The Decline of African American Theology: From Biblical Faith to Cultural Captivity  -     By: Thabiti M. Anyabwile, Mark A. Noll
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The Decline of African American Theology: From Biblical Faith to Cultural Captivity

Inter-Varsity Press / 2007 / Paperback

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Product Description

Social psychologist and pastor Anyabwile offers a challenging and provocative assessment of African American Christian theology from its beginnings to the present. Arguing that modern representations have digressed from their origins, he traces a weakening of doctrinal direction from one generation to the next---and concludes with an unflinching look at contemporary figures.

Thabiti M. Anyabwile is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. He has a strong professional and educational background in community psychology, with special interest in the history and development of the African American church.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2007
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830828273
ISBN-13: 9780830828272
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Who were Jupiter Hammon, Lemuel Haynes and Daniel Alexander Payne? And what do they have in common with Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Thurman and James Cone? All of these were African American Christian theologians, yet their theologies are, in many ways, worlds apart. In this book, Thabiti Anyabwile offers a challenging and provocative assessment of the history of African American Christian theology, from its earliest beginnings to the present. He argues trenchantly that the modern fruit of African American theology has fallen far from the tree of its early predecessors. In doing so, Anyabwile closely examines the theological commitments of prominent African American theologians throughout American history. Chapter by chapter, he traces what he sees as the theological decline of African American theology from one generation to the next, concluding with an unflinching examination of several contemporary figures. Replete with primary texts and illustrations, this book is a gold mine for any reader interested in the history of African American Christianity. With a foreword by Mark Noll.

Author Bio

Thabiti M. Anyabwile is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Thabiti has a strong professional and educational background in community psychology, with special interest in the history and development of the African American church. Mark A. Noll (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is Francis McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is advisory editor for and subeditor for the new Noll's main academic interests concern the interaction of Christianity and culture in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Anglo-American societies. He has published articles and reviews on a wide variety of subjects involving Christianity in modern history. Some of his many books include and

Editorial Reviews

"It is remarkable that, to my knowledge, there has never been a book that attempts what Thabiti Anyabwile's The Decline of African American Theology attempts. For historical purposes, the book makes an unusually valuable contribution with its full account of the course of African American Christian thought. Theologically, it makes another signal contribution with its critique of the general development of that thought. For both historical and theological reasons, this is a very important volume. . . . Because I have already learned so much from its pages, I am delighted to recommend it wholeheartedly to others."
"An impressive array of historical and theological reflections on the African American church's religious tradition. Anyabwile presents a cogent argument that places the demand on the church's leadership, its theologians and its laypeople to continually evaluate its biblical and theological foundations for both the church's self-understanding as the people of God, and its objectives as God's agents in the world."

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  1. Allen
    Dayton, Ohio
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    No other book like this; No, Not One
    November 18, 2013
    Allen
    Dayton, Ohio
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Certain books rake over the issues and the result is acquiring leaves. However, some books don't rake they dig and the result is you turn up with diamonds. THIS IS A BOOK THAT DIGS!!! This is a Christian History book that is written in a Systematic Theology style. Highly Recommended!!!

  2. David Gough
    Alexandria, VA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Taking back "the faith once delivered"
    October 14, 2011
    David Gough
    Alexandria, VA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4

    I was drawn to this book by its title. Thabiti Anyabwile has done an admirable job tracing the decline of Christian theology among African-Americans from the earliest days of slavery to the present. Writing from a reformed perspective, the author shows how that position dominated early Christian thought even among uneducated slaves. The theology of those days was unsystematized and passed along by means of folk song and story. Paradoxically, the same reformed faith that is credited for laying a strong spiritual foundation among the enslaved was also employed by slave masters to support the slave trade. This tension found release following emancipation when less-reformed and more-liberal theological positions captured the attention of a people who labored for more than a century striving for social equality. The result was the rise of a "Black theology" that was built on "experiential" rather than "revealed" truth. "Health and wealth" gospel, in time, became a natural outgrowth. The Scriptures were less literally interpreted and, when combined with the 20th-century mantra of "social redemption," created an unholy alliance with political movements. The author could have developed this theme more completely, which would have helped the reader understand why so many Black "reverends" are at the forefront of liberal movements and why so many African-Americans have departed from their rich spiritual heritage. Understandably, Anyabwile could not include every personality, but there are several notable omissions. I found myself searching the index for names that should have been a part of the story he tells. At the same time, he glosses over most of the Black pastors and theologians of our day who have remained true to the Scriptures and are leading their people to honor and serve God. The chapters cover several key theological doctrines--revelation, theology proper, anthropology, Christology, soteriology, and pneumatology--tracing the origin and decline of each in a consistently ordered manner. The author's final word holds out hope that a second edition may be in the works, hopefully adding detail to an already noteworthy work. I commend Anyabwile for tackling such a difficult and challenging task and making a significant contribution.

  3. Anthony Coleman
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    September 2, 2008
    Anthony Coleman

    The Decline of African American Theology the author Thabiti Anyabwile has taken on is a challenging and difficult subject to be able to make a such broad stroke on any one culture or group of people to conclude that there is a decline in its theology. This is why I purchased the book because it peaked my interest to see if the author could do a responsible job in proving his thesis in this book. While I must commend the author for the research on the history of the African American theology, I believe that this is were the book falls short of supporting the title of the book. The people in whom he chooses to prove his point is limited to a small number of people and thought on the theology of African Americans. I believe this is the danger in our society when we take only a small segment of history, people and thought to speak for the whole of a people or a nation. Truly, it has been my experience in the African American church that the theology that I have been taught was biblical and doctrinally sound. Bishop TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, or James Cone does not speak for every African American Christian and the rich biblically sound experience that makes up the African American Christian experience. Therefore, I believe the author falls short of extending the thought that the African American churches has experienced any greater decline in its theology than the overall view of Christianity in the 21 century has experienced a decline in theology. When we make such a scathing report, it does not help the plight of every Christian to stay true to the biblical theology of Christianity, this work helps continue some of the negative stereotypes of the world to a specific segment of people. Although, I might not agree with the author and his conclusion on this subject I believe that the material and research was well done.

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