The Challenge of Defending the Faith in the Inner City


It was hot in Camden. Our church’s evangelism team had stopped on a street known colloquially as the “Heroin Highway” because of its reputation for attracting drug addicts, prostitutes, and violent crime. Hoping to keep our neighbors cool on a recent humid afternoon, we had packed coolers with Italian ice and chilled water to distribute to passers-by. Eager to start conversations with residents about faith, we set up our refreshment table just a few blocks away from our church. Within minutes, residents began flocking to our makeshift refreshment stand.

One older gentleman was particularly friendly. After reaching into the cooler for a beverage, he walked towards me and we shook hands.

“What brought y’all out here today?” he asked me.

Sensing the prompting of the Holy Spirit, I began to share about the faith which had inspired our church’s visit. But as I continued, his friendly demeanor became contentious.

“This is why I can’t stand you stupid n***as,” he stepped forward, and gave me a poke in the chest. “You don’t know anything about your history. Don’t you know that Christianity is a white man’s religion? You’re just regurgitating his racist rhetoric!”

Click on this link to read this article on Christianity Today

Ernest Cleo Grant, II

Ernest Cleo Grant, II (@ernestcleogrant) is the Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship Church of Camden, a graduate of Reformed Seminary (D.C.), and is currently completing his Doctorate of Education from Stockton University. He and his wife Sarah have been married for almost a decade and have two children( Amaela and Chancellor). He's an avid reader, a community advocate, and has bylines in The Witness, Christianity Today, The Star-Ledger, Desiring God, and other publications


  • Excellent work! I just finished reading your articles entitled, “THE CHALLENGE OF DEFENDING THE FAITH IN THE INNER CITY” and “Urban Mix-and Match Religion Didn’t Start with Nick Cannon.” I was very impressed with your depth of understanding of the problems facing the inner cities and your firm belief that Christ is still the answer. God bless and keep up the great work!


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