Guest / Limited Access /

In 1980 one of America's activist evangelical theologians, Ronald J. Sider, wrote that liberation theologies were "the most significant theological development of the decade." Black, feminist, and Latin American theologies of liberation, he wrote, attempt to fundamentally rethink theology from the standpoint of the oppressed. God, after all, is on their side.

Having turned the corner into the 21st century, the challenge now is to consider the relevance of these theologies for our Christian formation and our life together in churches. Two recent volumes consider the status of black theology. Both emerge out of the authors' contact with the first generation of black theologians and the issues raised in the final three decades of the 20th century. Both writers are African Americans involved deeply in their community, as well as in other circles in the United States and abroad. Both belong to the second generation of black theologians.

The first question Bruce L. Fields asks in Introducing Black Theology is "What is black theology?" It is theology from the perspective of an oppressed people. It seeks to interpret the gospel of Jesus Christ against the backdrop of historical and contemporary racism. The message of black theology is that the African American struggle for liberation is consistent with the gospel—every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation.

Why should liberation be considered the essence of the gospel? As an evangelical, Fields clearly frames the gospel in the familiar language of personal salvation through Jesus Christ, as well as the Spirit-led witness to the surrounding culture; the message of liberation is a necessary companion. Liberation implies not only the condemnation ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only A Politics of Gratitude
Stop whining, count your blessings, and love your global neighbors.
RecommendedWhere John Piper and Other Evangelicals Stand on Black Lives Matter
Where John Piper and Other Evangelicals Stand on Black Lives Matter
Stats on the racial reconciliation debate spanning from InterVarsity's Urbana conference to Russell Moore's NYT op-ed.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickWhy I'm Not a Conscientious Objector
Why I'm Not a Conscientious Objector
I can't condemn war in the way my Anabaptist friends so quickly do.
Christianity Today
Black Theology Revisited
hide thisMarch March

In the Magazine

March 2004

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.