Grace, not Resentment!

Grace, not Resentment!

If we’re serious about improving race relations and racial unity in this society and churches, we have to be open to the possibility of forgiveness and of redemption; resentment will often delay forgiveness and reconciliation.

It is crucial we allow space for the guilty party to mourn and repent of the wrongdoing. Retaliation of any form is never the most effective way to deal with this issue. It is the antithesis of grace. We have to practice & sustain unity and peace in the manner of Jesus, and never should we follow another way, as defined by the culture.

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Not so much of a Good Tuesday!

I want to say Happy Tuesday to you all, but I woke up this morning a little upset and very discontent about the “state” of this nation, and about America’s greatest contemporary enemy/ies to human decency, human flourishing, and interracial unity and reconciliation.

Over the course of the past two years, going on to the third year, white supremacy and white Christian nationalism have been fortified and substantially increased in number, and it appears that no (moral) force–political, cultural, legal, intellectual, religious, economic, etc.–in this nation can stop them from their politics of demonization and dehumanization, and ethics of terrorism and death.

Because white supremacy and white christian nationalism are a product of America’s political, cultural, legal, intellectual, religious, and economic system and structure, their ultimate demise in the immediate future is unpredictable and unthinkable.

May the gracious and sovereign God-LORD raise up a new generation of freedom fighters and men and women of character who will not bow down to the power and influence of America’s moral indecency and omnipresent demons: white supremacy and white christian nationalism!

My Talk on “Jacques Roumain and Haiti’s Self Determination”

I will be the guest speaker at the Treasure Coast Cultural Festival for its annual Haitian Heritage Month celebration. I will be presenting on the eminent Haitian revolutionary writer and public intellectual Jacques Roumain:

“Jacques Roumain and Haiti’s Self Determination”

When: Saturday, May 4, 2019
Time: 6:00 pm
Where: Indian River State College
IRSC Treasure Coast Public Safety
4600 Kirby Loop Road.
Fort Pierce, Florida

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=651350251954221&id=100012377566229

Part 3: The Clash of Two Systems: Between the Seminary and the University and Me

Part 3: The Clash of Two Systems:
Between the Seminary and the University and Me

In the essay below, I shall discuss two major transformative forces that I experienced both as a seminary and university student. As a student (and even now), I was not able to reconcile these two worldviews and conflicting world of ideas, but I knew that I needed both in my intellectual formation as a scholar and theological training as a theologian. From 2002 to 2006, I was enrolled at the “Seminary” pursuing an Advanced Master of Divinity and simultaneously taking classes at the University of Louisville (Uofl) for a dual M.A. in French Language and Literature and an M.A. in Humanities with a concentration in Religious Studies. The conflict that I experienced was internal, intellectual, and perspectival. The people, events, texts, ideas, and movement that formed me radically transformed me intellectually and relationally; they hit me very hard like an “intellectual storm,” and in the form of a clash of worldviews and a system of difference. As the famous Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe put it, things were “falling apart” for me.

1. Clash of Two Systems:

While at the Seminary, I was learning about the sacred world, at the University, I was learning about the secular world. Both systems did not cohere cogently in my mind and intellectual journey. I experienced a sense of intellectual shielding and an epistemological constraint at the Seminary. On the contrary, the University encouraged intellectual curiosity and epistemological flexibility. It was like the two opposing worlds and systems James Baldwin described in his thought-provoking first novel, “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” The protagonist John, the literary representation for Baldwin, wrestled between the life of the church and the curious life of the City streets, and lived a life of tension, both at the religious level and intellectual level. Yet from a theological perspective, as that pertained to the way I was being formed at the Seminary, I could also say that I experienced some kind of intellectual isolation at the University—because some of the things that I was learning at the Seminary was being challenged and deconstructed there.

(I remember I was in a French Literature course, in which we were studying the rise of French “Enlightenment Literature” in the Enlightenment era or the Age of Reason, the Professor, a specialist in French Medieval and Enlightenment Literature and Thought, spent almost the entire class challenging the doctrine of biblical authority and pointing out problems with the textual variants in the Bible. I was not intellectually and psychologically armed for this encounter in the classroom. The seminary did not equip me with the right intellectual tools to engage in rigorous, but friendly conversations with my “secular skeptics,” as we often viewed those outside our circle. Nonetheless, I stood up in class and spoke arrogantly to Dr. X., “You are not a Biblical scholar, and how can we trust what you are saying to us.” Later on, as I progressed toward intellectual maturity and humility, I realized that I was wrong to question the Professor’s authority and knowledge in that conceited style. Interestingly, the Professor was Jewish!) This may sound paradoxical to some readers, but it was my personal experience.

