The Coming Race Wars: A Cry for Justice, from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter, By William Pannell

The Coming Race Wars

A Cry for Justice, from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter

Expanded Edition

by William Pannell
Introduction by Jemar Tisby

The Coming Race Wars
  • Length: 184 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: June 01, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3175
  • ISBN: 9780830831753

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In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Fuller Seminary theologian William Pannell decried the sentiment among white evangelicals that racism was no longer an urgent matter. In The Coming Race Wars? he meticulously unpacked reasons why our nation—and the church—needed to come to terms with our complicity in America's racial transgressions before we face a more dire reckoning. Pannell was among a small number of Black evangelical leaders at the time who called the evangelical church to account on issues of racial justice. Now, nearly thirty years later, his words are as timely as ever. Some would even argue that the "race war" he predicted has arrived.

In The Coming Race Wars: A Cry for Justice, from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter, Pannell revisits his provocative book with an expanded edition that connects its message to current events. With a new introduction by bestselling historian Jemar Tisby and a new afterword by Pannell, this compelling, heartfelt plea to the church will help today's readers take a deeper look at the complexities of institutional racism and the unjust systems that continue to confound us.

This new edition of The Coming Race Wars will inspire you to open your eyes wider, discover a more holistic view of Christ's gospel, and become an active participant in addressing America's racial injustices.

"A powerful plea for Christians, especially evangelicals, to live like Jesus rather than society. A painfully honest, biblically grounded exposure of white racism. A searing call to white evangelicals to finally repent of their long racist history. If we want to be Christians at all, we must listen and change. A must-read."

Ronald J. Sider, distinguished professor emeritus of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University, and author of Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger

"Several decades ago, as a young seminary student, I stumbled across the first edition of this book. I had become exceedingly frustrated with a reading list that was captive to white, Western culture. When I read this book in my twenties, I was inspired by the example of truth telling in love that Dr. Pannell expressed to the American church. The book gave me hope that prophetic voices need not be silenced. Thirty years later, books assigned to me in seminary have long passed their expiration date, but this book still proves to be necessary and relevant. This relevance points toward both the minimal progress made on the issue of race in the American church and the impact of Dr. Pannell's wisdom. Over the years, Dr. Pannell's life, ministry, and teaching has produced a canon of work that serves as theological landmarks for American Christianity. Do not miss this opportunity to gain wisdom from this giant of American Christianity."

Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary, author of Prophetic Lament

"Bill Pannell has shown us through the proven power of his prescient insights what was made abundantly clear in this book. We are a nation and a Christian people in trouble, and it is not 'good trouble.' History has proven him right. Years ago, Bill said to me, 'God cannot always trust us with pain. When we drink deep from the wells of his grace, we can be a great blessing to others.' Evangelicals are challenged by this new edition of this important book to move further ahead than they have since this was first published."

C. Jeffrey Wright, president and CEO of Urban Ministries, Inc.

"Since his days on the frontlines of ministry as an evangelist until now, Dr. Bill Pannell has been a prophetic voice calling the church to reflect the radical heart of Jesus for racial justice. He foresaw the hostility, divisiveness, and injustice that would result if Christians failed to heed his warning. Now in this new edition of The Coming Race Wars: A Cry for Justice, from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter, Dr. Pannell once again challenges Christians to look back on their lack of activism and calls for a new way forward that leads to transformation, social reform, justice, and racial healing. I highly recommend this important book for such a time as this!"

Brenda Salter McNeil, author of Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now and Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0

"Pannell makes me think of Jesus' words: 'A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.' For fifty years, Dr. Pannell has warned of the dangers of white Christian nationalism and what we see today. The Coming Race Wars is essential reading for those seeking an unvarnished understanding of our current racial conflict, together with stubborn hope for the rebuilding of the church in America."

Robert Chao Romero, author of Brown Church, associate professor in the departments of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies at UCLA

"Whenever the history of evangelicals in America is written, there will be a chapter on William Pannell. He has been their Jeremiah—his words carrying the density of gospel truth and the wisdom of a seasoned disciple of Jesus. This expanded edition of his classic text not only carries history, it is history in the making. If you want to be helpful in this turbulent moment, please put a copy of this book in the hands of every young evangelical and tell them 'your education starts here.'"

Willie James Jennings, Yale Divinity School

Read an Excerpt


Introduction: A History of War by Jemar Tisby
Preface to the First Edition
1. Here We Go Again
2. Black Male: Gorilla in the Mist
3. The Politics of Race and Class
4. Multiculturalism: When the Country Turns Brown
5. Violence American Style
6. Evangelicals and the Urban Crisis
7. Where Do We Go from Here?
Afterword: The View from Here (27 Years Later) by William Pannell


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Author photo of William Pannell

William Pannell is professor emeritus of preaching at Fuller Seminary, where he taught from 1974 until his retirement in 2014. Fuller recognized his service to the school and the whole church with the January 2015 renaming and dedication of the William E. Pannell Center for African American Church Studies.

Dr. Pannell previously served in leadership roles with Youth for Christ and Tom Skinner Associates. His books include My Friend, the Enemy and Evangelism from the Bottom Up. He and his wife, Hazel, live near Pasadena.