"God be merciful to us & bless us, & cause His face to shine upon us.
That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad & sing for joy!"
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"Liberating Black Theology" by Anthony B. Bradley. A Review
Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in
Reviewed by Rev. Dr. Michael W. Philliber for Deus Misereatur.
Biblical and Black 5 Stars of 5
It was bound to happen. It was Black History Month, I had just gone to a Martin Luther King Jr.
memorial service, and then attended my quarterly Presbytery meeting where my
denomination is presently in the topsy-turvy toils of hammering out how to
pursue racial reconciliation. So there I was at a Lifeway bookstore looking for commentaries on Proverbs to help with
a new sermon series when I turned around and saw it, squeezed in tight between
other books on pastoral issues. I thought to myself, “Well, I’ve never read
this fellow, but the book looks perfect for this month,” and snatched up a copy
of “Liberating Black Theology: The Bible and the Black Experience in America.”
This 208 page paperback is written by Anthony B. Bradley, associate professor
of theology and ethics at The King's College, Research Fellow for the Acton
Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, and a commentator on current
issues for major broadcast media to include NPR and CNN/Headline News, and is
for thoughtful adults, pastors, historians of Black History in America and
“Liberating Black Theology” is meant to be an
introductory foray into black liberation theology, teasing out many of its
clear ideas and some of its subtle nuances. Bradley’s evident focus is “on the
role that victimology has played in the rise and fall of black liberation
theology” and that this view of perpetual victim is its “major flaw” (14). The
author unpacks, in five out of his six chapters, how this starting assumption
of victimhood has played out in, on the one hand, adopting Marxism as an
ethical framework in black liberation theology, and on the other hand, fostered
an “ever-greater separation from the Scriptures as well as from the mainstream
black church” (189). The historical and ideological study between the covers of
this book is helpfully clarifying for all who are involved in making headway in
the areas of Biblical justice and racial resolution within Christ’s Church.
Though Bradley brings out helpful correctives all the
way through the book, it’s in the sixth chapter that he pointedly maps out the
way forward, “Is There a Future for Black
Liberation Theology?” Here is a plan
that “is not grounded in a victimized black identity but is grounded in the
necessary trajectory of God’s redemptive mission” (180). The author sketches
out five areas that are essential to moving black liberation theology back onto
a solid foundation that will enrich the whole of Christ’s Church, and bless the
black church in America. The starting point is to return to the absolute of the
Trinity, and then to embrace unequivocal place of the primacy of biblical
authority. Next, flowing from the first two items is to reaffirm human dignity
that is substantiated by our being created in the image of God, instead of race.
Bradley moves on and points to the
importance of rediscovering the balanced biblical doctrine of sin, which is
both personal and social. And finally, formatting the concept of justice that
is in keeping with the bigger story of God’s redemptive mission, because social
action “and evangelism are works of the church in the world. But social justice
issues, while vital, do not constitute the totality of what God intends for a
covenantal relationship with his people and his world” (189-90).
What a way to spend most of Black History Month, to be
reading “Liberating Black Theology” written by an African-American thinker and
theologian! This book is essential reading by denominational movers and shakers
who want to help their denominations make godly, wholesome strides in racial
reconciliation; for black and African theologians and pastors who desire to
fortify their people; as well as Anglo and Hispanic and Asian theologians and
pastors! This introductory work on the subject could well become a sound and
solid entry point for better ways of thinking and acting on ethnicity in the
church, and race within society. I warmly commend this book!
When I was 20 years old, I was stationed in a Muslim country for two years. During that time I read the Quran (in an English translation from Oxford), interacted with Muslim acquaintances, and saw Islam lived out in it's communal context. Therefore I was excited when my mother gave me a copy of "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus". With bazillions of reviews already plastered on the various sites and venues, mine will be short and succinct.
Nabeel Qureshi has woven together a very personal and personable volume written to give "an insider's perspective into a Muslim heart," as well as equip readers "with facts and knowledge, showing the strength of the case for the gospel contrasted with the case for Islam," while chronicling his own inner struggles, sacrifices and doubts when grappling with the Christian faith. The style of writing is autobi…
"When evil looms and darkness falls And tragedy is breaking When all that's good seems overturned By God I'm not forsaken For though I fall or wander far I'm not too far for saving And when my Shepherd seeks and finds How can I keep from singing" (229)?
So cantillates Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, mother, wife, writer, musician and abuse survivor, in her new 240 page hardback "Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse". This volume is the tale of her terrors and troubles at the hands of an abusive father, and it is far, far more. It is truly a story of life after abuse, abundant life found only in the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. An easy to read book, it is ideally suited for those who have been traumatized and those who long to help the trampled! "I am not my abuser. I have a choice. I aspire to heal and grow by God's grace" (82).
Just like taking an abnormal psych class in college, a reader will likely see their reflection on many pages in the 200-page hardback "When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse". This newly released dossier, written by Chuck DeGroat, professor of pastoral care and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, and senior fellow at Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco, is a velvet covered brick. It is easily readable, and reasonably attainable. DeGroat exposes the varied ways narcissism shows up in a parish, whether in the leadership, families, or congregational culture; and how it can show up in the corporate culture of an ecclesiastical denomination, association or network. It arises from the "lack of capacity for self-awareness and self-evaluation, shunning humility for defensive self-protection" (15). Further, according to the author, a deep, underlying shame is the driving forc…