Christianity,  Theology/Bible

Thabiti Anyabwile on Black Liberation Theology

In light of my previous post, I need to pass along another article that I think is very helpful. This one is an interview that Collin Hansen conducted with Thabiti Anyabwile, author of The Decline of African American Theology. The interview discusses the sermonic genre of African American churches as well as the Liberation Theology that has eclipsed the gospel in churches like Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s. Here’s an excerpt:

Hansen: Are Wright’s views mainstream among African Americans?

Anyabwile: It depends on what you mean by “Wright’s views.” Do most African Americans feel like they’ve gotten a fair shake in the American experience? Certainly not. Do most African Americans think that racism is alive and well? Yes. Do most African Americans feel that there will be some judgment against America for its hypocrisy and duplicity along racial lines? I think so. But in that sense, most African Americans aren’t much different from their white counterparts who decry abortion as a scourge deserving judgment.

But do most African Americans call down damnation on America? No, I don’t think so. I don’t think Wright’s flourish represents even most of the people in his own church. If you keep in mind that historically black preaching aims at emotional effect, it’s entirely possible to resonate with the emotion of a point while not at all holding to the particulars of the point. I don’t think this is healthy. But it is typical and it may help to explain why 8,000 people could attend that church, hear such things, and continue to love their pastor, serve together, and go about their everyday lives without expressing that kind of sentiment. The preaching moment is primarily affective, not cognitive.

Here’s the rest:

“Black Power from the Pulpit” – by Collin Hansen (

(HT: Justin Taylor)


  • Paul


    I read the whole article, and as someone who has been to a number of black churches through the years, I agree wholeheartedly with what Anyabwile is saying.

    It is sad, but understandable, though, that blacks have clung to Black Liberation Theology. It’s not like their white counterparts in the church have done that much to help them in their struggles. How many churches do we know of that will go across the world to China to preach the gospel, but won’t go to South Central, the black parts of Houston, or Roseland (to bring it back home to Chicago)? How many white churches have reached out to black churches to offer help or support?

    It’s easy to be indignant towards Black Liberation Theology when you’ve done little to steer the ship. If we’re all Christians, then we should all be doing our part to help each other out. If you’re not part of the solution, after all…

  • Quixote


    How many black churches have reached out to help white churches? There are many poor, homeless, white folk who need a hand. How many black brothers lend a hand to the indigent white?

    Ever hear of reverse racism? Can you imagine what would happen in this country if we had a showbusiness awards show honoring ONLY white people? Or, a month devoted to honor ONLY white history? Or, a beauty pageany for ONLY white contestants? Or, college grants available to ONLY white students?

    While these “blacks only” things may have seemed like good ideas at the time, they serve only to sow strife and discord in our nation.

    And why in previous comment threads do you and others consistently blame America for slavery? Jamaica, Africa, England, etc….all were guilty…whites AND blacks. Sin is sin, regardless of color. And to keep perpetuating hate is sin as well.

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.