2. Two Different Ways to See and Live in the World:

At the Seminary, I was learning about the impact of famous “white theologians” and “white Christian thinkers” on the Christian world and theological enterprise. By contrast, at Uofl, I was introduced to a wide range of thinkers (most of them were not Christians, but some were champions of human rights and equality, critical theorists, feminists, anti-racist thinkers, anti-colonial revolutionaries, anti-imperial radicals, Marxists, Socialists, Communalists, Humanists, Atheists, etc.), in an interdisciplinary style, who transgressed the boundary of disciplinary knowledge and geography of reason. For example, I was reading seminal texts and thinkers (i.e. Voltaire, Foucault, Derrida, Heidegger, Jung, Freud, Nietzsche, Russell, Hegel, Sartre, Camus, Du Bois, Douglass, Ralph Ellison, Jacques Roumain, Jean Price-Mars, Simone de Beauvoir, Ruth Benedict, Zora Neale Hurston, Margaret Mead, Frantz Fanon) who were challenging everything I was learning at the seminary. University courses on Critical Theory, Methodology and Research, Postcolonial Francophone Literature, French Intellectual Culture, World Literature, etc., provided a different intellectual circuit to me. In one particular course on “Religious Methodology and Theory of Religion,” the Professor was explaining to us how religious ideas and theological beliefs were human inventions and creation, and that the religious traditions of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, for instance, were products of the human mind (We were then reading Emile Durkheim’s 1912 classic text, “The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life;” Sigmund Freud’s 1927 revolutionary book, “The Future of an Illusion”; and Carl Jung’s 1938 important book, “Psychology and Religion.”) That class shook my little world and I could not reconcile my seminary’s epistemology with my university’s epistemology.

Unfortunately, at the seminary, we were not being taught about the ontology and theory of knowledge–be it secular, disciplinary, theological, doctrinal, creedal, and intellectual). Knowledge was simply given or deposited into our brain; yet its sources, origins, processes, sequences, evolution, and transmission to the world of ideas were not fully explored in a critical and analytical fashion. (Yet certain theological knowledge and doctrinal beliefs of the Christian faith were carefully examined and scrutinized.) I must confirm that I was mad at the University (Religious) Professor for providing a different perspective than to that which I was accustomed; however, deep inside, I knew that she was telling the truth and making sense to me intellectually and “archeologically,” in the Foucaultian reason (See his book, “The Archeology of Knowledge and the Order of Things”). Certainly, I needed to learn an alternative view, a different position, and a different way of understanding the world of ideas and the formation of knowledge, both in the academia and the walls of the theological curriculum and religious education—even if that would involve an intellectual risk, but it was a step of faith for me.

Similarly, I was getting mad at the Seminary professors for hiding these things from me. I pondered and asked that why they were not teaching me about the real world of ideas such as systems and structures of oppression, abuse, colonization, sexism, slavery, racism, capitalism, poverty, hunger, etc., which were integrative in my University courses, readings, and lectures. Yet my Seminary professors were teaching me about the holiness and sovereignty of God, sin and the fall of humanity, and God’s redemptive provision for the world through the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, which were and are biblical truths and claims that I still believe. The central problem with my seminary education was that my seminary professors were not teaching me about how various societal, generational, interracial, corporate, inter-ethnic, and corporate sins and transgressions came to be and functioned in a social context, even in the historical frame and structure of the Western civilization. In other words, the “real world” was hidden from me. I was intellectually terrified that the “order of things,” as interpreted by my University professors and the required readings, was categorically a human invention entailing systems and structures, knowledge and ideas, ideologies and absolutisms, history and the past, myths and legends. While most of those systems and structures were/are corrupt, unequal, racist, racialized, sexist, sexualized, dehumanized, colonized, and oppressive, the University professors taught me that they all could be transformed and redeemed by human power and resources, reason and knowledge, and through the practice of an ethics of relationality and reciprocity.

