The Divided Mind of the Black Church

Theology, Piety, and Public Witness

By Raphael G. Warnock
(New York University Press, Hardcover, 9780814794463, 263pp.)

Publication Date: December 2013

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Description
What is the true nature and mission of the church? Is its proper Christian purpose to save souls, or to transform the social order? This question is especially fraught when the church is one built by an enslaved people and formed, from its beginning, at the center of an oppressed community's fight for personhood and freedom. Such is the central tension in the identity and mission of the black church in the United States. For decades the black church and black theology have held each other at arm's length. Black theology has emphasized the role of Christian faith in addressing racism and other forms of oppression, arguing that Jesus urged his disciples to seek the freedom of all peoples. Meanwhile, the black church, even when focused on social concerns, has often emphasized personal piety rather than social protest. With the rising influence of white evangelicalism, biblical fundamentalism, and the prosperity gospel, the divide has become even more pronounced. In Piety or Protest, Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., traces the historical significance of the rise and development of black theology as an important conversation partner for the black church. Calling for honest dialogue between black and womanist theologians and black pastors, this fresh theological treatment demands a new look at the church's essential mission. The Reverend Dr. Raphael G. Warnock serves as Senior Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church (Atlanta, Georgia). In the Religion, Race, and Ethnicity series



About the Author
The Reverend Dr. Raphael G. Warnock serves as Senior Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church (Atlanta, Georgia).


NPR
Friday, Jan 10, 2014

Black churches have long been a rallying place for people who want to change the world, like Martin Luther King Jr. But now the man who inherited King's pulpit says the spiritual fire has faded. Reverend Raphael Warnock speaks with host Michel Martin about his new book titled The Divided Mind of the Black Church. More at NPR.org

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