Remembering our history

Reconciliation Begins With Christ

Two EFCA leaders reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.’s gospel legacy.

To honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, we invited two EFCA leaders from the EFCA Central District and EFCA East District, both serving in ministries reaching all people, to share their reflections on MLK’s legacy and how it has impacted their ministry and the church.  


Divine Dissatisfaction 

By Brad Wos 

On August 16, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) gave a speech at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference speaking to church leaders on the heart of Jesus in John 3, calling the religious leader Nicodemus to be born again. MLK said, “Jesus did not tell Nicodemus to try harder, to not lie, or stop adultery, but instead Jesus called Nicodemus to inner gospel transformation, to live the incarnation by being born again.”

MLK spoke as a prophet toward the religious idolatry of America, clinging to our ethnic and cultural identity. He coined the phrase “divine dissatisfaction” that best defines the cultural gap we still experience between Jesus’ Revelation 5 and 7 vision of a kingdom of priests and our monocultural church identity. 

I believe “divine dissatisfaction” between the already and the not-yet of a kingdom of priests is at the heart of training multicultural leaders in the Great Commission.

I believe “divine dissatisfaction” between the already and the not-yet of a kingdom of priests is at the heart of training multicultural leaders in the Great Commission.

Dr. Timothy Keller provides us with a definition to the question of “What is the gospel?” This definition offers a redemptive–historical structure for our multicultural matrix vision. Keller defines the gospel as “not just me, but we, enjoy new life in Christ”: 

“Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgement for sin into fellowship with Him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with Him forever.”   

At the EFCA Central District, the Multicultural Acts 13 team is wrestling with this “divine dissatisfaction” by pursuing intentional relationships to listen, learn and lament with the vulnerable and those on the margins as a “kingdom of priests” gospel priority.

In 2022, we attended the National African American Mission Conference in Washington, D.C., and the National Mosaix Multicultural conference in Dallas. The divine dissatisfaction shows us there is a beautiful community of Revelation 7:9 beyond the cultural comforts that flows from a “circumcised heart,” born again to love the sojourner in the love of Christ (Deut 10:16-18). 

The city of St. Louis is 25 percent of the EFCA Central District population and one of the fastest growing, foreign-born cities in America. Please pray for EFCA Central District. In 2023, we are launching a prototype multicultural church planting network led by foreign-born leaders called Ambassador City Network. Learning from Edge City Church (EFCA) in New York, our St. Louis model incorporates a 3-strand approach to love the sojourner in our city through an immigrant led marketplace incubator, a “One EFCA” non-profit collaborative and the Ambassador City Church Planting Network. Please pray for us as we multiply evangelism and disciplemaking by every person to all people. 

The gospel brings reconciliation 

By José Torres 

Dr. King was a beacon of Jesus Christ. He once said, “Before I was a civil rights leader, I was a preacher of the gospel. This was my first calling, and it still remains my greatest commitment. You know, actually all that I do civil rights I do because I consider it part of my ministry. I have no other ambitions in life but to achieve excellence in the Christian ministry. I don’t plan to run for any political office. I don’t plan to do anything but remain a preacher. And what I’m doing in the struggle, along with many others, grows out of my feeling that the preacher must be concerned about the whole man.” 

As a pastor and the director of the All Nations ministry of the EFCA East district, Dr. King’s legacy has guided me to help lead others to achieve Jesus Christ’s commandments. Our ministry goal is to come alongside other leaders and churches who want to reach people from every nation, tribe and tongue. 

Dr. King’s legacy was founded on Jesus Christ. His obedience to Jesus’ commandment to preach the gospel to all nations, tribes and tongues shared and demonstrated Jesus’s love for mankind by standing alongside those suffering injustice. He saw how injustice was destroying this country and stood for the inclusion of all God’s children, no matter the color of their skin.  

Dr. King understood that he didn’t have to re-create the wheel on how to deal with injustice. He simply used the Word of God to fight the battle.

Our ministry seeks to promote inclusion and justice. I am deeply invested in promoting Dr. King’s dream and vision to serve all as Jesus served all. His legacy will continue to help churches obey all Jesus commanded. 

As the bride of Christ, the church can bring more to Christ when they reflect the same compassionate and welcoming heart of Christ in their communities. In both word and deed, we can demonstrate God’s love towards all nations, standing with them when they are unjustly treated. When the church preaches the gospel, the truth of injustice in society will be revealed. As Article 8 in the EFCA Statement of Faith states: 

“We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.” 

Dr. King understood that he didn’t have to re-create the wheel on how to deal with injustice. He simply used the Word of God to fight the battle. For the Word of God promotes unity and inclusion and proclaims that reconciliation can only come through Jesus Christ.  

Once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then He is the King of our hearts. And if He is the King of our hearts, He will guide us into reconciliation with the Father and all men and women. 

The legacy of Dr. King is following Jesus’ example to help the marginalized. When the local church allows this legacy to impact it, we will see greater influence among our communities. The Church has been given the greatest power to demonstrate Jesus Christ’s love for this lost and confused world. May we all continue to demonstrate Jesus Christ’s compassion, love and inclusion by standing for justice and righteousness. 

Brad Wos

EFCA Central Multicultural Director

Rev. Brad Wos has served as the EFCA Central Multicultural Director since 2016. Brad and his wife were University Ministry leaders for 14 years with their 5 children in South Africa. Brad is based in St. Louis, Missouri, one of the fastest growing foreign-born cities in America. 

José Torres

EFCA East All Nations Ministry Director

A retired Homicide Detective from Camden, New Jersey after 23 years of service, José Torres now serves as a pastor at Commitment Church of Lindenwold, New Jersey and as the All Nations Ministry Director for EFCA East. He's married to Maria Torres and a father of six children and grandfather of seven.

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