Review: The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby

During Black History Month, the Institute will be highlighting important books whose messages are important for students and ministries to grapple with.

Though a few days late, the Next Institute would like to wrap up Black History Month with one of our favorite new resources, Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise. Jemar Tisby’ is a historian and founder of The Witness: A Black Christian Collective, as well as the incredible podcast Pass the Mic, co-hosted alongside youth minister Tyler Burns.  

In many respects, Tisby’s book is a difficult one – a clear, concise, and pointed discussion of how American Christianity has historically failed in its biblical call to racial unity and reconciliation. Yet alongside example after example of sinful compromise, readers cannot help but feel Tisby’s deep love for Christ’s church.

It is important, though sometimes difficult, to see how these ideas bring out tensions within Christian cultures. One example of this is a series of lectures by Tisby at Covenant College in Chattanooga, TN, the first of which can be found below. Students particularly interested in the theological and cultural difficulties of these ideas may find an op-ed published in reformed news blog The Aquila Report, and an incredibly written rebuttal by Covenant College Students.

How do your students deal with the racially broken past of American Christianity? How do we both appropriately embrace our past, alongside its sins and sorrows, and not embody it, choosing different paths of repentance, deliberate change, and gospel-oriented humility? How can your students make these choices even when their parents may not? How can parents lead the way in racial reconciliation? These are only the first of many, many questions The Color of Compromise has sparked in our lives and ministries. This is a slow work, something to be chewed on and prayed over long after its first reading. For the right students, it may be life-changing.




ReviewsStephen Yates