The Black Church

I couldn’t have predicted the response that I received after I posted a comment on the Black Church. The term Black Church has been used to describe the African American Church, which is the most revered institution in the black community. It is indeed quite sad that anyone would have to call his or her church a black church, or a white church.

I will proudly submit to you that the God of the Bible transcends color, and either God is Lord of All Born-Again Believers that follow his precepts, his ways and his word, or he is not Lord at all. The scriptures state that God is not a respecter of persons, so that would mean that God would not be enamored by the race or ethnicity of any believer. Yet, it is still surprising to me that to just mention the term black church causes such an uproar.

I am the descendant of a people that were brought to this nation in the hulls of slave ships. I am not asking for an apology from anyone, but I am asking many of you that come to this blog and others to consider the following point of view. We shouldn’t have to call a church a Black church.

However; one would be remiss to not note that there has not been widespread reconciliation in our houses of worship. The African American People are less than 7 generations up from being banned from reading, writing, and even worshipping God.

While American pulpits and choirstands have proclaimed that God is love for hundreds of years, systemic and institutional racism has prevailed in our nation and even in our churches. While the slaveowners studied the Holy Writ, they brutally assaulted many of the initial African American slaves. Where there prayer meetings before lynchings? Why was the mainstream church silent for so long on such a horrible practice as slavery? The Black Church was basically all that people of color possessed.

Blacks had been lingering at the bottom of the American social caste chart for years. One of the commandments of Jesus was to love one’s neighbor as one would love himself. Is it a sin for an African American to savor the fragrance of an African American Worship Service? I submit to you that it is not a sin for one to enjoy his or her church’s flavor of worship.

Our church has had a proud legacy, and I am not ashamed about loving the ambiance of The Black Church. There have been many efforts to integrate churches throughout our land, yet 11 AM on Sunday Mornings is still the most segregated hour on the clock.

If one would pay attention to our television ministries and our megachurches, there are many preachers of other races that pastor or oversee thousands of members of color. Yet, this is not true in the inverse. If one would follow all of the major African American ministries in our land that have black pastors, one would not find an overwhelming “percentage” of other races in the congregation. This is why there has been a so called black church.

Our modes of worship are different and that is not a discredit to any race. Are we really committed to reconciliation in our houses of worship? There was a previous pastor of a large mainstream church in Memphis,Tennessee that once stated-I can’t wait to get to heaven, so I can go on the Negro side of heaven and hear one of those great Negro spirituals. Will there be subdivisions in heaven? Was he reciting what others secretly believe?

Prayerfully, the houses of worship in our land will learn to work together on common ground. We are all aspiring to make it to a place called heaven where there will be no segregation, busing, or separations by ethnicities. One could surmise that racism has sometimes even crept into the House of Grace.

The enemy must love to see the church separated by lines of color. Let’s eradicate this problem. If we ever plan on seeing the Christ that we all preach about, we had better get started!

Respectfully Submitted,

Pastor Stephen F. Smith

Sure House Church, Inc.

3 Responses

  1. I heard the remarks made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright; they were terrible no matter what kind of spin you try to put on it. I have heard other black preachers defend him since. I couldn’t believe that his thoughts are so widespread in the stable black community. I thought that the sane minds of black people knew that many white people worked very hard and put them selves in danger to bring black people to the point they are in America. If the black community hasn’t gotten as far as they should have, most of the reason lies with them. This latest incident will only put race relations backwards. I know as a supporter of black rights in the past, I am going to be reluctant to do so in the future. It seems the black community wants a fight with the white community. It is all too sad. Don’t you know white and black racist have been energized by this, I don’t see any point in wasting time working for unity now. I can see the black churches overflowing with people and the collection plates overflowing with money on Sunday. I see where this could be a good thing for you. I have been thinking of retiring to Costa Rico or Thailand, this might be the time to do that.

  2. Your comments are full of what seems to be condescension. Black preachers are defending him not because they agree with everything that he says, but we are cognizant that we can’t form an opinion of this man based only on soundbites. Last time I checked we didn’t have to get approval from you before we would approve of another black preacher.

    You made a comment about how whites brought blacks to where they are. What about hundreds of years of free labor? That sure helped blacks out! We didn’t exactly wave the slave ships down. We are here in America and most African Americans are looking for a More Perfect Union in America. My prayer is that you would remove the moat of racism in your eyes, before you would even attempt to remove the specks in the eyes of Black America!

  3. Wow. I just came across your blog and paused to read your well written article. I don’t know what Denis Logan’s political affiliation is. But, in my view, Denis’ comments seem to typify what a number of white, so-called “civil rights activists”, including Geraldine Ferraro are thinking. First, we must deny the existence and effects of racism.

    Secondly, black people, including black preachers and black presidential candidates, must demonstrate our commitment to white values by rejecting and disassociating ourselves from other blacks whose views and behaviors are considered controversial or troublesome.

    On the other hand, white preachers and presidential candidates like John McCain are not held to the same standard. Senator John McCain actively sought the endorsement of a controversial preacher like John Hagee, who openly denigrates Catholics and others and also promotes hatred of Muslims. But he is not being raked over the coals or forced to reject Hagee.

    Some whites view the worship experience in a black church like Trinity United Church of Christ, as offensive, jarring and unrefined. And they question whether a person, like Barack who associates with a church like Dr. Wright’s, is able to lead this country.
    The next argument is that blacks ought to be grateful to whites because of how hard they’ve worked to help us get ahead. Whenever there is even a hint of frustration or anger over racial or social inequality, whites claim they have a right to be offended. In my opinion, this part of the argument is perhaps the least palatable because the issue at the core of the problem is that the people who seem to be complaining the loudest also don’t appear to have any intimate knowledge or appreciation of black culture or the role of the black church in our history and culture.

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