A Brief Historic Examination Of Christian Fundamentalism And Evangelicalism Among Black Americans And Their Skepticism Of Dispensationalism -- By: Luther Smith

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 024:2 (Fall 2020)
Article: A Brief Historic Examination Of Christian Fundamentalism And Evangelicalism Among Black Americans And Their Skepticism Of Dispensationalism
Author: Luther Smith


A Brief Historic Examination Of Christian Fundamentalism And Evangelicalism Among Black Americans And Their Skepticism Of Dispensationalism

Luther Smith

Abstract: This journal article briefly examines the historical trend of theology within black fundamental and evangelical Christian churches to evaluate its extensive distrust of dispensational thought. It observes the origin of black American Baptist history, how its roots are connected to Covenant Theology, and its commitment to the Baptist Confession (specifically, The Baptist Confession of 1689). This article also investigates the roots of the black Wesleyan Christian churches and their commitment to the Wesleyan doctrine, which is also underscored in their historic confessions. Lastly, this article notes the significant cultural movement during this time (i.e., slavery), and how these two specific denominations cemented the Covenant Theological system within the black fundamental and evangelical Christian churches in America, which has led to mistrust of the dispensational system.

Key Words: Black Americans, fundamentalism, dispensationalism, Covenant Theology, Southern Baptists, Methodists, slavery

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Dispensationalism historically has made a significant impact on American fundamental evangelical Christianity. This was largely due, in part, to the influence of Cyrus Ingerson Scofield

and the Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909.2 Although the Scofield Reference Bible was not used in American seminaries, the Bible was predominantly used in Bible institutes and local churches in the early 1900s. These Bible institutes and local churches by and large promoted dispensational thought in American Christianity. After World War I, due to the global conflict unlike the world at that time had seen before, the theological system of dispensationalism assisted in explaining the international conflict from a biblical perspective.2 In effect, this explanation brought dispensational thought to the mainstream in American evangelicalism. During this time in history, dispensationalism was welcomed mostly by white American evangelical Christians. However when it came to black American fundamentalist Christians, it was met with skepticism, specifically among black American Southern Baptists and Wesleyans. They were convinced that the interpretative method found within dispensational thought was foreign to the historic Christian faith.

This study will examine the possible explanation of the origins of the distrust among black American fundamental evangelical Christians towards dispensational ...

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