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Posts Tagged ‘Black and Reformed’

 

My good brother CJ at Christ My Rightouesness is doing a series called “Race Relations and Unity. So far there are three posts up.

The Cross and Racial Reconciliation : Jews and Gentiles in Christ  by Kehpa

Kingdom of Men or Kingdom of God: How Your View of Diversity Defines Your Kingdom by Lionel Woods (AKA Hot Chocolate)

Love is Beyond Diversity by Bradley Cochran

There are a few more coming, but if you have a heart for racial reconcilation and diversity within the Body of Christ, I think these would be good reads. Coming from the Reformed persuasion I belive this to be a critical issue, as the Reformed faith is highly Eurocentric and has a superiority complex!

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James 1:23-25
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;for {once} he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the {law} of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Mike Ditka is considered to be one of the best and by some, the best NFL coach of all time. He retired as a player in 1972 and Ditka was immediately hired as an assistant coach by Cowboys’ head coach Tom Landry. Ditka spent nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Cowboys. During his tenure, the Cowboys made the playoffs eight times, won six division titles and three NFC Championships, including the one preceding their Super Bowl victory in 1977. Ditka coached the Chicago Bears for 11 years and New Orleans Saints for 3 years. Ditka and Tom Flores are the only two people to win Super Bowls as a player, an assistant coach and a head coach. Ditka was the only individual to participate in the last two Chicago Bears’ championships, as a player in 1963 and as head coach in 1985.

Now being a coach or a trainer in sports does not mean that you are able to do what you expect done as well as the players you coach. Most coaches or trainers speak from past experiences or have done a lengthy study of the duties and tasks that they require of you and this is why what they speak is cherished so. Can you think back to Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali in their prime? Can you imagine them losing their belts or titles to their coaches. The thought is insane and we all realize that just because you can logically put things in order does not necessarily mean that you yourselves can do them. So can we accurately say that Calvin, Whitefield, Edwards were just really good coaches who had our best interests at heart but chose not to implement these truths in their lives? Or to be 100% accurate, they chose to allow Christ to infiltrate some parts of their lives but not all. Is this something we all possess since no one is perfect? I would like to express some thoughts that were in before in the back of my mind but I now found the time to closer examine them. They are questions such as these:

  • How could George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards own slaves?
  • How could John Calvin brutally have Michael Servetus killed?
  • How can we call abortionist murderers but not apply that logic to these men?
  • What does the Bible say about people like these men?

First and foremost let me say that I understand that the Elect of God are all one in Christ and I along with many others strive to build God’s church. I, being a black man do not have a bone to pick with these men but I think we have to be consistent with how we look at these so called “Great” men. I can surely see the providence of God in the Atlantic slave trade. Some may say I am scrutinizing great men who led flawless lives with the exception of this one minor detail. Simply because they contributed greatly by coining certain phrases(TULIP) and writing great sermons does not mean they were born of God. I know that is a bold statement but according to correct understanding of the scriptures as quoted above, people who hear the Word and do not practice are declared hypocrites. I am simply opening this up for discussion merely out of curiosity and insight from others.

Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield were both very busy and intelligent men. Whitefield from England and Edwards born in the states. These men knew the scriptures well.. here are some great facts…

  • Studied 13 hours a day from the scriptures
  • Missionary to the Native Americans
  • Whitefield traveled back and forth from America and England for the furtherance of the Gospel
  • Preached great sermons like “Sinners in the Hands of A Angry God”(one of my favorites)
  • Responsible for the “Great Awakening.”
  • Raised funds for orphanages.

John Calvin the great French Theologian a few centuries before also had a commendable life. He did great works in clearly articulating the “Faith” and did much to restore Biblical doctrines first put forth by Christ and His Apostles and many others like Augustine and the list goes on. Calvin had many face to face conversations with Michael Servetus(who was clearly a heretic) regarding doctrine and the Trinity. Calvin simply lost patience with this man and he and the other ministers asked that he be spared being burnt at the stake and be beheaded instead. This was refused and on 27 October, Servetus was burnt alive at the Plateau of Champel at the edge of Geneva.

Some Arguments I hear on Slavery….

  • Slavery is in the Bible and it is ok.
  • Cultural Relevance-this was the normal behavior in that day.
  • As Long as he didn’t whip them like Kunta Kinte-he’s ok with me!!!

