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The racially divisive 2016 election of Donald Trump and its aftermath has exposed the deficient theology of American evangelicalism that does more to perpetuate racism and a racialized society than to reduce it. Through the development and personal practice of a prophetic leadership framework, the project aims to challenge a local pastor’s network in Irvine, California to apply the reconciling power of the gospel to the racial divides that ail our society in general, and our local congregations in particular. The project is composed of two major elements: first is the development of a better theological framework that addresses the said deficiencies, while the second is the development of a prophetic leadership paradigm that best addresses the adaptive challenge.
In the first framework development, the theological deficiencies are addressed by examining the various evangelical responses to race issues in our culture. The study identifies evangelicalism’s inability to acknowledge structural forms of racism to be at the center of its problems. Three elements of the evangelical framework are observed to contribute to this mindset—a narrow reading of the gospel, individualistic understanding of spirituality, and an unconfessed history of racism. In response, the study proposes three resources to overcome these challenges—understanding the missional calling of the church, recovering our essential communal identity in the Trinitarian personhood of God, and developing Scripture-based empathy.
In the second framework development, a prophetic leadership paradigm is created to address the adaptive environment. Inspired by Michael Walzer’s description of a prophet as an internal critic, I describe what it means to work as an insider, as an outsider, and as someone without vertical (positional) authority in pursuing my prophetic calling upon the pastor’s network. The study concludes with a reflection on the lessons learned on the yearlong practice of these strategies.
Doctor of Ministry
Race, racism, leadership, prophetic, gospel, missional
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Cho, Jin H., "Race, Evangelicalism, and the Local Church Prophetic Leadership Practices for Adaptive Change" (2018). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 301.