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Category: Study Projects
Posted by: postmodernegro
Tertullian, 4th-century African theologian, once asked, "What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?" Of course Tertullian was asking this question as a way to say that Christians should not import alien pagan philosophical ideas and assumptions into their understanding of the Christian faith. Athens, for Tertullian, represented a worldly way, as we say in church, to get at the Ultimate or ens realissimum (the realest Real) whereas Jerusalem represented the more faithful way, to understand the God of orthodox Christian faith. For Tertullian this was a practical matter. His passion, if we are to believe some of his contemporaries and commentaries, was for Christians not to lose their souls while reading Plato in one hand and Paul in the other. He's echoing Paul in his famous passage in Colossians 2:8:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
In this bit of anecdotal history and scripture I found an analogy with Kenneth Jones' chapter on “Biblical Spirituality: Experiencing the Spirit of God.” He begins our journey to biblical spirituality by first alerting us (which we will address at the end) of a new black spirituality that is gaining currency in the 'traditional black church.'. The new black spirituality is in concert with the changing face of 'American evangelicalism'. He then takes us into a faithful historical reconstruction of early North American Christian history, which is specifically the Christianity of some (if not most) of the colonists. Jones focuses in on the particular and very local theology of the Reformation. The orthodox theology of the Reformation consisted of "the solas of the Reformation, the sovereignty of God, the Trinity, the incarnation, sin and depravity, and the sufficiency and centrality of Christ."(Jones, p. 108)

We are then taken on an extended historical journey into slave Christianity and its tenuous relationship with Euro-American Christianity. The narrative is as detailed as you can get with only a couple of pages to work out a very complex history filled with both tragedy and triumph. I was very hopeful to think that many of my Euro-American Christian brothers and sisters will get a good dose of black church history. The black church still remains the strange 'other' in most of North American Christianity as evidenced by some of the recent responses to black theology of the more prophetic and social justice streams of the traditional black church.

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Category: Theology
Posted by: RBAFounderMM
The sinful actions at Fort Hill high school in Cumberland, Md. evidence the influence of the Devil on the hearts of some and the need of the redemption of people. Racism and acts of prejudice are not 'social sins' but are theological sins for they are the purest representation of the failures of some to see others as created in the image of God and created by God. These theological sins evidence a lack of understanding regarding the sovereignity of God for such racial and prejudicial terroristic acts spit on the desires of God and the wisdom and power of God which lead to the creation of such an amazing people.

Sins and ungodly actions against humanity, unholiness as such is displayed here at this high school in the 21st century, must no longer be marginalized with the language games of bifurcating constructs such as social sin. These actions are at their root as theologically unholy as they are impenetrably pervasive. Our theological constructs must not prejudice how we consider and capture the concept of sin; the particular and prevasive sins so very present must shape and prejudice our theological constructs. Theological constructs such as social sin should not define reality; reality should define theological constructs. After all, God is real and not a theological construct.

Read the story here

History of Dunbar High School
Originally named Preparatory High School for Colored Youth later known as M Street High School, the name was changed in honor of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar was the first high school for black children. It was known for its excellent academics, enough so that many black parents would move to Washington specifically so their children could attend it. Its faculty was paid well by the standards of the time, earning parity pay to Washington's white school teachers. It also boasted a remarkably high number of graduates who went on to higher education, and a generally successful student body. It is similar to Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Baltimore, Maryland and Fort Worth, Texas, as all three schools have a majority African American student body and are of a major importance to the local African American community. All three schools are also highly regarded for their athletic programs within their respective school district in the sports of Football, Basketball, and Track. There is also a Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky.

Since its inception, the school has graduated many of the well-known figures of the 20th century, including Sterling Brown, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Charles R. Drew, Charles Hamilton Houston, Robert H. Terrell, and Robert C. Weaver. Its illustrious faculty included Anna Julia Cooper, Kelly Miller, Mary Church Terrell, and Carter G. Woodson. Among its principals were Anna J. Cooper, Richard Greener, Mary Jane Patterson, and Robert H. Terrell. An unusual number of teachers and principals held Ph.D. degrees Including Carter G. Woodson, father of Black history Month and the second African american to earn a Phd. from harvard (after W.E.B. Dubois). This was the result of the entrenched white supremacy and patriarchy that pervaded the nation's professions and served to exclude the majority of African American women and men from faculty positions at predominantly white institutions of higher learning. As a consequence, however, Dunbar High School was considered the nation's best high school for African Americans during the first half of the 20th century. It helped make Washington, DC, an educational and cultural capital.

Category: Study Projects
Posted by: rhkeyman
Come and go with me
To my fathers house

Its a big big house
With lots and lots a room
A big big table
With lots and lots of food
A big big yard
Where we can play football
A big big house
Its my fathers house

-Audio Adrenaline

The questions, ‘What is worship?’ and ‘What is appropriate for worship?’ is a topic that is often discussed by Christians. Many in the church lament the lack of depth in worship and yearn for more substance and less flash in modern worship. As we continue our discussion of the Reformation and the Black church, chapter 4 of Experiencing the Truth, titled “Biblical Worship: Experiencing the Presence of God,” takes us right into the heart of this debate. Space does not allow for a detailed analysis of this chapter but it is my hope that this brief overview will be both stimulating and encouraging.

Anthony Carter starts chapter 4 by quoting lyrics from a popular gospel song as an illustration of how modern worship has “degenerated in our time.” After this initial illustration the chapter can be roughly divided into three main parts: The first section is a discussion of worship from a Biblical perspective, spelling out what worship is and what it is not. The second section discusses worship experientially and outlines what happens spiritually when we worship. Finally, the third section is prescriptive, highlighting how we should worship and what we should do in worship.

As others have previously stated of Experiencing the Truth, it must also be noted here that there is much that can and should be commended in chapter 4. Carter’s definition of worship is a faithful presentation of what Reformed worship should be that will be valuable to many who have never studied theology or given worship much thought as a theological construct. The idea that worship should be God-centered and not man-centered is a much-needed corrective for Evangelicalism in our consumer driven age. In this chapter, Carter reminds us that we worship what we value most. Worship is not limited to what we do in church but is our service to God in all areas of life, and that we do not worship God by ourselves but are joined by Christ, the angels, and all the saints that have gone on before us. These ageless Biblical truths have universal applications in all times and cultures and Carter should be commended for his commitment and faithfulness to them.

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Category: Study Projects
Posted by: SCobbert
As African American pulpits all across the nation are filled with messages centering on prosperity, health, fulfilling your destiny, etc., it is refreshing to read Anthony Carter’s chapter on Biblical Preaching. Although God is concerned with our well-being in terms of health, abundant living, and our financial wellbeing, these are not the total themes of Scripture. Carter calls those of us who preach the Word of God to be faithful in uplifting Christ, the central witness of Scripture, as opposed to appealing to texts that only address money and what we receive from God.

He proposes that the African American preacher become more Reformed in his or her preaching. According to Carter, African American preaching has been heavily focused on experiential theology where the style of the preacher is held in high esteem and the emotions of the people are employed as a means of making the message meaningful. As an alternative, Carter summons the African American church to cultivate the ethos of the Reformation so that we will preach in a more Reformed manner utilizing the five solas of the Protestant Reformation.

Carter is on point as he stresses that our preaching must be informed by the right theological content. However, before he can call for African American pastors to consciously consider the Reformation and how Reformed Theology – the preaching of the five solas - can inform our preaching in vital ways, several things need to happen:

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