The fuss about millennials and their relation to evangelicalism (broadly) and the local church (specifically) continues to abound. Articles seemingly pop up every day in what seems to be, for the most part, healthy conversation about the next generation; to be completely transparent this generation is my generation. And I got up with another of its numbers, my good friend, Brian Davis (whom many know as “God’s Servant”) to chop it up about this topic. As the conversation continues, it’s becoming clearer that more and more nuance is needed. Are all millennials are leaving the church? Well, not exactly it seems. I talked to Brian specifically how some black millennials may or may not be viewing the traditional black church today. We pray our conversation encourages you.

Brian Davis is an artist on Lamp Mode Recordings. His latest album, “Diadem” dropped on January 28, 2014. He is also planting Risen Christ Fellowship in Philadelphia. He and his team hope to start meeting this Fall. Holler at him on twitter: @theservantfella.

Brian, when you think of the traditional black church, what comes to mind? How do you define it?

When I think of the traditional black church a variety of things come to mind – some good, and some bad. On the positive side, I think of colorful diversity, energy, celebration, and family. I think of a community that needs God’s Word to be true and hopes in it as such. I think of simple faith and the strong, passionate proclamation of God’s Word. I think of an oppressed people looking to God, “The Lord [who] works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Ps. 103:6). I think of a rich cultural heritage and community refuge in many broken environments. On the negative side, however, I think of an inordinate emphasis of skin color, the perpetuation of prosperity theology, the Word of Faith movement, and low doctrinal standards. I think of flashy, man-pleasing and man-centeredness, and the perpetual confusion surrounding treating shepherds as kings. I think of an ethnic identity that can easily usurp the Christian identity.

How are black millennials viewing the traditional black church today? Is there a growing familiarity or dissimilarity with it and why?

Well, I certainly cannot speak for all millennials. However, as an individual lumped into that category, I humbly offer my observations. I think there is a growing dissimilarity from my generation with the traditional black church. As the country continues becomes more “mixed”, ethnic identity is becoming less of a dominant identifier — especially in religious contexts. The ethnic terrain is different now than what it once was. My generation doesn’t feel compelled to be primarily identified by race or restricted by historical ethnic restrictions. And since, by its very title alone, “the traditional black church” is primarily identified by an ethnic association, therein lies the divergence.

What does this familiarity/dissimilarity mean for the traditional black church? What does this mean for the church at large?

I think this dissimilarity will eventually lead to the disappearing of the “traditional black church”. I think it’s inevitable. We practically affirm this reality every time we are asked to define the “traditional black church” and cannot do so with clarity. It, even now, is culturally losing it’s definition. By description, I think the “traditional black church” requires certain ethnic traditions to be present in order to continue progressing. If those ethnic traditions are as generational as I believe they are, over time they will cease to be passed down and perpetuated — essentially vanishing the traditional black church from the broader evangelical landscape. This is not to say that black Christians will disappear. No, they will thrive, with the rest of God’s redeemed people groups until the Lord’s return! This is simply to highlight that like many ethnic-traditional church experiences, be they those of Greco-Rome or of Crenshaw, they can only live as long as the ethnic-traditional adherents share essential core identities. These ethnic-traditional identities, I believe, are weakening with each subsequent generation.

Does this familiarity/dissimilarity concern you? What encouragements do you glean from it?

This doesn’t concern me at all! Praise God for the many good contributions of the traditional black church. Praise God for the many souls that were saved in it. However, Jesus did not promise to build the black church! The Lord Jesus did not promise to build our church, but He promised to build His church (Matt. 16:18)! His Church transcends all cultures and ethnic traditions. In like manner to seeing saints die and their influence fade, so will be different seasons of our Christian experience. Some will last longer than others, but none except the traditions of Scripture will last. While we may identify more closely with certain expressions and traditions, and would like for those experiences to be preserved, we know and hope that THE Christian experience must and will continue beyond even our traditional ways of living it.

