Here are three important facts about Brandt Jean, the loving young man who forgave his brother’s killer and embraced her in a hug during the sentencing face of the murder trial.
Jean captured the world’s attention when he took to the witness stand to encourage Amber Guyger – his brother’s convicted murderer – to embrace Christ and go to God. He then asked for permission to hug Guyger and after a moment of delay, was granted permission by the judge. You can read about that excellent story here or watch the video below.
Unfortunately, Jean’s granting of forgiveness without demanding retribution made racialists and Critical Race Theorists angry, as they insist that forgiveness can only be granted by reparations. Jean’s display of Gospel shook the narrative of race-baiting apologists like Jemar Tisby, who wrote a piece in the Washington Post denouncing people whose hearts were touched by the display.
Tisby actually argued that “all black people” were affected by the murder, and insinuated that Jean shouldn’t be able to speak for all black people who might want to hold on to their resentment longer. Others claimed the display was actually a disorder known as “Post-Traumatic Slavery Syndrome.” Kyle J. Howard, a “racial trauma counselor” closely associated the ERLC of the Southern Baptist Convention was visibly upset that Jean granted forgiveness.
In Howard’s tirades on Twitter and Periscope, he claimed that “white people” who applauded the forgiveness would turn on Jean as soon as they saw that he came from “the black church” and would be called a “Cultural Marxist.” Howard also claimed that white evangelicals would attack Jean if they knew he didn’t support Donald Trump.
This left many wondering about the faith and background of Brandt Jean. Here are two facts
Brandt Jean Belongs to the Churches of Christ
Contrary to Kyle J. Howard’s assumption, Jean did not come from a denomination primarily consisting of African Americans. According to the Christian Chronicler (a newspaper for the Churches of Christ), Jean belongs to the denomination founded by Alexander Campbell in the mid-nineteenth century. There are approximately two million members of the “Campbellite” Churches of Christ nationwide.
The denomination is known for being theologically and politically conservative, with most of its churches being in the Bible belt. The most distinctive feature of the Campbellite worship service is its acapella music, without instrumentation.
You might know this denomination for its most famous adherents, the family of Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson. Robertson is a conservative Christian, Trump supporter, and has a rightwing conservative talk show on BlazeTV.
Both Robertson and his son are ordained ministers in the Churches of Christ. The denomination is known for being politically conservative.
Contrary to Kyle J. Howard’s assertion that Jean must be from the “black church background,” the Churches of Christ are 77% white and 15% black.
Howard also suggested that Jean’s faith resembled that held by the Mother Emmanuel AME Church. It would be harder to describe a church more theologically opposite of the AME – both theologically and politically – than the Churches of Christ, which are by-and-large more ideologically conservative than the Southern Baptist Convention.
Further research indicates that Jean belongs as a member at the Dallas West Church of Christ. Although that specific congregation reflects the ethnicity of its predominately black neighborhood, it is a congregation consisting of all races and participates in racial unity services and celebrates a church “without ethnic distinctions.”
2. The Churches of Christ Are Overwhelmingly White, But Still Racially United
In fact, the Churches of Christ ensured that all were worshipping together irrespective of race when they formed the Dallas Racial Unity Leadership Summit. You can see Jean shaking hands with the moderator of that Summit, Don McLaughlin of North Atlanta Church of Christ.
Botham, the victim himself, attended a College Church of Christ group (similar to a Baptist Student Union) while at Harding University in Arkansas. That college is predominately white.
Upon the death of Botham, the College Church of Christ group went on a mission trip in his honor to St. Lucia, a sovereign island nation in the Carribean where the Jean family is from and where Bertrum Jean pastors the Gros Islet Church of Christ. There, they helped the Jean’s church and ministered to the people.
Brandt seems to break the narrative by Critical Race Theorists and others who sat back with folded arms, grimacing as the young man forgave his brother’s murderer.
Tisby and Howard and so many others spoke as though they knew him, or that they spoke for him. In reality, the case of Botham and Brandt Jean demonstrate that people are not statistics…they are human beings made individually in the image of God.