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The unique perspective of Black Christians is essential in leading racial reconciliation efforts within American evangelicalism.
This dissertation will use W.E.B. Du Bois’s notion of “double consciousness,” articulated in his classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, as a framework to examine whether Black Christians, namely the Black Church and Black evangelicals, should use their unique position to lead the truthful examination necessary for authentic healing and racial reconciliation within the American Evangelical Church. Du Bois observed that African Americans exist in duality—as both insider and outsider—and, as a result, are positioned to offer a distinctive critique of American life. Similarly, the Black Church and, to some degree, Black evangelicals have never been fully embraced by the evangelical mainstream and occupy a unique space within American Christianity that allows them to speak authoritatively in efforts around racial reconciliation. The Black Church and Black evangelicals are fluent in mainstream evangelical orthodoxy and orthopraxy, but are also in touch with the pain that exists at the margins of American church life and culture. Believing traditional definitions of reconciliation to be inadequate, this dissertation will articulate a new, theopolitical framework for directing reconciliation efforts. This new framework incorporates elements of biblical and political conceptions of reconciliation.
This study concludes that while the reality of sin ultimately prevents the full expression of racial reconciliation, American evangelicalism must continue to press toward it under the leadership of Black Christians. The earnest seeking of reconciliation can itself contribute to a degree of harmony and healing. The theopolitical framework of reconciliation articulated in this work provides important elements for consideration in the effort, including opportunities for truth-telling, collectivism, contextualization, and reparations.
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Hodge, Daniel White
Racial reconciliation, Reconciliation, Race, Black Church, Black churches, African American churches, American evangelicalism, Evangelicalism, Du Bois, Political reconciliation, Double consciousness, Second sight
African American Studies | Practical Theology | Race and Ethnicity
Material is subject to copyright.
Lewis, Essentino A. Jr., "Lifting the Veil: The Role of Black Christians in Leading Racial Reconciliation within American Evangelicalism" (2020). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 432.