Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Black Theology

Another distinctive trait of a theological system is Black Theology. I praise God I declare liberation in Jesus Christ and nothing else. One has to be careful about throwing this term around to much. Our study comes from the booklet Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House.

Black Theology

-Black theology is a form of liberation theology that has its center in the theme of oppression of blacks by whites. It came out of “need for black people to define the scope and meaning of black existence in a white racist society” (Cone). It emerged in the last two decades in the wave of liberation movements as an expression of black consciousness and seems to speak to the issues that blacks must contend with on a daily basis.

God-Intricate and largely philosophical views of God are largely ignored in preference for concerns of the oppressed. White Christian concepts taught to the black man thus are to be disregarded or ignored. God’s person, the Trinity, his supreme power and authority as well as “subtle indications of God’s white maleness” are said not to relate to (and in some cases are antagonistic to) the black experience. The dominant perspective on God is God in action, delivering the oppressed because of his righteousness. His immanence is stressed over his transcendence, and as a result he is seen to be in flux or always changing.

-The Trinity is not stressed. However, Jesus is God, but in the sense of God’s visible expression of concern and salvation.

Christ-He is One who delivers, almost exclusively, in social ways. He is a liberator, or “Black Messiah” whose work of emancipation for the poor and rejected of society is the parallel to the blacks’ quest for liberation. Christ’s message is “black power” (Henry). His intrinsic nature and spiritual activity receive little or no attention. Some even deny his role as the atoning sacrifice for the world’s sins and provider of eternal life (Shrine).

Revelation-Black theology is not bound to biblical literalism but is of a more pragmatic nature. Only the experience of black oppression is the authoritative standard.

Salvation-Salvation is freedom from the oppression and pertains to blacks in this life. Proponents of black theology are concerned specifically with the political and theological aspects of salvation more than the spiritual. In other words, salvation is physical liberation from white oppression rather than freedom from the sinful nature and acts of each individual person. Presenting heaven as a reward for following Christ is seen as an attempt to dissuade blacks from the goal of real liberation of their whole persons.

Church-The church is the focus of social expression in the black community where the blacks can express freedom and equality (Cone). Thus the church and politics have formed a cohesion where the theological expression of the desire for social freedom is carried out.

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