have been, mostly, a good book. However, at the middle of the book, Jemar Tisby approves of heretical theology from social gospel preachers and liberation theology heretics like Walter Rauschenbusch and James Cone. And when he transitions from slavery and segregation to more modern events, he shifts from irrefutable accounts to accusations and relies on perception, not proof.
Jemar Tisby’s first book does a masterful job describing how White Christians in America compromised on slavery and segregation against Black Americans. But in his attempt to expose the American Church’s supposed complicity in systemic racism today, Jemar Tisby reveals his own complicity in foolish, ignorant controversies that breed quarrels within the Church.
The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism outlines a history of systemic racism within the American political system and the American Church—a history of complicity in racism that Jemar Tisby argues remains to this day.
The Color of Compromise opens with the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963 Alabama, when 4 members of the Ku Klux Klan planted bombs inside a Black church, killing 4 young girls and injuring 22 members of the church.
Jemar Tisby’s description of the horrific event serves as a good imagery for racism. Just as the bombing damaged the church building and its people—racism—like the bombing, has hurt many Black Americans and the American church throughout history.
That history has largely been ignored by too many White evangelicals. For instance, many Black Christians learned from their local pastors that Martin Luther King, Jr. rejected biblical Christianity, but they didn’t learn from the same pastors that evangelical heroes like George Whitefield was a notorious slave-owner who held racist beliefs about Black people.
Evangelicals have not written many books on this difficult subject, so I appreciate Tisby’s account of the American Church’s role in racism, slavery, and segregation throughout America’s history.
In the first 5 chapters of the book, Tisby details how White Christians defended slavery from 17th century Colonial America to the Civil War era in the 19th century. Tisby’s in-depth account of the American Church’s position on slavery within that time affirms that racism was the rule, not the exception within American churches.