(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

From the outset of The Color of Faith, Fumitaka Matsuoka expresses his belief that people of Western European descent in the United States practice an ongoing racism against all the other people living in the country. He contrasts this vision of racism with the Christian faith, which invites all people, regardless of race or ethnicity, to join. According to Matsuoka, although Christian religion is communitarian, inclusive, just, and righteous, American society is racist and segregated, and it caters to the interests of the dominant Caucasian population.

When discussing various theoretical and practical aspects of race in the United States, The Color of Faith uses politically correct academic jargon that may quickly deter readers not used to this language. Moreover, although the author is quick to critique conservative and moderate views, he does not exercise authorial censorship over extreme views, including the belief that a jury should not convict a person such as O. J. Simpson, even if they believe him to be guilty of murder, in order to send a signal against perceived racial oppression.

Rather controversially, Matsuoka states that the devil controls American societal institutions. He argues that hordes of fallen angels, the “powers and principalities” of evil, run U.S. institutions and have created a “monopoly of the imagination” that shapes public opinion and seeks to control how American people think. The agents of Satan thrive in “the hostile soil of larger institutions” that they have created, and the righteous are in an almost hopeless struggle against evil. For Matsuoka, racism runs rampant in an American society where Satan is manifested in all societal institutions.

Matsuoka seeks to validate this dark vision by referring to the testimony of twenty people in Chicago at a 1994 hearing that had church groups among its sponsors. By quoting from the hearing, sometimes repeating the same quotes within a few pages, The...

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(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

De Young, Curtiss Paul, et al. United By Faith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Authors strongly support multiracial congregations for which they make a theological as well as a sociological point; they also show that American churches are still strongly divided by race.

Matsuoka, Fumitaka, and Eleazar S. Fernandez, eds. Realizing the America of Our Hearts: Theological Voices of Asian Americans. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2003. A collection of essays on Asian American theology and experiences of Asian Americans with Christianity.

Ortiz, Manuel. One New People: Models for Developing a Multiethnic Church. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1996. Articulately promotes the idea of an ethnically diverse congregation based on racial reconciliation and celebrating Christian faith across racial divides; offers models for achieving this goal, which Matsuoka believes holds hope for the future.

Yancey, George. One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003. Offers practical examples and case studies to create the kind of racially inclusive community churches that Matsuoka envisions.