On Friday, October 28th, The State of the Black Church Conference takes place in Wake Forest, NC. Our brother from The Front Porch, Thabiti Anyabwile, will be in attendance to serve the conference, which is hosted by Kingdom Diversity; The Front Porch will have a booth at the conference, too, so make sure to drop by!
Kingdom Diversity is Southeastern Seminary’s initiative to equip brothers and sisters from every corner of the Kingdom to serve in every corner of the Kingdom. I (Isaac) asked Maliek Blade, a founder of Kingdom Diversity, a few questions so that we might learn more about what seems to be a wonderful, promising, and much needed event. See Maliek’s answers to my questions below, and register for the conference; there’s still time!
The black church has been a unique advocate for the oppressed and a victim of persecution throughout its history. What lessons can we learn from the black church?
Often our ethics (what we do) can confuse others about our epistemology (what we believe). Sometimes what we believe is not seen in our actions. I say this to say that right epistemology must be coupled with right ethics for the world to take us seriously. The black church has been a shining example of conviction that leads to action. Historically, after being persecuted, the black church has joined in the cause of the persecuted and oppressed. In the past, Evangelicals have erred on the side of strong epistemology with questionable ethics, whereas the black church has presented a respectable priority on both epistemology and ethics.
Why a conference on the state of the black church specifically, Maliek? What are areas the black church is strong in, and what are area’s where growth may be required?
The term “black church” could mean a variety of things based on who you ask. Some may think of charismatic preaching backed by a Hammond B3 organ, while others may think of it as place of refuge when trying to escape the consequences of bad decisions. These varying perspectives affirm the reality that the black church is diverse and does not always fit neatly into caricatures often seen on television. To answer the latter part of your question, I want to put emphasis on the word “some” as the black church is made up of many different churches and traditions. In my experience, some black churches are weak when it comes to discipleship while some others boast a rich tradition in expository preaching. We will unpack this very subject at the conference, so be sure to join us!
Have you gotten any pushback on the idea of this conference? If so, what for, and how have you responded to that?
I personally have not gotten any pushback, but I have seen others, who have assisted in promotion of the event, questioned on the existence of a “black church” in light of Christ’s kingdom agenda for people of all races. The response given was simple: “There would be no black church had the white church not been racist.” I must agree!
What is your hope for this conference?
My hope is to shed light on the variety of theological and ecclesiological perspectives that make up the black church as a whole while simultaneously exposing some of my Reformed or Southern Baptist audience to their commonality with the black church.
Who should come to this conference and why?
With the current climate of our country being characterized by racism and hate, it is important that people of different races and cultures learn and live together. In many cases we all live segregated lives and do not come together until we’re engaged on social media concerning the latest controversial newsflash. This breeds a culture of communicating to win rather than communicating to hear and be heard. With that said, white brothers/sisters and anyone non-Black are welcome to come join us so that we may sharpen each other.
How can we pray for this conference?
Please pray that our speakers have the conviction to speak honestly, guests listen intently, and that any non-believers that are present respond to the preaching of the Gospel message.