Slaves is as old as mankind itself and we see the scriptures portray slavery in a positive and negative manner. In the Bible the greek word doulosis used over 100 times for slave, servant, or bond servant depending on what translation you possess. Paul uses this to describe us as once being a slave to sin but now we are slaves to Christ. This relationship would not be similar to the Hebrew-Egyptian relationship in the time of Moses or it would not be similar to a slave being mistreated like in the human trafficking in the Atlantic Slave trade. The book of Phileman is regarding slavery as well. In the Greco-Roman environment around the time before and after Christ we see slaves being in bondage for various reasons such as debt and just by choice. In this time area 1 out 3 persons were enslaved and this is why Paul taught that Christian slaves ought to serve their masters wholeheartedly, “as unto the Lord, and not to men.” And which attitude he also required the slave masters to have, treating their slaves fairly and without threatening, as they too had a Master in Heaven.

The Cultural argument can be addressed on two different levels. The first being simply that we are not called to be culturally relevant but distinct and contradicting the culture by being Christ-like. Secondly, history speaks to us in the life of Philliss Wheatley. Wheatley being raptured up so to speak to the America’s from Gambia at the age of 7. Purchased by the Boston Wheatley Family. These people were exceptional by teaching her how to read and encouraged her to write poetry. She later was free after publishing writings in England and other countries. She was in the same time era as Whitefield. This is evidence that people at this time were not all treating their slaves as animals but to the contrary treating them like Philemon’s master was challenged to do so. Certainly if Edwards or Whitefield were doing such things they would be know for it.

I don’t quite understand the disconnect in these great men. It is no question that these men led exception lives for the Gospel. Maybe Ephesians wasn’t published in America or England at that time…Maybe they forgot to read how we are commanded to treat our slaves…..Maybe Maybe Maybe…… I am still searching for these answers and hope to get a better understanding. But until then when I hear these great men’s sermons, read their books, hear great stories about them; I will unfortunately think of James chapter 1 and wonder if they fell in this category. With all the great knowledge and wisdom I have obtained from these men I definitely hope not.

What are you thoughts?

                                                                     Tyris Horton

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This is not about race but about a comment and some emails and looking at what people searched and landed them here. Originally when we started this blog it was to point people to good African American Reformed resources. Though this blog has evolved over the last year or so I want to also help people who was where I was, coming out of unhealthy churches and looking for what has helped me along my journey as an African American believer. Thus here is a list for those looking for such preachers. I may end up making this a page due to the name of the blog (or URL) being black and reformed ministries. So this list is not exhaustive, just wanted to use that “look no further” in the title! Please note this is in no paticular order.

1. Voddie Bauchum

2. Lance Lewis who also blogs at www.blaquetulip.blogspot.com

3. Anthony Carter

4. Reddit Andrews

5. Eric Redmond

6. Ken Jones who also is a speaker at the White Horse Inn

7. Thabiti Anyabwile blogs at Pure Church

8. Eric Mason

9.  John E. Coleman

10. Michael Leach

11. Roger Skepple

12. Louis Love

13. Conrad Mbewe blogs at A Letter from Kabwata

I think this should be a start and through searching these gentleman others should arise. I can not forget to add Elder D.J Ward who recently passed but will be missed greatly by us young bucks.

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Carter, Anthony. Experiencing the Truth:Bringing the Reformation to the African-American Church. Crossway Books , 2008. pp. 192. $12.99

Anthony Carter, Ken Jones and Michael Leach are all pastors. Anthony Carter pastors East Point Church in East Point (Atlanta) Georgia, Ken Jones pastors Greater Union Baptist Church   and Michael Leach pastors All Saints Redeemer Church located in Decatur (Atlanta) Georgia. Anthony Carter also published another ground breaking work titled “On Being Black and Reformed”.

The purpose of the book can be easily indentified in the sub-title “Bringing the Reformation to the African American Church”. The authors feel that if the Gospel is going to advance amongst those of the African American community it is imperative that the current practice be reformed. The authors go through and clearly explain exactly what this means (Biblical Theology Chapters 1-2) and what it should look like (Chapters 3-5). Anthony Carter sums the book up with an appeal for the Doctrines of Grace to be embraced amongst those of the African American community and the book ends with an appendix pack full of very practical ways to flush out a Reformed Worship Service.