It’s been said on The Front Porch that “Black Millennials” is a misnomerWhat encouragements would you give the black church as it attempts to reach, keep, and send its youth? 

My primary encouragement would be to build the youth up into Christ, not your ethnic traditions. Our goal for the youth should be to see them come to Christ and stay with Him. Even if they leave our preferred methods of worship, our care is that they never leave from worshipping God. Who cares if people leave the “traditional black church”? We should really only care if they leave the church altogether. I had a pastor that would often say, “I don’t care if you eat at my restaurant, I simply care that you are eating”. I think this should be the feel of how the traditional black church deals with youth. Try to reach them, and keep them, and send them in Christ alone and I believe it will teach them much about the transcendent nature of the church, and endear her to them.

How would you encourage young black Christians as they consider the local church?

Don’t pick a church primarily based on comforts and cultural preferences. That type of thinking is diametrically opposed to the ‘others-focused’ nature of the church (Phil. 2). The church is not primarily ethnic but spiritual. As such, you should not be picking a church primarily for ethnic reasons but spiritual ones. Good gospel trumps good gimmicks. Good preaching trumps good charisma. Good teaching trumps good feelings. And I know this is a big one, but good content trumps good musicianship. Above all we should be seeking to find a theologically sound church and helping the churches we are in to better become one. So if you are not in a healthy church –find one, even if it’s culturally like ‘Oz’ to you. And if you can’t stomach the culture in such a place, at least you have a biblically sound community to help you find a more accessible healthy church.

What book or resource would you suggest on this topic?

I don’t know of any books on this subject — perhaps Thabiti, Lou, or Tony should write one! But generally speaking, books about a healthy view of the church and being a part of one would go a long way to establish some crucial reference points. When thinking through this issue, it is best to begin by being saturated with what a healthy church is before we can filter and assess our ethnic and cultural additions. So “What Is A healthy Church” and “The Gospel Made Visible” by Mark Dever are good options, and so is Thabiti’s, “What Is A Healthy Church Member?”

What are you currently bumpin’ in your iTunes?

“Lyrical Theology pt. 2: Doxology” by Shai Linne

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23 Comments

  • Avatar John Erickson says:

    Super helpful Brian. Good thoughts. Thank you. Praying for RCF Philly!

  • Avatar Louis Love says:

    Great interview brothers. Brian I really appreciate your clear thinking on this most touchy subject. What you shared at The Gathering on this issue was striking. I’ve been thinking about it since then.

    Praying the the new work in Philly.

    By the way, I know you meant Tony or Thabiti should write that book :-).

    Thanks for the post Isaac.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Yeah, he meant Tony 🙂

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hey Brian,

    I appreciate you climbing on the porch with us on this topic. Good stuff, brother.

    A question: Do you think the weakening of “ethnic-traditional identity” in churches means that Black (and other ethnic-specific) churches have a limited shelf-life and ought to be moved away from? Or is there a role left to play?

    Grateful for your heart and your labors, my man. Glad to be learning from you.

    T-

  • Avatar Tabulous says:

    Greetings Brian,

    Great topic. I feel you on the historical aspects of the Black church fading away with each subsequent generation. However, I have yet to see a church that does not have a cultural bent (maybe I need to get out more). Would you say that the historical aspects of the Black church are fading and being replaced by a new aged Black church? Or are we going to see churches that are radically different culturally where it will be hard to identify with which culture it aligns.

    How do you envision the culture at Risen Christ Fellowship?

    To God be the Glory!

