Seminary Dropout 62: Kyle Canty on Privilege, Ferguson, and History



Kyle Canty is a married father of three. He works for Lifeway as the P2 Missions and World Changers City Representative for Philadelphia. He is also an assistant pastor at Great Commission Church located in Philadelphia. He holds a B.S. (Bible) and M.S. (Christian Counseling) Degrees from Cairn University and an MDiv (Urban Studies) from Biblical Theological Seminary (Hatfield, PA) and is currently working on an DMin degree in Urban Missiology at Biblical Theological Seminary (Hatfield, PA). As an aspiring blogger he looks forward to writing more around the intersection of Christian theology, African American History and the marginalized. His blog The Rooftop can be found at or follow him on twitter at @kcanman.

Kyle’s post on Christianity Today: Christ is the Answer to Our Race Problem

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7 thoughts on “Seminary Dropout 62: Kyle Canty on Privilege, Ferguson, and History

  1. I appreciated the interview.  It was so helpful to hear Kyle’s perspective.  We definitely need to listen to each other, and to spend time getting a sense of what other folks shoes feel like.
    One thing that was a bit discouraging for me was the discussion about the viability of multi-ethnic churches.  My notes say:
    * Very hard to do because cultures are distinct.
    * A church will have a culture, therefore given multiple cultures, which will dominate? Typically it’s the white culture.
    * The work of creating cultural bridges is difficult because you have to give something up.
    * Given the distinct cultural backgrounds, how will decisions be made? What will the focus be? What will fellowship look like?  How will issues be addressed?
    * It’s a lot of work.

    So, given all of that, my response wants to be:
    This is one of THE MAJOR POINTS of the gospel.  This is one of THE CENTRAL ISSUES dealt with in the NT – the breaking down of walls and the bringing together of disparate cultures.  Whatever the issues are between black American and white American cultures, they are (I will boldly assert) no more pronounced than the issues between 1st century Jews and Gentiles.  This is one of the most significant theaters where the gospel will or won’t be brought to bear, where the world will see, or won’t see, the radical effect of the work of God.

    Kyle, I’m  not laying all that at your feet.  I think in is incumbent on those with the power to lay it down.  But, there has to be a desire on the part of all believers to sacrifice personal preference for God’s desires (ie John 17).

    I’m going to keep pondering, and hope to have something up on my blog – – at some point in the near future.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear more about what you think.

    Thanks for pushing in on such important topics.

  2. DanHerford Thanks for listening Dan. Totally agree with your statements regarding life under the New Covenant–walls are destroyed in order to create the new people of God. Please understand that my critique of the multi-ethnic church is not that it is the ideal or not. My contention is that we are so quick to cheer a form of multi-ethnicity without addressing matters of race, class, etc. In some circles, we’ve simply achieved a darker form of whiteness. Through the years I’ve had to lay down my tradition in order to fit into a culture and part of my frustration was having to give up so much of my culture/tradition, so often. This is not just my story, many black Christians many share a similar story of having to give up so much in order to avoid being the unassimilated ‘other’. The issues of the first century parallel in many ways what we’re dealing with today and ‘should’ indeed the gospel unequivocally deals with these matters. We ponder and hope together.

  3. cantyman 

    Kyle, thank you so much for your
    reply.  Again, it is important for me (as a white guy in white Oregon)
    to hear your experience, and especially to recognize the giving-up that
    has been part of your attempts to cross the cultural boundaries.  I
    believe deeply that there is a kind of church-life that isn’t about
    assimilation or giving up of culture.  That IS the case if we are trying
    to decide the culture of some institution, but assimilation is not
    required if we are sharing our culture with other believers, who are
    sharing their cultures, each giving and receiving, honoring and being
    honored.  I know that is easier to say than to do, but I believe God
    wants us to do it, and will equip us to do it.
    I’ll stop there for now, but if you have the chance, please read a post I just put up at and share any thoughts.   I
    plan to explore this in a specific way for a couple of posts.  Thanks,
    and thanks to you Shane for your excellent interviews.  You continue to
    broaden my horizons.

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