By contrast, my Seminary professors were not only disengaged with the ills and problems of society, they were telling us that all we need was the Gospel and that the Gospel was enough and the only solution to all societal transgressions, sins, and oppression. Hence, we should not be anxious or concerned about exegeting the culture, our community, or even the way things are in the nation. The seminary’s theological curriculum did, in fact, exegete the culture and world of ideas. However, it was done in a way to show that they were contradicting the claims of Christianity and biblical authority. It was also done within an apologetic approach to the best defense of the validity, plausibility, and credibility of the Bible and Christian faith, which was/is fine by me. I did not object to that “discriminatory approach.” However, it was not adequate for students who were being trained to engage the seas of ideas in our pluralistic culture and were told to transform the unchurched, the agnostic, the atheist, the humanist with the truths and absolute claims of Christianity! At the Seminary, while our “Christian mind” was being changed and challenged intellectually (to a certain degree), our other selves (i.e. our hearts and world of sense/ideas) were not being transformed relationally, culturally, rationally, and interdisciplinarily.

In addition, I should also attest that the Seminary’s way of looking at society and the (American nation or the world’s nations), and the systems and structures that regulate them and control human relations and behavior was quite selective and preferential. For example, in the matter of “Christian” ethics, my instructors put great emphasis on the sins of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, adultery in marriage, the family, etc. In the case of analyzing “war theories,” few individuals were carrying out constructive conversations about the practicality and existential consequences of modern wars in the geographical zones and countries subjected to American-European military interventions and hegemonic control, the so-called developing nations or uncivilized peoples. Correspondingly, there were few critical conversations engaging the intimate rapport between war and American-European imperialism, war and greed, war and American-European hegemony and political expansion in the world.

In closing, theological education and religious formation should not be at war with secular education. The secular education should not see religious education as a hindrance to human flourishing and enlightenment, or even to the advancement of modern societies and cultures. Perhaps, contemporary seminary instructors could learn one or two things from the so-called “pagan” world. Similarly, contemporary university professors could benefit greatly from the world of theologians and religious scholars.

“Knowing the Truth: Marks of a True Teacher and Characteristics of a False Teacher of the Word of God”

“Knowing the Truth: Marks of a True Teacher and Characteristics of a False Teacher of the Word of God” (Matthew 7:15-23, 28-29).

Tomorrow morning (Sunday, April 28) at Jesus Center, I will close the teaching series on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5-7). I have been preaching through the Sermon on the Mount–the greatest sermon of Jesus or as many biblical scholars believe, the Sermon on the Mount is a series of teachings Jesus delivered in various occasions, as recorded by the author of the Gospel of Matthew– since the month of August 2018. What a relief we will be done tomorrow morning, in the month of April 2019!

🙂

I certainly did not plan to stay that long in this series; yet I do not regret a minute I spent studying, exegeting this text, and explaining it and sharing my thoughts about Matthew 5-7 with the people of God at Jesus Center Community. I am very pleased that I will be teaching my last message on this important topic, an urgent message that is desperately needed for today’s churches and in our current culture of counter gospels, false teachers, and false apostles. I entitled the teaching “Knowing the Truth: Marks of a True Teacher and Characteristics of a False Teacher of the Word of God (Matthew 7:15-23, 28-29).

Would you allow me to invite you and your family to join us in worship at 10:00 AM? We would appreciate your presence.

My Allegiance is to Christ Alone, not to a Christian Denomination or Theological System!

“My Allegiance is to Christ Alone, not to a Christian Denomination or Theological System”

This short post is in response to my long article, “Liberation Theology and Evangelical Theology: Let the Real Enemy of Evangelical Theology Stand Up,” and those who are offended by it and my articulated position. Some individuals already wrote to me to express their discontent and to rebuke me.

I love the SBC and even pastor a church affiliated with the SBC. I attended three SBC schools for my undergraduate and graduate studies. I can say that I have some understanding of the SBC culture, historical trajectories, and the blending and achievement of racial politics and racist ideas in its midst.

I critique the SBC as an organization and its affiliated institutions because I love it (them) and because of this admiration, I long for revolutionary change within its (their) structure, organization, politics, representation, race, culture, mission, ideologies, etc.–especially its (their) attitude toward and treatment of the “racialized” and “minoritized” groups and human beings in this country and overseas in its/their missionary activities and evangelistic projects.

