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The History and Heresy of Black Liberation Theology

The History and Heresy of Black Liberation Theology

Most evangelicals are unfamiliar with the origins and foundational beliefs of Black Liberation Theology. That is perhaps why many evangelicals today are becoming sympathetic to its heretical doctrines.

Black Liberation Theology’s influence on the social justice movement within the Church has been noticeable to many who spend considerable time studying Black Liberation Theology, Black Church history, and the evangelical social justice movement.

To be clear, some of the most vocal members of the social justice movement within the Church have rejected Black Liberation Theology in the past. This includes people like Thabiti Anyabwile, Anthony Bradley, and Ekemini Uwan.

Nevertheless, over the last few years, I’ve had private conversations with many professing Christians who embrace Black Liberation Theology. This is in part because the founder of Black Liberation Theology, James Cone, has received admiration from social justice leaders within the church like Jemar Tisby and to a lesser extent, Mika Edmondson and others.

I usually refuse to share people’s names like that so publicly, not because I believe it’s sinful to do so. And I don’t think it’s because I fear the inevitable accusations about my motives or supposed mean-spiritedness. I usually dislike sharing people’s names like that because some readers might respond by attacking the people, instead of attacking their ideas.

But I am comfortable sharing their tweets because as it’s increasingly common today, many people seemingly refuse to accept any serious concerns about the social justice movement. Too often, no matter how gracious I attempt to be, they seem more concerned about discerning my motives than discerning bad theology.

Still, though many Christians refuse to accept Black Liberation Theology’s influence on the social justice movement, The New York Times are not doing the same. Earlier this week, they shared an article about the evangelical social justice movement. And in the article, a theology professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary admits that “Cone’s ideas are in play.”

Last year, I wrote an article comparing the evangelical social justice movement’s woke theology to Black Liberation Theology. But that was a simple and short article about Black Liberation Theology’s relevance in the social justice movement today.

So earlier this year, I had the incredible privilege of writing a 5,000 word article on Black Liberation Theology’s history and heresy for Jubilee, a journal by The Ezra Institute, one of the best ministries in Canada.

In the article, I explain that Black Liberation Theology is a tragic consequence of slavery and segregation in American history. In the article, I explore how James Cone’s theology is the culmination of Frederick Douglass’s theology, Walter Rauschenbusch’s theology, Malcom X’s idealogy, and Martin Luther King Jr’s theology in one. And finally, I explain how modern events like the Fergusson Riots and Black Lives Matter’s influence have shaped a form of Black Liberation Theology in the Church.

If you want to know why I describe Black Liberation Theology as a theology designed to repay evil for evil, you can read the 5,000 word article on page 15 of the latest issue of Jubilee, here.

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