Page 21 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

21 White preachers who take seriously the task of fighting for racial unity and equality will find value in adopting Taylor’s approach whenever presented with opportunities to speak to Black or interracial congregations. The possibility of greater receptivity increases where there is a sense of genuine compassion for the plight of Black people mixed with the truth of God’s word. A sense of authenticity coupled with a perception of togetherness in the struggle warrants respect and fosters trust.20 Likewise, White preachers should take this same approach when addressing White audiences. Sermons must expose the sin of racism, but compassion and grace are critical, especially in contexts where racism has become engrained, and racist comments, gestures, and assumptions are the result of generational ignorance. Preaching which lacks accountability for all parties involved is insufficient for inspiring change in a racially divided nation. The wounds are too deep for a salve. True healing and reconciliation require the painful surgery of open and honest dialogue, sincere confession, and the kind of forgiveness that leaves the injured party vulnerable to the point where trust is not optional but mandatory; and, where the perpetrator is forced to exercise a significant degree of empathy and humility. Preaching that holds together accountability and compassion as values for the entire community to embrace fosters such an environment, giving way to accomplishing the goal of racial unity and equality. CONSIDERING ALL ASPECTS OF THE GOSPEL Another key factor lending to Taylor’s efficacy was his Christ-centered approach to preaching coupled with a holistic application of the Gospel. There can be no wavering on the fundamental doctrine that all people have sinned, the penalty for sin is death, Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins, and that through faith in Christ sinners are justified, redeemed, forgiven, and have the promise of eternal life (Ro 3:23, 5:1-8, 6:23, 10:8-10: Jn 3:16; Eph 1:7). This is the essence of the Gospel embraced by the historic Christian faith, the message that reveals the depravity of man and provides the way to obtain personal salvation.21 Conversely, Thomas G. Long was correct in stating, “The Gospel does not speak to isolated individuals and then swivel to speak LEARNING FROM THE PULPIT LEADERSHIP OF GARDNER CALVIN TAYLOR