Plans for an issue focusing on the black church were well under way when Buster Soaries of Conquerors International came into our offices one day. He was in town to see CAMPUS LIFE staff, and, having a few free minutes, he came upstairs to discuss some of his concerns for the black community.

“The problem’s a spiritual one,” he said, describing the moral abandonment and deterioration of a culture—his culture—in crisis. “What’s called for is a spiritual solution.” Time did not allow him to flesh out what all that meant; but we were intrigued, and asked him to develop this vision more fully in the closing article of our series.

There is a temptation to call the “Soaries solution” on page 23 too simplistic in the wake of the enormous problems facing the black community. But the appeal of his argument lies both in its scriptural foundation and in the fact that Soaries has been “in the trenches” working for civil rights since the sixties—first as a young, black radical, then as a co-worker with Jesse Jackson at Operation PUSH, then as a Harlem pastor, and now as an encourager of black youth through his urban-focused ministry. He knows what works and what does not.

“Though social progress does not guarantee spiritual growth,” he writes, “spiritual growth guarantees social progress. And key to that growth is the black church.

“The black church has a unique challenge,” Soaries writes, “but God has provided it with unique credentials. Not only does it have a moral and historical mandate to generate a consciousness of God’s will for black America, but it has a profound opportunity to share the power and joy realized through Christ-centered living.”

HAROLD B. SMITHManaging Editor

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.