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Archive for May, 2008

 

 

Shift Students Ministry
Presents
The Unashamed Tour 

Featuring: Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Sho Baraka

Location: GP Campus

Date & Time : Tuesday, June 3, 2008 @ 7p

Cost: Tickets are $7/ Person and are sold at both locations and at the door.

Contact: Kandis Davis – kdavis@sjbcfamily.com or 972.264.1483

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Okay lets start with the track listing:

1. 20/20 Intro
2. Superstar (Eyes Off Me)
3. Real Vision
4. Inexhaustible
5. Who Is Like Him?
6. We Told Em
7. Cling To You
8. Relief
9. Behold the Spirit
10. Satisfaction (Hedonist)
11. Come Close
12. Who He Is
13. Intimacy
14. True Security
15. Eyes Open
16. Hip Hop

Overall Review: 5 Stars

Theology: 4.5 Stars

Lyrics: 5.0 Stars

Doctrinally Faithful: 5.0 Stars

Production: 5.0 Stars

Reveiw by Track

Superstar:This is a well produced track. It has the familiarityof the classic 116 sound (the 808 and Southern tune). This song is antithetical to the traditional hip hop we hear today. You know the girls, cars, rims, clubs, and jewelry! Check the hook below. The most encouraging line is “get your eyes off me”. We need more of this. So the beat is hot the lyrics goes with Trip’s trend of pointing you to Christ and not him! Thanks for that Trip.

Hey if you looking for a Superstar/I ain’t the one you searching for, I came to bring some worship, bro/He’s perfect I’m just dirt below/Hey if you looking for a Superstar/Don’t look at me, you got me wrong, I been a sinner all along/Let’s look at Him and not the songs”

 Real Vison: Okay if you have not heard much of Tedashii and you don’t own the album please pick it up at www.reachrecords.com . I actually had to get a massage after listening to this beat (you know the head bobbing syndrome that comes along with Reach). So may disagree but the signature screwed hook is a great compliment to this type of track. I don’t think you can go wrong.  This song exalts the holy scriptures in verse 1, Jesus Christ his person and work and future judgement in verse 2, and Trip finishes it off by refuting false gospels mostly that of prosperity teachers. It truly gives you real vision.

Inexhaustible: The title defines the song. It talks of God’s complexity. That we can study for a million years and still won’t begin to scratch the surface! How true this is. How can we become bored with such a God, but back to the review. The beat is okay, they lyrics are worshipful and God exalting. Not my favorite but will grow on me as I burn out my favorites.

Who is like him: This is a workout song here. It has the type of beat that energizes you. But the lyrics stirs your heart to exalt God. The question is “who is like Him”? Trip answers by saying nobody! I love this song. It isn’t a barbecue song. It takes some time to digest. Check a few of the lyrics here:

Tell me who’s the God who’s marked off the heavens by the span?
Now tell me who calculated all the dust of the Earth?
He is Yahweh, God we make much of His worth
Tell me who you know, that’s more powerful or even beautiful
That’s truth and bro would die to save and raise after His funeral?
We tell men, that this God would let them drive them nails in
But still spreads out the heavens like a tent to dwell in
So the point is, He’s greater than we are and man this joint is
To point kids, in His direction and where this joy is
Come on, no more fronting homie its bout time for fessing up
You want to step your game up but you cant step it up enough

We Told Em: Ah, the privilegeto evangelize by bothlife and mouth! Trip tells us to “lets show em we Christians”. If the church in the west is failing in any area this could be one and Trip does a great job explaining the urgency of showing the world who our Savior is. The track is pleasantsomething I wouldn’t expect. It has an acoustic sound it withthe eerie keyboard. He uses the fast/slow lyrical delivery approach and it flows wonderfully with the beat. I really like this.

Cling to You ft. Shai Linne:Trip changes us his delivery to compliment the Tony Stone track and we know this is right up Shai’salley. I love the hook. The beat is definitely a summer fresh sound that has a jazzy with a subtle piano.  Very enjoyable, refreshing and encouraging. What is amazing is that the song says “maybe things will get better, but it may not; however, I will trust in you”. Wow, how that goes against our flesh centered theology. Here is the hook:

Lord, it may get better but it may not
So when I pray God, I pray I
Would trust You whether or not the pain stops
So when the the pain falls, coming down like rain drops
I just gotta cling to You

Relief: Same as above. This is a unique song for Trip. Bunch of instruments involved in this song. Refreshing sound, clean beat and nice singing compliments. I love the “ooh, ooh, ooh”. This song elevates the doctrine of Justification. He says “when my life ain’t right I got to peak at his”. I love that. You see he says it is a relief to rest in Christ. Has a Philippians 3 implication to it.

Behold the Spirit: Maybe my favorite song (see “We Told Them”). This is the most theologically saturated song. It describes Theology Proper (the person of God) by talking about the Spirit of God the Holy Spirit (pneumatology). The beat is one of my favorites the lyrics refutes false views of Holy Spirit by describing His person (that He is a He not an it and that He is God, the third person). As Holy Hip Hop makes it way to the ears of young church goers this song will definitely spark their interest on who the Spirit is.

Satisfaction: I like the beat but not particularlyfond of the hook. The lyrics are outrageous. I love that Trip has his ear to the street. He speaks the language of the culture and responds to them by presenting Christ and man this is lacking today: Check the last verse:

Now my life is the pursuit, of delighting in His truth
In His person, His works yeah I’m fighting for this fruit
Of His light in my life its me striving to be like Him
Remember Him like the Titans, I’m dying to be renewed
Don’t get it twisted like I am the reason to
Run forward to the throne, no the lion is in my view
He’s shown to be glorious, when shown to be more to us
Than anything in sight pray our idols will be removed
It doesn’t show the Lord’s beauty, when I treat Him as duty
A God who doesn’t truly, inside please or move me
So I reach for the truth He’s my God a precious ruby
More entertaining than movies, greater than chasing hoochies
And when I forget I gotta take in the view we
Dive in His Word just to gaze at His beauty
And I really hope guys get the picture
True satisfactions in the God of the scriptures

Come Close: This is probably my least favorite song, the lyrics are on point the collaborations are really good but for now it will have to grow on me. I don’t particularly care for the hook, nor Flames verse. I do enjoy Sho’s verse though. He brings a very creative verse to the song that helps it a bit, especially the “how you doing” LOL.

