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The Divided Mind of the Black Church: Theology, Piety, and Public Witness (Religion, Race, and Ethnicity) Hardcover – December 6, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Raphael Warnock’s The Divided Mind of the Black Church is a courageous and timely effort to reinvigorate the rich tradition of the Black Church by a full-fledged engagement with the best of its history and theology.  Like the Sankofa bird, he looks to the past in order to move forward!"-Cornel West,Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice, Union Theological Seminary

"With historical detail and theological nuance, Raphael Warnock has provided an insightful treatment of the complex relationship between the institution of black churches and black theology. His call for a fifth, integrative moment in the expression of a liberationist faith—what he sees as the flowering of a self-critical liberationist community—is a bold and imaginative gesture from someone who occupies one of the most important pulpits in the world. With this book, Warnock has done a great service for black theology and for black churches."-Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.,William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University

"As a fellow pastor/scholar and public theologian committed to bridging the gap between Black Theology and the Black Church, I applaud Raphael Warnock for this tour de force. With impeccable scholarship, critical insight, and analytical eloquence, he creatively weaves the disparate strands of a complex religious history into a lucid, coherent, and compelling narrative. From professors in the classroom to pastors in the pulpit, and from people in the pews to people in the streets, anyone desiring a deeper understanding of that enduring yet elusive enigma known as `the Black Church’ will find this erudite, comprehensive, and intriguing text to be both an ecclesiological treasure and a theological bonanza."-The Reverend Dennis W. Wiley, Ph.D.,Pastor, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ

"Warnock carefully traces the history and evolution of the independent black church in America, moving from the black church as a bastion against slavery all the way to the role Ebenezer Baptist and other black churches played in the Civil Rights Movement. He asserts that the black church's roots are in the battle for social liberation of black people, rooted in a progressive understanding of the life and message of Jesus Christ."-Mark Reynolds,Popmatters

"Warnock weaves together an impressive array of subjects to advance his argument on the ‘divided mind’ of the black church….His introduction, five chapters, and conclusion provide much in structure and content for the advancement of his burden, namely, the construction of a ‘self-critical liberationist community’ where ‘piety and protest’ may be held in balance.”-Sociology of Religion

"Raphael Warnock, a son of Pentecostal preachers, a theological protégée of James Cone, and pulpit heir of Martin Luther King, Jr., is brilliantly conversant with the ivory tower of academia, yet works in the ebony trenches for justice and the liberation of the 'least of these.' In this literary gift he has insightfully traced the ecclesial and theological journey of the Black Church in America, diagnosing a 'double consciousness' that borders on bipolarity. He prophetically pronounces liberation from captivity to a borrowed oppressive theology that is illustrated by Black pastors who have a picture of Dr. King in the study, but are influenced by Rick Warren when they preach from the pulpit. This scholar-prophet-pastor, in this wonderful work, is presiding over a wedding ceremony, uniting in holy wedlock, piety and protest, the scholarship of liberation and womanist scholars and the ministry and pulpit of the Black Church, with the hope that this marriage will birth a 'new moment of a self critical liberating community.' This family of freedom and faith proposed by Dr. Warnock will usher in that day when 'justice rolls down like waters and righteousness as an ever flowing stream.'"-Frederick D. Haynes III,Senior Pastor, Friendship-West Baptist Church

“Raphael Warnock is known as one of the most brilliant orators of his generation. This excellent new book reveals him to be a brilliant scholar as well. It is the first major work to critically explore the 'double-minded' relationship between the social practice of black churches and the radical implications of their historical witness against the social oppression of the black masses. Warnock’s path-breaking periodization of the social activism of the black church is a major contribution to understanding the role of black churches in this nation’s often stumbling march toward a racially just society. . . . The Divided Mind of the Black Church is a must read for every black pastor, theologian, scholar, and anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the history and political culture of black churches and the expanding contours of black theological scholarship.”-Obery M. Hendricks, Jr.,author of The Universe Bends Toward Justice

"As we celebrate the life of the most famous black pastor, Martin Luther King Jr., we should remember that the black church mission connects faith with justice and personal salvation with social transformation, and addresses personal piety and public policy for the well-being of the whole person and the whole community. It fights for the weak and sees the Gospel as 'good news for the poor.'"-Raphael G. Warnock,CNN

"Refusing to be content with the piety or protest divide between the Black Church and Black Theology, Warnock argues with scholarly rigor and pastoral fire for a vital partnership between the two. As a dedicated pastor and astute theologian, Warnock persuasively argues for a fifth movement in the Black Christian tradition—a self-critical liberationist community that represents a public theology founded on the pietistic and liberationist dimensions of the Church. This is a must read for clergy, laity, and the academy."-Emilie M. Townes,Dean and Professor of Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Divinity School

“This well-written and meticulously researched treatment of black church piety and social engagement is a timely and pivotal assessment as we head into the next chapter of American religious life.”-The Christian Century

"Eloquently lays waste to the false theological dilemma between advocates of individual salvation and social justice. Real religion is both personal and political; Warnock skillfully shows how that works by probing creative tensions in the black church between heavenly hunger and earthly engagement. He brilliantly enhances the distinguished intellectual achievement of the historic Ebenezer pulpit by showing how black and womanist theologies partner with the black church to bring God's mighty word to bear on our souls and society all at once."-Michael Eric Dyson,University Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University

