Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Marred Tribute

A week ago the landmark funeral for Coretta Scott King was held in Atlanta at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The event was attended by thousands of mourners and a who's who list of dignitaries and celebrities from around the world, including two former Presidents and President Bush. Yet, the climax of the event was the eulogy given by Mrs. King's daughter, Bernice King. Micheal Leach listened attentively to the pseudo-prophetic words of Bernice and came away thinking that her words were too injurious not to be addressed. In A Marred Tribute to a King, Leach gives us his take on prophet Bernice.


curtlove said...

Leach is brilliant!

Great Write!

Jarvis Singleton said...

The article by Michael Leach really hits home for me. His observations and conclusions were truly refreshing. It has often grieved me why some people (being in the African-American community or any other nationality) would use somber events to voice their unwarranted opinions (think of the Kanye West/Hurricane Katrina episode). This is one of the reasons why I had no desire to watch the whole funeral because I knew with that many "powerful" dignitaries there it would soon become a "finger pointing" escapade. While things are not perfect in the world (which by the way Scripture says they wouldn't be), this was a time to honor the legacy and work of Mrs. King. I feel that the antics put on there were disgusting and did immense damage to a time that should of been devoted to a woman who was used by God to do a marvelous work.

Then there is Bernice! Not getting on the whole elder issue, I just have to say that Dr. Leach hit the nail right on the head. The comments made by her show the sad reality of how Christ has now become a minor player in a lot of our churches. Proclaimations of the gospel have been replaced by inept messages drowned in sin. And sadly, churches like Eddie Long's are leading the battle cry in this endeavor. It is just as God predicted through the prophet Isaiah , "These people honors Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me; in vain do they worship me teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt. 15:8-9). What Bernice King (as well as most people who follow these preachers) don't realize is that by going this route, Mr. Long--as well as the others like him-- are showing their true fruits. But due to the fact that people are so mesmorized by the size of their churches or are being guided by anthropocentric--instead of theocentric--traditions, they can't see the obvious even when it is as clear as day. Thus the focus shifts ever so subtly from the majesticness of Christ to issues or personalities that should be used to honor Him instead of being used to compete with Him. Until people learn that "our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness", people will continue to be drawn to Christ for the wrong reasons and will miss entirely the Kingdom of God.

johnMark said...


I am just wondering if you've ever read MLK Jr. writing on the Trinity? If so, do you have any thoughts on this area? It seems that he denied the Orthodox view of the Trinity. I believe his papers are online at Stanford U.


ajcarter said...

No, Mark, I have not read Dr. King on the subject of the Trinity. I have never been inclined to read Dr. King for his doctrinal clarity or theological precision. I have read many of his sermons and his sermons do not make much use of the Trinity, but neither do I find in his sermons a denial of this indispensible doctrine. I will have to read some of his theological writings to find out more. Though, honestly, the trinitarian (or anti-trinitarian) theology of Dr. King is not high on my reading list :-).

Thanks for the thought-provoking comments.

johnMark said...

As you probably know I wasn't suggesting that you read MLK for his theology. =) We can take nothing away from him for the greatness he accomplished for civil rights. However, that should not excuse his doctrine of Christianity.

For example, "The last doctrine in our discussion deals with the resurrection story. This doctrine, upon which the Easter Faith rests, symbolizes the ultimate Christian conviction: that Christ conquered death. From a literary, historical, and philosophical point of view this doctrine raises many questions. In fact the external evidence for the authenticity of this doctrine is found wanting. But here again the external evidence is not the most important thing, for it in itself fails to tell us precisely the thing we most want to know: What experiences of early Christians lead to the formulation of the doctrine?"

You can read the rest here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/papers/vol1/491123-What_Experiences_of_Christians.htm

Many times because people have done great things in life others follow them in everything. One can do many great things for their fellow man and still deny the Christian faith.

I found a quote from Tom Skinner http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/430.htm#3 from "Black and Free" 1968 that I haven't been able to verify yet. The quote is, "I am not sure that Martin Luther King knew Jesus Christ in the evangelical Christian context." If you are interesting I will let you know if I find it.

Thanks for listening.

ajcarter said...

Mark, I whole-heartedly agree. Here is a quote from one of Dr. King's sermons:

"Where do we find this God? In a test tube? No. Where else except in Jesus Christ, the Lord of our lives? By knowing him we know God. Christ is not only Godlike, but God is Christ like. Christ is the Word made flesh. He is the language of eternity translated in the words of time. If we are to know what God is like and understand his purposes for mankind, we must turn to Christ."

These words seem biblical enough, yet it appears to me that most Jehovah Witnesses would agree with Dr. King's sentiments. What do you think?


johnMark said...

Honestly, I would like to see more context for Dr. King quoted words. I agree that a JW could agree to those words. It seems that there isn't enough written in your quote to declare or deny that Christ was actually God. Though one could deny this and still affirm Dr. King's words.

I appreciate the dialogue. I haven't gone through all of the papers online, but I have read several of his theology papers. He seems to say that Christians came up with Christ as deity via greek thought. That we borrowed from Mithraism and denies the resurrection and virgin birth.

These are fundamental issues in which one cannot go beyond.