“Black History Month is a time not only to honor our past but also to survey the progress yet to be made,” writes author Anthony Bradley in a recent article in The Detroit News. “Disadvantaged blacks are generationally doomed until we recognize that social mobility flows from the expansion in tandem of dignity and freedom, not from pursuing the siren songs of riches and power.”
Bradley’s new release, Liberating Black Theology sounds a similar warning. Prior to 2008, black liberation theology was an unknown among many Americans. As President Obama began campaigning, Bradley found opportunities to give context to the seemingly angry preaching against whites that was broadcast on Fox News. Bradley addresses a theology that grew out of the civil rights movement, with theologians who sought to apply the gospel in a way that affirmed the humanity of blacks—that they would understand that their lives matter to God.
However, as leadership transitioned within the movement, victimology wove its way in through those who rejected traditional biblical interpretation. The victimologist skews the doctrine of sin and redemption and creates a worldview that considers black suffering the lens through which all else should be evaluated. The end goal is not the glory of God, but the dignity of the black experience in America. The unfortunate result of this thinking reduces the core identity of blacks to that of a victim. “Rather than finding a way forward, victimology is perpetuating problems for black America, not solving them,” explains Bradley.
Bradley suggests developing a redemptive-historical approach for understanding the black experience in America while remaining faithful to Scripture. He explains, “The fact of the fall and the accomplished redemptive work of Christ serve as the true foundation for the liberation of black people.”