The Review

(more…)

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I once thought of writing a book about a year or two ago called “Barbershop Theology: How to Defend the Faith in Urban Culture” I actually had begun to write some stuff on my old blog along those lines and was going to get it edited and shop it around. Well it didn’t come for two reasons. 1. God decided to use Eric Redmond instead” 2. I don’t think I could have got Piper to endorse it! LOL

On a more serious note. I just finished reading the book and wanted to post my review/thoughts. This is my first book review so give me grace as I start to grow in this area…

Pastor Redmond  (who pastors Hillcrest Baptist Chruch in Maryland) has wrote a very brief, narrowed and concise book in this book. The book works like a conversation. There are 9 days and then a few appendices at the end. The book totals about 100 pages or so so it only took me about two and a half hours to read over two days. Each day there is a question by the “brother” and Pastor Redmond responds biblically, gently, and persuasively while avoiding using theological terms (academic ones anyway), avoiding just overlooking the importance of the question and avoiding letting the brother off the hook. Each of the questions are relevant and each answer is biblical.

Pastor Redmond definitely has his ear to street or at least is engaged in the local barbershop. These questions made me laugh as I thought about the 100’s of conversations I have had with my barber of 7 years and whenever I have to sit in at a shop when I missed my appointment. Everyone seems to be barber chair theologians, politicians and sports experts, two of the three I can care less about. I usually find myself in the middle of some pretty philosophical conversations, typically because I can’t sit back and allow someone to ridicule the Christian Faith. This book will be a help two three types of people.

1. The person who really doesn’t know how to defend the faith has very little theological training.

2. A person who has barber who loves to talk about spiritual matters but you know to be thoroughly clueless. This book would be a nice gift for them. So buy it for them

3. You are a person who has stumbled along this site and want to no more about the Christian faith but in a way that is relevant to your life experience.

The nine questions are:

1. Isn’t the church full of hypocrites

2. Wasn’t the bible written by men?

3. Isn’t the church geared towards women?

4. Isn’t the preacher just a man?

5. Doesn’t Islam offer more for black men?

6. Aren’t some churches just after your money?

7. Is organized religion necessary?

8. Jesus never claimed to be God (big one here folks)

9. What to look for to find a good church?

Appendix A: Christ fulfillment of OT prophecies and

Appendix B: The church does not welcome homosexuals

Some quotes:

The fact that God worked with men to give his Word to us is not a slight against the Word of God but is an example of the great kindness of God to trust us with His word

Mere human writers would definitely have removed fornication, adultery, gluttony, stealing, lying, gossiping, and greed from their list of Sins! Most certainly, mere human writers would not have made us responsible for the crucifixion of the Son of God!

The lack of challenge from the the pulpit to women to hold their tongues, be busy at home, submit to their husbands and show respect to their husbands (in the Chapter Isn’t the church geared towards women)

It is because you, and many brothers like you are needed to fill places at church and take their God-given, Scripture-prescribed roles as leaders-as pastors, elders, preachers, teachers, deacons, older men who are respected, wisdom-giving example-setters, disciple-makers, loving husbands, and nurturing fathers, So go take your place…..

Ordination is a process in which a candidate for ministry should be tested on his Bible knowledge, theological depth, giftedness for ministry, ministry experience, and wisdom in decision-making.

The preacher, as one responsible for teaching the Scriptures, the Word of God–God’s very own words–should have the ability to explain clearly the meaning of passages of Scripture when he preaches. That meaning should be derived from the meaning God intended in the passage.

Only expositional preaching of the Scriptures has the power to transform and strenghten one’s soul, for God will be speaking

Churches, however should maek an ordination process the clergy’s equivalent of the Bar Exam, Professional Engineer Exam, or Medical Board Certifying Exam.

However, as with any religion, it is up to each individual to practice what he believes. A lack of practice on the part of some does not discredit the entire religion. Even for Islam, people do not reject it because some members of the Nation of Islam assassinated Malcom X or because some Muslims are terrorists.

The there is the persistent appearance that the preacher is getting rich off people, driving a luxury car, living in the best home in the suburbs or exurbia, and dressing himself and his wife int he finest clothes.

Organized institutions and industries offer far greater benefits and protection, and less confusion, than unorganized institutions or equivalents. Unorganized religion would work the same way as other unorganized institutions. Or, to turn the images around, organized religion speaking now only for the church intends the god of every individual

Those are just a few quotes. My only struggle was an emphasis on theological education in which it seems like the theological education was strictly institutional versus other methods of getting theological training. This may be a personal hang up of mine but that is what is seemed like in the chapter “Isn’t the preacher just a man”. But I thoroughly enjoyed the book and wanted to review it before Fathers Day but at least I made the Father’s day deadline. Buy this book as a late gift for your friends or loved ones. Or take $30 dollars buy three copies and leave them strategically at barbershops, beauty salons, or even give them to a co-worker. Don’t forget family reunion time is upon us so this would be a good way to reach out to our lost loved ones. God bless and hope this was  a fair presentation.

 

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