Dear Rev McCauley:
Should such a ''BROAD" brush be used to paint our entire black church community as friend or foe? Spiritual weaknesses are at the core of many ills in the world, Christians as well as for all people. To single out the Black Church as the principle reason of failure for my sins and yours, or my pastor's teachings and yours wherever you currently serve, seems to border on shifting blame. One's growth in Christ comes from individual responsibility. There is not a shortage of churches, Christian t.v., conferences, books, tapes, study guides to aid in our spiritual growth. Its a lack of desire for many to want to endure the required execution of the flesh, that a deeply transformational consecration requires of us all.
The Black Church had needed to serve as both spiritual hub for the souls of our people and a civil weigh station for 'righteous' social justice issues since Reconstruction. All births and growths have their 'pangs' and so has the Black Church. Some pangs may not have all be NECESSARILY PLEASING to our Master. "MEGA" this and that, and Church of the Gospel 'north, south, east and west blossoming with single mothers and children, and our young black men in cr0isis cannot be smiled upon. Our communities need to be saved. healed, feed, clothed and ministered to from the Houses of the Lord. That failure is from pastors and leadership not being the stewards they should over the hundreds of thousands of dollars gathered in monetary offerings..
But our designation as the 'black church' omits the larger issue that we are part of a MUCH bigger family. We are no different in God's eyes than the Evangelical Church., the Catholic Church, the Messianic Jewish Congregations, etc. Yet the 'Black Church' is being vilified now for clinging to a 6000 year old reference book that's considered an enemy to natural man's next evolutionary quest for enlightenment and equality. It must stand up in this 'hour of gross darkness upon the land".
The Black Church is one of the few remaining spiritual institutions and positive images in the community at large. But we are more than that. Today, the Black Church, made up of 'blood-bought' and 'blood-washed' saints of God, like you, me and others here. When others talk about you, Pastor, as a emblem of the black church, they are talking about me; because we are brothers and sisters. And when the Black Church is denigrated then so are we, because it is our family. However imperfect we may be, and God knows we are, we are still a light in darkness.
The crucifixion of the black church is perhaps the next wave of topic since this issue of marriage "equality?" is challenging the authority and word of God. Books such as the provocative coverlet you are advertising here, THE BLACK CHURCH - THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM seems CAPABLE of fanning flames against black Christiandom. If its a discourse on the necessity of over-hauling our tenets of faith to suit a current political agenda, then its from hell and the Black Church should rebuke it. It will serve to draw some of us nearer to God if we are his and cause others to fall away. If its suggesting concrete solutions for solving systemic issues in church spiritual growth, then its beneficial to us as a body.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Deriding the black church is deriding the Body of Christ. Let's find real harbingers of iniquity to our communities and our spiritual growth in our neighborhoods. The Black Church trying to live up to the image of Christ, while falling short of perfection, just doesn't seem to qualify as "satan himself" or 'evil incarnate."
Love and peace to all,
Dear Sis Simms, I appreciate the input . In my opinion this is a very important question, one that affects a lot of folk. You stated at the outset of your reply which I believe is a fair question, "...Should such a ''BROAD" brush be used to paint our entire black church community as friend or foe......? I can only respond by stating that I am NOT targeting the "entire black church community", rather the "black church" itself as the local institution where scores of our people gather several times each week in cities across our nation. Again my question is as follows: Is the local black church a friend or foe of the black community? My honest answer is it's BOTH. Sis Simms there is no question about the "good" that the black church has contributed to both the black community in particular and all communities in general you yourself noted several positive examples. But we must be straight up and state that there is the "bad" that the black church has contributed to the black community as well. We're glad to take credit for the "good" BUT are we willing to take "responsibility" for the failure of the black church to fulfill its God given mission to the family, community and nation. This may not be the most attractive analogy, but I liken many black churches to the neighborhood drug dealer who gives out turkeys on Saturday and sells drugs to the same people on Monday. One of the ways many Black churches has failed it's constituency and become a foe of the community is through poor, inadequate, false Bible teaching. There are things being taught in many of our churches that are just plan heretical (e.g. the prosperity Gospel). False teaching is not healthy for anyone, in fact false doctrine KILLS. I can say more but suffice it to say for now that the Local black church is becoming much more foe than friend.
I understand your response, my brother. Yet I still have several questions for clarity sake.
Regarding the black church's culpability and negligence in the area of biblical accuracy and accountability may come down to that age-old adage of "throwing the baby out with the bath water."