"Raphael Warnock demonstrates in this book that he is a worthy occupant of the Ebenezer pulpit, following in the intellectual tradition of Martin King and his mentor, Dr. Benjamin Mays. It was faith that led us to activism.  Whether one is looking to understand the foundation of civil rights, to understand the role of faith in our public life or seeking to understand a personal call to serve, this book will be enlightening."-Andrew Young,former U.N. Ambassador, Mayor of Atlanta and Executive Vice President of SCLC

"This contribution to the enduring subject of piety and protest in black theological discourse is of special importance because it is written from the vantage point of one who stands in the gap—a competent theologian with a pastoral vocation—validating his craft in the trenches of social justice advocacy and community transformation."-Cheryl J. Sanders,Howard University School of Divinity

"Embodied in this book is the sharpness of mind of one with an earned Ph.D. in theological studies and the human compassion of a pastor of one of the major churches in the United States. Rarely, if at all, do we get to relish such combined matters of the head and heart. Moreover, this groundbreaking work is rooted in deep spirituality and progressive commitment to the Bible. The ponderings in these pages echo the insightful eyes of the prophetic mystic, Howard Thurman and the scholarly activism of Martin Luther King, Jr." -Dwight N. Hopkins,editor of The Cambridge Companion to Black Theology

"The book read as an altar call to action that honors the liberationist roots of a global church community, regardless of race or gender."-Publishers Weekly

"The broadness and depth of Warnock’s theological education and his distinguished pulpit give him the authority to ask the question: piety or protest? Warnock leads us through the history of the tensions and conversations among the black church, black theology and black pastors to boldly change this question into an exclamatory indicative: piety and protest. He admonishes all parties to move beyond the silos of their particular perspective to convene for the broader exchange of ideas, enabling us to fulfill our mission of helping to save the black community and the soul of our nation." -James A. Forbes Jr.,Senior Pastor Emeritus, Riverside Church

About the Author

Reverend Dr. Raphael G. Warnock serves as Senior Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church (Atlanta, Georgia). 

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Product Details

  • Series: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity
  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (December 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814794467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814794463
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a theologian, a minister, or a scholar, who is interested in the black church as far as the roles of piety and social transformation are concerned, you will enjoy The Divided Mind of the Black Church. It is a difficult read for a lay person because of the scholarly language and theoretical discussion. However, it did answer questions that had been bothering me for a long time: What should be the role of the black church in current society? What is black liberation theology and who are the historical proponents? Where does the civil rights movement figure in the discussion? Although I did get my answers, it was only after very laborious reading. This is serious people. It will require your full attention. After I finished, though, I was happy because I learned something.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was probably the first buyer of “The Divided Mind of the Black Church” on Amazon.com. I’ve read it through, but not as well as I want, and intend, to read it. For now, I highly recommend Dr. Warnock’s beautifully written dedication that follows the title page, “In honor of my wonderful parents…,” and his “Acknowledgements” on the pages that follow the Table of Contents. In the book as a whole, Dr. Warnock traces the history of the black church through five “moments” of black religious resistance to persecution and black commitment to freedom. The five moments he describes are: (# 1) black Liberationist Faith, (# 2) the black Liberationist Church, (# 3) the black Liberationist (i.e. the Civil Rights) Movement, (# 4) black Liberationist Theology (here Dr. Warnock mentions his teacher and mentor James Cone, the “Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology” at Union Theological School in New York. He also refers to “black womanist theology” and mentions Jacquelyn Grant of Atlanta, specifically her emphasis on “discipleship” in black churches, over and against an emphasis on “servanthood,” and (#5) the black “Self-Critical Liberationist Community," which Dr. Warnock characterizes as "the integrative moment“ for the black church. My first understanding of liberationist theology, some 20 years ago, was that wherever suffering human beings are found, Jesus is there to liberate them. On my initial hasty and often interrupted reading of “The Divided Mind of the Black Church,” I did not immediately see discipleship described or emphasized in Dr. Warnock’s “Fifth Moment,” but I am confident I will see that more clearly in future readings of all of his publications, and sermons.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a serious book for thoughtful persons who read for depth, understanding , and wisdom on the sweat work needed to be done to unite black Christians for becoming the body of Christ in a chaotic world. It is written by a well educated pastor in love with the church who accurately documents his ideas based on field trips, interviews, and meticulous research in the best libraries .This book is an invitation to a fracture fellowship to become the incarnation of love, power, and justice , in a hurting and broken world. This book is not for lazy readers seeking affirmation with the emotional sentimentalizing of the Christian faith with entertainment, next world believers who escape this world responsibilities or present world, peace of mind, prosperity gospel seekers. This book is the real deal for robust Christians who seek the will of God on earth.. J. Alfred Smith, Sr.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A "must read" for pastors and teachers who are looking for ideas that will help them introduce young adults to Black liberation
theology as a historic, legitimate, and provocative presentation of the gospel to the contemporary African American church and community.
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This is an excellent book that is a must read for any Christian who is concerned about social justice. Rev. Warnock's historical analysis of the black church is sharp and insightful. He highlights the black church's rich history, acknowledging it's invaluable achievements while yet respectfully critiquing it's shortcomings. For those who are serious about the black church and its future, this book should be in your collection.
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This book was both enlightening and rigorous. Dr. Warnock was able to brilliantly recreate his dissertation into a novel that is readily understood by all interested stakeholders. Being both a social justice advocate and pastor Rev. Warnock has found his calling and is a true blessing for marginalized individuals.
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