Destroying Black Churches, Destroying Black Hope?
Despite the unwarranted criticism of the Christian church in the past week, the Black church has consistently represented a beacon of hope in the Black community.
Before the Black community began making strides during the abolitionist movement and the Civil Rights Movement, our faith represented the hope that things would get better.
The Bible (Hebrews 11:1) states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
But many White supremacists wrongly believe that if they can destroy our symbols of hope, they can destroy our actual hope and thwart our progress.
Over the past two weeks, seven Black churches in the South have burned, with at least three attributed to arson. On Tuesday night, Mount Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, S.C. burned but arson is not suspected.
According to the Washington Post, “Since at least 1822, when the first recorded burning of a Black church occurred in South Carolina, church arson has been the default response of racists frustrated with progress—or even the faint specter of progress—on civil rights. More than even lynching, burning houses of worship remains a go-to weapon in hate groups’ arsenal. Torching churches such as Mount Zion persisted decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, 100 years after Booker T. Washington dined at the White House and 150 years after the end of the Civil War.”
The hope of White supremacists can only happen if the Black church lets it happen, and unfortunately we have been letting it happen for too many years over the recent past.
Too many church leaders seem more concerned with staying politically correct than in correctly educating their congregants biblically and preparing them for the demons like racism, sexual immorality and sin that they are confronted with everyday.
The advent of the mega-church and the affluent Black congregation and minister has led too many preachers to care more about the offering basket than in ruffling a few feathers.
In past eras we had Black preachers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. call America out for their immorality and not living up to the standards required by our Creator.
Unfortunately, the result has been the decay of the Black Christian church long before the seven fires that have engulfed Black churches throughout the South.
The Black churches that have been burned will undoubtedly rebuild and my critique is definitely no personal knock on them. But the Black church, and the Christian church as a whole, needs to rebuild spiritually and biblically first and foremost before worrying about rebuilding physically.
The Black church once prided itself on being leaders spiritually, biblically, morally and politically.
Now its message seems more sugarcoated than ever in efforts to place more people in the pews and more paper in the offering tray.
The Black church was once the meeting place for many civil rights leaders as they discussed strategy to end Jim Crow laws throughout the South.
Now it is a place filled with luxury cars and helicopters, and not filled with the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.
Until the Black church can rebuild spiritually it does not matter if it rebuilds physically because many Black churches are no longer a refuge from evil, but a pawn for evil and sin.