In the same way, I critique (Haiti and its detrimental and destructive political culture) the Haitian American church because I love it and want to witness radical change in its midst.

At the end of the day, I am a committed follower of Jesus. My allegiance is to Christ alone, not to a Christian organization or Christian denomination (i.e. Baptist, Nazarene, SBC) or a political nation (i.e. Haiti, the United States). What have you?

My allegiance is not to some theological system (i.e. Evangelical Theology, Reformed/Calvinist Theology, Liberation Theology, Black Liberation Theology) or some sort of theological supremacy and ideology. What have you?

My allegiance is not to some political structure or system ( i.e. Socialism, Marxism, Communism, Capitalism) or to some utopian ideologies or politcal party (i.e. Democratic, Republican, Independent). What have you?

I’m committed to following Jesus Christ and to embody his radical and liberative teachings in my daily encounter with people and attitude toward them, especially my treatment of the poor, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, and the world’s poor and racially-marginalized populations, and the economically-disadvantaged groups. What have you?

My allegiance is to Jesus Christ alone and I am committed to carrying out his business in the world toward a revolutionary Christ-centered human society and a world deeply touched by God’s forgiveness, grace, life, justice, liberation, and lovingkindness in Christ Jesus.

“Liberation Theology and Evangelical Theology: Let the Real Enemy of Evangelical Theology Stand Up”

“Liberation Theology and Evangelical Theology: Let the Real Enemy of Evangelical Theology Stand Up”

As a former seminary student, I attended the most conservative and Evangelical seminaries (SBTS and SWBTS) in the United States. Both schools are owned and subsidized by the Southern Baptist Convention. Generally speaking, the problem with the theological education and curriculum in the SBC schools is that those in the seat of power and influence created a culture of fear that is manifest in three connecting linkages and intersections: “theological fear,” “intellectual fear,” and “mental fear” among both the faculty body and student body. Seminary students enrolled in SBC schools are introduced in passing to “liberal theology” and “liberal theologians” not with the intended purpose to understand their ideas and writings; rather, this body of students is theologically prepared (or being trained) to wage war against its enemy. Second, the underlying goal is not to engage in real intellectual reflections and constructive theological conversations with those individuals (or “theological texts”) who might defer with them intellectually, doctrinally, and theologically.

Comparatively, some instructors teaching in SBC schools have internalized both intellectual fear and psychological fear in the sense that there are certain intellectual contours and theological boundaries they will not dare to explore, cross, discuss in the classroom, or even publish about. There exists among the faculty body a disastrous fear of losing one’s job at the corresponding institution. This mental fear evidently limits the professor’s freedom of expression in the classroom and his or her freedom of expression in the world of text (“literary freedom” or “theological freedom”). Personally, I believe both instances (in the case of seminary students and instructors) could be construed as a possible disservice to the life of the mind and the life of faith (i.e. the church or Christian ministry). This particular way of forming seminary students who will become professors, pastors, missionaries, and civil servants will eventually lead to the intellectual incapacity and irresponsibility for them to genuinely and constructively engage with individuals who may hold opposing views and counter worldviews. Interestingly, the phenomenon of cultural plurality and the complexity of sea of ideas define our contemporary society and human interplays, both nationally and internationally.

On a personal note, I remember being enrolled in an Advanced Theology and Culture seminar at one of the seminaries mentioned above. It was a special class designated for students pursuing the Advanced Master of Divinity with emphasis in Theological and Biblical Studies. We were reading selected texts such as “The Gagging of God” by D.A. Carson, and “Dissonant Voices: Religious Pluralism & the Question of Truth,” and “Encountering Religious Pluralism: The Challenge to Christian Faith Mission” by Harold Netland (There were a few other books whose titles I do not recall.) Our Professor overtly warned the class to be careful with the writings and ideas of the philosophers of religion of Paul F. Knitter and John Hick, and the Open Theist theologians such as Clark Pinnock ( i.e. “The Grace of God and the Will of Man,” Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God’s Openness,” and “The Openness of God: A Biblical Challenge to the Traditional Understanding of God”), Gregory A. Boyd (“God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God”), and John R. Sanders (i.e. “The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence,” and “Does God Have a Future?: A Debate on Divine Providence”)—whom many Evangelical theologians consider theologically unorthodox and heretic. He remarked that if we read their work, we would become liberal theologians like them—especially if we allow ourselves to be influenced by the ideas John Hick. Because intellectual curiosity defines my academic life and intellectual journey at an early point of my life, I did exactly what my great seminary professor prohibited. Eventually, I purchased every single book John Hick has written on religion, theology, and culture.

