Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reformed African-Americans on the Move!

I am excited! I am more excited than I have ever been about being Reformed in the African-American context. Most people who know me would probably wonder how I could be any more excited than I already was. However, my previous excitement was due to the fact that I was brought to the light of Reformed truth by a inexplicably gracious God. Excitement for this mercy has not waned. Yet, today my excitement is not individualistic, rather it is more about our community of Reformed faith. You see, there is being laid a literary foundation for God having been so gracious. If there is going to be a sustained evangelical Reformed movement among African-Americans it must incorporate a corpus of literary works that establish who we are and give those who come behind us something to build upon.
For a long time it seemed that the lone evangelical Reformed African-American voice was that of Carl Ellis. We can not thank Carl enough for his courage and consistency in speaking to the issues facing African-Americans and for articulating a Reformed faith in this context. Today, the fruit of Carl's labors is being seen and even taken to new heights of Reformed thinking and insight. Thanks to Carl (and others, white and black) I was encouraged to write On Being Black and Reformed. However, my book was only meant to be a precursor to more and even better contributions to Christianity from Reformed African-Americans. Today the contributions are coming fast and furious and I can not be more excited.
For example, Sherard Burns, who contributed to the book A God Entranced Vision of All Things, is expected to publish a book in the next year. Thabiti Anyabwile is expected to have two books published within the next year. Michael Leach and Ken Jones are expecting to contribute to books on Reformed Theology within the next year, as well. How often have I gone to Reformed conferences and longed to see books on display from African-American minds and hearts. Soon my longing will be over as more and more of my brothers are putting pen to paper and we will hear how God is using their gifts for his glory. I am excited! Now our white Reformed brothers and sisters will have fewer excuses for not engaging with and learning from their Reformed African-American brothers and sisters. I am excited because soon our movement will be substantiated by a growing corpus of writings letting all know that this movement is historically, theologically and biblically consistent and sustainable. I am excited because Reformed African-Americans are on the Move. We are developing and sustaining conferences. We are planting and supporting churches. Now we are writing and publishing books. I don't know about you, but I am excited!


FellowElder said...

Brother, I join you in this excitement. I was thrilled to hear about the project you're editing and that Crossway is publishing, and about Sherrard's work with Crossway. I didn't know Leach and Ken were putting some things in print as well!! I praise God for the fruit He is bearing these days!

Here's a thought... tell me what you think.

Given the absence/lack of any substantive theological reflection and critique in African-American circles (and here I'm discounting the stuff that comes out of Black or Womanist Theology because it's so out of touch with mainstream Black folks who mean to love the Lord and love the Bible), our long-term strategy should be to leave behind a corpus of work that would bend the trajectory of the Church back toward Reformed raith and life. I think we can do that, perhaps not so much in this generation, but in the next 1 or 2 if we leave a body of work that is solid, scriptural, Christ-exalting, and avoids novelty.

Any thoughts? I'm excited, too!

SeƱor Limpio said...

Amen! May God humble the proud and give grace to sinners through His faithful saints of all races. May our unity in the Body of Christ demonstrate His mighty power to all who see!

ajcarter said...

Hey TB,
Do I have thoughts? That's like asking a bear does it have hair :). My thoughts are along the same lines as yours. We must continue to strategize on laying a solid foundation or else the gospel which we preach will be lost in one generation. We have seen this happen before. We must do all we can to make sure it does not happen to us. One of the keys to making sure the next generation is burning hotter with Reformed truth than we are is to leave them our passion for God in books and sermons. I thank God for you my brother. I look forward to many fruitful years of co-laboring together.

LouLove said...

Please allow me to join in on the excitement my Brothers. The hour is now upon us and although I am not of the writing bunch, certainly you men will have my support. As soon as the new books hit the press, our conference book table will be loaded with them. By the way Thabiti what is the new of your titles again?

LouLove said...

You see what I mean Brothers by not being in the writing bunch. That last question should have been; "what are the titles of your new publications?"

FellowElder said...

Now most bros add "love" to their name b/c they're trying to be cool. How cool must you be to have your natural name be "loulove"?

The Decline of African-American Theology: From Biblical Faith to Cultural Captivity. Using the typical heads for a systematic theology, this traces the decline from Lemuel Haynes and Jupiter Hammon (both Reformed) to the present.

The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Visions of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors (Crossway). This is a collection of sermons on pastoral ministry and the church from Lemuel Haynes, Daniel Payne, and Francis Grimke.

BlackCalvinist said...

You know what this means, right Anthony ?

It means I'll have to get my online name trademarked. :)

All jokes aside, I'm just as excited as you are, bruh. Just like I was happy to see you, your pastor, Mike Biggs and other folk at T4G. And more and more, at each conference or whatever, I hope to see more of 'us' there.

FellowElder makes a good point: a large body of works for the next generation is exactly what is needed. I would probably add to that some heavy advertising (for lack of a better term). RT isn't popular in our communities because by and large, it's not known.

So unlike the traditional 'reformed model' which states that we, after coming into knowledge of RT, simply hang around people just like us... what are we doing to push good Biblical theology into areas it normally wouldn't be found at ?

I blogged a little bit about this in a recent post and how, for example, many discussion boards have formed up into communities among African-Americans (just like everybody else). So I push RT theology there.... and (prayerfully) make people think and reflect more on their faith and the traditions they've been taught to believe as true.

I guess I'm wondering... message boards and blogs give us deliberate opportunity to be in a mixed crowd of folks (theologically speaking - and I'm also including non-Christians). How can we be deliberate about getting 'into' theologically diverse crowds that we'd normally have no other reason to be around in 'real life' ? What are some ways we can be deliberate about that ?

LouLove said...

Thanks fellowelder:
I am looking forward to the release dates.

The cool name most of the time serves as a conviction, because I am not as loving as I should be most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Praise God for His love and care for all peoples! Praise God for voices that faithfully preach the Gospel!

I praise God for each and everyone of you! Indeed I am excited.