Witness

Revolutionary Love: The Weapon of Choice for Dr. King and the Church

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As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his national holiday, I find myself reflecting deeply on his deep commitment to a transformative love. A revolutionary love found in Christ Jesus. Many times when Dr. King wanted to provide a picture of the ultimate goal of the Civil Rights Movement he would refer to the beloved community. The beloved community was the transformative banner under which both American and global citizens across race and class could collectively experience equality, justice, and reconciliation. The strategic means towards the realization of this beloved community would include transformative love and nonviolent resistance.

Dr. King indeed waged a war against injustice, oppression, and inequality but he did so through the weapons of prayer, economic boycotts, freedom songs, preaching, and peaceful marches. He took this strategy of love and nonviolence and these unusual weapons into the heat of militarized police forces, angry and racist mobs, and a dominant Christian Church that in many ways stood on the sidelines in disagreement of his methods. This aspect of the broader Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. King was missional. It was missional because redemption and reconciliation were woven into the fabric of the movement. It was also the theological foundation of it. He indeed had both liberation and conversion on his mind and in his heart as he served as a drum major for justice.

Dr. King had both liberation and conversion on his mind and in his heart as he served. Click To Tweet

He waged a war using love with the hope of defeating the weapons of choice of this sinful world for dealing with racial conflict and resistance to racial oppression; violence. To understand this is to understand the true ends of the Civil Rights Movement at its best. The missional dynamic of this part of the Civil Rights Movement was focused on the liberation of the oppressed, the conversion of the oppressor, and the empowerment of the poor. This all seems Gospel-like. The problem is, some parts of evangelicalism have instead tried to make this Gospel-light by describing it only as an example of the social gospel. But to limit this part of the movement in this way, or even to use the term social gospel to rip justice work away from the declaration and demonstration of the Kingdom of God, is to deeply misunderstand the Gospel itself.

We need a new dose of church-based movement with transformative & eternal ends in mind. Click To Tweet

Yet today, we are living in a time of racial conflict, violence as the primary means to solve conflict in general, and a widening gap between the Haves and the Have Nots. We need a new dose of a collective, church-based movement with transformative and eternal ends in mind. There are still people who are in need of liberation and empowerment. There are still people who need a second conversion because though they claim Christ they are held captive by the matrix of race. There is still a need for the Kingdom of God to come to bear upon injustice, violence, and division so that there may be a greater experience of authentic truth, justice, and transformation. Our weapon of choice is the revolutionary love found in Christ Jesus.

This weapon was good enough for Dr. King and still available for us today.

Our weapon of choice is the revolutionary love found in Christ Jesus. Click To Tweet
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