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The Influence the conscious movement has over the Pentecostal church - Part 1

Over the years there has been an ever-growing increase in the interest of African Spirituality within the black community, which in part has been fueled by the continuous racial inequality we see in today's society, the use of the Christianity to justify slavery and a lack of answers from the black churches on various bible-related subject matters. This has led to what can be referred to as the ‘conscious’ movement.

So when exactly did this so-called movement start and what do they believe in?

According to The Indianapolis Recorder (13.11.14) this movement, birthed in the US amongst African-Americans bares the hallmarks of the popular Black Power and Pan-African Movements during 60’s and 70’s. It's hard to pinpoint when the movement originally started but it seems to have taken over the last decade with the increasing usage of social media. It can be described as a lifestyle, which encompasses afrocentric approach to health; cuisine, hair care, political views and spirituality, which are having a growing, impact on the black Pentecostal churches.

 

What growing trends are we seeing in this movement and what are their main arguments?

One of the major concerns for black-majority Christian churches is that a lot of those joining the ‘conscious’ movement typically come from Baptist and Pentecostal Christians upbringings. So why now and what’s caused these followers to turn away from their Christian backgrounds and become a part of this movement? Are old-school preaching and a tendency to demonize those who question certain parts of the scripture in the black churches partly to blame?

 

As mentioned earlier, the conscious movement has a number of issues with Christianity and calls into question the accuracy of the bible. To name a few, you have what they would call the justification of slavery, incomplete genealogies, numerous revisions of the bible, and the supposed timing of human history according to some Christians (6000 years) verses the physical evidence that predates it (The British Museum). Additionally, the similarities between characters in the bible and Ancient Egyptian deities along with similarities between the Law of Moses and the 42 Laws of Ma'at has led to accusations from the conscious movement of plagiarism.

 

Who is this most appealing to?

A lack of answers on these matters from the church, the suppression of black history in western-society, combined with a lack of justice and inequality dealt to blacks have lead to many young inquisitive (and some older) minds becoming disillusioned and this in turn has led to some of them turning their backs on their Christian upbringing in pursuit of this movement. This growing trend in part is also supported by statistics indicating a sharp decline in the Christian faith on both sides of the Atlantic according to The Washington Post and Office of National Statistics respectively.

 

Why is it so dangerous?

A danger of this growing trend is that it perpetuates what’s known as a confirmation bias when it comes to interpreting scriptures from the bible and Paul touches upon this in 2 Timothy 4:3 when referring to people turning away from sound doctrine. This has led to misinterpretation of numerous scriptures in the bible with slavery being a classic example (Exodus 21:16, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 4:1 and Galatians 3:28).

 

Another danger is that it fuels hatred against Caucasians, which goes against the very grain of Christianity and their are numerous scriptures on the subject of forgiveness with Jesus addressing why you should forgive your enemies (regardless of the circumstances) in Matthew 5:43-48.     

 

In part 2 Eleasah Phoenix Louis advises practical ways to biblically respond to this movement as Christians. 

Written by Andrew Hamilton Thomas

Andrew is an aspiring political journalist, cartoonist and contributor for the Orator & Croydon Citizen

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