09.23.13

What is The Front Porch?

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The Front Porch is a place for conversations about biblical faithfulness in African-American churches and beyond. Hear Louis Love, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Tony Carter chop it up and talk about what that means.

The Brothers on The Front Porch
The Front Porch was started by Louis Love, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Tony Carter. Holler at us on Twitter: @TalkOnThePorch

C’mon Up!

7 responses to “What is The Front Porch?”

  1. Cathleen Lewis says:

    I really miss the front porch! I grew up with it and it was very important. I loved gathering and having great conversations on it.

  2. Tony Carter says:

    Love these brothers! Praise God for the team and the dream!

  3. Ernest Mitchell says:

    Where I grew up in Houma, Louisiana it was guys on my aunt’s front porch before we even finish breakfast. Chopping it up. I love this idea and I’m in….

  4. Lisa says:

    I love the concept but I would love to see some pastors on the front porch that pastor predominantly black churches and also pastors that are not reformed. It’s a great concept but I would like to see different perspectives represented. I have great respect for Thabiti Anyabwile and Tony Carter but I’m not sure they pastor predominantly black churches. I love the concept though but still would like to see more pastors that pastor black churches represented for a better perspective.

    • Tony Carter says:

      Hey Lisa, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I am humbled to hear of your respect for us and your willingness to listen.

      The Front Porch desires to be a place where people, like yourself, can share your comments and perspective. While we are committed to the Reformed theological tradition, and believe both biblically and historically that the protestant church has shared the preponderance of those commitments, we don’t require those same commitments of all who come upon the porch. Any pastor who desires to do as you have done and to raise a question, objection, or even to leave a dissenting comment is welcome – whether he or she is from a “predominantly black church” or the reformed tradition or not.

      As far as us pastoring predominantly black churches, I would invite you to visit the churches where we serve before making any judgments about the ethnic or cultural make up. Besides, I would venture to say that most pastors of what is called “predominantly black churches”, would love to see their churches more integrated, and consequently would not resist becoming more diverse and thus no longer be called “predominantly black.”

      Thanks again, for your visit and your helpful perspective. If you are ever in the East Point area, I pray you will pay us a visit on Sunday morning. It would be an honor and encouragement for us to welcome you. Until then, the Porch is blessed to have you stop by anytime.

  5. Ritetheology says:

    I have to agree with Lisa. I’ve had the opportunity now to observe the “Front Porch” for several months and I can’t put my finger on it but I don’t feel like TFP is a friend of the black church. To me, it seems to me that TFP is written for white Christians ABOUT the black church, sort of like an exhibit. Men, I hope 2014 brings a new perspective. I just had this conversation with my wife the other day, we agree that the ONLY hope for black America “In our opinion” IS the black church. I will NOT deny that the BC is in need of a theological makeover, but to say that that makeover is multi-ethnicity is an insult. Thabiti stated that the “black church MUST embrace multi-ethnic churches”. Why? And if we don’t we’re accused of “stationing guards around the ethnic “wall of hostility”. Listen, please stop biting the hand that fed you. That BC needs men like yall with her.

    • Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Ritetheology,

      You’re welcome on the porch, bro, as you no doubt know from the comments you’ve left elsewhere. I look forward to continuing to interact with you from time to time.

      But there’s just no basis to this comment. It’s probably better for you to wait until you can “put your finger on” something before making a completely speculative and wild charge like “I don’t feel like TFP is a friend of the black church.” C’mon man. You’re capable of better than that.

      We each regard ourselves as friends of the church. I don’t think any of us need to defend ourselves in that regard since considerable effort in relationships, investments, and writing are all aimed at what we hope brings health to the church. In other words, we’ve all done enough in print and speech that it shouldn’t be hard for you to “put your finger on” where we’re coming from and what we think. We’re not hard to figure out. That’s what makes your comment irresponsible, really. Lisa (whom you mentioned) put her finger on our theological orientation without any animus or vitriol. She could even make a suggestion for improvement without casting aspersions. I’d expect as much from you, as well.

      As for the black church embracing multi-ethnic churches, I’d say two things. First, the necessity of embracing multi-ethnic churches is determined by the scripture which make it plain that the Church is from every tribe, language, nation, etc. No ethnic group has any biblical grounds for resisting the all nation (multi-ethnic) work of God in His Church–even if we understand that by historical necessity the Black Church was produced by racism and oppression. Second, the best of the Black Church’s history demonstrates brilliantly that the Black Church is not the home to prejudice. The Black Church has demonstrated wonderfully the love ethic and the forgiveness that belongs to God’s kingdom people. We should never lose that, especially those of us who live in an era with far more advantage and opportunity than those who went before us and managed to live redemptively toward others.

      If you’re insulted by a multi-ethnic vision and future of the church, then you feel insulted by Jesus and His word–not us! And guess what? Whether you like it or not, a multi-ethnic future around the throne is where all of history is headed my friend! You might want to shake any hang ups you might have and get used to it.

      Now, as I said in the post, “multi-ethnic” cannot mean disenfranchisement or rolling the clock back to a day when we had no power in mixed congregations. Nor does it mean living and thinking as if our context doesn’t matter. But we have to embrace what God embraces, and clearly in His word He embraces a family made of every nation and tribe. If you have beef with that, then your beef isn’t with me but with God and His word.

      As for our writing, we write TO, FOR, and ABOUT the African-American church. And because we happily welcome everyone on this porch, there’s no doubt we’ll sometimes offer explanations of the church’s history and perspective to brethren from outside the Black Church. We’re glad there are people outside the church who are friends of the church. We strongly believe that what God has done in the Black Church is a gift to the entire church. But that means we have to offer the gift, which sometimes requires engaging our brothers and sisters from other ethnic backgrounds. And it’s not just “white Christians,” as you put it. There are brethren here from Hispanic and Latino/a, African and Caribbean, and European and Asian backgrounds. They’re all welcome on the porch and we’re thankful to God for the opportunity to encourage them with the same grace we have received. You should be, too, if you really believe the Black Church is a gift to the world.

      Finally, no one here is biting the hand that feeds us. That hand is Jesus’ hand, not your idea of the Black Church, which exists in great diversity and with great power.

      The Lord bless you and keep you,

      Thabiti

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