When Anthony Carter’s On Being Black and Reformed was published, I think the Reformation in the African American community surpassed Mach 1. Finally there was a rallying point, a buoy, and a field book for those of us saying to others, “come over here and get excited about a better way of thinking about Christian living and ministry in our context!”
I remember reading the book with great excitement over the course of about two days. (I was so thrilled that I immediately wrote a review of the book for the Journal of African American Southern Baptist History, a journal that is not available online, but can be obtained by contacting the Florida Baptist Convention.) I am thankful for the Lord’s kindness to us through his servant Anthony Carter.
Now another book has me equally excited! Except for getting my children ready for school this morning and writing this blog post, I have not been able to put down Thabiti Anyabwile’s The Decline of African American Theology! This book is going to take the new Reformation to Mach 2. We now have a tool drawing from a common history with other African Americans (as opposed to the Reformation texts and history) from which we can fight the good fight and contend for the once and for all delivered faith. Prior to this text, there was always a loophole in making the case for Reformation in the African American community. But Anyabwile closes this loophole to a pinhole by demonstrating it is not the Black neo-Reformers who have deviated from the faith of our forefathers. Instead, it is the greater African American church and religious community that has deviated from the orthodoxy held by our forbears and almost disintegrated; (yes, in our context it is community rather than communities, for we a quite syncretistic). Thank you, Lord, for giving us the hope of reformation, revival and revitalization through the Pure Church writer formerly known as Ron Burns.
Thinking of these two men reminded me of an unpublished work I produced in 2006 in which both of them were mentioned as Reformation examples. The article, Megachurches, Megaphones, is included below as an MS Word file. This work is my tribute to them for leading the way in this new Reformation. They exist in stark contrast to the megaphonies.
megachurches-megaphones.doc (Megachurches, Megaphones is about the Black Church and social justice, or the lack thereof by Word of Faith churches in particular.)
My tribute also rightly belongs to Carl Ellis, Bruce Fields, Ken Jones, and Wy Plummer, who have been in the trenches of the new Reformation for at least two decades longer than the upstarts (self included). We stand on their shoulders and on the shoulders of many others like them. I am sure Carter and TA do not mind sharing this tribute with these men.