Founder and CEO of D.L. Moody Center calls for unity in Christ

‘The answer to the world’s problems—even the problems of racism—is not found in critical race theory or the Black Lives Matter movement, but in Jesus Christ’

March 7, 2022

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. The Washington Times recently featured an op-ed written by Emmitt Mitchell, the founder and CEO of D. L. Moody Center (moodycenter.org), a premier destination for Christian laypeople to experience restoration and renewal. In the op-ed, Mitchell recounted his life as a Black man of faith in America, stretching back to the dawn of the modern civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Mitchell recalled, “After my father accepted Jesus, our family moved to Wichita, Kansas. Wichita was a bit better than our family’s previous home in Guthrie, Oklahoma, but it was still one of the most racist cities in the nation.”

Mitchell belonged toa new generation that refused to accept the half-measures of equality and freedom offered to people of color. 

Mitchell said, “As young men, my older brother Thurman and I, as well as many of our friends, decided we had had enough of Jim Crow and segregation. We decided we weren’t going to take it any longer. We were going to change it or die.”

Mitchell and his brother joined peaceful protests that were springing up around Wichita. Soon, however, these gatherings began to change in tone.

Mitchell noted, “The protests on Wichita’s streets inevitably became violent. Thurman and I knew that something had to be done to help our community. The elements that were coming out were starting to destroy property. People were getting hurt. It was no longer just a revolutionary movement. It was getting serious.” 

This observation inspired Mitchell and his brother to make a change that was both counterintuitive and revolutionary: they moved across the protest line and joined the local police force, a group viewed by many in the civil rights movement as hostile to their cause.

Mitchell remembered, “Since I’d had spent so much time protesting before joining the police force, everyone I dealt with as an officer already knew me. I could act as a mediator. The precedent my brother and I set by going from the streets to the academy began to influence the scene in Wichita. Within two years, the number of Black officers in the city had grown from nine to twenty-five, with several new Black officers coming up through every academy class.”

Mitchell’s new role gave him a unique perspective on the changes happening all around the burgeoning movement.

Mitchell stated, “Looking back this time in America—the riots, the fights for civil liberties, the peaceful protests of Martin Luther King Jr.—I think back to the prejudices I experienced. I think about the change of hearts and attitudes I watched happen during that time. It was a growing up for the nation. Martin Luther King freed a lot of people, but only a few of them were Black.”

Still, despite the continued progress on racial views in America, Mitchell observed that more work needs to be done.

Mitchell stated, “Despite this newfound freedom, our nation continues to wrestle with the issue of race. As a nation we were drawn to progressive socialist programs that lead the Black community toward the destruction we see today. Worse, the nation failed to embrace the teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King to demonstrate love for our fellow man and judge others by the content of their character.”

Considering a career spent working in civil rights, law enforcement and ministry, one might assume that Mitchell believes solutions are best achieved through a multifaceted approach to society’s ills. Instead, Mitchellproclaimed that true change can only be found through a singular hope in Jesus Christ.

Mitchell said, “We need unity. For that unity to begin, we have to recognize that we are all sinners. We won’t find unity by pointing to any other form of oppression than the oppression of sin. The answer to the challenges we face won’t be found in revolutions like my brother and I were involved with in the 60’s. It won’t be found by accepting the current state of the world or in seeking to police it. The various experiences I’ve had in my life remind me that the answer to the world’s problems—even the problems of racism—is not found in critical race theory or the Black Lives Matter movement, but in Jesus Christ. It is only in Jesus Christ that we can overcome sin and find ourselves capable of forgiveness and reconciliation. It is Christ who redeems us from slavery to sin.”

Click here to read Emmitt Mitchell’s full op-ed in The Washington Times.

The D.L. Moody Center is an independent non-profit organization located in Northfield, Massachusetts. Dedicated to preserving and advancing the legacy of Dwight Moody, the D. L. Moody Center is a catalyst for spiritual formation in New England and beyond through evangelism and discipleship.

The D. L. Moody Center is a destination for spiritual renewal, yet not a school. Nevertheless, there is much to learn by studying D. L. Moody and what God accomplished through his life which began in New England, at the Northfield, Massachusetts campus, the heart of Moody’s ministry as well as his childhood home.

The D. L. Moody Center is honored to sponsor the annual “Go Dark, Shine Bright” ministry campaign in partnership with The Shine Bright Project. The innovative initiative is designed to help Christians let go of the daily distractions of social media and focus on daily devotions in the Word of God.

Learn more about D. L. Moody Center by visiting moodycenter.org or follow the ministry on Facebook or Twitter.   

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