You learn to appreciate people who do not walk in lock-step with the status quo, but instead make thoughtful and loving stands for what is right. We are noticing the work of black brethren as Black History Month continues, and how men like these have helped shape this country and the church.
This profile highlights a dedicated servant both in upholding truth in politics, as well as upholding truth in the pulpit. John DeBerry served as a Democratic member of the Tennessee House of Representatives for nearly 26 years before being ousted by his political party for not towing the party line on issues such as abortion and gay rights. Brother DeBerry has strongly and vocally opposed moral issues such as these and made himself a public enemy of entities such as Planned Parenthood and the LGBTQ Victory Fund, as well as his (formerly) own Democratic Party.
Brother DeBerry is, today, probably most well known for a public denouncement of the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots in Portland, Oregon in 2020. His speech on the floor of the Tennessee legislature went viral on social media as he spoke very bluntly about the stark contrast between the peaceful Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, and the destruction and violence of those whose reckless protests damage that legacy. It is a great speech worthy of a listen (find it on YouTube).
Brother DeBerry grew up entering places through the back doors, sitting in the back of buses, drinking out of the “colored” water fountains, and attending racially segregated schools. Yet, we can appreciate that the same Lord that called him through the gospel is the same Lord that calls us through the same gospel (2 Thess. 2:14). This call does not come only to those of a certain class of society. Nor does it come only to people of a certain ethnic background. Nor does it come only to people of only one skin color. The call of the gospel is universal in nature (Gal. 3:27-29).
No doubt, brother DeBerry’s greatest legacy will not be the work he did in the Tennessee Legislature, but his work as a faithful gospel preacher. While we cannot necessarily change the course of this world, we can forever change the course of souls who long for more than this world (Eph. 2:1- 10). You can listen to John DeBerry’s sermons on YouTube or from Polishing the Pulpit’s website. How beautiful are his feet (Rom. 10:15)!