  • Avatar Brian Davis says:

    Hey Thabiti,

    Thanks for having me up here–and I doubt there is something you are learning from me, captain! 🙂

    I don’t know that I would say “limited shelf life”–though I am not in complete disagreement with the sentiment. That “shelf-life” phrase seems to communicate a more hopeless usefulness than I would assert. Since by definition “the traditional black church” has a specific scope and and ethnic-traditional make-up (for instance the very descriptive of “the traditional black church”), limitation seems intrinsic to its identity. I think that a church culture specifically identified by an ethnic-tradition is naturally going to be limited to the lifespan of that ethnic-tradition as well. I think this is certainly true of “the traditional black church”, but also any other tradition based church culture (consider the increasing irrelevance of the Southern fundamentalists). With that being said, I don’t think such a reality warrants moving away from the black church per se, nor should it produce an obligation to perpetuate it. I think there are many good reasons why some adherents would stay in it, and try and do good work for the Lord within it and from it. On the flip side, I can appreciate why others may choose to move away from it.

    I think by virtue of its existence, the Lord still has useful purposes for it. Whether they be long term or short term ones; only the Lord knows! So in that since there is certainly a role left to play and it would take another hundred blog posts to try and hash out ideas about how.

    I would also like to make a delineation between “traditional black churches” and primarily black churches. I see no limitation and shelf-life for black christians in churches. So my comments would be reserved for the “traditional black church” which I would understand to have a traditional culture undergirding its identity not necessarily just churches that are primarily black. (I can elaborate on that further should it be needed, but I feel this reply is already longer than the post!)

    Did I address you question satisfactorily? Any push back or correction you would offer here?

    -Brian

  • Avatar Brian Davis says:

    Hey!

    I think all churches have a cultural bent. Be they predominantly black, white, or asian they will certainly have a cultural bent. However, those cultural bents may not always be what is historically consistent with said ethnic groups. So just because a church is primarily black, that does not mean it will be consistent with what comes to mind with “the traditional black church”. In some cases a black church could be more like some predominantly white churches rather than the traditional black church. So I am calling for nuance in how we regard black christians and the churches they attend. Just because I am black and most of the people are black in a church–are we now in the traditional black church? What if culturally and experientially it feels more like a suburban predominantly white church? Do we cease to be a part of the black church, or are we now a white church who happens to be black?

    I am simply suggesting that “the traditional black church” is something specific. There could be a neo-black church on the horizon that is a variation of that, but I’m not sure. I don’t know how necessary ethnic specific american churches are–I think that now, after the fruit born from the civil rights movement and the blending of america, such “types” of churches could potentially do more harm than good in the long run. I hope we do see churches that are radically different that what our country’s racial turbulent past permitted. It be great to feel the reality that here there is neither Jew nor Greek, black or white! I actually think that is one of the main opportunities facing our generation–establishing churches that can uniquely reflect a oneness that we have been longing for throughout generations.

    We are not sure exactly what the culture at Risen Christ Fellowship will be. It greatly depends on who the Lord draws there. Churches are to be the reflection of the Christians that comprise them. Now since the leadership is distinctly “inner-city urban” for the most part, we are hoping that the culture will reflect that part of our community as well… but we’ll see!

    Hope that was a helpful interaction with your questions!

    Thanks for the thoughtful interaction.
    -Brian

  • Brian, so neat to see you on the Porch! I am a regular reader of this site so I was so pleased to see the Lord using you to contribute. Grateful to see your passion for the Lord still being present, and not just present, but growing all the more!

    You had some good thoughts on the state of the ‘black church’. I agree that a lot of it is generational, but I think those generational things are passed down as well. Here in Texas, there is still a pretty huge presence of Black churches and there is a sustained pride attached to it. I think it is different in different parts of the country for sure. My husband and I have a strong desire to reach African Americans with theology proper. His desire is to teach them big God theology and help them to not be held by traditions, but to be held by God’s Word.

    It was helpful that you pointed out that Christ promised to build HIS church, not the Black (or any other ethnos) church. If all of God’s people would just grasp that Truth, we’d have a much better understanding! 🙂 When we see that the church is to display the manifold wisdom of God (eph. 3:10) then we get away from desiring to be a part of a church that looks like ‘us’. God has called many people from many different places (tribes, tongues, nations) and this is what Heaven will look like.