Who He Is: I love this song. The track, Cam’s hook, and Lecrae’s verse works this song over. It has the 116 signature sound but for some reason these three together makes this song work really well. Man Trips first verse gave me chill bumps. I actually had to raise my hands in worship as I played the song for the 100th time (not exaggerating here). I can’t say enough about this song. It may be my favorite. Check Trips verse:

Okay, He reigns over all, its plain since the fall, our brains don’t recall who He is His name’s over all, His aim is for all, to remain in awe as they see His
Beauty man it’s truly crazy, dude He’s grand His truth is great we
Dudes should stand and truly praise the beautiful lamb they bruised Him greatly His life was the cost, He died on the cross, He died for the lost, we know that So we ride for the boss, He’s high we exalt, this Christ in our thoughts, can’t hold back Exalt Him in our actions too
, we crack them Johnny Macs and cruiseThefacts, we grab His active truth, we happy when our Dad’s in view

Intimacy ft. Diamone:Clean, safe, and the beautiful voice of Diamone makes this song one you will bob your head to and smile. Nothing exciting but very heart warming. I think this is the most worshipful song.  Check Diamone’s hook below. See some say Hip Hop’s beats are worldly. Many see the lyrics. Actually I am going to include the hook and one of Trip’s verse. Great song to sit on a porch and let the wind blow, or when life has you frustrated. it just brings peaceful spirit over me.

Verse 2:
It’s way too many times, I’m staying off on the grind
In other areas and I bury you in my mind
Then my life starts getting terrible, scarier and I find
Myself trying to get near to you, but you was here all the time
But I was having my share of affairs with things you designed
Kind of like a bad marriage, it’s scary it’s like I’m blind
And I’m praying you’d help me, hold me, and make me focus
I know that when I’m lacking you I’m more than hopeless
Mold this wicked heart to delight in your precious person
Fighting, confessing, searching for Christ and lessons for learning
It ain’t even nothing good in me that I might show you
But I can see that eternal life’s that I might know you
I want to know you be close to the God who saved me
Raised me, so I pray we can be much closer
And I- I can embrace the beautiful life that you gave me
I count it all loss Lord that I might know ya

Lord bring me closely
Intimately
So to show me
Who you are
and the fill my cup
(repeat)

Just a lil bit more
I need a lil bit more
Na-na-na-na
More and more
More and more..

True Security: My third most favorite or tied for second. I love the beat but the lyrics should encourage you to pray for those outside of Christ. He show the brokenness of our young ladies, the hood cat, and the preachers kid. Man, this song actually teared me up. We as Christians sometimes forget that so many people are broken and feel naked. They run to drugs, eating disorders, sex, excessive partying, alcohol, and violence in attempt to silence the demons only to wake up next to them in the bed. But he doesn’t give a superficial Dr. Phil/Oprah answer. No he points them to “True Security” which is only found in Christ. Man I love this song. Check out verse two and the hook that follows.

here’s a young dude, up in his teenage years
Huggin tha block to fit in wit his teenage peers
He still doesn’t it’s one thing to be made clear
Not beindown with tha rest is his teenage fear
See where he come from, sellin work ain’t that crazy
And it’s few cats his age that ain’t had babies
All he wanna do is lay around and hang out crazy
Maybe smoke something, drank got his vision hazy
Plus he just got that new Jeezy cd
Wanna be like them D boys he see on TV
Heard of church but ain’t got a suit that’s three piece
So he think it that just ain’t for him
But some girls down tha block wanna date from him
Bout a decade down tha road his baby will be 10
But he’ll be locked up I’m prayin for my brother
That he would cling to the God that can save when we suffer

Hook:
I’m praying for my brother
That he would cling to the God that can save when we suffer
True security is found in Christ
He’ll never leave you, He’s down and around for life

Eyes Open: Man, okay I don’t know what my favorite song is anymore. This song is saturated with the Doctrines of Grace. Trip points us to our depravity and the Monergistic work of God to remove the blinders through His sovereign election. This is the second most theological/doctrinal song! I love the beat and it compliments the theme of the song. He aks “so who gets the glory”. The beautiful doctrine of election should push us to our knees in thanksgiving and this song will only encourage you to do such a thing. Oh how we need more of this teaching, not for the sake of some vain knowledge but so that we can exalt God as the tite of Packers book “The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism”. This song should motivate us to hit the streets with the Gospel. Why? Because He gives the the increase. Check the lyrics and hook here:

Verse 2:
Yeah I was blinded in the past, like my mind was in the trash
Incapable of doing good or even finding him the task
Was beyond what I could grasp, my righteousness is rags
So He had to do all the work, by His design you do the math
The math, who get’s the glory, hey who get’s the praise?
Predestined, I was elected, resurrected from the grave
Plus His loved was never based on my past or present state
On anything that I obtained I was a mess but blessed with grace
By grace, I’m in love with Him
He gave me something within
He doesn’t love me cause of me nope He loves me because of Him
No He didn’t have to save and raise me when I was dead
But He dragged me out the morgue, now the praise of His name is spread
He died for all He would save, it’s crazy the Savior bled
Erasing taking my dread, and gave me some grace instead
The kind I wouldn’t resist, I came praise be to Him
And I’m confident if I’m in Him Imamake it to the end with eyes open

Hook

Now that my eyes is open, gotta keep that Bible open
Not just so that I can quote Him, I’m hopin that I’ll behold Him
Until I lay in the grave, I’m praying I’ll stay in motion
Gazing with eyes of faith He gave me baby, I’m focused
I’m praying all through my 20’s I’ll see Him in 20/20
Looking at Him till I look like Him almost like His twin He’s
So merciful, His Word is so packed I’m telling many
About the glory of Christ, trynarep Him with all that’s in me

Hip Hop: This songs defends the use of Hip Hop as a venue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. Too many times these brothers have to defend that what they are doing is glorifying to God. Most will ignore and run to 1 John and pull the worldliness hocus pocus rabbit out of their hats. But for those of us who understand what Luther (the very peson who brought the Reformation) did with the music of his day to promote the Gospel we have no problem with this venue. Nice beat and straight to the point.

