08.05.13

Reformed Theology & Ethnocentrism

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Discussing why many African-Americans feel foreign to Reformed theology, Thabiti Anyabwile explains how faith in Jesus Christ should radically redefine any Christian’s life and identity.

Thabiti Anyabwile
Thabiti Anyabwile serves as a pastor of Anacostia River Church (Washington DC). He is the happy husband of Kristie and the adoring father of two daughters and one son. Holler at him on Twitter: @ThabitiAnyabwil

C’mon Up!

4 responses to “Reformed Theology & Ethnocentrism”

  1. Dave Boettcher says:

    Pastor T,

    I am a white 56 year old reformed christian man. I have read a few articles recently which have tended to agree with my thoughts that Black Christians and leaders may be our best hope for revival and confronting the hardships to come.

    I think this because of the trials and tribulations our black brothers and sisters have learned to endure over the last few centuries. How amazing it is the in the midst of slavery through the fights of the civil rights area, songs of trusting Jesus would continue to be sung.

    Also, white Christians, I fear, have become so shallow and weak that any persecution will cause them to scatter and hide not having been in that position previously.

    That, along with the natural demographic change the appears to be occurring, which will end with the white person as being the majority holder and out of power for the first time, will cause further confusion in the white community.

    If I am correct, is the black reformed Christian or, for that matter, the black conservative evangelical Christian prepared or becoming prepared to take the leadership role, in a Christ like manner, of american evangelical Christianity?

    I think it will be essential to our nation regardless of events that occur that black conservatives evangelical Christians distinguish themselves as models for all of us.

    To be honest, even though I believe the above, I have a bit of a fear that if this does occur there will be a sense of “it is time to pay back the white man” for all the terrible acts of the past.

    I think that was shown in the Florida Martin/Zimmerman shooting case recently. The definition of justice is not the same between the races, I think. Justice to me is proper legal procedure. To the blacks, at least there, it appeared to be, justice
    is righting the past, punishing the present for the sins of past inequalities and injustices.

    As true Christians, meaning black men and myself, I have nothing to fear. As a sinner I do fear.

    When the bottom line of all of this is two questions. Are the black Christian leaders prepared to lead us all? Can I trust not to be made the price for the past?

    One last question. I have often been interested in visiting a conservative, preferable reformed, black church. How would one find such a church in their location. They usually do not have big signs saying reformed black church out front. lol.

    Thanks for your time.

    Dave

    • Tony Carter says:

      Dave,

      Thanks for coming on The Porch. Inquiring and thoughtful voices like yours are always welcomed to take a sit and chat it up with us.

      I too have heard some say that Black Christians and leaders may hold the key to revival in the church and our country in the coming years. However, I am not sure what that looks like or really even means. For example, you ask the question whether or not “the black reformed Christian or, for that matter, the black conservative evangelical Christian prepared or becoming prepared to take the leadership role, in a Christ like manner, of american evangelical Christianity?” To be frank, Black Christians, reformed and otherwise, have been in leadership roles, both national and local, as long as there has been black churches in America. Assuming leadership is not any more foreign to us than it is to you. Therefore, if there was a “national leadership” role to be assumed, a black Christian would have no hinderances to assuming it (i.e. Dr. Fred Luter, president of the Southern Baptist Convention).

      Furthermore, you need not fear retribution from any of your black brothers and sisters anymore that you fear it from your white brothers and sisters. In fact, history tells me that you are more likely to receive injustice from the latter than the former.

      However, with that said, I am not sure if any of them desire to be the leader of “american evangelical Christianity.” The need is not for a national leader that will only deginerate into a political pawn (as we have seen in the past), but for faithful preachers and teachers at the local church level.

      If we are faithful in raising up and supporting those black and reformed leading and shepherding in the local church, we will find the change God desires to see effected in our world and church and maybe the revival many are longing for.

      As far as locating a black church in your area that holds unto Reformed truths, I would begin with asking about those churches and black pastors in your denomination. And if there are no black pastors leading such churchs in your denomination, then you have a good place to begin asking why not. Secondly, if you do not belong to a denomination then you should begin with the reformed ones and see how many, if any, are in your area.

      Thanks again for dropping by. We keep the porch light on at all times and welcome your visits. Stay as along as you want. We really do enjoy the conversation.

      Blessings brother.
      Tony

      • Dave Boettcher says:

        Thanks Pastor,
        It has taken a while to meander back to the porch but glad it is still here.

        I would agree with you a national political leader is not what we need.

        It does not matter the color but the godliness of the man. But for the reasons I first stated a black man may be better prepared. Of course, I could be wrong.
        I was think of a regional- city or county- area spiritual leader.
        I am sensitive to this as such a person is missing in my life and I do not see anyone in the area who would stand in that position in a wider sense.
        God will have to call up the man.
        As a white Christian I want other white church goers that n may not be as open or as Paul might say free, to be willing to accept leadership from a black pastor. That may be more the problem then a black Pastor being willing and able to step up to the task.

        When I think about this, I am reminded of Dietrich Bohoeffer, who I believe did not hear the Gospel and become Christian until, while attending Union Seminary was invited to attend a black church.

        Thanks for the use of the porch, again.

        • Tony Carter says:

          Well said. Your last two paragraph are both instructive and convicting. I pray God raises up a diversity of biblical leadership in your area. And remember, our porch is your porch, whenever you care to join us.

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