GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel, releases the following statement on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr:
I consider Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to be one of our nation’s most courageous leaders from the 20th century. He set out to fundamentally change our culture and the broken ways in which Americans viewed individuals of different skin colors. His cause was noble, just, and brave, and as we all know this cost him his life.
Yet his death was not in vain. Other courageous souls have carried the torch and it’s important to celebrate how far we’ve come since that awful day 50 years ago. Many of the humiliating injustices that burdened African Americans in King’s time have thankfully been lifted. That being said, I’m under no illusion that his mission is complete. Our nation, and the rest of the world for that matter, has a long ways to go in combating racism in our schools, our neighborhoods, and even our places of worship.
Over the years I’ve been horrified to witness some of our nation’s most embarrassing moments of racial prejudice, even just this past summer in Charlottesville. I want to call on the church, my own and every church in every town across America, to continue to speak up and fight this immorality with the wide-reaching love of Christ. As followers of Jesus we know the truth, that red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight. And so my prayer is that whenever a moment of racial injustice arises, the church will stand at the front lines to fulfill Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to drive out the darkness that plagues us.
Jentezen Franklin is the senior pastor of Free Chapel, a multi-campus church. Franklin is a New York Times best-selling author and winner of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Mantle of Destiny Award for his efforts on racial reconciliation. His latest book, Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt, just released in March.