Further, to get the Advanced M. Div. degree, students in the program had to select the thesis or the non-thesis option or one can choose to write a very long publishable paper, about 25 to 30 pages, followed by an oral defense at the professor’s office (That was quite intimidating for most of us!). For my research topic, I chose to study the theology and exegesis of Open theism. The Professor, who had already published, at that time, two important books against/on Open Theism, was very happy that I took a similar theological position, as he had advocated brilliantly and powerfully in his texts. During my research, I have read everything that I could find on Open Theism and arguments against it. While I was reading theologically, exegetically, and responsibility, I began to notice that some of the arguments advanced by Open theists made sense to me, both philosophically and theologically. I wanted to articulate and incorporate some of these ideas in my long research essay but was both intellectually and psychologically terrified that the Professor would fail me and that I will not get my seminary degree (Of course, that was an act of intellectual cowardliness on my part. I lacked courage and boldness to take a stand about what I thought was biblically sound about Open Theism). Evidently, I am not an Open Theist Theologian or have I embraced Theological Liberalism. That does not mean, however, that I have rejected all the tenets of Open theism and Liberal Theology.

In addition, I remember clearly that the decision to go contrary to my professor’s theological position on the openness of God theology would have come with a high cost: the fear of alienation and exclusion from this small circle, and my future career as a Protestant and Evangelical Theologian) Secondly, I did not want to be called a heretic or liberal by the Professor or my classmates—as those epithets are used loosely and insensibly in evangelical circles. As the great African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote almost in 1913, “We wear the mask.”

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, —
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties,

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile,
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

So, I had to wear my own “theological mask” as well as an “intellectual mask” to safeguard my seminary study and correspondingly safeguard white theological fragility in these two institutions.

To clarify my point of view, it was not that I consented fully with Open theist theologians on every single argument they articulated in respect to the nature of the future and the nature of God’s knowledge/foreknowledge, as well as the dynamics between God, future events, and the actions of volitional agents. Theologically, I was reformed, and for a better word, a Calvinist. Logically, yet some of the objections raised by Open theists made sense to me. As previously mentioned above, the culture of fear that was already present at both institutions contributed to my personal fear on three complex dimensions: psychologically, intellectually, and theologically.

Another similar incident occurred to me while I was enrolled in a course on “Christology.” The Professor assigned three texts: “Jesus in the Gospels: A Biblical Christology” by Rudolf Schnakenburg, and “Christology: A Global Introduction: An Ecumenical, International, and Contextual Perspective” by Veli-Matti Karkkainen (I do not recall the title of the third one.) Karkkainen provides a good overview on various types of Christologies such as “Black Christology” by James Cone, “Christ as Liberator” by John Sobrino, “Feminist Theology,” “Postmodern Christology,” “Process Christology,” etc. In the small seminar-size class, every student had to present on a “Christology” of interest. The white students in the course presented “successfully” on white European thinkers such as the “Messianic Christology” of Jurgen Moltmann, the “Universal Christology” of Wolfhart Pannenberg, and the “Evangelical Christology” of Stanley Grenz, etc.

There were two Black students in the classroom: me and an African American peer. While my African American classmate did his presentation on James Cone’s Black Christology, I did mine on John Sobrino’s Christ as Liberator. For my presentation, not only have I read the assigned chapter in Karkkainen’s book, I consulted two other texts: Jon Sobrino’s seminal work “Christology at the Crossroads” and Gustavo Gutierrez’s groundbreaking book, “A Theology of Liberation.” Our student audience did not find our topics of interest favorable and orthodox enough. They harshly criticized both Sobrino and Cone. In my own estimation, I believe both of us did an excellent job in presenting accurately the theological ideas of James Cone and John Sobrino, as they come closer in intellectual dialogues in these two pertinent theological systems and contextualized Christologies.