In closing I love this album. Please run out and buy and support these young men. Trip is in Bible College in Philly and belongs to Epiphany Church in the same city. I want you to listen to every word on this album and see if it lines up with scripture. Not only that. If I gave you this on a blank album all you would know is this young man was from the south. No one on the entire album mentions their name, but Christ is mentioned so many times I lost count. This album is saturated with the Gospel of glorious God and Saviour Jesus the Christ! You will leave encouraged and Christ will be exalted. Thanks for a wonderful project and I pray that God will continue to use Trip Lee and Reach Records to make Christ know through the venue of Holy Hip Hop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Pastor Jim Elliff author and pastor of Christ Fellowship of Kansas City has written an amazing article which is titled above. The artcicle is very challenging and even if you don’t agree with everything at least read it and gleam from it what you can. Here is an excerpt. Thanks Pastor Jim for keeping us focused on Jesus Christ the lover of our souls!

In our own local church we are making some steady progress in demonstrating harmony of divergent cultures, thanks to God’s grace. It is only a start, but it is driven by a real, workable and biblical concept that we believe can be carried out over time. What we have already seen is glorious. Perhaps it is easier for us in our church to mix ethnicity and socio-economic levels since we meet in several homes as our meeting pattern. The flexibility of the house church network model allows us to locate in any part of town, and to avoid that stigma that a single location may bring. A church building often has limitations because it is perceived as identical to its neighborhood. Whether intended or not, it represents to many that a certain class or kind of people are welcome. Therefore, extra efforts for those who use buildings will need to be made to overcome this dilemma. Building or no building, however, we are to pursue this beautiful diversity to the greatest possible extent.
 
So, I will say as strongly as I can, you should not start (or have) “a black church” or “a white church” or a “homeschooling church” or a church for professional people and another church for poor people. Nor should you start a church aimed at younger people or older people. In this the modern church has erred. I do not mean that we should not be evangelistic toward all categories and types of people (actually, that is my point), but in building the local church our aim is too low, and frankly, sometimes selfish. We are forfeiting something of the glory of the church by not seeking to blend all kinds of people together, even if we cannot fully accomplish it. A cowboy church or a country music church may reach cowboys or country music lovers, but is this anything like what God intends to promote as the primary social implication of the cross? Does it depict real earth-side yearning for a future glorious church? We have diminished the meaning of the church by doing this. Paul simply refused to have a Jewish church on this end of town and a Gentile church on the other.

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One thing I realized quite early in my Christian life was that things were supposed to change. I was a rather bad fellow as a nonbeliever and I usually took God hating to the extreme. I was engaged in activity that I knew was wrong (most were illegal) and there was always a sense of guilt attached to those wrongs. When I became a Christian I knew automatically that I could not continue to do the things that I was doing and say that I love Jesus. I remember hearing “If you love me keep my commandments”. I think the first book of the bible I read was the Gospel of John and there were verses that I couldn’t get past. I then started to read the other gospels and phrases like “pickup your cross and follow me”, “no man who touches the plow”, “let the dead bury their dead”, “deny yourself”, “any tree that does not bear fruit”, this distinction between “sheep and goats” and the parable of the seed jumped right off the page.

It was only later that I started to dive into the epistles and again I saw the same theme “no one can practice sin”, “faith without works”, “how can we who died to sin continue to live in it”, the different type of people who Paul says “will not inherit the kingdom of God” and the fact that I was to “put on the new man”. I again realized that the New Testament puts a high emphasis on how I should behave and things I should abstain from. You see it was only later that I was taught Justification, Perseverance and the Doctrines of Grace and I am so glad it happened that way for me. Why? Well….

As I now read a few books and listen to a few sermons I have come to realize that many today teach that Discipleship is something you do versus something you become. What does that mean. Well you see today I can profess to be a Christian while simultaneously holding on to everything that Christ delivered me from. Or as many put it. Discipleship is a separate work solely dependent upon me and really I choice that I can make to gain more rewards in heaven. So you become a Christian one day and, well, later you can become a Disciple when you decide to become serious about Christianity.

So many churches offer what they call a “call to discipleship” as if Christ work on the cross only purchased your salvation but the sanctification/discipleship process well thats on you. I don’t believe anything if further from the truth than this. The bible makes no such distinctions and I think it reduces Christ work on the cross.  I believe that Hebrews 8 paints a totally different picture:

But as it is, Christ [2] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says: 

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Above is the New Covenant applied to the Church. Back in Jeremiah 31 we see this prophecy first mentioned. Why must there be a New Covenant? Well lets see what our brother Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The letter killed! Which letter you may ask. The letter written on tablets of stone:

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?

These are the commandments the covenant given at Sinai. This covenant was one of “death” as Paul calls it in verse 7. Why? Well we see it in the terms of the New Covenant. It specifically says “I will write my laws on their heart”. Now I don’t want you to get me wrong here. The First Covenant was a “glorious covenant” and Paul also says in Romans 7:12 that it is “holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good”. The problem isn’t the law the problem is our hearts under that Law. Under the First Covenant God issues the commandments and says “obey it”. The problem is we can’t. Our depravity doesn’t allow us and the covenant gives us no power to obey those commands. So it kills us everytime we look at it. Everytime we approach it we die! Why? Paul also says in Romans 7:

15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

I don’t believe this is the wrestling Christian but the Israelite looking for justification by the law coming to the conclusion that “I CAN’T DO IT”. We see the law and all we see is death. We can’t obey it. This is why I have a huge problem with Christians who expect nonbelievers to behave like believers. Paul says earlier in Romans 6 “when you were slaves to sin” sinners do as sinners are. It is in their nature to rebel and to run to sin and enjoy sin and try to get everyone else to join in their sin bath. I don’t expect better. That is why we have laws. God in His manifold wisdom set up governments to execute some type of moral order in the world if not we would have become extinct about 2 weeks after Adam and Eve were thrown out. But back to the point at hand.

