Reformed Theology and Social Change (pt. 2)


This is the second part of Thabiti’s two-part lecture series at First Presbyterian (Columbia, SC) and Erskine Seminary. He was delivering the annual John L. Girardeau lectures. Girardeau (1825-1898) pastored a congregation of slaves at the height of the institution and alone opposed segregation in the Southern Presbyterian Church. The lectures have the general title, “Bondage or Freedom? Questions in Early American Theology.” In this lecture, Thabiti considers Lemuel Haynes and his rather developed abolitionist stance against slavery. For more conversations and talks, download and subscribe to The Front Porch Podcast on iTunes.

Make sure to check out the first part of this lecture, “Reformed Theology and the Status Quo

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

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5 responses to “Reformed Theology and Social Change (pt. 2)”

  1. Tabulous says:

    Greetings Pastor T,

    I really enjoyed both talks in this series. I thank you very much for “introducing” me to Lemuel Haynes. As I listened to the conclusion of your talk I thought about modern day parallels. What blinders do we wear today? Your single voter scenario caused me to wonder if parallels exist between what seems to be black folks acceptance and/or promotion of abortion today and Edwards position on slavery (specifically man holding). I once had the Paul in my life (with me being his Timothy) tell me that voting for someone based on his/her view on abortion as the primary consideration was not wise b/c 1. all aborted children go to heaven and 2. Many of the anti-abortion candidates are Republican and do not speak to the other pressing needs of black folk. Now, I welcome you to respond to point 1 if you like (but I am more than willing to give you a free pass not to), but I am interested in your thoughts on point 2. Should the weight that one gives to the abortion issue outweigh the other issues when considering a candidate? If not, will someone 100 years from now (should the good Lord not return) give a talk about how the Paul in my life wore blinders when it came to abortion much in the same way that Edwards wore blinders when considering slavery.

    To God be the Glory!

    • Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hey Tabulous,

      Thanks for joining the conversation, bro. Thanks also for the free pass on the “do all babies go to heaven” question. I’ll take that pass :-).

      As for your second question, should Jesus tarry, 100 years from now people will look back on our day and say we missed it on abortion. If they don’t, it means humanity has lost its humanity altogether. Even so, that doesn’t make abortion the only issue to care about. I think the sheer scale of the issue easily makes it the most pressing and the vulnerability of children in the womb make it the most heinous issue of our day. But there are tons of other things that matter which make voting behavior–especially at the local level–a more dynamic issue, imo. I know godly men–many of whom I call dear friends–disagree with me on this. I respect them, but we do lovingly disagree as co-belligerents to end abortion on demand.

      One final thing: I’m not sure it’s accurate to refer to “black folks acceptance and/or promotion of abortion.” Black folks don’t seem to be any more accepting or promoting of abortion than any other folks. There’s a lot of misinformation and stereotypes in the community, but I would not describe it as general acceptance or promotion.

      Thanks for the thoughtful questions. Grace and peace,

      • Tabulous says:

        Greetings Pastor T,

        Thanks you for your response. I hear you on the tons of other things that need to be considered when voting on the local level… primarily since the abortion issue is debated at the federal level. I gotta be honest and say that “I feel some kinda way” (Philly language for I feel uneasy) voting for someone at the federal level that has an agenda to make sure that abortion remains legal in this country. How do I prioritize these other issues above life or death issues?

        As far as the final thing… I intentionally prefaced my statement with “seems” b/c from my perspective (the small little world that I live in) it does indeed seem this way. I realize that perspective and reality often differ and I humbly accept the hand slap that was given in love.

        To God be the Glory!

        • Thabiti Anyabwile says:

          See… that’s why we love having you on the porch!

          By the way, I’m in complete agreement with you on the federal voting issue. That’s where the fight is pitched most feverishly.

          Much love and grace,

  2. […] of Jonathan Edwards (part 1) and the next generation preacher from the other side of the tracks Lemuel Haynes (part 2). I recommend these lectures to you as biblical messages on two godly American men and a […]

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