By contrast, there were no issues raised when the white students presented on Grenz, Moltmann, and Pannenberg. I supposed that Liberation Theology and Black Liberation Theology fall under theological peripheries, even theological heresies for most theologians of the Evangelical world. After the Professor dismissed us from class, I walked to his office to learn more about Liberation Theology and the (transnational) historical and political (global) context in which it emerged in Latin American soil. Since he himself is from South America, I assumed that he will teach me about both the milieu—poverty, American and European imperialism, military interventions, famine, dictatorship—and context—political, economic, cultural, historical, linguistic—in which Latin American Liberation Theology was born, developed, and expanded.

Moreover, my formative interest in Liberation Theology or Black Liberation Theology was not due because I rejected Christian orthodoxy and biblical authority. It was neither because I gave primacy to critical theory and cultural Marxism over my conservative evangelical hermeneutics and theological tradition. By contrast, I wanted to find out how the Bible could relate to me as a person born in a developing country, my people live abject poverty, and our collective life trajectories that have been menaced by political turmoil and social death, as well as marked by American military interruptions, Western hegemonic control of our life, resources, and our destiny. Second, I wanted to find a biblical response to the devastating effects of American and Western imperialism and globalization in the Caribbean and Latin American Region, or in the so-called developing nations, for short, in the world of the darker nations, etc. Third, I also wanted to know what God had to say about issues of injustice, poverty, economic inequality, hunger, diseases, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, planned military occupation and death of the world’s poor and oppressed nations, etc. Fourth, I became attracted to Liberation Theology because White Evangelical Theology was not relatable to my plight as a black person, the predicament of my people and the conundrum of the majority of the world’s populations—which is black and brown—and that White Evangelical Theologians did not have me or other people of color in mind when they wrote their theological treatises, yet from a position of white privilege and white power. White Evangelical Theology is the embodiment of the white world, white values, and the white worldview; it deliberately excludes alternative worldviews, perspectives, and values that challenge its content, structure, message, and the “White God.”

In addition, as students of the Bible and theology, we must always remember that any theological system (i.e. Evangelical Theology, Liberation Theology, Black Liberation Theology, Feminist Theology, Postcolonial Theology) is fundamentally a question of theological hermeneutics that intersect with the issues of geographical location, power, resources, ethnicity, race, sexuality, gender, and identity. Maybe we should consider the following questions: what is it that makes White Evangelical Theology a more promising and doctrinally sound theological enterprise than Postcolonial Theology or Liberation Theology? If one wants to assess a particular theological system or method against another one by using the theology of John Calvin or the theological method of Martin Luther, where would then one place Gustavo Gutierrez, James H. Cone, or Karl Barth in the hermeneutical spiral? On what basis one would say that the theology of John Calvin is more faithful to Scriptural tradition than the theological narrative of James Cone? On what criteria one would assess Martin Luther and Gustavo Gutierrez to determine whose theological method and approach is closer to the will of God and the spirit of the Biblical Text?

To explore a different aspect of this important conversation, allow me to share something that just emerged only this week. In a recent conversation that took place on social media (i.e. twitter, Facebook, official websites/pages), two SBC seminary Presidents declared Liberation Theology (LT) as the enemy of Evangelical Theology and Christian Orthodoxy. Both of them stated that they will not hire a Liberation Theologian to teach in their respective seminary. While I have no objection to the President’s choice of a particular candidate for employment, I do, however, question the basis the President would reject Liberation Theology but promote in the school’s curriculum the theology of slave-holding theologians and biblical scholars like Jonathan Edwards, James P. Boyce, John A Broadus, Basil Manly Jr., etc. To enhance our conversation and deepen our understanding on the subject matter, let us consider a set of provocative and ethical questions below:

• Is it scripturally moral for one to articulate great theological propositions in the so-called Reformed Tradition, but one’s moral actions and ethical choices deny the very tradition one so jealously professes and proclaims?
• Where does theology and ethics meet in this conversation?
• Should we just talk about justification by faith alone and simply ignore the good and practical deeds of justification and the demonstration of Christ’s salvation in our lives?
• Should we just embrace the written text while ignoring the spirit of the text?
• Where does the heart and the mind meet in theological exposition and theological praxis?
• Is it ethically sound and biblically justified to teach in seminary classrooms the Reformed Theology of slave master theologians and biblical scholars and shun the theology of those who critique them and declare unapologetically that a Christian should not own slaves, Christian theology should not promote racism, imperialism, colonization, military invasion, and Christian theology should not promote the status quo?
• Which theologian or theological system is biblical and faithful?
• Is it the one that proclaims that God is sovereign over all human choices and justify us through the atoning work of Christ?
• Or is it the one that asserts God, the Sovereign Lord who justifies us through Christ’s substitutionary work, also despises slavery, colonization, injustice, racism, oppression, xenophobia, sexism, etc.