Under the New Covenant we are not only given God’s law we are given a new heart to follow it. These commands don’t become burdensome they become light! Why? Because in the inauguration of the New Covenant Christ sends the Spirit to reside in us and through this we now have the ability to obey. So no longer do we die when we see God’s commands we embrace and love those commands. How does this apply to discipleship? Well immediately upon regeneration we get a New Heart. This New Heart causes us to approach the throne of Grace with “boldness”. No longer do we duck and hide or run from God. No longer is their a “veiled face mediator” but there is Jesus with an unveiled face saying “come, come”! He causes us to obey by writing His law on our hearts! Thus discipleship is simultaneously we run to God not from God through Christ.

A call to discipleship denies the new heart and salvation becomes a mere act of “fire insurance” and not the full purchase of sanctification. 1 John says “if you are growing in these things, then you know”. If someone denies discipleship they deny conversion. If someone says “I like Jesus and my profession proves it” but there lives say “I hate Jesus because I don’t want to obey” then it isn’t a lack of information it is a lack of regeneration. I am not promoting a perfectionist theology here but the simple and straightforward teaching of Scripture. We don’t want to give people false hope. We are too quick in saying “oh yes you made a profession you are sealed”. Well the bible gives litmus test throughout the OT and NT of those who profess to love God but by actions deny Him.

MacArthur wrote a wonderful book called “The Gospel According to Jesus” which gives a systematic and biblical approach to this subject. Also Jim Eliff wrote a book called “Wasted Faith” which is much shorter and gets straight to the point. He doesn’t horseplay. He hits the scripture then charges them to your heart. We must not be so quick to give out get out of hell free cards at profession. We must preach the entire counsel of God and as the writer of Hebrews, Paul and John all sing the same tune of “endurance” not mere “profession”. We must value the New Covenant much more than we do today. It is a gracious covenant that gives us the power to obey our God. I am thankful for it and we must preach it with great confidence

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This article scares me like never before and I can never understand the pressure on pastors to perform. It is a sad case that our competitive capitalistic culture is now the litmus test for successful Christian ministy. So we line up give huge alter calls, count how many people were saved (this was only found a couple of times in all of scripture and it is to see the immediate impact of the Gospel and the Acts of the HOLY SPIRIT through the Apostles) count how many people are on our rolls and count how fast we grew the church.  It sickens me to see bio’s of pastors that say “he took a 150 member church and grew it to 20,000). As if we mere mortals can regenerate the hearts of people. I would believe that Jesus says quite the opposite in John 3 as he tears Nicodemus a new one and John himself says “born not by the will of man” in chaper 1of the same Gospel. Jesus says “I will build my church” We are to be faithful to the proclamation of the glorius and wonderful Good News! Anyway I can go on for a few days about this foolishness but I will stop while I am ahead. Here is the article and below is an excerpt I wanted to highlight

“When Jan started e-mailing and calling, it was a refreshing change. She volunteered to help at church, praised my leadership, and was always available as a sounding board on various church matters. On one level, I knew exactly what was happening. But I forced myself not to think about that. Before long I just closed off my mind to the right thing to do and allowed my passion take over. Soon I was meeting Jan at a motel outside of town. It happened about six times over the course of six months, and every time I left the motel I was racked with guilt. I’d swear on the drive home that I’d never so much as speak to this woman again. I’d be fine for a few weeks but then she’d show up at my office or she’d send me a suggestive e-mail and once again the passion would overwhelm me, and I’d end up doing what I’d vowed never to do again. Finally, my self-loathing over the affair became so great that I told Jan I was ending it. That’s when the crazy behavior and stalking began.

“People have no idea how much pressure there is in this profession. You’re not successful unless you’re working 80-plus hours a week, meeting everyone’s needs. Any pastor who’s honest will tell you that church is full of petty politics. I often had to placate congregants who wanted things done their way. They pushed to be the biggest church in town and vowed to pull their money out if I didn’t support a new building campaign. They insisted on certain music during services and wanted veto power over who could join the congregation.”

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Let me first start off by saying, I don’t believe the Church replaces Israel. I don’t know how anyone comes to that conclusion. The first question that should come to mind is replaces Israel how? Or replaces Israel with whom? So I don’t believe that at all. However I do believe something radically different than my Dispensational brethren and thus the premise of this post. What is that belief? I believe that two people became one people at Pentecost! I will explain why I think that in a brief second. What I mean is that at Pentecost Christ took believing Jews and believing Gentiles (which I believe are the elect of God predestined and foreknew by the Father before the foundation of the world expressed clearly back in Ephesians 1) and them one people and named them the Church. This church is the mystery Paul talks about in Ephesians 2 which was hidden in the past but now revealed. Peter also uses the same language in 1 Peter 2.

What does that say of ethnic Israel today? Well for one, they are in the same category as other nonbelievers. The covenant that they possessed (the one that made them a nation in Exodus 20) has been eradicated and a new and gracious covenant has been put in its place and it is not based on ethnicity but on faith (Hebrews 7-10 clearly states this, not to mention Galatians 3). So what Israel received by ethnicity God now offers by faith. The Sinaic covenant has been replaced and the covenant ratified by Jesus Christ is now the only way to God. Let me explain why I think there are only one people of God.

Ephesians 2:11-22 (emphasis mine)

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by  the Spirit.

and……

Ephesians 3:1-6

3:1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

My Thoughts….

So here are my thoughts on this subject. Once again this is not a harmful jab at my brethren but it is a jab none the less. One thing that my Dispensational brethren are very fond of saying is that “we interpret the Bible literally”. So I want to apply that “literal” hermeneutic to this epistle. Once again, the Ephesians upon reading this letter has no clue what dispensationalism is, but neither did anyone else to a about hundred and something years ago. So lets take a time capsule back into the 1st century after attending  seminary and hold a conversation with some of the elders in Ephesus.

