Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anyabwile a Prophet?

Yesterday Barack Obama acquitted himself well on national TV. With the eloquence of Abraham Lincoln and the presence of Ronald Reagan, Obama reminded us once again, that even if you don't agree him, you still want to listen to him. We have to wait and see if he is able to overcome the latest barrage of political attacks and steady his presidential bid. If he does, he will have no one but his wrong-headed former pastor Jeremiah Wright to thank for it. Because of the erroneous theology of Wright, Obama has been given a platform and opportunity to speak to the American public that neither Hillary Clinton or John McCain has been afforded. As usual, Obama with his eloquence was able to turn what was possibly devastating, into a unprecedented opportunity. Yet we can only lament that it was the decline in African-American theology that has brought this opportunity. Thabiti Anyabwile practically predicted such a scenario.

Anyabwile, author of The Decline of African-American Theology, on Jan. 4 2008 wondered out loud if the decline in African-American theology would derail the campaign of the first really legitimate African-American candidate for president. Thabiti prophetically stated:

People will be more alarmed at the value system at Trinity United Church of Christ where Sen. Obama worships. It is explicitly Black Nationalist in character and, interestingly, introduces "race" in a way that Sen. Obama, to this point, has not. Already several pundits have picked up on this issue and began to discuss it (see here).

One great irony would be if it were finally the weakness of the African-American church that effectively destroyed the first viable presidential bid of an African American. So many people tout the African-American church for its historic role in promoting justice, but few have seen the connection between sound theology and any true effort at justice. In a sad turn of events, it may be by God's hand the Sen. Obama campaign that forces global light on the damnable heresies and errors, the counterfeit Christianity present in so many churches.

White evangelicals may wonder why most blacks, though they disagree with Jeremiah Wright, would still support Barack Obama. Well, there are several reason. But one for sure is that most blacks who support Obama already knew about the foolishness of Wright and thus this is not new information that would change their opinions of Obama. For them, Wright's comments do not change the message or the man who is promising change to them.

Yet, I agree with Anyabwile. The greater issue is not whether or not Obama wins or loses. The real discussion should be around the damnable theology that is spewing forth from such places as Trinity United Church of Christ and the impact such theology is having on the people who hang on every word.

In the final analysis, Rev. Wright has been dead wrong for along time. We will see if Prophet Anyabwile was dead on in his proleptic analysis.

Update: Here Thabiti is interviewed by Collin Hansen of Christianity Today.


Anonymous said...

Bro. Carter,

I overlooked this important statement in Anyabwile's book. Thanks for poiting it out.

Do you see any hope for the black church? Are there any signs or indications that there might be a movement of the Holy Spirit quickening our hearts and reforming our theology. I've experienced and witnessed that through your preaching when I visited your church and other African American churches, and my own church that I attend in Arlington, TX.


ajcarter said...

Hey Lou, good hearing from you. Actually the statement is not in the book, but is from his blog.

You asked if I see hope for the black church. Of course, but I see it in new black churches and new leadership, not so much in the traditional ones. This is not to say that there could not be a theological revitalization within these these older churches. In fact, it is to this end that we pray and write. Nevertheless, the brightest future seems to lie in our generation's willingness to start new churches and establish new leadership. We see it already in the blogosphere. I believe we will see it more and more in churches. Wouldn't you agree? Wouldn't you want to be a part of a new church seeking to do just that?

Irwyn said...


Thanks for the post, and the reminder of Thabiti's words. I remember reading that blog as I was in the midst of reading through his book.

As I listened to Obama on Tuesday morning I was immediately struck by the fact that he was addressing the issue of race from a perspective, and with a force and eloquence that neither Hilary or McCain could duplicate. The other reality is that it is a necessary dialogue.

Also amazing is the irony that, in God's sovereignty, the opportunity was brought about because of "The Decline". "Damnable theology" has consequences. The talking heads in major media outlets have beating the drum of "how will this impact the Obama campaign" for the past two days. Their underlying message (maybe even hope) is that his association with Wright may do him in. Wright's association with Farrakhan has now been muddied into an association between Obama and Farrakhan. They're saying, "At best he's shown bad judgment, at worse Wright's views will influence his policy. He now has a credibility problem."

People regularly ask why theology matters. This is just one example of why it matters in the most practical ways.


Anonymous said...

That's interesting. Maybe you should invite Anyabwile to speak at Trinity Christian College, since there are faculty and administrators there who are long-time members of Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ?

Reformed4ever said...

I was just telling my wife right before reading this that if Wright preached the gospel this would be no issue; in fact, more Republicans would support Obama if he attended an Evangelical Church. From a Christian point of view, this issue is larger than Obama (it has to be). The issue the weakness of the Black pulpit. It passes of unfounded diatribes as preaching a "wholistic" gospel.

I agree with Anthony's statement that many African American Christians would disagree with Wright, and we know his shananigans. Most African Americans will support Obama, regardless simply because he's African American.