Monday, August 18, 2008

Liberation Theology

A couple of words about Liberation theology. A lot of people have been asking about Liberation theology because of Dr. Jeremiah Wright, who was Barack Obama's pastor. Jeremiah Wright was incredibly influenced by Liberation theologian James Cone, who defined sin as not primarily a religious impurity, but rather "it's the social, political and economic oppression of the poor. It's the denial of humanity as a neighbor through unjust political and economic arrangements." Further, this notion that the Bible is not an infallible witness but only a source pointing to the reality of God, particularly within the social context of the experience of God liberating Blacks. Black and White here are not so much references to skin pigmentation as to relationship between oppressed and oppressor, with the Blacks being oppressed regardless of what their skin color is and the Whites being the oppressors. In that sense Jesus was a Black man struggling for liberation in His world and sin is anything that opposes the liberation of the oppressed, and of course salvation is the rising up of the oppressed against the oppressor by any means necessary.

Now, the problem here is that Jeremiah Wright is communicating this Liberation theology, which is directly opposed to biblical theology, but in hysterical manners, and that was picked up by the media and they played this clip of him talking about the HIV virus being something that was invented by the government and it was a way of committing genocide against people of color.

Obviously this is hysterical and ridiculous, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. They've played it but they were not realizing that there's a theology under the iceberg and that theology is not Christian theology. This is a theology that has obviously very much impacted Barack Obama.

Certainly people in Wright's heritage have been oppressed, but Wright himself is anything but oppressed. Rather than redefining sin and redemption in terms of socioeconomic class struggle, as pastors and church leaders we should concentrate on spiritual reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, because when that happens we have reconciliation with one another as well. So if we want to have class reunification as opposed to class struggle it comes by the change that takes place in the human heart, because when your heart is changed you do not see people as Black and White or as superior and inferior. You see people as people. At the foot of the cross there is no distinction and in Christian theology there is no Black or White, there is no Jew or Greek, there is no slave or free, there is no male or female. We are one in Christ. We are plain old human beings and we have complete equality in a biblical worldview.

So I say again that the problem you have is that the notion being communicated is a theology that doesn't help harmonize the class struggle but actually accentuates it, particularly when you use these kinds of shrill comments which have no basis in reality such that you start believing that the government has some kind of oppressive force that's using HIV to oppress people. This is nonsense and, unfortunately, it's nonsense being communicated to a huge congregation and being bought into by literally hundreds of thousands of people.

I find it interesting that today you have people like Chris Matthews who are singing the praises of Obama. In fact he said "I've never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. Obama comes along and seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament." Now, whether Obama has the answers or not, what his political realities and the future will be or not is not mine to determine. What I should point out, though, is what I've pointed out, and that is Black Liberation theology or Liberation theology in general as codified by Dr. Jeremiah Wright - and he's not alone. He's just one of many - is not the solution to the problem of the oppressed and the oppressor. The solution is found in Jesus Christ, and we should be communicating that with power and passion, not turning the New Testament on its head, but communicating real New Testament theology as communicated in essence by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Anonymous said...

an open letter to Hank hanegraaff from Black christian Men:

Liberation theology was born during the dark evil days of slavery. African christian slave properly and correctly discerned that God's will for them was freedom and liberation from oppresion. They did not buy into the lie that the slave masters fed them that it was God's will for them to be slaves, therefore submit to your masters! the problem is that WHITE PEOPLE used the parts of scripture to pasify black and native americans so that they could subjugate them, both in America and in Africa!
To that end the abolition movement and the underground railroad got its strt. Faith without works is dead. Jesus came to set captives free- not just in the spirit but in the natural as well-and that God did not aprove of their bondage and servitude.This was a radical Idea for its time, especially in light of prevailing church doctrine to the contrary. The White Church was complicit in slavery, they aided and abetted it.Some denominations were started in an effort to support slave holders (such was the southern baptist church).So rather than acepting their condition as "their lot in life", the pursued what they knew was the truth. It's ironic that how that the declaration of independence states that all men are endowed by God with inalienable rights of LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, -three thing that are the opposite of slavery-and yet these same people continued to own slaves, thus denying these other people the rights they enjoy!This is the legacy of White christianity. And it didn't end with the civil war: after slavery died, Jim Crow, another form of slavery was born. much more insidious than outright slavery, it continued unchecked until the 1970's and even the 1980's in some places.Even today in TX and LA there are still pockets of stubborn resistance to the ene of legalized racism.

Anonymous said...

Part 2
"... is not the solution to the problem of the oppressed and the oppressor. The solution is found in Jesus Christ, and we should be communicating that with power and passion, not turning the New Testament on its head, but communicating real New Testament theology as communicated in essence by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".
This to me is the epitomy of your s and most white christian hypocricy. Wher were our so calle dwhite bothers during the century of Jim crow? Where were you in the 1950's and 60's during the most murderous days of our struggle, when white so called christians fire bombed our churches and killed our children? where were you when black pasors and ministers were savagely beaten in the streets for wanting the freedom that was promised them an century beforehand? You can espouse the unity and equality in Christ all day long, but when it comes to acting it out there's no reality to it.I find it very hypocritical of you or any white person to speak on anything that is taught or practiced within the black church. Especially when you whites have made it abundantly clear that you want not fellowship with us. Black were forbidden to join or even attend white churches and we established our own. This was good for us since we did'nt get infected with your greed, hypocricy and unbelief. As for you saying he's " anything but oppressed" demonstrates your continued ignorance of the black situation. He was a civil rights veteran who saw his share of white brutality. But naturally you wouldn't mention that! He's prosering now after decades of the struggle. This was not the case 50 years ago. But God forbid he have an opinion about what he experienced! My own father saw and experienced the same. God forbid someone else other thsan whites have prosperity and power! Since you were silent in the past when we needed your support, do us a favor and stay silent. We don't need your help. wE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP. YOU'VE HELPED US ENOUGH! THANKS FOR NOTHING. YOU ONLY CONCERN YOURSELVE WITH DOCTRINES IN THE BLACK CHURCH WHEN YOU THINK IT WILL AFFECT WHITES ADVERSELY. We black ministers have fought herasy in our mindst for years no thanks to you. You are a fake, like so many white christians. Thanks to last years election your masks have all been ripped off. You are all exposed. You have no right or permission to discuss what we do in our churches.
Malkum Wilson

OBAMA 2012!