Archive for March, 2016
Just this week our old friend, Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian spoke to a Chapel Service at Baylor University. As recorded by Black Christian News Network One (BCNN1), 91 year old Dr. Vivian admitted that “The Black Church is just as dead as The White Church.”
Vivian who marched valiantly with Dr. Martin Luther King makes that assessment because of the things that today’s churches no long “fight for”: “In addition to his history, Vivian discussed his thoughts on today’s race relations. Vivian emphasized that the most important lesson to be learned is the presence of love.
Vivian said King based his entire teachings on the concept of agape love. Agape love is “a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject,” Vivian said. Thus his emphasis that without love operating in all of it words and programs–while the church may have a covering front of Christianity–it is, in fact, dead!
This blessed preacher, teacher and Civil Rights worker continued: ““Martin Luther King had three things: he said we needed to finish racism, end war and end poverty,” Vivian said. “I still believe we have to conquer these three things above all else.”
The BCNN1 continues: “Americans are not in a position to say they have made progress in race relations, Vivian said. He said he believes that today, the black church is just as dead as the white church, and that it is up to the people to stand up and fight justice without fear.”
BCNN1 added: “The reverend also shared some advice for Christians, hoping to encourage students to make a change. Simply going to church will not do,. . . It’s in the action that we find ourselves.”
Vivian shared several stories about when he himself had been in the middle of the the Freedom Fighters movement, including when he was imprisoned and turned to face the barrel of a gun. Despite all this, Vivian said that he was not scared.
“I never was afraid. I had God,” Vivian explained. “We have much to learn, but we are worth saving.”
Dr. Vivian was my friend decades ago in my battle for tenure at Emory University (which claims to be a Methodist institution) in Atlanta, Georgia. I was the first Black professor in the English Department there. And after a highly successful book on Jupiter Hammon, the first African American to publish in the United States, I was denied a permanent position.
Although I was unknown in the Black community there, Dr. Vivian continuously tried to negotiate with University administrators in my behalf. And even after some 2,000 students from throughout Atlanta and Georgia also marched against the University for such racist behavior, we lost that fight.
But God didn’t lose. He simply got me other positions at more welcoming universities. And now it is evident that although he has almost reached a century in age–and truthfully I am not far behind him in that age race–Dr. Vivian still fights for the right on God’s side, and that we still both agree on another point:
The Church in the United States–whether White or Black–is dead–and as The LORD Jesus warns in the Book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, that Church had better wake up enough to salvage what little remains. And as God told me years ago, it is time for Americans to go down on Main Street and love their brothers!
Biblical scholar Finis Dake follows Old Testament scribes who labeled various chapters in Psalms according to subject, purpose and prayer type. One category is specified as Judgement Prayers, those that urgently ask God to protect one from both human and spiritual enemies. These chapters in Psalms include: 5, 7, 28, 35, 58, 59, 79, 82, 83, 94 and 140.
Several times these chapters point out that Satan and his human, as well as demonic, minions go after the souls of God’s children–true believers who have committed their lives to God, and are determined to live by His laws. Several Scriptures explain that the human soul is comprised of one’s mind, will and emotions.
As for the mind, in his Old Testament book, Joshua advises believers that for the mind, or system of thinking, to remain sane and able to follow God’s direction for successful Christian living–that mind must concentrate on God’s Word. It must think about that Word as often as possible, and it must direct the mouth to speak God’s Word continually.
Within the soul of an unsaved person or immature Christian those three divisions of the soul often war against one another. The human will–slowly emerging from curses leveled against one’s attempt to escape from death and darkness–usually does not want to give up the “right” to follow its own ideas about living. And then there are emotions–the seat of feeling and often deepest love. Emotions run amok can wreck havoc against the mind’s good sense and even over-ride the strength of human will.
Satan, constantly trying to tempt believers to disobey God, is well aware of these soul parts. But by going deeper into these judgement prayers, one can easily see that attacks from exterior human and spiritual forces can impede an individual believer for years unless that person goes deeper into God’s Word.
Look at the many times the term “soul” is used in judgment prayers in wholesale Christian Bibles: “Unless The LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence (i.e. death) (94: 17).” “O LORD, My God, in Thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver (Psalm 7: 1 – 2).”
Then, for even more depth, look at Psalm 140: 5 “The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside: they have set gins for me. Selah.” A snare is a trap hunters in set for animals; nets are used for the same purpose–to capture and kill; and gins are nooses, often including metal parts, again to capture and kill life.
Dr. Dake adds these evil devices are all means “whereby the wicked seek to take advantage of the righteous and destroy them.” And King David adds in Psalm 140:7 “O God The LORD, the strength of my salvation, Thou hast covered by head in the day of battle.”
This is the key–to keep one’s head covered as Apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 6–to keep on the helmet of salvation: keep the mind, will and emotions saturated with The Word of God. Also remember what David advises in Psalm 23: Confess “He restoreth my soul.”
Other Bible scholars such as J. Marcus Haggard and Joe Pratt tell believers to ask God to send angels into the world and the earth to regather and restore pieces of their soul. Yes, as last-century believers, we must go deeper and deeper into God’s Word. Don’t forget to catch us on “Home for Today and Tomorrow” on You Tube and on Worship Center Radio as we go deeper into God’s Word together!