Black Man's Religion

Can Christianity Be Afrocentric?

by Glenn Usry and Craig S. Keener

Black Man's Religion
paperback
  • Length: 249 pages
  • Published: March 1996
  •  Print on Demand
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-1983-6
  • Item Code: 1983
  • Case Quantity: 40
Print on Demand

Some say Christianity is white man's religion. . . .

And it is true that there is a long and ugly history of abuse of African-Americans at the hands of Anglo Christians. Afrocentric interpretations of history often point to slavery, lynchings and the like as proof that Christianity is inherently antiblack.

But Craig Keener and Glen Usry contend that Christianity can be Afrocentric. In this massively researched book, they show that racism is not unique to Christianity. More important, they show how "world history is also our history and the Bible is also our book."

Black Man's Religion is one of the first of its kind, a pro-Christian reading of religion and history from a black perspective. Fascinating and compelling, it is must reading for all concerned for African-American culture and issues of faith.

"Black Man's Religion fills an important void in religious scholarship in general and in the fields of Black and evangelical studies in particular. Craig Keener brings to this work the same passion for truth and attention to detail that marks his fine monographs in biblical studies. Glenn Usry makes the connections between historic African cultural realities and the contemporary reality of the Black church. The ministry goal of the historian is to discern the 'usable past' of a community in its quest for articulating its current identity. Here, Usry and Keener have excelled. Herein is a fair treatment of the Black church, its 'usable past' and current mandates, that avoids the pitfalls of uncritical, popular notions of African heritage in the Black church as well as the myopia extant in White Christian circles that have denied people of African descent their proper place in salvation history."

Harold Dean Trulear, Ph.D., Dean of First Professional Programs, Professor of Church and Society New York Theological Seminary

"A corroborative effort thoroughly researched, well documented and systematically presented. The sweep through epics of history clearly confirms that an Afrocentric presence is found at the historical roots of Christianity. The question of race eludes ethnic bias and utilizes the cultural evidence within ancient societies as a testimony to the varied interpretations of what constitutes a Black race. Each chapter makes a significant contribution to the continuing dialogue concerning the Black man's presence in the formative and present religion called 'Christianity'. "This book is invaluable in giving new insights and providing information that future writers will review in a critical statement concerning the Black man's role in the development of Christianity as a world religion. This book is destined to be a major work on the subject. It has an ecumenical appeal beyond a targeted audience of race. For every inquirer it is essential, and for every Bible student it is a must."

Bishop Marshall H. Strickland, Presiding Prelate, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Baltimore

"This book is a valuable resource for evangelistic apologetics--all the more useful for its bicultural authorship. I highly recommend it, especially for those involved in urban and campus-based ministries."

William Pannell, Arthur DeKruyter/Christ Church of Oak Brook Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology; Dean of Chapel, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Black Man's Religion is a much-needed and long-awaited work! It combines the brilliance of one of the country's leading biblical scholars and the passion of a pastor who is trying to reach a generation being lured away from the 'God of our weary years' by others who teach half truths. The sensitive, balanced, thorough and exhaustive work (written so that lay people can understand it) is 'just what the doctor ordered' in terms of our African American youths who are wrestling with their Afrocentricity and the claims of the Nation of Islam versus the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I recommend this book highly to all high school students, college students, parents, pastors and young persons who are trying to find out the 'truth' about the African origins of our faith."

Pastor Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago

"The authors present a superb 'apology' for Christianity as indeed a Black man's religion as much as the religion of any other group or groups, against adversaries of whatever color or race. I find the volume to be very timely: it supplies a refutation of many insupportable criticisms of Christianity and a corrective of many false claims rampant in the African American community and elsewhere. At the same time it provides a positive program for combatting racism wherever it is found. I am happy to endorse the volume without reservation."

Charles B. Copher, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament Studies, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta

"Black Man's Religion: Can Christianity Be Afrocentric? is a breath of fresh air in this world of confusion. Every African American, after reading this powerful book, should be able to answer Jesus' question, 'Who do you say that I am?' "

Jawanza Kunjufu, author of Adam! Where Are You?

"Herein is a fair treatment of the Black church, its 'usable past' and current mandates, that avoids both the pitfalls of uncritical, popular notions of African heritage in the Black church and the myopia extant in white Christian circles that have denied people of African descent their proper place in salvation history."

Harold Dean Trulear, Ph.D., Dean of First Professional Programs, Professor of Church and Society, New York Theological Seminary

"This book is a valuable resource for evangelistic apologetics--all the more useful for its bicultural authorship. I recommend it highly, especially for those involved in urban and campus-based ministries."

William Pannell, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Black Man's Religion is invaluable in giving new insights and providing information that future writers will review . . . concerning the Black person's role in the development of Christianity as a world religion. This book is destined to be a major work on the subject."

Marshall H. Strickland, bishop and presiding prelate, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
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CONTENTS

Preface
1. Why History Belongs to Us
2. Back to Africa: Geographical Identification
3. Black Is Still Beautiful: Identification by Color
4. Was Egypt of Israel Black?
5. God of Our Weary Years: Identification on the Basis of Common Oppression
6. Militant Christianity: Justice Through Reconciliation

Notes

Bibliography

Index of Names Subjects

Index of Primary References

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Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University) is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. Some of his 12 books include . . . And Marries Another (Hendrickson), Paul, Women & Wives (Hendrickson) and several titles published by IVP. Three of his books have won Christianity Today book awards: his commentaries on Matthew, John and the background commentary. He has close to half a million books in print.

Visit Keener's website for more information.

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