Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Why White Christians Should Listen to Black Christians

Why White Christians Should Listen to Black Christians

For at least the past decade or more, some Christians have been lamenting the decline of cultural Christianity. The blazingly swift shift in attitudes toward gay unions, the decline in marriage, abortion-at-will, economic strain and other factors all play a role in this unease. Concern for these trends is understandable. In a period of just a few years, public approval for practices that were once unthinkable is now unassailable.

In the wake of such social upheaval, many Christians have hit the proverbial panic button. They bow their heads and talk gravely about the unraveling moral fabric of America. They write blog posts eviscerating liberalism and its adherents. They cluster in their own enclaves for safety and comfort. For many White Christians, this is their first taste of marginalization. For Blacks, we say, “Welcome to the club.”

Marginalization for the Un-Marginalized

Christians, mainly White, middle-class and evangelical ones, have traditionally experienced acceptance and even ascendance in American culture. In days past, to be a Jew or a Catholic was a detriment, and to be Hindu, Muslim or an atheist was unconscionable. But to be White and Protestant was an asset. This class of people is the driving force behind the acronym W.A.S.P. (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). In areas of ethics, values, language and other cultural artifacts, White evangelicals set the norm.

Now things are different. White evangelicals are being unceremoniously shoved to the margins of popular culture. Words like “bigot” and “backward” get hurled at them from secular elites and the masses that move behind them. The ethical norms of the country have transmogrified before their eyes like Mogwai turning into Gremlins. And many White evangelicals don’t know what to do.

A Song, a Speech and an Essay

But African Americans, particularly Christians, have been living life at the margins for centuries. It’s time for White evangelicals to listen to the theological and spiritual voice of Black Christians. If believers of African descent in this country have anything to offer, it is a way to deal with suffering and disenfranchisement. A song, a speech and an essay will serve to illustrate this point [1].


“I’ve Been Rebuked and I’ve Been Scorned” 

I been rebuked and I been scorned,
I been rebuked and I been scorned,
Chillun, I been rebuked and I been scorned,
I’se had a hard time, sho’s you born.

Previous article5 Common Objections to Change—and 5 Suggestions to Lead Through Them
Next article5 Essentials for Small Group Health
Jemar is the President and Co-Founder of the Reformed African American Network (RAAN) where he blogs about theology, race, and culture. He also helped start the African American Leadership Initiative (AALI), a program at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi to help recruit Black students as well as train Christians of any race for cross-cultural ministry. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree. Jemar serves as a pastoral ministry intern with Redeemer Church, PCA where he guides their small group ministry. His wife is Janee’ and they have one son, Jack.