Can you be black and reformed?

January 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

African-American scholar Dr. Anthony Bradley (of The King’s College and The Acton Institute) linked to a post in which I discussed Tim Keller and George Marsden’s schema for outlining the various emphases present in contemporary American presbyterianism. You can read it here. I was, and remain, curious to see what sort of emphasis will predominate in ECO: A Covenant Order of Presbyterians, a new denomination emerging out of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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Bradley seizes on the Marsden-Keller schema and applies it to African American expressions of the reformed faith. His main point is that there is also more than one emphasis in African-American reformed Christianity. Unfortunately, it seems, the propensity exists to lump all black presbyterians into a single expression of the reformed faith. 

I’m no expert on this, but it seems to me that contours of black expressions of the reformed faith would (necessarily) be other than those of majority culture expressions. It’s important for white presbyterians to recognize and affirm this rather than attempt to subvert it. The beauty of God’s multiethnic kingdom comes not in its homogeneity, but in it’s diverse expression of the same gospel of the kingdom, which often looks very different for those who are not a part of the majority white culture. 

I hope that Dr Bradley will blog more about this topic as a way to help those of us who are presbyterian, white, and committed to Biblical multi-ethnicity as a witness to the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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