Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2001-02-07

Veteran preacher James Earl Massey urged Beeson Divinity students to lay aside whatever hampers their race for God when he visited the Samford University campus Tuesday (FEB. 6).

Basing his remarks on Hebrews 12: 1-2, he noted that the scene is described as an athletic process.

"As with athletes, the successful handling of our Christian life demands physical preparation and a will trained to endure," said Dr. Massey, speaking at Beeson's opening convocation of the spring semester.

Dr. Massey served from 1954 to 1976 as senior minister of the Metropolitan Church of God in Detroit, Mich. A popular speaker and preacher, he has authored some 20 books and more than 500 articles.

He noted that the Hebrews text says to lay aside every weight and sin such as attitudes of selfishness or stubbornness.

"Nothing can trip us up faster than a bad attitude, or mixed motives, such as doing something for the wrong reason," he said. "Spiritual preparation and determination always pay off. You can make it as a Christian if you have the heart and a will to win against all odds."

Dr. Massey was presented a special, leather-bound copy of A Mighty Long Journey: Reflections on Racial Reconciliation by Broadman & Holman Publishers representative David Shepherd.

The book, edited by Beeson Dean Dr. Timothy George and Beeson Professor of Preaching Dr. Robert Smith, Jr., is dedicated to Massey, their longtime friend and mentor.

A Mighty Long Journey is a compilation of sermons that represent a mosaic of contemporary biblical teaching on racial reconciliation. Anglo and African American writers and pastors from various backgrounds reflect on the state of affairs of race relations in the church.

The book includes sermons by 16 contributors as well as the text of Dr. Massey's February, 1999, speech to a meeting of U.S. church leaders entitled "Reconciliation: Two Biblical Studies."


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.