In Robert P. Jones’s book White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy on American Christianity, he primarily confronts white Christians about the brutal history upon which white Christianity was founded and emerged in America. His aim was to educate them on how their predecessors wove into the fabric of their Christian expression theologies that justified the supremacy of whiteness and inferiority of blackness and how those ideologies remain in place today. This book, however, is directed toward Black Christians to demonstrate to them the chilling reality that the Black church in America has largely adopted the aforementioned theological constructs to inform their ministries and, by doing so, embrace a racist ideology that has historically energized white domination of Black people. White evangelical theology controls most Black churches by defining for them the nature of God, the identity of Jesus, the content of the gospel message, and the function of the church. It has historically imposed its biblical hermeneutic, scriptural exegesis, and cultural morality upon the Black church, and thereby reduced the Black church to a mere echo chamber of the white church, promoting the needs and values of the white community to the negation of its own.
This book engages Walter Wink's conception of the Domination System and directs its focus to the black church and black Christians. Wink describes this system as an evil hierarchical social construct with the powerful occupying the top rung. As the hierarchy descends, the rungs become less powerful until the bottom is reached where the weak and powerless reside. It is this social matrix that defines American society. In her book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson agrees with Wink's notion of the Domination System and argues that in America, a ranking metric for a system of domination is race, with the white race occupying the apex and the Black race constrained to the bottom. From this social matrix emerges theological constructs. In subjugated communities’—Blacks, Latinos, women, LGBTQ—their theological positions inherently recognize the Domination System and the damage it inflicts upon them. Their theologies empower them to struggle against this system while advocating for its deconstruction, where all can share power and access.
This book argues that white evangelical theology which emerges from this social matrix provides biblical justification for domination. Its function is to help sustain domination systems and preserve the supremacy of whiteness at the top of the social hierarchy. Predominantly, they view white domination as fundamentally ordained by the God of the Bible, and use a racist biblical hermeneutical interpretation of Scripture to support their position. Blindly, when the Black church embraces white evangelical theology, no matter how polite, friendly, and courteous its purveyors may be, it becomes complicit in its own oppression.
This book challenges the Black church to divorce itself of the toxic influence of white evangelical theology by rediscovering the Jesus Christ of the Bible against His historical backdrop, rather than removing Him from history and placing Him in a timeless vacuum—robbing His ministry and message of context. Such a hermeneutical approach to understanding the historical Jesus would reveal that Jesus’ struggle against Roman colonial oppression mirrors Black people’s struggle against oppression in America. This provides a unique bond between the historical Jesus and the Black community, including other people who have been oppressed. Out of the Black community’s solidarity with the suffering Jesus, a more authentic theology for the Black church must emerge to inform its ministry and message and to celebrate its liberated identity.
Subscribe to the Bible Is Black History newsletter and be one of the first to know when this latest publication from Dr. Theron D. Williams is available.
AVAILABLE NOW FROM
THE BIBLE IS BLACK HISTORY INSTITUTE
"The Bible is Black History - ABCs" teaches children the ABCs while they learn about the heroes and heroines of the Bible. The Bible characters are beautifully depicted with more historical accuracy than traditional biblical images.
"Great Women of the Bible: Contemporary Conversations" presents the stories of Eve, Deborah, Queen Vashti, Queen Esther, Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Lydia in a way that parallels the stories of present day Black women in America. The Bible emerged from a male dominated, patriarchal society. Much of the biblical narrative casts men as the heroes and basically ignores women, treating them mostly as insignificant role players. "Great Women of the Bible: Contemporary Conversations" highlights women who broke through deeply ingrained sexist and misogynistic barriers to join forces with God to help roll out his plan for salvation, liberation and redemption. Each chapter concludes with thought provoking questions to arouse deep self-reflection.
"Young Heroes of the Bible: Contemporary Conversations" highlights the contributions to Salvation history made by such young men as Samuel, David, Jeremiah, the Hebrew Boys, the Boy Jesus, Timothy and Titus. "Young Heroes of the Bible..." presents their stories in a way that parallels the stories of young Black men in America today. At the end of each chapter are reflection questions suitable for group discussions or personal devotions.
"The Bible is Black History-Children's Edition" tells biblical stories using more historically accurate depictions of Bible characters. This book intends to highlight the association between Bible stories and their black characters for young readers. "The Bible is Black History-Children's Edition", also, seeks to begin the mitigation process of the century's old whitewashing of biblical heroes and heroines, and to expose children of African descent to a more authentic rendition of biblical depictions. It is empowering for young children to read the biblical story and see themselves as a part of its powerful narrative.
We live in an age when young Christians are asking tough questions that previous generations would dare to ask. This generation doesn't hesitate to question the validity of the Scriptures, the efficacy of the church and even the historicity of Jesus. Young people are becoming increasingly curious as to what role, if any, did people of African descent play in biblical history? Or, if the Bible is devoid of Black presence, and is merely a book by Europeans, about Europeans and for Europeans to the exclusion of other races and ethnicities? Dr. Theron D. Williams makes a significant contribution to this conversation by answering the difficult questions this generation fearlessly poses. Dr. Williams uses facts from the Bible, well-respected historians, scientists, and DNA evidence to prove that Black people comprised the biblical Israelite community. Dr. Williams also presents historical evidence that links some in the African-American community to the Lost Tribes of Israel. He also shares historical images from the ancient catacombs that vividly depict the true likeness of the biblical Israelites. This book does not change the biblical text but it will change how you understand it.
The Bible is Black History Personal Workbook contains probing questions designed to encourage the reader to more thoroughly delve into the themes presented in The Bible is Black History. The Personal Workbook, along with the book are perfect study materials for Vacation Bible Schools, Sunday Schools, Mid-Week Bible Studies, small group, and personal studies.An equally important function of the Personal Workbook is to stimulate the curiosity of the student such that the student would conduct further studies on this topic; since there is no single book in publication that addresses every subject that pertains to Black presence in the Bible. Also, a bibliography of suggested texts is provided in this personal workbook should the student desire further study materials. Dr. Williams has been the Pastor of the Mt. Carmel Church of Indianapolis, Indiana for more than 30 years. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from the Chicago Theological Seminary and the School of Theology at Virginia Union University respectively.