A conservative commentator on Fox News once dismissed Robert Shine Sr. and the impact of the group of Black Christian clergy he led in Philadelphia with a wave of his hand.
“They’re not kingmakers,” he said. “They probably lose more than they win.”
But that wasn’t how Shine measured the ministers’ witness. That wasn’t how he understood the job.
“We represent the kingdom of God,” he told a Philadelphia newspaper in 2002. “We are the voice calling for conscience, appealing to do the right thing.”
Shine, who spoke out for “the least and the last and the lost” for more than 40 years, pastored a Black Baptist church in the East Germantown neighborhood for more than 30, and taught pastors and deacons at a Bible institute for more than 20, died at home on January 4. He was 82.
“He was truly a man of God who loved doing what God called him to do, and that was pastoring, teaching and working for social justice,” Michael W. Couch, a fellow pastor, told ThePhiladelphia Inquirer.
Shine was born on August 4, 1939. His parents, Benjamin and Estelle Shine, raised him and his 15 siblings in Germantown, the historic Philadelphia neighborhood that gave birth to the American antislavery movement.
He knew early on that he wanted to be a preacher. At 8, he climbed up on a milk crate on a street corner and delivered his first sermon. He was baptized at a Baptist church at 11 and ordained a deacon at 20.
After high school, Shine took classes at La Salle University’s business college and worked as an evangelist with a group he helped organization called Christians United Reaching Everyone.
Shine earned a degree from Manna Bible Institute in 1971. The unaccredited Bible college describes itself as offering an education “built on the full authority of the Bible as the written Word of God and dedicated to God’s glory.” It was founded to serve people who couldn’t afford a formal seminary education. Many classes were offered at night for working students seeking a “Christian worker” or “standard Bible” degree.
Shine was ordained after graduation and immediately began pastoring a local Baptist church. The congregation couldn’t pay enough for him to provide for his young family, though, so the 31-year-old pastor took a second job as a janitor, first at Prudential Life Insurance and then at Merck Pharmaceuticals.
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Source: Christianity Today