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The MacDonald Lectures on Race and the Church

In the Nick of Time

Jeff Straub

On Tuesday, February 7, area pastors, students, and other Christians will gather for Central Seminary’s annual Charles R. MacDonald Lectures. The lecture series is named for one-time Central Seminary Professor of Practical Theology Charles R. MacDonald (1903-1971). MacDonald earned his Bachelor’s degree from Parsons College of Fairfield, Iowa. He went on to graduate three times from Northern Seminary near Chicago, earning the Th.B., the B.D., and the Th.D., which he finished in 1939. He taught on their faculty from 1936-1939. He also pursued an M.A. in History at Northwestern University, completing everything but his oral examination, discontinuing this degree to focus on his Th.D.

During his academic work in Illinois, he pastored in Elgin (1931-1935), Montrose (1935-1938), and Berwyn (1938-1948). From Illinois, he moved his family to Lincoln Park, Michigan, where he pastored from 1948-1969. He made his final move to Minneapolis, spending the remainder of his life as the Professor of Practical Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary under the leadership of Richard V. Clearwaters. He was an esteemed member of the faculty, if only for a short time. He is remembered for his “warm pastoral heart, his efficient dedication, [and his commitment] to Biblical principles.”

The MacDonald Lectures focus on issues of pastoral ministry and leadership. The subject this year is a needed one in today’s American society: “Race and the Church.” In Minneapolis, we have experienced local Black Lives Matter protests, particularly in the aftermath of the November 2015 police shooting of Jamar Clark, which took place only blocks from the former site of Fourth Baptist Church.

This year’s speaker is retired pastor Emmanuel Malone, recently of All Nations Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Few Christian men are better qualified to handle this important yet delicate topic. Pastor Malone, as an African American who has lived in and around some of America’s largest urban centers, understands the issues faced in the Black community and has a heart to proclaim the redemptive work of Christ across ethnic lines.

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On Civil Disobedience

Before his conversion, during his university career at Southern University of Baton Rouge, Louisiana (where he earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering), he was radical, “involved in protest movements…sympathetic toward radical Black organizations.” Yet he aspired to a professional career. He completed an MBA in Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. He reached a high-water mark in his secular career when, in 1983, he was promoted to an executive position in the General Electric Company, one of only a few Black men in executive management in the company at that time. Pastor Malone was also active socially, receiving awards and commendations for community engagement and youth mentoring. He was also a presenter-speaker in the Cleveland Public Schools.

Pastor Malone has long been a friend of the seminary and of Fourth Baptist Church. He was saved in 1979 and became an active member of Fourth through the ministry of WCTS Radio. He enrolled in the Twin Cities Bible Institute, sponsored by the church, and later took seminary classes for a semester until his job transferred him and his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sensing the call to vocational ministry in 1982, Pastor Malone finished his theological education at Calvary Baptist Seminary of Lansdale, Pennsylvania (M.Div., 1988).

Following his graduation from Calvary, he and his family moved to West Philadelphia to start West-Side Baptist Church with the help of the church-planting ministry of Calvary Baptist Church under the leadership of E. Robert Jordan. Later, the Malones moved to Chicago to plant Antioch Baptist Church, becoming West-Side’s first commissioned and supported missionary. In 1999, Brother Malone moved west of Chicago to Joliet, Illinois, to the pastorate of Maranatha Baptist Church, where he served until 2008.

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What Seminary Gave Me

He received an invitation to assume a new urban ministry in the heart of Minneapolis, All Nations Baptist Church, begun in 2005. All Nations was the vision of Pastors Lee and Jason Ormiston of Family Baptist Church, who wanted to plant a congregation near the University of Minnesota to reach the international student population of north Minneapolis. Family Baptist Church is a daughter church of Fourth Baptist, planted in north Minneapolis when Fourth Baptist relocated to Plymouth in 1997. Pastor Malone served at All Nations until his retirement from pastoral ministry in February 2016. At his retirement, he received a request to return to Philadelphia to help West-Side Baptist with some transitional issues. He currently divides his time in retirement between Philadelphia and Phoenix, Arizona, where the Malones attend Tri-City Baptist Church, pastored by Mike Sproul, a classmate of Malone’s from his Calvary Seminary days.

Pastor Malone continues to devote himself to pastoral training. He teaches annually in Trinidad and Tobago, where he has been helping local churches to establish Baptist Seminary of the West Indies. In Liberia, he is a assisting another Bible college with accreditation.

Locally, he has also served on Central Seminary’s board and has been a regular chapel speaker. He is currently nearing the end of a Doctorate in Missiology in Missions and Evangelism from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School of Deerfield, Illinois, hoping to complete his final project this year. He and his wife Claudia have been married for forty-eight years and the Lord has blessed them with three children and seven grandchildren.

We are grateful that even in his retirement, Pastor Malone is busy about the Lord’s work and that he has consented to return to frigid Minnesota in the midst of winter to deliver this year’s lectures. The lectures are free to the public, but for those wishing to stay for lunch, there is a nominal charge to cover the cost of the meal. More information about the conference, including registration instructions, can be found on the conference website.

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Is culture the same as race?

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This essay is by Jeff Straub, Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Lord, We All Look Up to Thee
Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Lord, we all look up to Thee,
As one flock, one family:
May all strife between us cease,
As we love Thee, Prince of Peace.

Make us of one heart and mind,
Gentle, meek, forgiving, kind,
Lowly both in thought and word,
Like Thyself, beloved Lord.

Let us for each other care;
Each the other’s burden bear:
Each to each by love endear;
One in faith, and hope, and fear.

Free from all that hearts divide,
Let us thus in Thee abide;
All the depths of love express,
All the heights of holiness.

Kevin T. Bauder

About Kevin Bauder

Kevin T. Bauder is Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that this post expresses.

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