    Always encouraged by what I read on the Front Porch. Thanks again, Brian! May the Lord use you and Shai’s return to Philly in a great way! So excited for RCF! Y’all are in my prayers, as well as your beautiful, Godly wives and precious babes!

    Pastors Thabiti, Louis, and Anthony, thank you SO much for this site! As a reformed African American woman, I remain encouraged by the Porch (especially when I see my sisters pay a visit)!

    Grace and peace,
    Jenn

  • Avatar daveski says:

    Brian,

    Good thoughts!

    To Thabiti’s question about the “shelf life” of the traditional black church in America, I think that over time it will dissolve. There are a couple of reasons why I think this will be the case:

    1. The conditions that gave it birth and its identity (systemic injustices of slavery and the issues of the Civil Rights movement) are not characteristic of America now. (Yes, I understand racism still exists, but not on a pervasive systemic level to the degree it once existed.) I don’t see the need for it to be the specific social justice advocate that it is know for being. The changing of our country’s landscape has made it irrelevant and soon obsolete.

    2. African Americans have access to sound biblical education, which it once didn’t have, and as sound doctrine is digested and delivered, unbiblical traditions and mono-ethnic churches hopefully will be exposed and done away with, generally speaking.

    Perhaps I sound too triumphant in my 2nd point, but I believe as doctrine shaped and reshaped our minds, these changes are possible.

    d.

  • Avatar Brian Davis says:

    Thanks for the encouragement brother–that gathering was incredibly encouraging to me! looking forward to learning a lot for you brothers in the future.

  • Avatar Emmanuel Davis says:

    As a Black millennial myself, I was surprised with how much I disagreed with this article. Perhaps my perspective differs in that I have always been a part of the traditional Black church. That being the case, I immediately questioned the validity of some of the criticisms raised against her. For example, when asked what comes to mind when thinking of the traditional Black church, Brian responded by saying “…the perpetuation of prosperity theology, the Word of Faith movement…” I’m not sure what traditional Black church(es) he has been a part of, but those things are not characteristics of the traditional Black church. Without a doubt, they would be characteristic of non-denominational churches, but these churches pride themselves on not being traditional, often mocking the traditional Black church experience. For me, that seemed to call his opinion of the subject into question.

    Secondly, being that he is a church planter, it seems fairly obvious that he would not see much value in the continuation of the traditional Black church. If he was ever a part of her (I could not get a sense of this from the article), he has clearly given up on her. It would not be expected, therefore, for him to present a fair, balanced view on this subject. That being said, I appreciate that he was not seeking to speak for all Black millennials. I think it is a mistake, however, to assume this is the prevailing opinion.

    Personally, I believe that there is still much value in the traditional Black church. I am actually more concerned with my generation’s proclivity towards abandoning established churches to plant new ones. Given the rise of Black millennials identifying themselves as Reformed, I’m bothered that there are not many Reformers. There is a certain level of humility and patience that this trend shows we need to learn. We may be more theologically educated, but have we learned to work in one place, trusting that it is God who will ultimately conform the church to the image of His Son? I think this is the real dilemma facing Black millennials.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hey man,
    Definitely. And I am learning from you. Thanks for putting the work in!
    T-

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hi Emmanuel,

    This right here:

    “Given the rise of Black millennials identifying themselves as Reformed, I’m bothered that there are not many Reformers. There is a certain level of humility and patience that this trend shows we need to learn. We may be more theologically educated, but have we learned to faithfully work in one place, trusting that it is God who will ultimately conform the church to the image of His Son?”

    Amen and amen! Well worth pondering!

    T-

  • Avatar Brian Davis says:

    Hey Emmanuel!

    Thanks for joining the convo. I appreciate your apparent heart for the church of our Lord and the desire to see the particular strand of her expression in the black church honored and esteemed! We are definitely brothers there. I’m grateful the Lord doesn’t look to us for counsel but will do what’s right and good for His name! What a wonderful place to rest in.