How do we take responsibility, exactly? How do we manage to get every black pastor, apostle, evangelist, prophet, bible student, etc., to comprehend and communicate scripture text without erring? Which translation do we turn to so that our knowledge is 100% accurate? New King James, New American Standard? Which ones do we recommend for those saints that might require a translation not read or written from the "King's English," . . the New International or the New Living or some other? How do we agree?
Do the theological seminaries even teach from only ONE doctrinal source anymore? If we're going to critique the BC or even more fairly, the Christian church, on its false doctrine, which I agree is running amok in some circles, then we must return to the source of our scripture as believers for correction, . which is The Torah if we're talking accuracy here.
As I studied our biblical heritage and its origins over the last few months, I have learned that many Messianic Jews, those who openly acknowledge Yeshua "Jesus' as Messiah, are still TORAH OBSERVANT. They still follow the various feasts and offerings according to the given Law. Yeshua is revealed to them thru and in all of their observances once a Jew comes into the saving grace of Christ. We as Christians don't observe the Torah, or its feasts and we never have. That makes us as protestant Christians all heretics, according to inerrant scripture, does it not? They attend Sabbath worship on Saturdays not Sundays, they don't celebrate the birth of Christ, the resurrection of Christ and they explain TITHES as solely an agricultural offering in Jewry and is NO LONGER APPLICABLE today. Will the body of Christ, including the black church, stop teaching tithing because technically, it can be regarded as heretical as well?
Brother, my responses are not meant to contend with you for the sake of contention. Equating the intent of God's houses to the intent of drug dealers is "a bridge too far" for those who love him and his people. Not preaching SIN and its ultimate damnation is the true apostasy in the Father's house. That kills worse than any prosperity gospel.
Perhaps you have been bestowed with a familiar MANTLE to all of us in these end times. Bringing God's people to a place of wholeness and preparedness in Christ as his bride is a end time task and burden upon you. It, too, begin with a WORD given once before when the Messiah was due to appear;
Maybe the Lord is saying to you, 'Feed my sheep." Do it because you love his house and his people. For better or worse we are family and you are your brother's keeper.
I apologize for the delay in my response, but lot's of stuff happens on the wknd's. Sis. Simms, again I appreciate your response and will try to respond with clarity. The question that began this discussion is as follows: "I'm convinced that along with the "good" that the black church provides in a given community the black church is also contributing to the poor "spiritual" health of many who are involved...." Again, I'm not condemning the black church, I'm critiquing. The black church has done much good in the hood, but I believe it has also contributed to the poor "spiritual health of the hood as well. The chief way that this poor spiritual health is fostered is through poor, inadequate, inaccurate Bible teaching.
You then asked, "How do we take responsibility, exactly? How do we manage to get every black pastor, apostle, evangelist, prophet, bible student, etc., to comprehend and communicate scripture text without erring? Which translation do we turn to so that our knowledge is 100% accurate? New King James, New American Standard? Which ones do we recommend for those saints that might require a translation not read or written from the "King's English," . . the New International or the New Living or some other? How do we agree?
I think the answer is one man, one church at a time. The goal is not perfection, BUT proficiency. There is no excuse with the kind of resources available today that the bible teaching in our church's should be so poor. Which translation? It doesn't matter because translation is not the problem. The reason we don't agree is because we've placed our agenda's above the principles of sound interpretation. If we all practiced the basic principles of Observation, interpretation and then application we would be alot further down the road on being on the same page. Because of the church's failure to teach the Bible frequently, accurately and systematically and contextually we've opened the door to all manner of theological evil. For example the church's failure has resulted in the invasion of:
(1). Pragmatism: The church doing whatever works, the end justifying the means (e.g. church growth programs, entertainment...) apart from Scripture.
(2). Mysticism: the church relying on other authorities and experiences apart from the Scripture (e.g., Dreams, visions, revelations...)
(3). Secular Psychology: The church utilizing Human means of trying to understand man's broken condition outside of Scripture.
(4). Feminism: The church abandoning Gender based roles assigned by God in the Scripture.
(5). Evolution: The church attempting to explain man's origin and moral condition apart from the Scripture.
(6). Authoritarianism: The church excercising unbiblical, unreasonable authority over God's people apart from the only authority given the church, namely the Scripture.
(7). Easy Believism: The church reinterpreting the only way man can be delivered from the power and penalty of sin (Paul warned that if someone comes with a different Gospel......).