Dispensational:Hey I am from the 21st century and have found this time capsule that allows me to go back in time. I can only stay 1 hour due to limitations. How are you?

Ephesian Elder: I am doing great, wow Christianity has made all over the world? That is amazing, we never knew it would get so big! Praise God what Paul said we now know to be true. We are even more encouraged.

Dispensational: Yeah Israel has become a Nation again we can see God ushering in His Kingdom. God promises to His special people are unfolding before our eyes!!!!!

Ephesian Elder: ????? I am puzzled what do you mean special people?

Dispensational: You know, we are just a parenthesis in God’s plan but His promise to bring Israel, back in the land and give them all the past promises and “save them all” is unfolding.

Ephesian Elder: Where did you hear that from? Paul just wrote us a letter and he says we now partake int the commonwealth and the ALLLLL of the promises because of what Christ did on the cross. There is no more dividing wall, no more hostility, and we are no longer two people but one and Christ is the head. We are being built up into one holy temple of God.

Dispensational: No, no, no! God is going to rapture the Church and then do something special with His chosen people. You must be greatly mistaken or you are taking Paul’s letter out of context. Haven’t you read the Old Testament.

Ephesian Elder: Oh yes I have read it and all of the promises are found in Christ. He is the “true Israel” of God, He succeeds where they fail. He is the true seed of Abraham and faith in Him makes us all one people my dear friend.

Dispensational:Well…, I have to go, but I think you are greatly mistaken. My system says that we are in the Dispensation of the Church age and the Kingdom Age is soon to come.

Ephesian Elder: ???? What does that mean?

Above is a short hypothetical conversation that I think would occur if my brethren were to take a time capsule back into the first century. I don’t see how from the plain reading of Ephesians we get two distinct people when Paul constantly uses the word “one”. Let me show you.

v. 14 – For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one

v. 15 – that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two

v. 16 – and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility

v. 18 – For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father

Now unless one means two in this epistle I have a really hard time agreeing that there are still two distinct people in God’s plan. God in Christ has made one people and they are His elect and gave them one name and that is The Church! This organism now is how Christ will make Himself known to the world (John 17). There is no more us vs them and Gentiles are no longer aliens but sons and heirs of God through faith as He promised Abraham back in Genesis. This great mystery has been made evident to all of the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.  Peter puts it this way:

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

You see we are longer dogs as Jesus called the Samaritan woman. No, my friend we are children (John 1:13) of God and heirs to the promises of God. We are now as Peter says “a holy nation” (ethnic Israel was under the Old Covenant), “a royal priesthood” (the Levites were under the Old Covenant) “a chosen race” (ethic Israel was the race through the physical seed of Abraham under the Old Covenant). Why? “That we may proclaim His excellencies” (which if you read the Torah was the very reason God chose Israel). The church isn’t a mishap in God’s plan but as Paul writes in Chapter 1 of Ephesus this was “before the foundation of the world”!

In closing. This is my take as I use the plain literal meaning to interpret the scriptures. God’s plan was to redeem the world through Christ. Israel was given the privilege under the Old Covenant, but we are given the obligation under the New, to proclaim God’s excellencies. No longer are there two people but one people, and Christ is the head. No more hostility, no more gentile vs Jew but one people under one Covenant ratified in Acts 2. I am thankful that I am no longer a “dog” (LOL) but a child and heir to all of the promises of God found in Christ Jesus. Amen that God has allowed us to be witnesses of His long veiled mystery!

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To the left is a picture of Eric Redmond. Teaching Pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Maryland. I have added the sermons to the feed on the side for your ease and enjoyment. Here is his blog and here is a book that releases shortly. I pray that you will be edified and get the book “Where Are All of The Brothers“. I ordered one for a family member that I have been trying to minister to over the years and one for myself that I will keep for discipleship or to pass along as God leads. Check out the sermons and once again purchase the book and skip McDonalds for a couple of days.

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I read Mr. Carter’s blog today and was deeply encouraged. I also read The Miseducation of the Reformed Negro again (and again) to get the jest of Brother X and what he was attempting to convey. {WARNING: EVERYTHNG PROCEEDING THIS LINE IS MY TENSION WITH THE TWO!!!!!}

So okay, here is my feeble attempt to discuss this and I am by no means attempting to step on toes, nor am I attempting to say someone is wrong, nor am I concrete on my position due to the great Latin phrase “Semper Reformenda”!!!

I. The Need to Recreate May Be a Bit Arrogant

Let me explain what I mean. I drive a Toyota Solara with about 133K miles on it (she is a beauty folks). I came to the conclusion that Toyota makes the most dependable cars this side of Heaven. No way can Ford, Honda, or Nissan compare. So I am thankful for the engineers over at Toyota. But there is something the engineers can’t say and that is:

That their thoughts were original!!!! You see the car below is the prototype for all assembly line vehicles (which were cheaper and produced for the masses versus previous vehicles that were much more difficult to manufacture). It is a Ford Model T and from it the birth of Ford Motor Company. Their technology pathed the way for my Solara so I want to send a big thank you to Henry Ford and crew.

But Henry Ford couldn’t really boast about originality either because he was not the first person to find an alternative to horseback travel (which was individual versus the locomotive travel being mass transit). So was there a need to recreate? The answer is no, the need was to be more efficient and to make the most reliable and affordable vehicle available. I think that is where I find myself today and this is how I will proceed theologically. Why you might ask. The answer is……..

II. The Role of the Holy Spirit in Church History

This is pretty much the hinge on which this post swivels. The question is this. Do I believe that the Holy Spirit was moving and shaping the Reformation and other church movements. My answer is yes. Do I also believe the Holy Spirit was moving and shaping the civil rights (or social gospel) movement? My answer again is yes! Do I think both went too far? The answer is an emphatic yes! When Calvin got a man burned at the stake did he take the Reformation too far? The answer is yes! When Cone and others started to ignore things like inerrancy in the name of relevance did they go too far? The answer is yes. The next question is were there truth in both in which we can gleam from the answer is yes again.