    Without parsing through your response too much brother, it simply seems we have a difference of opinion in how we are processing what we see and what we have been a part of. This only further complicates how to dialogue about something that is hard to define (the traditional black church) and has had a different affect on individuals with a different experience from church to church. I am super glad that you have not experienced the prevalence of word of faith theology in your black church experience. Unfortunately for me, I cannot affirm the same experience; and I fear I am not alone in that, either. Perhaps this is the classic agree to disagree?

    I do, however, want to offer some friendly push back concerning some of the comments regarding church planting. I completely disagree that church planting is intrinsically opposed to the continuation of the traditional black church or a care for that continuation. Thabiti and Tony were involved/are involved in church planting and they are two of the primary driving forces behind this very site aimed at edification for the black church! I don’t think we would accuse them of obviously not seeing “much value in the continuation of the traditional Black church”. Perhaps there may be other motivations for individuals desiring to plant churches? Now I completely agree with your sentiment regarding the need for reformers, but it also assumes systems and opportunities to reform–which again, are going to vary from church to church. AND I agree that church planting has become an easy option for the impatient and self centered. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. I personally think there are plenty good and godly reasons for church planting I would even venture as far to say that planting can even be a viable means of reform.

    But alas, I do see through a glass dimly. May the Lord give us both clarity in truth and charity where we see differently. Thanks for the interaction, brother. I appreciate you spending time to chime in.

    -Brian

  • Avatar Brian Davis says:

    Hey Jenn!

    Appreciate your interactions and it’s great to hear you are a frequent visitor here! Hope it continues to be an encouragement, and that you continue to be a participant. Thanks for the prayers, sister!

  • Avatar Emmanuel Davis says:

    Hi Brian,

    I, too, appreciate your heart for the church and willingness to dialogue on this subject matter.

    I agree with you that there seems to be difficulty in defining what is the traditional Black church, but does difficulty now mean impossibility? Perhaps our differences can be found in our approach to defining her. For me, definitions should always be objective as opposed to experiential. Thus, when evaluating your definition of the traditional Black church, I found it inaccurate in that it does not reflect the historic realities of her. To use an example, in the past few years, there have been historically Southern Baptist churches that have embraced and approved of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. Now, suppose someone, in giving a definition of Southern Baptist churches, defined or described them as accepting and approving of homosexuality. That may be true experientially for some, but it is not true objectively of Southern Baptist churches; for in embracing homosexuality that church simultaneously ceases to be a Southern Baptist church. Likewise, you may have had experiences with “traditional” Black churches that embraced Word of Faith doctrine, but in doing so that church simultaneously ceased to fit the objective definition of a traditional Black church.

    My point in saying that is not necessarily to change your mind, but rather to point out one possible reason why you are not a champion of the continuation of the traditional Black church. If you have only experienced a psuedo, knock-off version and not the “real thing”, then it would be no shock that you do not see much value in her. To be clear, I have certainly experienced Word of Faith doctrine in my “Black church experience”, but not my traditional Black church experience, which is why I have remained in the traditional Black church.

    As to your comments regarding church planting, I would actually agree with you on all points. Therefore, I think I may need to clarify my previous statements. I was not suggesting that church planting is “intrinsically opposed to the continuation of the traditional black church or a care for that continuation.” Rather, I was highlighting a parallel between negative sentiment in our generation (millennials) towards the traditional Black church and the rising trend among our generation of church planting. I certainly know that there can be value in church planting. After all, every church in existence today started as a church plant. However, I’m concerned when there are already 15 established churches in a five mile radius of one another and someone leaves one of those churches to start another. The sad truth is that, in many cases, there are a dozen traditional Black churches in or around our cities that have vacant pulpits and need/want a strong, Biblically-sound pastor to lead them. Yet many of us (millennials) ignore these hundreds of saints in order to form our own comfortable community of Christians who already know and agree with what we are teaching. Where is the sacrifice in that? Where is the burden-bearing compassion that Christ has shown us when we get our Theology degrees and leave them behind? Why is it not a viable option to us (millennials) to humble ourselves and go back to First Missionary Baptist and teach a Sunday school class if we care about the Black church as much as we say?

