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Black Liberation Theology – What is it?

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Black liberation theology is a system of thought that attempts to "make Christianity real for blacks" and to end social injustice and bondage. Its goal is to apply the Christian worldview to aid the poor, especially those of African-American descent, and liberate them from social, political, economic, or religious hardships. Black liberation theology is similar in ideal and purpose to the liberation theology that existed first in South America.

The idea that Christianity is currently not real for blacks, or that Christianity needs to be changed to fit the black community, is based on the false premise that Christianity is fundamentally a matter of human institutions, politics, race and social causes. This is humanistic thinking—focusing on this temporal world rather than the eternal world, which is our home (Colossians 3:2-5). It is true that African-Americans have been treated badly, unfairly, and wrongly, and have been subjected to hateful acts and attitudes of racism for far too long. It is also true that the gospel, because of its universal message, ends racism, prejudice and inequality among people. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:27-28). The sad distinctions that so often exist in Christian churches between white and black, male and female, rich and poor, are not biblical, but they are a symptom of fallen man's sinful condition. James speaks to his church, telling them not to commit the sin of partiality, favoring one group over another. He says, "if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, 'You sit here in a good place,' while you say to the poor man, 'You stand over there,' or, 'Sit down at my feet,' have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" (James 2:3-4). So, this sin of partiality is just like any other sin—something that Christians must strive to overcome, together. If blacks and whites separate, under the belief that we must do church differently, how will we learn to love one another and work together for the kingdom?

The gospel's main purpose is to save all men and bring them into God's eternal kingdom (John 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21). Christians are not called to end social injustice on earth, but to provide an alternative to the hateful and futile system of this world, which promises what it cannot deliver, and steals mankind's time and talent, distracting people from God and making them tools of the devil (1 John 2:15-17; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). All things that any Christian needs—regardless of race, gender or socio-economic status—are found in Christ, as He is revealed to us in Scripture. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Related Truth:

What is a biblical view of prejudice, descrimination, and racism?

Liberation Theology – What is it?

Contextual Theology – What is it?

Practical Theology – What is it?

Moral Theology – What is it?

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