(8). Pseudo Spiritualism: the church teaching that there are ways to grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Christ APART from the Scripture.
My point is simply that many of our black churches have abandoned the Infallible, inerrant Scripture and as a result the floodgates have been opened bringing havoc not only on our homes but the community at large.
Sis Simms, the problem in Black America is NOT educational, It's NOT Economic, It's NOT Psychological, the problem is THEOLOGICAL. Therefore our churches need to get back to that which we have abandoned; The pure, milk of the Word. Sound, healthy doctrine administered over the course of time will reap eternal benefits that will never be achieved apart from this commitment. Do we want to see Revival in Black America? Well it begins in our local church pulpits through faithful, accurate, systematic Bible teaching Sunday after Sunday after Sunday after Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.
Men would rather dance and shout (whoop) and sing and preach with Organ accompaniment than to faithfully teach and preach the Scripture, systematically, contextually, historically, grammatically and as a consequence of not doing so we have the mess that you see and read about in our churches, families and communities.
So I'm thankful for the good that our churches do, but our churches with a few exceptions (comparatively speaking) are guilty because of our failure to be faithful to God's word are guilty of contributing to the "poor spiritual" health of our people.
Rev. Brother McCauley:
My cousin, Bro Phil and his wife, who I am visiting this week, allowed me to respond from his page, since a cup of starbucks is all over my own computer.
Nuff said was finally very well said! (No disrespect intended, smile!) Now I stand corrected as to what lengths I should have labeled the Church's Theology failures on issues of spiritual weaknesses and the lack of understanding/applying our Jewish scriptural legacy. I don't think you are condemning the BC at this point, but I do think it would take a little more than most are able to aspire to in this generation.
We are, by virtue of our history and inherent African nature, both an anguished people and a joyous people. We still relate our walk with God thru over 400 years of pain, suffering and tribulation, if we're fair and the truth be told. Perhaps I'm a little more forgiving of our people's need to clap, whoop, shout and dance should the Spirit give leave. And yes, I, too, have been seen in the isle on a given Sunday with my most cherished of women's shoes kicked off and my most delicate of Sunday hats strewn to the wind, and I'm a Southern Baptist from childhood (smile). However, I'm not sure Its absolutely necessary to disassociate ourselves from the absolutely splendid and exuberant form of worship we are noted for as a nation before the Lord of Hosts. We are dancers like our forefather, David. For the record, I plan on dancing my way to our wedding feast with the Lord after we are caught up. Then, I hope you will join me and all those others who are unable to contain such joy.
Maybe you should visit a Messianic Congregation in your city as I've done on occasion and witness the actual adherence to Scripture and that exact kind of worship. I'm not down playing its reverence or style, but it is quite sedate.
We, (our people), are not ready for "kingdom come" in our earthly church experience. And probably won't be before the final dispensation in all honesty. Can you imagine any of our congregations instituting strict adherence to the heart/letter of the law? Our spiritual leaders are also only so many years removed from cotton fields, saw dust floors and paper fans with images of Jesus and MLK. It would take one of the 7 SEALS of Revelations 13 opening to catapult us into such an era of faultless obedience and perfection. So I say again, it is incumbent upon you to equip/redirect/feed the sheep in this matter since you have acknowledged the need and the burden. The Lord will be with you.
As for 1 thru 8, taken in its totally, your argument is absolutely flawless. The BC is guilty as charged. Maybe God in his wisdom foresaw our short comings and provided us with the grace we now live by and which we so apparently need for this season. Until then, we as an imperfect people. will probably only "see thru a glass darkly, until that which is perfect shall come."
Sis "Dede" Simms
Sis Simms, I'm sorry to hear about your computer. Computer's and starbucks don't mix. My baby boy dropped a cup of water on my phone and those two things don't mix either. Sis Simms I learned a long time ago, "When the horse is dead, dismount". It seems that we've gone as far as we can in this discussion. Oh, I have plenty more to say because this in my opinion is a very important issue. To me the church is not just a social gathering once a week. The church is God's arm of change and redemption for the planet and it saddens me that we are squandering our opportunity and selling out to the lowest bidder. Even though I believe we are on the Titanic, I still think there are important things to be done before she sinks.
God's blessing on you
Ditto, brother. Nuff said. Its been real.
