Dramatizing God’s Word in the Streets

Listen to Carl Ellis on contextual theology and the civil rights movement

During the 2018 Theology Conference, Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr., assistant to the chancellor and provost’s professor of theology and culture at Reformed Theological Seminary, explored differences between African American theology and the dominant American evangelical theology, particularly as each related to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement.

Dr. Ellis, who also serves as senior fellow of the African American Leadership Initiative, dean of the Makazi Institute, and associate pastor for cultural apologetics at New City Fellowship, discussed “The Gospel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Contextual Theology and Evangelicalism”:

“Under Dr. King’s leadership, the theology of suffering became a tool of empowerment. This renewed, reinvigorated side of the theology of suffering is what powered the civil rights movement. People don't realize it, but it was powered theologically. It gave us the courage to stand up to the sin of racism. African Americans had the will to resist oppression, but we did not have the method. And brother Martin gave us the method and a renewed will to resist. And Dr. King lead us to harness the power of the Word of God, namely the Sermon on the Mount. All those nonviolent demonstrations: It was a dramatization of the Sermon on the Mount. And dramatizing God’s Word in the streets is what made the civil rights movement so effective.” — Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr.

Listen to the full lecture in the EFCA Theology Podcast episode, and stay tuned for more podcasts from the conference. If you missed other episodes from the conference, find them in the EFCA Theology Podcast archives.

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