Black History Is Family History

Image courtesy of Faithlife Media


When you open a book about Church history, what do you expect to find in its pages?

Are you expecting to learn about the history of the creeds and the Great Schism? How about the Reformation and the Puritan emigration to North America?

But do you also expect to explore the growth of the African American Church in the face of slavery and its evils? Or how the Negro spirituals shaped—and continues to shape—worship music? What about the ways the Civil Rights movement implored the Church to see the value and dignity God gives each human and reckon with the sins of Christian slaveowners?

We must remember that Christian history—God’s kingdom—isn’t a Western invention, but an institution founded by God in the Middle East that spread throughout the entire world. 

Furthermore, Scripture has many names to describe the Church, including: 

  • God’s kingdom (Rev 1:6)
  • God’s people (1 Pet 2:10)
  • God’s children (1 John 3:2)
  • God’s family (Mark 3:34–35)

The implication is simple: Church history is family history. 

Our family history tells us where we came from, and if we’re wise, it can help us learn from our ancestors. Just as the people of Israel needed reminders of who they were and where they came from (see the feasts, as one of many examples), so we need to know the stories of our predecessors in the faith—whether their stories leave us joyful, mourning, or longing for justice. 

As such, we’re taking the month of February to remember black history and honor our family—African American men and women who have used their voices to build up the body of Christ. 

If you’re thinking, “One month isn’t enough,” then we want you to know this: we agree with you. We can’t possibly cover the myriad ways that the African American Church has served global Christianity in one month, and yet, we’re going to make it a focus this month—and we aren’t ending when February does. 

Will you join us?

Recommended reading:

black history month

Comments

  1. I love it! Many AA authors, writers, servants, speakers and preachers have propelled the Gospel of God albeit under the challenges of racism. They chose to identify as believers in the Body of Christ, the family of God to our benefit!

  2. Ellis I Washington says

    I would also recommend the writings of James Cone, Black Theology & Black Power, A Black Theology of Liberation, and The Cross and the Lynching Tree.

    To learn more, see the following article: https://sojo.net/articles/why-james-cone-was-most-important-theologian-his-time?fbclid=IwAR1mfYOXy9Atoao3zu4A7ip0rw_PFO3HwEdQePPQTOBsQ6UQAoeM-5R4pjo

  3. Dr. George Gallant says

    There is but one race of people, and we call it the human race, and the amount of Melanin in our skin determines its color Understand this, we are ALL related by blood, because we are descendants of Adam and Eve.
    Black people, Chinese people, Mexican people and white people all belong to the same family and on equal par.