Over the years there has been an ever-growing increase in the...
Taking into consideration the vastness of the black conscious movement and its effects on the Pentecostal Church, here are a few things to consider as Christians who are called to defend the faith and stand on a foundation of truth.
Matthew 7:5 ‘You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.’
One aspect of the broader 'black conscious movement' is a severe critique of Christendom - many of which have good grounding. Before deeming black consciousness an abomination, question, explore and accept the flaws that may appear in your Christian religious expression. In what ways do the beliefs and actions of your fellowship perhaps endorse white washing, mental slavery, sexism and capitalism (to name a few issues)? Has your fellowship inherited practices that are legacies from slavery rather than the teachings of Christ?
Having our faith challenged, presents the perfect opportunity to realign our expressions with the word of God, before we correct others.
James 1:19 "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
Take your time! This movement is neither new nor fading, but instead building momentum. The Bible says that it is the 'Implanted word that has the power to save your souls' (vs 21) rather than angry speeches and hasty actions. Being quick to listen can work in two ways when considering a response to this movement.
- Listen to God : What does God's word say concerning the varying ideologies within the Black conscious movement?
- Listen to the people: What are they really saying and why? What are their needs that the church has been accused of overlooking?
Hosea 4:6 ‘my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge."
- In Hosea 4 we see that God has made a charge against the people of Israel. Sin is rife, they lack and reject knowledge of HIM and His Word. Whilst it is our faith that saves us, why stop at belief? Why not pursue knowledge, move on from milk to meat? Certainly not for pride but for growth and testing times in which our doctrines are tried, our interpretations challenged and our understanding is relied upon.
It is possible to serve others through our knowledge of God, revealing his reality through unique perspectives. Consider that in this time where social movements, including the black conscious movement, are undergirded by intelligence and knowledge, the church can use the gift of the knowledge of God and His word, to build bridges. Begin to utilise the works of Christian scientists, historians, apologetics or theologians to explore evidence of God in this material world.
Ephesians 4:14 ‘Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.’
There are strains of the black conscious movement that promise ultimate emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical alignment with the universe, through mediation and dieting (further still, strains that elevate black people as gods).
BUT HOLD ON!! Don't jump ships just yet!
What has high appeal now, may not play out exactly as sold... Amongst a community that genuinely searches for a spirituality that provides identity and purpose for black people, are those who exploit broken people for personal gain. So stand firm whilst you explore and study, be observant, pray for and pursue wisdom. Whilst the western Christian empire has a white face, Jesus himself did not promote superiority between groups of people, instead he declared a level playing field for all.
The ideologies presented within the 'black conscious movement' encourages black Christians to look at their own lives and needs and reevaluate the way they have understood God, who has invested love into their lives through the cross. The 'black conscious movement' has many faces and could arguably include Black Theology and Liberation Theology ; which forms ideas about the Black Community and Christianity. No longer subservient workers as the legacy of slavery pertains, but perhaps, seeing God as black in the sense that he too in flesh experienced slavery, oppression and hanging on a tree.
Whilst the romantic notion of all black people being descendants of Kings and Queens is inspiring, God has deems us a Royal and Holy Nation as children of His Kingdom. Check yourself, listen, study, and stand firm.
Eleasah Phoenix Louis (MA)
A Christian and community activist with particular focus on Christian pedagogy for ethnic minority groups and racial justice.
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