Restoring the Social Justice Identity of the Black Church
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
In the days of past, the clarion call and mission of the black church was two-fold: it served as a beacon of hope for the lost-soul seeking grace and mercy, but it also functioned as an oasis for all issues affecting the community. The black church served as a voice in the wilderness, crying out that equality and justice belonged to all persons, despite race, social status, or lived experience. The church operated as a twenty-four hour, full-service institution, affecting change spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.
Therefore, the question becomes, what can the black church do to restore its identity as a city of refuge and a beacon of hope? Above all else, the black church must return to its first love, the social, compassionate, and liberating gospel of Jesus the Christ. The black church must stand on the teachings of Jesus despite the pressure and magnetism of contemporary societal fads to mitigate the work of the cross for the influx of capital expansion.
The black church must focus on living the commission of compassion, while also continuing to preach a message of freedom, justice, equality, and hope for all persons from all walks of life. It cannot become so entangled with a message of riches that it overlooks the crucial issues of daily life— deteriorating education, unaffordable housing, rising unemployment, marginal healthcare, and several others.
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