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While speaking at events on the West Coast this past weekend, I sought to keep abreast of the conversation taking place on social media which emerged from the vandalism of a poster promoting a wholesome, healthy and godly event hosted by one of our student groups (Embrace) on Moody's Chicago campus. The event centered on a conversation around white privilege and successfully accomplished its goal of helping educate students and staff to its reality in this country. White privilege refers to the societal privileges and advantages that white (Caucasian) people have in America which are not commonly shared by non-white people of the same social or economic circumstances. This privilege exists in our broader society, and virtually every person of color can share experiences to validate its existence. People who are white, such as myself, because we are of the majority culture, often fail to understand the privileges we enjoy due to our skin color, for it is all we have ever known. Therefore, the conversation hosted on our campus last week is part of an ongoing effort to bring greater campus-wide understanding to the issue and I applaud and affirm its purpose.

Unfortunately, some who do not officially represent Moody and were not at the event, painted the event and Moody in a completely different light. This led to greater misunderstanding and even charges of racism. While all of us in leadership at Moody know we still have plenty of room to grow in this area, this caricature is patently false and fails to grasp the intentional steps we are taking on our campus to become more inclusive and welcoming to students and staff of color. For the past two years, I have personally led a task force which has been charged with developing recommendations and strategies to reach this goal. Some of the changes set forth by this group have already been implemented, such as hiring more ethnically diverse faculty and appointing more ethnically diverse trustees. Other recommendations are still moving forward and will be implemented. I am also leading two work groups which are focused on the complex tasks of recruiting and retaining more students who come from ethnic minorities.  The dedicated people who work with me on these committees have listened to the stories of our minority students and understand how much progress still needs to be made. I wish we were further down the road, but I acknowledge where we are and remain steadfastly committed to reaching our goal.

The Bible is quite clear in its teaching on this subject. Every person has immense value to God because He sent His Son to die for their sins. The pictures of worship around the throne of the Lamb in eternity found in the book of Revelation reveal the redeemed from every tribe, tongue, nation and people. This diversity represents God's heart, and therefore must represent our heart. Racism and prejudice are products of a sin-laden world, and even though they are still far from being eliminated even from communities of believers, they must be regularly and systematically addressed so that each of us, as followers of Jesus may become aware of the areas in which we have been blinded to the racist views we still hold and humbly repent of them.

We are committed to this at Moody. It is part of our ethos, issuing from the heart of our founder, Dwight L. Moody. To that end, our academic administration is investigating these matters with a view to taking appropriate action. We will not shy away from creating dialogue and doing the important work of making every part of Moody reflect the diversity of the Body of Christ. We are committed to continuing to invest time and resources toward lasting change.

Paul Nyquist

President, Moody Bible Institute


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