The Black Evangelical Moment: Will the Rest of the Church Listen to the Spirit’s Work Among Black Evangelicals?

Speakers: Esau McCaulley, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

In the last 10–15 years, we have witnessed the growth of what seems to be a fresh expression of Christianity in the United States. We have given that expression the title of Black Evangelicalism. This group can loosely be identified by three characteristics. First, they betray some connection to wider evangelism either through evangelical seminaries, parachurch organizations, or Christian Hip Hop. Second, this group for the most part is not directly connected to the historic black denominations. Third, and related to the first, they have nonetheless adopted many of the characteristics of the Black Christian tradition including preaching and music. They are neither fully integrated into the black church nor are they fully immersed in evangelicalism. They are a third thing. Most importance for this conference is the startling coherence of the theological program that is emerging from this corner of the church. We consider their program a work of the Spirit in our day. It seems that they are calling for a union of orthodox theology and a demand for justice, particularly as it relates to the historic concerns of black folks in the United States. This stands in some contrast to the more justice oriented white evangelicals which, overall, tend to be slightly more progressive. They are Orthodox and woke and may point towards a brighter future for the church if we will listen.

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