While in seminary, I had the privilege of reading Dr. James Harris’ book, Pastoral Theology from the Black Church Perspective in which he addressed why the Black church should get past the traditional yelling ‘Hallelujah’s’ and ‘Amens’ to addressing issues that plague our community. While Dr. Harris did not dismiss the importance of praise and worship, he did bring to light the purpose of the Black church.
After reflecting upon his words while I pastored a church in Maryland for ten years, I can’t help but to draw on the need for the Black church to tackle the illness of poverty, health care, education, and community development, just to name a few in today’s culture. I’m concerned that many people in church leadership have adopted a financial prosperity theology, mentality, and ideology that the problems and issues that people of color face everyday has been overlooked and/or neglected.
Too many televangelists (not all of them) are always asking money for this and money for that, that there is no sermon about ending violence in the home and on the streets. When was the last time you heard a televangelist address the prison industrial complex that is incarcerating young black men and women at alarming rates. That’s why it’s important for the black church to revive this country.
Purpose and mission
Now, you may be asking how can the Black church revive this country? The first thing it needs to do is remember its purpose and mission. The black church should set people free (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) through the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. It can’t focus on musical programs so much that the people in the pews are not empowered and transformed to do better and live better. The second thing the black church needs to do in reviving this country is to speak up and speak out against injustice. This has to be done within as well as outside of the four-walls of the church. Unless the people who profess to be the representatives of God do something that’s revolutionary, the people of God will continue to follow the status quo. You cannot separate church and state when God is the center.
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SOURCE: Florida Courier
Dr. Sinclair Gray III