Book Review: Doctrine and Race

Mathews, Mary Beth Swetnam. Doctrine and Race: African American Evangelicals and Fundamentalism Between the Wars. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2017. 157pp.

Summary

The basic thesis of Doctrine and Race is that during the interwar period (c. 1920-1940), which was dominated by the fundamentalist-modernist controversy, African-American Christians largely adhered to fundamentalist doctrine but adapted modernist views of social justice and race relations. To support this thesis, Mathews shows that the constructs of “fundamentalism” and “modernism” were “racialized term[s]” (7). The category of fundamentalism was created and defined by white Christians, and modernism was also a primarily white phenomenon. Therefore, African-American churches do not fit this binary, so the polarity of fundamentalism-modernism is an inadequate lens through which to view African-American churches during this period.

Continue reading

When God Seems Unjust

person looking at sunset and mountains

 

Have you ever felt that God is acting unfairly or unjustly?  Looking at the world can create a disconnect between who we believe God is and what we see Him doing.  We believe that He is good, just and fair; yet when we read the news, we see an unsettling lack of goodness, justice, and fairness in the world.  If God is good, why evil?

Perhaps a tragic circumstance in your life has created for you a dissonance between who God is and what He is doing.  After all, He is completely sovereign over everything that happens, including tragedy and hardship (Prov. 16:33, 21:1).  Why do His justice and compassion not compel Him to step in and right the wrongs happening all around us?

Continue reading

Book Review: What Is Biblical Theology?

What is Biblical Theology

Hamilton, James. What is Biblical Theology?: A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 127 pp. 

A question that fascinates me is: How does the entire Bible fit together?  How does Scripture – with its diverse human authors, cultural settings, stories, literary genres, and writing styles – coalesce to form a unified message and narrative?

Continue reading

How the Gospel Reorients Our Definition of “Home”

house-605227_640

 

I have spent my life feeling like a wandering nomad with no permanent rootedness.  This is largely a product of growing up overseas in a context where many of my friends were also away from their home country.  When I was eight years old, my family moved to the Philippines, and I lived there until I was 16.  Many of my friends also were not native to the Philippines, and so we developed a sort of collective identity as being visitors in a land not our own.

Continue reading

Charleston, Race, and Christian Responsibility

AME crest

 

I felt numb as I read the news of a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.  Not only had a young man heartlessly shot 9 people at a Bible study, but his racial motivation was explicit.  During the shooting, he stood up and declared that he was there “to shoot black people.”   After his arrest, he made no effort to conceal his disgusting motives; he plainly told investigators that he wanted a race war.  Though violence of any kind is horrific, it is the blatant racial hatred that motivated this shooting which makes it so difficult for me to comprehend. Continue reading

What Do We Pray For Others?


17202_Sweet_Hour_of_Prayer

 

What we pray for reveals our hearts’ priorities.  The content of our prayers is an indication of where our treasure is.  This is why I have been convicted during this past year about how little I pray for others in comparison to how much I pray for myself.  It is not that I fail to pray for others; I do, but often I skim over those prayer requests before focusing on the real important issue: my needs.  That the majority of my prayer is self-focused reveals that my attitude is largely self-focused.  Praying for others is a means God uses to direct our naturally inward focus toward others.

Continue reading