Jesus in the New Testament was clear that he left the church in charge of this world. If there is going to be any kind of social justice in the world, it will come from the Church, the people of God.  The church must lead the way. The Black church in particular must lead the way. The black church is in such a unique position historically and experientially to provide leadership and guidance. Who better than the black church and its people who have faced evils of white racism and social degradation to instruct humanity about God. Who better than the black church to ease the tension between the mandate of personal salvation and the demands of transforming the social order and achieving justice and equality. It is not an either or position for the black church. It’s all of the above. Jesus said it best, upon this rock, I build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Not has or will ever prevail against the church. The church as a living organism has demonstrated how resilient it is to face whatever challenge or obstacle it must deal with. That was the case before and that’s the case now. Now more than ever we need to black church to not only be a guardian of the culture and the avenue to the afterlife, but we need the black church to usher in another reform effort to transform lives and positively change the social order.  The just shall live by faith and the black church is stand on its attribute of justice for all.

Introduction

What is the nature and mission of the black church? As an instrument of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the mission of the black church can be seen as saving souls or it can be seen as transforming the social order. Maybe it’s both!  If so, how so? Should we lean more on personal piety or social protest? In this course, we will investigate the lives, theology and methods of the great servants of God who dedicated their lives in the struggle for liberation of people. We will discuss the role of the church in this struggle. We will look closely at the beginning of the black church during slavery, during Jim Crow and now in post racial America.  With the ending of the historic presidency of Barak Obama and the polarization of racial tension between law enforcement and African Americans, with a country on edge and looking for the next new thing (aka Donald Trump) to emerge, the role and presence of the black church is needed more than ever. According to the Children Defense Fund, each day in America look like this for our children:

Every 2 minutes a youth drops out of school

Every 1 minute a youth joins a gang 

Every 3 members a teen gild becomes pregnant 

One of the major attributes of God is that of justice. God believes in justice. When it comes to social justice, God is in support of that as well. Social means relational, as with people. God cares about relationship among his people.  Most of the 10 commandments deal with justice between individuals. The Bible teaches us that “the just shall live by faith.” In the Constitution we are reminded about… “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”  Justice cares the connotation of fairness and equity. God desires people to be treated with dignity and fairness. God’s righteousness (or justice) is the natural expression of His holiness. The Bible teaches, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will rise to David a branch of righteousness; A king shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness” Jeremiah 23:5.  As well, “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers” Proverbs 21:15. And finally, yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice” (Isaiah 30:18). 

Course Objective

By the end of the course, students will have a greater appreciate for the mission of the black church in our history as well as the current role in plays in our continued quest for freedom, justice and equality. 

 

The Course seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the historical and current role of the black church?

 

  1. What’s the difference between social justice and social service?

 

  1. What is the relevance of the black church in light of current social and political unrest?

 

  1. Does the black church today have the capacity/wherewithal to effectively deal with the myriad of issues prevalent in the black community?  

 

Course Outline

Session 1 (Foundational Study)

 

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Goals for the Black Church & Social Justice
  • Social Justice Defined
  • Social Justice vs. Social Service
  • The Church: the Foundation of Social Justice

 

Session 2 Social Justice & the Power of Relationships

  • By the Numbers
  • Internal/External
  • Levels of Engagement
  • Laying the Foundation

 

Session 3 Considering Common Justice Issues for the 21st Century

  • By the Numbers
  • Mass Incarceration: The New Jim Crow
  • Police Brutality vs. Black Lives Matter
  • Putting the Public back in Public Education
  • Health & Wellness

 

Session 4  The Black Church: Relevant or Irrelevant

  • By the Numbers…
  • Future Leadership of the Black Church
  • The Black Church vs. Black Youth

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