    Again, man, that’s not directed at you personally. I just think in light of the subject, these are points worth considering. Let us with the same energy and passion with which we critique, reform.

  • Avatar Brian Davis says:

    Hey man!

    I fear this dialogue could turn into a completely different conversation that this forum would provide a way to legitimately interact about and even redirect this post to a target other than for which it was intended. There are far too many semantic hurdles and communication barriers to rightly do that–at least as far as I can discern. With that being said brother, I hear your heart and desire to see good reformation in the black church happen–and I am with you shouting, “Amen!” May the Lord do it for His glory! Wherever the church can become a better reflection and display of the glory of God, I am all for that and I can see you are all for that as well. I am hearing for you that we must be intentional to encourage those works as they happen. Yea and amen!

    For now it seems we will have to be content waiting to see what the Lord will do with His church. It’s good to know He never sleeps nor slumbers, nor does he make any mistakes or errors. I’m eager to see what happens, both on this side of glory and the next.

    Appreciate your interactions, brother.
    -Brian

  • Avatar Toussaint Adams says:

    Front Porch Brethren,

    My name is Toussaint Adams. I am 32 years old and based on the article I believe I fall into the category of “Black Millennial.” I am also a second-generation preacher.
    My father grew up as a boy preacher in the traditional black church. Unfortunately, he got caught up in the WOF Movement in the early 90’s (I still remember this), but by God’s grace he rejected it for the theology he got from the “traditional black church” as a young man. Its funny as I recount this because when he came back, the local preachers jokingly (I think) affirmed that my father had “gotten saved.”

    I say that to say equating “traditional black church” to WOF is wrongheaded at least and worse, extremely offensive to faithful brothers who serve in it and have defended essential tenants of belief against WOF. I would go so far as to say, the experience of Brian is an anomaly. It makes me wonder whether or not he grew up in the tradition or whether he happened to go to a few churches that fit the exception his your search for truth?

    I do thank him for not speaking for all black millennials. I appreciate the humility. Our generation may not be compelled to be identified by “black church.” This may be the case, but historically, since the time Absalom Jones was pulled from his knees for praying in a white church and consequently started another place for worship, we have not desired to be labeled “black church.” We just wanted to worship. In fact, whites were not excluded then, and they are not excluded now from predominately black congregations.

    The traditional “black” experience appears to be the issue with some of my contemporary young reformed family. As if we have to sacrifice our methodology for reform doctrine. Ironically, this is the same argument used against Christian rappers. We (and I say “we” including me) grow spiritually on the on the MacArthurs, Sprouls, Devers, and Pipers of Christianity and feel that we have to bring that exact philosophy of ministry to bear on traditional black churches. If they don’t embrace it, we’ll plant a church.

    In my estimation the church plant causes an even greater separation and schism that must be re-examined. I digress. Brian made over-generalizations that I really wish he would clarify. It’s almost as if black church and “theologically sound church” does not go together in his thinking. If Word of Faith comes to mind when he thinks of “traditional black church,” I would contend he has not been around many “traditional black churches.” In the end, I pray for more young black guys who hold to reform doctrine to actually start reforming.

    May God bless you all,

    Tous

  • Avatar Brian Davis says:

    Hey brother!

    Thanks for visiting the site and jumping in the convo!

