Prostitution of the Black Preaching Tradition – Style but no Substance

The Black Preaching Tradition is a great gift to the larger Christian world. Many acknoweldge the vibrancy and the power of great Black Preaching. I also marvel at the improvisational genious of the great preachers in that tradition. While we accept this great gift of the African American church, we also must acknowledge that there are some who are today abusing this gift by taking it and preaching a Gospel that does not take into account the full counsel of God.

Not Just Personal Piety or Economic Breakthrough

Some are today using it to preach a Gospel that only emphasizes personal piety and does not deal with the fullness of the Black Preaching Tradition which includes many different domains of experience including corporate responsibility and accountability. Some are using it to speak of “breakthroughs” that ensure economic prosperity while not even dealing with important matters like Justice, Truth, and Equality.

Preach the Full Gospel

So today, we need to stop allowing individuals to prostitute the heritage of Black preaching and using it to support the status quo or simply to line the pockets of a few high profile ministers whether they be white or black. Great black preaching is not just style, nor is it just an elixir that helps people deal with their problems in this world, neither is it a totally “otherworldly” enterprice. No the Black Preaching tradition is preaching the full gospel of God’s active involvement in the liberation of humanity in all its spheres. Praise God for it. Don’t let someone who has the style but not the substance cloud your judgement of what is good and what is not.

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.

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