Monday, January 16, 2006

Sincerity Is Not Enough: A religion that ends with the individual, ends


Martin Luther King Jr.Not until 1948, when I entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, did I begin a serious intellectual quest for a method to eliminate social evil. I turned to a serious study of the social and ethical theories of the great philosophers, from Plato and Aristotle down to Rousseau, Hobbes, Bentham, Mill, and Locke.

All of these masters stimulated my thinking-such as it was- and, while finding things to question in each of them, I nevertheless learned a great deal from their study.I spent a great deal of time reading the works of the great socialphilosophers. I came early to Walter Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis, which left an indelible imprint on my thinking by giving me a theological basis for the social concern which had already grown up in me as a result of my early experiences.

of course there were points at which I differed with Rauschenbusch. I felt that he had fallen victim to the nineteenth-century "cult of inevitable progress" which led him to a superficial optimism concerning man's nature. Moreover, he came perilously close to identifying the Kingdom of God with a particular social and economic system--a tendency which should never befall the Church.

But in spite of these shortcomings Rauschenbusch had done a great service for the Christian Church by insisting that the gospel deals with the whole man not only his soul but his body; not only his spiritual well-being but his material well-being.

"The preaching ministry"

It has been my conviction ever since reading Rauschenbusch that any religion that professes concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried.

It well has been said: "A religion that ends with the individual, ends."

I feel that preaching is one of the most vital needs of our society, if it is used correctly. There is a great paradox in preaching. on the one hand it may be very helpful and on the other it may be very pernicious. It is my opinion that sincerity is not enough for the preaching ministry. The minister must be both sincere and intelligent... I also think that the minister should possess profundity of conviction.

We have too many ministers in the pulpit who are great spellbinders and too few who possess spiritual power. It is my profound conviction that I, as an aspirant for the ministry, should possess these powers.I think that preaching should grow out of the experiences of the people.

Therefore, I, as a minister, must know the problems of the people that I am pastoring. Too often do educated ministers leave the people lost in the fog of theological abstraction, rather than presenting that theology in the light of the people's experiences. It is my conviction that the minister must somehow take profound theological and philosophical views and place them in a concrete framework. I must forever make the complex the simple.

Above all, I see the preaching ministry as a dual process. On the one hand I must attempt to change the soul of individuals so that their societies may be changed . On the other I must attempt to change the societies so that the individual soul will have a change.

Therefore, I must be concerned about unemployment, slums, and economic insecurity. I am a profound advocate of the social gospel.

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These are the words of Martin Luther King Jr. The man that the muslim Malcolm X referred to as Martin Luther "Coon"

In this letter King describes his fight not only to see the person made whole by Christ, but he decidely confronts the evil that in his day stood in the way of the transforming of society into a society concerned with equality and uprightness.

King confronted evil, he did not make excuses for it, he did not shrink away in the fight and led a great transforming revolution against injustice and institutionalised evil.

As King stood up to the evil of his time it is up to us to stand up to the evil of our time, islam seeks to take the world by force and spread its ideology based on hate and violence against all who do not ascribe to its tenets.

It is our task to stand in the way of this evil. The malignant force that would destroy the society that men like King fought to perfect, seeks to replace our government with a system built on oppression, hate and violence

Those who do not stand up to this evil are those who will be swallowed up by it.

Do not be decieved, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. If you sow to the wind you will reap the whirlwind.

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