So back to the point. I believe that through the Holy Spirit the Reformation was birthed and if He is involved then it doesn’t JUST speak to Europeans fighting Rome (though that is a huge part of the movement) but that through that experience we too can benefit greatly. What do I mean? Well as we read church history we see biblical truths being defined. This is the hang up with many Jehovah Witnesses, Oneness Pentecostals, Mormons and others. We who have read church history don’t see the Council Nicea as a place where the Trinity was created but where it is defined. We also see other councils and other Church debates where Doctrine wasn’t created but defined. The Hypostatic Union was created by God and defined by Humans. The Bible was created by God and defined by Humans. The Reformation was created by God and defined by humans. You get the picture right?

You see whites can no more take credit for the Reformation than can blacks. The Five Solas, The Five Points and all such movements aren’t things created by man just defined by man. We see this in the shaping of the New Testament (though things proceeding the canon are not on par with the canon). Did Paul write the letter of Corinthians? We don’t even want to go there my friend. But as we look at the Reformation and many other movements within Christendom we have to look back and say “look at God move” and with that perspective we can embrace these truths and use them as foundation to speak to what is happening currently in our communities.

III. Back to Carter’s Blog

I am encouraged by the blog. In it he talks about church planting, conferences and books. All which historically has shaped the face of theology throughout the world. Through modern technology the Church has been able to get the Gospel Message further and further into places we didn’t know existed. Through a move in the African American community; books, conferences, more seminarians, sermons, and churches have been on the rise and this will allow the Gospel (especially from a Reformed perspective) to penetrate areas that have been sealed off due to numerous barriers. Once again many disagree but I believe that Reformed Theology is the most biblical theology. That may sound arrogant and I know I will get replies that differ and that is fine; however it is my experience and my tension that I am wrestling through here. And since I believe Reformed Theology to be the most biblically faithful then my desire to see it engage the African American community is of utmost importance. So you see this blog and my attempt to interact with brothers such as Carter, Pastor T, Lance Lewis, Quincy Jones, Eric Redmond, Pastor Irwyn, Brother Plummer, Pastor Eliff, Pastor John Coleman and other reformed brothers. The deeper Reformed truth penetrates our culture and the hearts of those in our community the better I believe it will be. Once again many may disagree but this is my perspective and I am in 100% agreement with Pastor Carter and will do my best to support them by buying their works, attending conferences, and trying to hip others to what they are teaching and doing.

IV. Information does change hearts

JP Moreland wrote a lovely book that I read about 3 or 4 years ago called “Love Your God with All Your Mind“. In it he charges Christians to not only experience God but to all so think Philosophically and critically about our faith. I think this is critical for African Americans. I have heard way too many preachers talk about “Knowledge Puffs up” and “information makes you proud”. This is ludicrous in every other area in life but is one of the first statements you hear from many black pulpits. Whenever you hear “theology is not important” then you should question the premise of such a statement. The bible promotes no such thing. As a matter of fact Peter says of Paul’s writings “they are difficult to understand”. So we are to think critically and philosophically about our God and this Hope called Christianity. I understand the lack of literacy and the lack of information in the past but we are not in the past we are in the present. In a time where more blacks are getting College degrees and more blacks our owning homes, and more blacks are becoming big time players in Corporate America and in parts of our Government (Ms. Rice) we should also be growing in the area of theology.

I will admit that theology can make one arrogant but this happens in every area of life because we are sinners. But being arrogant in science, math and business doesn’t prevent blacks from pursuing such disciplines and neither should theology. Once properly applied and if learned within the context of the church theology can be the most rewarding wealth of information one could accumulate. Theology applied helps one not only know the right thing to do but why it is right which I believe is critical to the Christian faith. I instinctively know that loving my wife is the right thing to do, but why? But if I understand my marriage and how it is a reflection of Christ and the Church, things like divorce, and adultery become a higher priority. In another example I understood that I was saved, but once I understood the extent of that salvation and why Christ came and how He made a special purchase of me in a covenant established before the foundation of the world (yes I am promoting Particular Atonement here) I had a new found joy. It actually motivated me to love others as Christ had loved me. I can on for days but those are only two examples.

You see the lack of information hasn’t done much for us. As a matter of fact I can say that the last few years that due to no big issue really facing the black church that many men have fled the scene like a two time felon about to get his third strike. Just look around. Who are the most popular preachers of our day? Who sales the most books? Which conferences does blacks attend? Let me help: Eddie Long, T.D Jakes, Fred Price, Juanita Bynum, Jamal Bryant, Creflo Dollar, Miles Munroe, Ike Hilliard and all of their little bobble heads that want to be just like them. If you ask a black person (on average) to name one pastor I guarantee that one of these names will be on the top of the list. All of the names mentioned above our heretics in the first degree! So is information important? You best believe it my friend.

V. Closing

We have to find a way to repackage the wealth of information we have in a way that gets our intended audience attention while not minimizing that information. How that works I don’t know. But as I go out and share the Gospel, most people I encounter don’t need more church, they need the gospel clearly articulated. If churches and preachers; feed, clothe, shelter, motivate, and inspire their congregants while at the same time ignore the essentials of Christian Doctrine then we have failed to do what Paul charges Timothy and Titus to do which is to “teach sound doctrine”. This is not an option this is a command. And my friends, doctrine is information that when applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit is life transforming information. We must have a healthy balance, but if we must err we must err on the side of truth because the “Gospel is the power of salvation to those who believe” lets not think that blacks would be disinterested in theology, lets find a way in which they will be.

