N.C. pastor seeks to solve segregation dilemma
    May 6 2013 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

    Nicholas Muteti knows from first-hand experience that God can unite people who are very different and very divided. And, he is passionate about proclaiming the power of God’s Word to heal impossible rifts. That’s the message of the African pastor’s newly published book, Segregation in Churches: Providing God’s Answer to Solve the Dilemma.
     
    Three years after giving his life to Christ in the East Africa nation of Kenya, Muteti found himself preaching the gospel to the Maasai tribe. Two Maasai warriors charged him with spears, clubs and swords, because he was from the Kumba tribe. The two tribes were declared enemies who had been at war for centuries.

    05-06-13muteti.jpg

    BR photo by K. Allan Blume
    Nicholas Muteti recently had a book on segregation published through Wine Press.

     

    The book tells how he survived and how God miraculously ended the animosity between the tribes. The experience launched his mission to proclaim the healing of racial and cultural divisions, especially in Baptist churches.
     
    He came to the United States 18 years ago to get an education. Having completed his M.Div. in languages at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, today Muteti pastors Forestville Baptist Church in Wake Forest, N.C. From the pulpit he looks into a balcony built over a hundred years ago for slaves.

    Talking about his book, Muteti said, “It all began with my roots in Africa.”
     
    Muteti contends his background qualifies him to write about segregation. Describing the relationship between the Kumbas and the Maasai, he said, “We were enemies, we could not get along. But God called me to minister to the Maasai people – the enemies of my tribe. God put us together.
     
    “I saw that nothing is impossible with God. To see the power of God’s Word working in the hearts of the Maasai people and Jesus Christ bringing that animosity to an end was powerful. He reconciled two tribes just as He did the Jew and the Gentile.”
     
    But the young African experienced the shock of his life when he arrived in the U.S. He said, “When I came to the United States, and I found out that the whites and blacks don’t worship together, that is something that I never knew. I could not believe it. I never heard anything about Christians in America not worshiping together. I never heard about that from Southern Baptist missionaries I worked with in Africa. No one ever told me. I was shocked.”
     
    Muteti made a phone call to the International Mission Board (IMB) in Richmond. “I told [a missionary] that I did not know that in America there were black churches and white churches. I worked closely with IMB missionaries in Africa, and they did not tell me.”
     
    Immediately, Muteti began to pray that God would open up an opportunity to share the good news of reconciliation. “I knew at that moment – it was a confirmation that God really called me to this country,” he said.

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    Nicholas Muteti's book calls attention to segregation in churches while sharing his life story.

     

    Muteti attended First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., where he had many opportunities to share his story with the pastor, deacons and others.  The church’s pastor, Frank R. Lewis, said Muteti, “...writes with the passion of an evangelist and the heart of a pastor when it comes to the subject of racial segregation in the church.”
     
    Wherever he preaches, Muteti encourages believers to love and accept those of other races. His message is the same to Latinos, African-Americans, Caucasians or Asians. “We should reach out cross culturally,” he said. “We want everybody to go to heaven, and there are not two heavens. There is only one, and it is for those who are born again.”
     
    Muteti is not blind to the tensions that often exist in some cultural settings. But he believes “if God has called us to go to all people, we’ve got to welcome all people from all cultures and unite people for Christ. The Spirit of God, moving in every person’s life, can make us one in Jesus Christ, reaching out to every nation, every people group.”
     
    Cross-cultural evangelism is very much needed. He said, “Not this ‘look-alike’ evangelism. If you only reach out to me because I look like you, that is not enough.”
     
    Frank Page, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, said in an endorsement of the book, “In his telling of his own story, [Muteti] forms the basis of a belief that God’s people need to worship together, not in separate racial and ethnic groups.”
     
    Muteti said there was a time in the N.C. Baptist convention’s annual meeting, when he would look around and see three or four people who weren’t Anglo-American. Now he believes the state convention is geared toward reaching others. Also, he is encouraged that many changes are happening at the national level with the election of Fred Luter as president of the SBC.
     
    “People have told me, ‘it will never work because we have lived this way for so long,’” he said. “But I say it is not about us. It is about God, and God can make this happen. The same God who united African tribes who were at war for centuries, is the God that we worship in America. He can do it! We are people of the Book, so we should do it God’s way.”
     
    Since the publication of his book, Muteti expected more opposition than he has seen: “Last Sunday I preached in an all white Southern Baptist church. I preached from Ephesians 2 on tearing down the wall. The response was unbelievable. People thanked me and hugged me. They said, ‘we needed to hear that sermon.’ That really touched my heart.”
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – The book is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Winepress.com in both the soft cover and e-book editions. Visit http://segregationinchurches.com or contact Muteti at (919) 616-5629 or dr.nicm2012@gmail.com.)

    5/6/2013 3:37:51 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: integration, Nicholas Muteti, segregation




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