Black Liberation Theology can be defined as the relationship that blacks have with god in their struggle to end oppression. It sees god as a god of history and the liberator of the oppressed from bondage. Black Liberation theology views God and Christianity as a gospel relevant to blacks who struggle daily under the oppression of whites. Because of slavery, blacks concept of God was totally different from the masters who enslaved them. White Christians saw god as more of a spiritual savior, the reflection of God for blacks came in the struggle for freedom by blacks.
The development of Black Theology in the United was one that shocked the nation as a whole. While in slavery, Blacks had to sneak and hold church services. This was partly because Whites felt that Blacks were not able to be accepted into heaven, and they believed that once one as a Christian they could no longer be enslaved. So to appease their conscience they would not allow Blacks to take part in theology. Due to these issues Black Theology soon originated within the United States.
Although black theology became popular in the early 1960’s, it was not an entirely new subject. Black theology views God and Christianity as a gospel relevant to blacks who struggled daily under the oppression of whites. The origins of it are clearly seen in spirituals sang by African Americans during the time of slavery nearly 400 years ago. Because of slavery, Blacks’ concept of God was totally different from the masters who enslaved them. White Christians saw god as more of a spiritual savior, while the reflection of God for blacks came in their struggle for freedom.
According to a Maffly-Kipp (2001) because the number of slaves from Africa had decrease it gave room for a transformation of their culture styles and roots to blend with their religious practices such as enthusiastic singing, clapping, dancing, and being possessed with the holy spirit. Many white members of society felt threaten by the existence of black religious groups African Americans built a strong faith in God and found safety in their places of worship. Society was not always willing to accept the idea of Christian slaves. As one slave recounted "the white folks would come in when the colored people would have prayer meeting, and whip every one of them. Most of them thought that when colored people were praying it was against them” (McMickle 2002).
The black man’s response to God’s act in Christ must be different from the whites because his life experiences are different, Dr. Cone believes. In the “black experience,” the author suggested that a powerful message of biblical theology is liberation from oppression. Other theologians have also noted that African Americans require a different approach to counseling and healing. In Liberation and Human Wholeness: The Conversion Experiences of Black People in Slavery and Freedom, Dr. Edward P. Wimberly and his wife, Anne Streaty Wimberly, focused on the history of slavery and the wholeness of African Americans who are struggling with their inner self. In addition to the book, Dr. Wimberly created a workshop and seminar to help pastors and community leaders help African Americans who were once slaves.
This concept boils down to the idea that even though they are a church, they are all still individuals. This is based upon the idea that every single person is created in the image of God. Due to this idea, Baptists are known as some of their individualism (p. 24). This idea of individualism is present even from the beginning of ones walk with a Christian. Saving faith is something that is personal to Baptist, not impersonal.
It is used to justify slavery and later, to use against it. Slave owners would take passages from the bible and interpret it as God’s design to own slaves and conform them to Christianity. This was the Christian thing to do according to God’s will. The bible was a powerful tool for slaves and it was often prohibited for an African to get. This is proven by when Equiano wasn’t able to purchase a bible during his travel in the West Indies.
I Believe I’ll Testify teaches that the black church and the preacher would have no authority. Black preaching is a combination of God, the preacher, the scripture, and most of all the black life experience. In the black churches of today, the preacher is very important. Sermons have to inspire, correct, heal, empower, and many others for the place preacher to be considered effective. This is a great book for all to learn what some of the criteria for being a black preacher are.
The article concludes with Mr Noble Hurley, who had a passion for telling the story of the Baptists, who provided documents and articles in the Baptist standard which helped the misunderstandings and ignorance towards the Baptists, not only that but the advancement of the cause of Christ. Baptists: What makes a Baptist a Baptist? This article has its base thought on denominations and being distinctive. Some people feel that I would be ideal for all Christians to hold to the same beliefs and follow the same practices, but from the beginning of the Christian movement various opinions have existed which splits Christianity into different denominations. The article focuses of what makes a Baptist distinctive and asks the question about what one thing makes the Baptist denomination different from the other denominations?
Cone and Wilmore proposed ideas of Black Theology. I believe that their theories show how African-Americans can gain their own identity through their own practices of religion and culture. I believe that the greatest struggle of African-Americans in a racist society is the struggle to regain collective identity and culture. However, they show how it is very possible to rise above racial discrimination, and stereotypes. Although Albert Raboteau was not necessarily a theologian, his claims of slaves finding their own way of life despite being dehumanized, easily relate to the ideas of Cone and Wilmore.