    I have to admit, I am a little unclear about what you are interacting on. Is your main hang up that I can think of WOF theology when I think of “the traditional black church” category? I wasn’t intending to communicate that “the traditional black church” is WOF, but only that from my experience and observation, they do seem to be frequently entangled. This is intended to be as a categorical observation not as an assessment of individual churches. I fully understand that there are some “traditional black churches” that are opposed to WOF theology and even expose it. I praise God for those churches and saints and I pray the Lord raises up more! However, we would probably disagree on the amount of “traditional black church” adherents who we would identify as befriending WOF theology and embracing it. That is probably going to lead us to quite different conclusions about the trajectory of the traditional black church.

    I am glad that your experience (and that of others even on “the porch”) has not been like mine, though. Your experience seems to be the frequent interaction with traditional black churches pumping health and life into souls–as good churches ought to be doing. May the number of those experiences abound all the more!

    Appreciate you spending time choppin’ it up with us here!
    -Brian

  • Avatar Cameron Triggs says:

    This is very insightful. Thanks Emmanuel.

  • Avatar Stephen says:

    Good discussion.

    I guess that’s the thing about experience is that it can be subjective. I also know that it can be based upon what your actually looking for. I don’t know if you grew up in Philly or not but my experience would differ from you as well in that area.

    I know when I got all reformed that I had a negative outlook on the traditional black church. It was not until i took a step back and listened to those who were older (dem ol’ heads if you would) and realized that my opinions were misplaced. In going back home to visit and reflecting on my upbringing I found quite a few churches opposed to the prosperity gospel and WOF. And some of those pastors were very reformed, in addition to many of the pastors and deacons in the church I grew up in. Therefore it seems that you have to actually look (at least in my experience, that is quite the buzz word in this stream). It was an encouraging revelation for my city. Have you heard of Dr. William Banks?

    I hope that you have the oportunity to search out those churches in your endeavor in Philly. God Bless!

  • Avatar Toussaint Adams says:

    Sorry for the late response and for the ambiguity. I really think Brother Emmanuel hit the nail on the head. I don’t know how much clearer I could be than him without sounding redundant. I would encourage you to reread and pray through what he wrote.

    My contention to answer your question however, was not only with the WOF reference, but the unbalance approached of the article in general. From my perspective I don’t see this mass exodus of black millennials from the “traditional black church.” I travel these circles and what I do see, is the preaching getting stronger as a new generation of black expositors are taking these historic pulpits. I do believe there are a group of African Americans nurtured on reform theology in predominately white churches making a case for blacks leaving and the demise of traditional black churches.

    It appears (and I could be wrong) that the aforementioned group who stand on the outside of traditional black churches (many who did not grow up in it and have not been patient enough to work in it) toss these claims around in their own circles. Meanwhile, those inside the traditional black churches, especially the leaders are scratching their heads at these claims while the members have no clue that this conversation is happening.

    The preachers in this tradition are sound doctrinally – many of them. They may not be verse by verse expositors i.e. preaching through books, but they are preaching expositorily. It was the doctrine of the traditional black church that help pull my father out of the WOF movement by God’s grace. I would need clarification as to who you were speaking of as it pertains to your comparisons.

    In addition, I take tradition as tantamount to denomination which is defined by its doctrine (mine in particular is Baptist). If one deviates from the doctrinal position of the tradition, it may be that they have ceased to be identified as part of it. There are a few bad apples in every bunch where this has taken place and it is unfair to define the whole based on the misconduct of the part.

    If there are doctrinal problems in churches that you have been in, have you attempted to stay and teach? I’m sure you would easily get a teaching position in one of these churches. I got your album and you are a doctrinally astute individual. I have also seen associate ministers help senior pastors move the church in a biblical direction. You would be utilize greatly.

    I appreciate you bruh, but I think this interview/post/article fails to identify the current status of the “traditional black church.” Yes. There is good “musicianship” and a pleasurable style of preaching in my opinion, but the content is not as absent as you would think and many blacks, more than those that have left, are staying and growing in the black church. Help her in areas where she is weak. This is my plea to a strong brother like you.

    I hope this clears things up. May God bless you in your ministry.

    P.S. My 2 year old daughter loves “Look Ye Saints.”

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