But before you go jumping overboard, remember this, we are on the Old Ship of Zion, not the Titanic! The BC is our 'mother', Brother Todd, like it or not. We would not be grateful, nor respectful children if we forget who bore us, nourished us and did the little that she could in her ability. "Just cause you 'younguns' done went off and got a few extra words and some extra learning don't mean you should forget where God done brung you from" our "Mama Bertha' used to say. (God rest her sweet soul.)
Now, what you need to do is just put on some Mother Mosie Burke and the Mississippi Mass, some Rev. John P. Kee or some Rev. Charles G. Hayes and do what the godfather of soul suggested. Dance and you'll feel better! (But watch out for my hat and shoes in the floor, cause I feel a praise coming on.) LOL!
We're going to spend eternity with our Lord, brother. No worry over the BC can best that. What a time we shall have, so just rejoice! My cousin, Br Phil, says "you just need to follow where this unction leads."
". . .The church is God's arm of change and redemption for the planet." Somewhat, .... maybe, and maybe not. I'm pretty sure I hear the Master telling you right now, "Don't worry, little brother . . I GOT THIS!
The grace of God be unto you, and peace out, brother.
Sis. "Dede" Simms
Sis Simms forgive me, I'm like the preacher who keeps looking at his watch asking, "just give five more minutes.." I can't help but respond. For the sake of clarity, when I spoke of the Titantic, I was not referring to the true church which will be triumphant in Christ. The Titantic reference was to the culture at large. The culture will not be redeemed, it will be judged. No, the BC is not our mother. She did not birth you nor I (John 3).
To be honest, I do worry. But in the midst of my concern, I have hope that God is more concerned about the harvest than me.
What I hear the master telling me is, "...night is coming, when no man can work..."
Dear Min Warren, I get the heart of your post. Yes, you are correct The "Body of Christ" universal is indeed multicultural. But my posts concern the "local" church Which is very much culturally defined based on geography. What you're speaking of is "ideal" just not "practical". The Black church was planted out of Providential necessity, because the church at large did not believe in multiculturalism. I still believe there is a place for local churches filled with similar cultured folk, i think of the housing projects of chicago where I spent some time. When some folk moving out of the hood in search of Greener pastures what do the other folk do? Do they move just to maintain the appearance of cultural diversity. Jenine, God is much more concern with the heart and man with the outward. I hate the multicultural agenda because what appears as reality on Sunday in no way is real on Monday.
Min Warren, God bless you too.
Min Warren, I am assuming that you are a minister of God, forgive me but I am so awe struck by your response not to the discussion but to the brother for addressing you by first name that I could not help but to respond directly.
Wow sis' did you as a minister or a child of God meant to really say 'You say my first name like we're friends' is it because you are unable to discern that you are indeed in conversation with a kingdom child why you make this statement, please clarify as I am at a last why you would say such a thing to your brother because are we not all become brothers and sisters when we are in Christ. Pray Minister are you and the brother and I not more than friends are we not brothers and sister that love each other the way we ought to. Please clarify. I don't want to stray from the conversation but we are our brothers keeper it would not do to overlook this as we ought to bring correction one to another.
I am not so sure you are correct with this assumption Rev. that the black church is contributing to the poor spritual health at least not today. I believe up to maybe the eighties this statement would be correctly stated but not today. Today there are many black theologians, people who have taken time to study the word of God people who no longer rely on the things they hear and ones who do not just take the minister's word, many congregation members are now taking up the book and going to theological college to know what the word says.
I do believe that the black church lack of knowledge in the past have created not only a poor spiritual health but have cause many to walk away from the church, I say that because I believe we have lost almost a whole generation of people because as they grew they became more educated than their parents and was able to discern that they were being taught things that did not add up and instead of challenging it or searching for the truth many walk away believing everything to be a lie.
Now while today we do not have the excuse I believe the people of past did the best that they could do and I don't think God will hold it against them, most were uneducated because of their circumstance such as racial problems and lack of money the important thing I believe that they kept the love of God alive. They did not have the time or the comfort that we have today had these people did not have the nice comfortable churches we have today or the nice comfortable job that allowed them to go and study.
They are pionees who suffered so we of today could be spiritualy enriched. So while lack of education in time passt lead to a spiritual proverty in the past it is not the same today and if there is spiritual today today it is not because of a particular institution but due to the indidivual's failure to attend Bible studies and failure to take up the Bible. Of course I am in the UK so my knowledge is base on where I am living but I would assume the same opportunity exist in the USA for one to study if they want to.