Slave Mentality (posted 4/2/07)

May 3, 2007

Over the last week, I have been reading Bishop Carlton Pearson’s The Gospel of Inclusion. He argues, quite eloquently, the fact that there is no need to “get saved” because the world has already been saved through the work of Jesus Christ in his crucifixion and resurrection. Needless to say, the majority of the Christian community (especially in the African American community) has labeled him a heretic and has shunned him.

As an African American, I am baffled. I would think that our community, whose ancestors knew not of freedom and salvation, would rejoice in this logic. Instead, we have refused it and have chosen this “woe is me, I’m a horrible sinner” theology. In my meditations, I asked why any African American Christian would not embrace this message of liberation. I began to think back on my days growing up in the Missionary Baptist Church and I realized why we don’t like Bishop Pearson’s message. It’s because we have been preaching the same “feel good” sermon since slavery. When Christianity was introduced to us as slaves, it was meant to keep us in line. We weren’t encouraged to study the history of Christianity or explore our individual spirituality. We were given a mind-numbing, watered-down version of the Christ Principle and it has changed very little in the last 400 years.

This deeply saddens me, brothers and sisters. In this day, we have more opportunities than any generation ever has. We MUST take advantage! We need to know the history of the religion we practice if we want to fully appreciate it. We must approach scripture with an opened mind and an opened heart. We must faithfully listen to God and openly accept God’s evolving creation. One of the most profound, yet saddening, points Bishop Pearson makes is that Christians would rather make a deal with God instead of simply accepting the free Gift of Salvation.

We are no longer slaves, beloved… we are FREE! Free to live eternally with the knowledge that the work of Christ is finished. There is no sign-up. There are no conditions. There is just salvation.

Now, people of God, take this Gospel of Freedom and rejoice! Embrace it and explore the benefits of God’s grace, such that you may be able to exhibit the same love and compassion to those that you encounter. God’s Peace…

Br. Ashton J. Reynolds, OPC


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