Trevin Wax: What should the role of the black church be in addressing the social pathologies that continue to plague many black communities?Read the whole interview HERE.
Anthony Bradley: Since slavery, the black church has served as a primary place for moral and social formation in the black community. The black church provided a refuge from suffering and a place to hear the hope of God’s plan to redeem all things because of what was finalized at the cross. We believe that her role is still important as the Scriptures teach us about the cosmic scope of redemption (Rom. 8; Col. 1).If we want black families restored, virtues developed, and so on, that comes through the preaching and teaching of the work and person of Christ and the applications of redemption accomplished on the cross in our communities as God’s people seek first the Kingdom. This is what union with Christ is all about.God intends to use His people, formed by the means of grace in His church, to be His agents of doing His will in the world wherever the curse is found (Matt. 5:13-20). As Reformed theologians, like Abraham Kuyper, remind us, the church is to continue preaching against sin in the lives of individuals and the errors in social institutions that do not reflect God’s intention for human life.
Trevin Wax: How has the prosperity gospel’s message of individual empowerment affected many black churches?
Anthony Bradley: Sadly, the prosperity gospel has taken the already individualistic, consumeristic American understanding of what it means to follow Christ to a new destructive level. This is why we included a chapter on this movement. Its theologically poisonous tentacles have found their way into many black churches, and it is now a major force in the black expression of Christianity in America, Latin America, and Africa.Black pastors who are faithful to the Bible’s theology and faithful to the gospel of Christ are burdened to regularly preach against the prosperity gospel because of its presence in so many black churches as well as its emergence in contemporary gospel music. Prosperity theology is so bad that even black liberation theologians attack it.
Dr. Bradley is the editor of a book well worth reading: Keep Your Head Up.