Evidently, the “real enemy of Evangelical Theology today is not Liberation Theology, Black Liberation Theology, or even cultural Marxism; rather, the real fear lies in the inability and unwillingness of white Evangelical theologians to face their own internal demons and embrace theological diversity and inclusion, especially from the pen of brown and black theologians who are also faithful interpreters of Scripture and exegetes of God’s actions in human history.

Contemporary Evangelical Theology in America is a very dangerous enterprise for three reasons, as it does not provide the proper tools and lens (1) to read different cultural traditions and practices holistically and biblically, (2) to interpret and represent accurately the history and movement of God in the midst of the darker peoples and nations of the world, and (3) to constructively interact with heterogeneous and contextualized forms of Christianity within both global Christianity and local Christianity (i.e. the practice of “Jamaican Christianity” or “Mexican Christianity” in the United States) Perhaps, one of the central reasons of this evangelical dilemma has to do with the embraced methodology (methodologies) and theoretical approaches of those who believe that they are the “modern guardians of Christian orthodoxy” and the “appointed gatekeepers of Biblical authority.” These individuals present Evangelical theology as a single story, embedded in a homogeneous voice and culture, of a monolithic people and race. White Evangelical theologians may have the best theological training and formation, best intellectual tools and resources, and adequate financial assets to study and interpret the Scripture, it does not mean that they best represent theologically, morally, and responsibly the will and voice of God in the world, as embodied in the pages of the Bible. White Evangelical Theology is not the substance of biblical hermeneutics and the bedrock of theological interpretation.

Moreover, White Evangelical Theology deliberately erases the history of God’s movement in the non-white Christian populations in the world. It is primarily concerned with the study and exegesis of God’s intervention in European history and culture, that is the white world. Modern Evangelical Theology in America, for example, should not be equated with biblical orthodoxy. Evangelical Theology, as it is intimately converged with the American culture and politics, has a starting point–the white world. It is informed by how white Evangelical Theologians understand conceptually their world in respect to other worlds they choose to ignore, and correspondingly how they reflect theologically, practically, ethically, and racially—both through direct and indirect allusions–about the human experience and dynamics in both of these worlds.

Finally, Christian orthodoxy is not a synonym for white theological values and white interpretation of the Biblical witness. Biblical orthodoxy and theological exegesis did not begin with European theologians, even with the Protestant Reformers. The Reformers inherited the Biblical orthodoxy tradition. For so long, (Biblical) Christianity has been taken captive by and engulfed in Western European theological lifestyle, history, and intellectual tradition, as if the story of Biblical Christianity and Christian theology had its genesis in Europe and that European theological thinkers gave birth to Biblical orthodoxy. This false premise has shaky grounds and often overlooked Patristic theological writings and biblical exegesis, and other voices in the grand theological enterprise and global hermeneutical spiral.

To rescue Evangelical Theology/Evangelical Christianity from its contemporary crisis, it must be divorced completely from White Evangelical culture and the white world and equally be separated totally from theological thinking emerged explicitly from white theologians and biblical scholars who promote theological triumphalism. Christianity is not the product of European genius or civilization, and Evangelical Theology precedes Western civilization. No one’s theological system or tradition is the appointed guardian of Biblical Orthodoxy and the so-called Apostolic beliefs. The real enemy of Evangelical Theology today is its methods, approaches, logical reasoning, and the exclusion of other relevant and equal (Orthodox) voices in the grand theological spectrum and hermeneutical fellowship.

Finally, any theological system that denies the humanity, dignity, and history of the black and brown peoples and excludes them from the grand theological enterprise and God’s providence in human history just because of geography of birth, geography of reason, racial or ethnic identity, or linguistic accent or difference is the real enemy of Biblical orthodoxy and Christian theological orthodoxy. This system needs to be deracinated and rejected.