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I currently find myself in the middle of my own conversation. As I reread my own post I see that this issue is a bit more complicated than I first supposed. The last four years of my Christian life has been amazing for me in many ways. Being introduced to Piper, MacArthur, Sproul, Jones, Lewis, Carter, Azurdia and other great preachers has really transformed the way I look at the cross and my own life. There has been many bumps along the way but I can say the journey has been worth it and I would experience all of the failures, highs and lows all over again if I had to. The journey has been a blessing especially given my background. It is funny 5 years ago, I would never see myself holding this type of conversation but this journey has taken me somewhere I never thought. I thought I would be fighting for the corner office trying to make it to the top of a major corporation while pursuing my executive MBA but my convictions have slowly pushed me to invest in others along this very journey that I find myself on. So here is where I am……

1. Finding myself at the Cross

My identity starts at the cross and ends at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. What I mean is this: yes I am black, yes I was raised in a specific demographic, yes there are certain cultural bents that I have, and yes the heaviest burden are for those with a similar background. However, who I am is a Christian. An Evangelical Christian (opposed to Orthodox or Roman Catholic) with a theological bent towards the teachings produced during the Reformation. So my identity is found in what Christ has done for me on the cross and I can never lose sight of that. Many have but I can’t and I won’t. Too much is riding on Biblical Fidelity and the sufficiency of Christ as proclaimed from those 66 books. So there are many men and women that I respect. But we will divide and I will side with those, regardless of race, who agree with the basic tenets of the Christian Faith. And if that is a European Christianity then I make no apologies for that. The truth of scripture takes precedent over any social or economical issue we may find ourselves facing. All life and I do mean ALL LIFE, hinges upon what God did in Christ.

2. I am Christian before I am black

Again, I am a Christian first. I wanted to reiterate this and expound upon it a bit. I have brothers and sisters from every race, nation and tongue (I still believe in races Pastor T LOL). I am more closely related with someone from India who has been regenerated than I am anyone who lives in my town and looks like me. My identity is in Christ first and foremost. I will not sacrifice this for anything. What Christ accomplished in His incarnation, death, and resurrection, gives me a new family in which was predestined before the foundation of the earth. Adam is my dad and Christ is my husband and in that I find peace with God.

This can never be spoken too often. Way too many Christians identify themselves as black, American, Irish, Korean and so forth and very rarely do we esteem our new found RACE which is REDEEMED! Once again Thabti’s message is an outstanding resource on this and so are many of Piper’s who speaks clearly and authoritatively on this very issue. If I find my identity (primarily) in anyone other than Christ, I minimize His work on the cross and disobey the direct command to “love your brother”. Yes we all bring cultural backgrounds to Christianity; however Christianity is the foundation of all our engagement with one another AND NEVER RACE! We are in sin if so.

3. I can’t allow the past or present to manipulate the high call of Christian unity

I think this becomes the most difficult task of my Christan life. It may not be as bad for others but for me it is rough. As I watch modern evangelicals outright ignore many of the evils that are going on across the U.S and around the world while concerning themselves with prayer in schools or worrying about little Johnny wearing a “trust Jesus” t-shirt and making it a matter of free speech I must not allow that to detour me from the high call of Christian unity. Here is what Paul says with great conviction:

11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Every church in America should have these verses behind their pulpit big enough for everyone to read. Not only the hostility between Jew and Gentile but all hostility between all people who identify themselves as Christian have become one people and all of this was accomplished before the world was ever created. All racial disharmony started with Adam and all racial harmony beings with the Second Adam. So as I examine all of the social ills, and all of poverty, and I see those who look like me being subjected to vile socioeconomic conditions my first and foremost responsibility lies with those who have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb.

This is so difficult my friend. Many times I catch myself saying “my people” or calling someone black “sister or brother” while outright ignoring my obligation to my real brother and sister, and no I am not speaking blood relatives,  but those who are “brought near” in Christ. As I revisit Jim Crow, Slavery, and as I look today, my Christian Filter best be hooked up properly, if not I can find myself identifying with a people group based of skin color and location. I do understand the propensity to do this but I must be active and conscience of not falling prey to doctrine of Cone, Wright, West and others. What they say sounds so true and gives my flesh a rush, but as I approach the scripture it contradicts such positions and the verse above not to mention some verses found in Galatians and Matthew outright contradict it.

4. In Closing

I must (we must) find a way to address these issues without becoming accusatory. We must must find away to address these issues without crossing the boundaries set forth in Ephesians 2. My brothers and sister are those who do the will of my Father as Jesus so clearly conveyed in Matthew 12. All of our relationships flow from this statement. Adam is our dad and Christ becomes our husband and now we can call God our Abba! All of Christ’s bride are our siblings and we must find a way to love them in spite of all of the things we may disagree with them on. Yep many ignore the social ills and focus on the Republican party (Jesus was not a Republican and still isn’t) and we must love them through it. Many are more concerned with safety than they are getting the message to the cross in impoverished areas but we must love them through it. Many identify with one race versus another but we must love them through it. Why? Because as Paul said “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”
and then later on He says this which is the section of the bible that keeps me on my knees:

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Regardless of our quirkiness, bad habits, lack of concern for certain issues, and outright neglective behavior we are to bear with one another. How dare we easily and gladly accept Christ’s forbearance with us while we refuse to forbearing with others? My prayer is that daily I would be conscience of this because it is so easy to retreat to my subculture where people look, talk, walk, listen to the same music, and like the same food as me, while I forget to go to my Samaria. We each have a Samaria for most blacks it is our white sisters and brothers and for most whites vice versa. I pray that we would find ourselves in Christ redeemed and reconciled. God bless.

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Anyone who considers themselves reformed can easily identify the man in the picture to the left. He is the famous Martin Luther and his 95 Theses and his magnum opus “The Bondage of the Will” written about 480 years ago is still one of the most if not the most famous published piece of work from the Reformation period. Martin Luther is a legend for anyone who calls themselves Reformed in any sense of the word. The recovery of the Doctrine of Justification and the Great Divorce from Rome are monumental events in the History of Christendom but for whom?

