Christ is King - A Book Review

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Puritan Board Freshman
While I was standing outside "The Promised Land," the ultra-cheesy name for the chapel at Laguna Beach Christian Retreat center for RUF Summer Conference 2004, I looked at Brian Sorgenfrei, the RUF intern, and said "Man, looking at all the people here I'm not sure if this is a Reformed conference or KKK rally."

Brian looked around at the 300+ people standing around waiting to get in and said "I think I saw a black guy."

I looked around, squinted, and yeah, sure enough there was a black guy standing there talking with some other people. His name was Roy, and he was the only African American at the second week of summer conference.

In a quote generally attributed to Martin Luther King Jr., "11 o'clock Sunday is the most segregated hour in America." After several decades that's still true.

Anthony J. Carter, assistant pastor at Southwest Christian Fellowship (Reformed Baptist), and member of the Black Alliance for Reformed Theology has written what is best described as a primer on the African American Christian experience. In [i:1a01d47654]On Being Black and Reformed[/i:1a01d47654] Carter makes the case that a reformation of black theology is unfortunately necessary. To quote from page 16:

"The black theology birthed in the sixties did provide a temporary balm for souls at a time when black people needed it most . . . But by denying the essentials of the historic Christian faith and divine inspiration of Scripture that salve became toxic."

The book describes some of the history of African American Christianity, from its faults to its feats. In part it explains the giant racial rift inthe church as the result of sinful men. One story tells of a minister who preached a sermon of love in the morning with his slave attending, and then in the afternoon whipped that slave for being a few minutes late to a job. As the book shows with more of such stories, it is a miracle that there even is an African American church.

The African American absence from Reformed churches resulted from Presbyterians and Congregationalists not bothering to disciple the slaves. So unclear was Calvinism that the slaves almost wholly rejected it as a malicious doctrine, and saw the Calvinist's God as unfair.

Carter makes a point for the other team by effectively showing God's providence in the slave trade. Carter tells the reader that his experience as an African-American was only made full when he encountered Reformed Theology.

[i:1a01d47654]On Being Black and Reformed[/i:1a01d47654] offers the white Reformed Christian concerned with racial reconciliation a glimpse into the African American religious experience. For the black Reformed Christian, this book I imagine would solidify experiences and feelings. For either the black or white non-Reformed, this book gives an example of God's providential character like no other non-Biblical history can.

Carter shows that while most white Christians in America were focused on cotton as king, the slaves were being exposed to Christ, and setting him up as the real king.


I hope that's enough of a book review. It's kind of scatterbrained (my review) but the book is very good, and a quick read. About 130 pages. It's available from GoodTheology.Com for 7.99 plus S&H.
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