Skip to main content

Black & Reformed

Black and Reformed: Seeing God’s Sovereignty in the African-American Christian Experience by Anthony J. Carter

In this new second edition of the book, On Being Black and Reformed, Pastor Anthony J. Carter of East Point Church in Georgia has wedded two significant themes in his book; namely a Reformed view of theology and life and the experience of being African-American.  He answers the question that many have been thinking early on, do we need a black theology we a resounding yes for various reasons (25).  One, the alternative to a sound, biblical black theological perspective is an unbiblical one.  A large number of African-American believers follows the truth claims of Christ, the Scriptures, and God and yet feel that the vast swath of Christian theology has ignored their contextual place in history alongside their circumstances.  With a vicious past of racism, degradation, and failing to listen to the African-American voice, the Christian church at large needs to hear these brothers and sisters in Christ today.

Anthony begins his case in chapter 2 after outlining the need for a biblical black theological understanding in chapter 1 with a focus on the main emphases of reformed theology.  What was striking and beautiful about this chapter was that Anthony didn’t just scroll through the five points of Calvinism and leave us there, but he brought us into three major headings of Reformed Theology: the sovereignty of God, the sinfulness of human and the sufficiency of Christ.  These three pillars of the Reformed faith set the stage for a robust engagement with our culture, with Scripture, and with those all around us who need the gospel.  At the end of the chapter, he gets to one consequence of the all-sufficiency of Christ by stating, “The power of the civil rights movement was in the power of Christianity.  The power of Christianity is in the ability to display uncommon forgiveness (60).”  The uncommon forgiveness that believers hold out to the world is on account of the work of Christ and it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we offer this kind of uncommon forgiveness.

The chapter on the Church from Chains is remarkable in Anthony’s ability to retell the plight of African-American believers’ actions in the face of utter wickedness.  One nuance that he makes with respect to Richard Allen is helpful for us to hear, namely that, “The blacks’ response to such hypocrisy-laden Christianity could have been a complete rejection of the one true God in Christ.  Yet instead of rejecting Christ, African-Americans rejected this brand of Christianity, separating what the Bible taught about Christian virtue from what so-called Christians practiced (79).”  Anthony quotes from a long section in Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass in which he narrates for us the despicable differences between these two brands of Christianity, one from the slave masters and the other from the slaves themselves. 

With careful examination of African-American history and a solid engagement with Reformed theology, this is one book you don’t want to miss.

Thanks to Gratia Press and P&R Publishing for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Popular posts from this blog

the great spiritual migration

The Great Spiritual Migration by Brian D McLaren

Brian McLaren and his own pithy way brings to the foreground and emphasis on a new kind of Christianity. The kind of faith that Brian envisions is a kind of migration not been set in the bedrock of beliefs that is unmoving but rather shifting with both culture and with faith. His new book the great spiritual migration is exactly that, a pointed work that encapsulates a vision towards the future where Christianity is changing and its peoples lives are changed as well.

Brian states in the introduction, "but we also know that for a lot of people Christianity is malfunctioning, seriously so, and it's not pretty. This kind of frustration with conventional Christianity is what McLaren gets gets to at the heart of this message is concerned with a number of different clusters unbelief. One, namely that Christianity has been stuck in a set of propositions or beliefs that has controlled churches in the faith, rather then a spirit of love t…

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Misperceptions, misconnections, and missed observations are just some of the issues that Timothy Snyder raises in his book, Black Earth, concerning the Holocaust.  Snyder, no stranger to the frontlines of scholarship on the Holocaust, with his previous book Bloodlands, that concerns the land from Hitler to Stalin, takes a look at the Holocaust from new sources and new avenues of thought.  How did some nation-states survive relatively unscathed from Nazi persecution while others, notably Jewish populations, succumb to a wave of killings?  Also, what was the role of the Soviet Union in the war and how did Stalin effect changes in the Final Solution?  These questions are only two of the many that Snyder answers in his detailed account of the Holocaust.
One of the best chapters was entitled The Auschwitz Paradox.  Generally when the public thinks about the Holocaust, we think of Auschwitz first or at the top of our mental m…

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

NKJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Growing up with the NIV, the NKJV was not a bible I was familiar with.  This new NKJV Study Bible takes all of the features of the Thomas Nelson Study Bible and makes them better.  Right out of the box I noticed that the Bible was considerably lighter than most study bibles I have read.  Further, the text font was much larger than most study editions, although I’m not quite sure of the size. The aquamarine color was a great touch and the Bible was finely put together, enduring the wear of many coming years of use.
Why is this Bible worth the purchase?  First, the study notes were great for extra handling of particular confusing and messy areas of Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments.  Yet, the study notes aren’t an obstruction to the reading of the biblical text.  Clearly, the editors have taken great care in making the text stand out and the notes illuminate certain themes and areas of Scripture.  Second, the NKJV takes into account all t…