Let me explain again what I mean. Was the Reformation a worldwide revival or an Anglo-Saxon revival? What about Christians who were under Islamic persecution in Northern and even Middle Africa? What was going on in other parts of the world where Christianity had already taken roots? I think this is a huge question to consider. We must first understand that Christianity was not relegated to the European continent. Many had fled Egypt and other northern African countries and had taken the Gospel with them also. Ethiopia is one place that comes to mind.

Next we must realize that the Christianity of America was birthed from the Reformation as many fled religious persecution (Puritans and Anabaptist) they brought with them their lens on the Christian faith. The next question is this; Christianity never spoke to the evils of what was a growing problem called Slavery. As many of the Slaves were converted to Christianity what exactly did they think of their master’s god (lower case on purpose)? Was this the same God who loved and sacrificed His Son to bring mankind into a relationship with Himself the same god who allowed men, women and children to be branded, sold like commodities, raped, mutilated, beat, and stolen from their native lands? Did this god condone such a wicked institution? Did this god allow humans (who were created in his image as the Puritans and others taught) to be transported in the belly of a ship across the Atlantic in the worse conditions know to mankind? Then we had this……

The Great Awakening! This my friend produced the greats such as: Owens, Edwards, Whitfield (pictured), Wesley and other great minds of the 18th century. Once again this was a European/Anglo movement within Christendom. Many of the slaves were converted but the hopes of the Slave Masters (who were also supposedly converted) were that these men, women and children would become better slaves. The slaves themselves interpreted the bible quite differently however. Men like Nat Turner and other preachers and women like Sojourner Truth saw theology through the lens of slavery and the abolition of it. So while these men preached and taught Calvinism and Justification by Faith the slaves were fighting a totally different battle. Once again we see the great divide. The GA preachers saw these slaves as souls indeed and a few even spoke out against it, but the slaves upon being converted and hearing the stories of the Red Sea, Shadrach and the fiery furnace, Daniel and the Lion’s den and so forth interpreted these with a completely different hermeneutic one that would not only save their souls but also save them from the hand of evil slave masters who professed to be Christians. Once again we see two lens to filter the bible through and which one is correct? That leads to my last point….

Jim Crow!!! You see during this time those who professed to know Christ still felt that blacks were beneath them. I always wonder how the verse below was interpreted or if they just ignored John’s first epistle:

10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Was it just sin on par with Internet pornography? I don’t think so. Either this verse is true or it isn’t. It is funny that we allow our emphasis on certain verses to be heavier in different time periods. Many would say well they just didn’t know but in the same voice deem homosexuality an abomination. So is this. If we are to call one an abomination so is the other and both parties are just as guilty of the hell fire. Anyone who could read this verse and come to the conclusion that racism was acceptable had to be void of a new heart. If Lordship applies today it applied then and culture no more dictates my position on Lordship than does anything else. Once again, though we had many theologians fighting against modernism and the rise of evolution and atheism, they ignored the great elephant in the living room called racism!!! But modernism, evolution and other such theological debates were not on the radar of many blacks. Many blacks came to the scriptures looking for social justice and freedom in a government that said “all men are created equal” in its founding documents. So again two lens that filtered the scripture and we see this quite clearly in the writings of Cone and MLK.  This leads to my last point….

As I listen to many of the conversations today I still believe that most of what is coming out of Evangelical Christianity today has no real bearing on the African American Community at large (I will speak more to this in the closing paragraph). Many of the theological conversations are like those from the Reformation. Instead of fighting against the Papacy we are fighting against post-modernism, the Emergent Church, Prayer in Schools, The New Perspective on Paul and discussing the movie Expelled. More Christians are concerned with Expelled than they are the recent acquittal of three officers in New York. While many are fighting to get Intelligent Design as an alternative to the Big Boom and Darwinism a lot of schools are trying to get their graduation rate better than 50%. A lot of schools in the Urban poor areas are trying to find money for books and computers while most of the conversations are surrounding around Expelled and Harry Potter. You see the Calvinism vs Arminian debate or Paedo vs Credo Baptist or Plurality vs other governing methods or limited vs universal atonement and finally the Premill Pretrib vs Amill debate may not be at all relevant to most Christians in South Side Chicago or even Philly. These people are trying to stop an ongoing epidemic of murders on the South Side  while people in Philly may now see some light.

 In closing we must ask ourselves are we speaking a language foreign to our listeners. Families in Sudan, Iraq and even a big chunk of our urban and rural poor may have a hard time taking the majority of what we say seriously. While some of our elderly are deciding to buy medicine or food or while some of our Sudanese brothers and sisters are looking for clean drinking water Intelligent Design may not be a priority there list of prayers. Let me be clear some of the issues above are important but maybe only for the Academy (unless they infringe upon the Gospel). Also I want to note that I am not promoting some type of Social Gospel but I am looking for reform amongst those who call themselves reformed. As a young black reformed Christian I sometimes wonder about the many voices I hear and I ask myself are these conversations relevant. I once heard a rapper say this:

why you don’t never talk about Martin or Malcom, but you always talk about Calvin and Luther, because these are dudes that introduced us to truth”.

I ask which truth is that? There was a world outside the reformation, outside the Great Awakening and one outside the current Evangelical movement. Sojourner, Tubman, Douglas, DuBoise and others had some truth also. Dyson, West and Smiley have relevant issues that is also pressing “the Church” maybe not the Conservative Evangelical Church but the Church none the less.  They spoke to the evils of social injustice and the latter mentioned are today also. They truly understood what it meant to be made in the image of God while many only wanted conversion spiritually they wanted conversion holistically. The Gospel doesn’t stop at spiritual freedom but when the full consummation comes God will rid the world of ALL EVIL. Racism, Segregation, Social Injustice, Slavery, apartheid, child trafficking, unfair labor wages and genocide are all evil that we Christians have to be just as zealous about and we must speak the Gospel in a context that addresses such evils as evil. You can’t read most of the Old Testament and not see that God’s people are also to provide for the unfortunate, the widow, the oppressed and the orphan, just as much as we are to discuss homeschooling, stay at home moms (which for the most part is a suburban convesation) and Intelligent Design.  The latter is no more important than the former.

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