The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #72

Welcome to episode #72 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Titus 3:5 which reads: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

Our History of Black Americans and the Black Church quote for today is from Lee June, a professor at Michigan State University and the author of the book, “Yet With A Steady Beat: The Black Church through a Psychological and Biblical Lens.” He writes, “If the estimate of the number of African American Christian congregations is correct (75,000), then there is theoretically one congregation for every 480 African Americans (in making this statement, I am well aware that many African Americans are members of predominantly White congregations). Barna’s data regarding African Americans reveal the following: 57% of African Americans compared to 39% of adults nationwide were more likely to say they were a “born-again Christian”. 21% were unchurched compared to 39% of Whites. 53% attended church services on a given Sunday. The typical “Black church” had an average attendance that was about 50% greater than that of the typical “White church”.”

In this podcast, we are using as our texts: From Slavery to Freedom, by John Hope Franklin, The Negro Church in America by E. Franklin Frazier, and The Black Church In The U.S. by William A. Banks.

Our first topic for today is titled “Colonial Slavery, Part 6: The Carolinas and Georgia, Part 1” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

It was a foregone conclusion that slaves would be introduced into the Carolinas as soon as it was feasible. After all, four of the proprietors of the colony were members of the Royal African Company and fully appreciated the profits that could come from the slave trade. By 1680, moreover, the examples of Virginia and Maryland led them to believe that Carolina could become prosperous, with plantation slavery as one of the important foundations of the colony’s economic life. Perhaps John Locke had these things in mind when, in his Fundamental Constitutions, he wrote, “Every freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever.” This statement clearly sanctioned slavery and protected it against any possible destruction that might have come through the conversion of slaves to Christianity.

Blacks were present in the Carolina colony virtually from the beginning. This was undoubtedly the result of deliberate encouragement of the importation of slaves by the proprietors. In 1663 they offered to the original settlers twenty acres for every black man slave and ten acres for every black woman slave brought into the colony in the first year. Somewhat smaller incentives were offered for the importation of slaves in subsequent years. Twenty years after the original settlements, the black population in the Carolinas was equal to that of the white. By 1715 blacks outnumbered whites 10,500 to 6,250. In 1724 there were three times as many blacks as whites, and the growth of the black population was to continue for decades to come.

As in the other colonies, the growth of the black population led to the enactment of legislation aimed at controlling the activities of slaves. As early as 1686 the Carolina colony forbade blacks to engage in any kind of trade, and it enjoined them from leaving their masters’ plantations without written authorization. In 1722 white justices were authorized to search blacks for guns, swords, “and other offensive weapons” and to capture them unless they could produce a permit less than one month old authorizing them to carry such a weapon. Patrols were given authority to search blacks and to whip those deemed to be dangerous to peace and good order. Punishments for offenses by slaves were summary and severe.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.


Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 21: Negro Cults in the City, Part 7” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

This cult is distinguished by physical frenzy in which the sex motive is prominent. With aid of a piano and a drum the worshippers engage in ecstatic dancing during which in response to allusions to sex motives, the worshippers cry out, ‘Daddy, you feel so good’. These emotional debauches are generally used to collect money from the members. Moreover, Grace engaged in all kinds of businesses, the products of which bore his name, as for example, Daddy Grace Toothpaste.

When Bishop Grace died his wealth was variously estimated to be from five million to twenty-five million dollars. Since he died suddenly on the West coast, the funeral cortege crossed the country, stopping at a number of cities for funeral services which provided occasions for wild frenzied gatherings on the part of his worshippers. He was finally buried in a large expensive mausoleum in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the scene of his first home in the United States.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.


Our third and final topic for today is from “The Black Church in the U.S.: Its Origin, Growth, Contributions, and Outlook” by Dr. William A. Banks.

Today we are looking at part 15 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

(3) Speaking in tongues is not essential to salvation (4) Acts 2:38 is not the key verse of the Bible. Acts is a Book of historical account of the birth and growth of the Church, a record of a time of change, transition and development.

In our century, there are those who try to tell us that the church should be today just as it was in the book of the Acts…thank God that this is not true. The church of…the Acts was a church without a New Testament. The church at the end of the apostolic age was a church that possessed the New Testament. There is a vast difference between the two. The church of the year following Pentecost was a church of tongues and imitation tongues, of signs and false signs, of movements of the Spirit and of counterfeits of such movements.

(5) The Bible definitely teaches that the one true and living God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit at the same time. (6) What is said over a candidate for baptism is a formula nowhere given in the Bible, nor does salvation depend upon such a formula (7) Jesus Christ is not God the Father, but God the Son who came to make known the Father to all mankind. No man has or can see God as He fully and essentially exists–as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God absolute is more than God revealed.

If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, we will continue looking at this topic in our next episode.

Let’s have a word of prayer.

In closing, allow me to say that like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people whom I grew up around said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. For example, joining the church, being baptized, doing good things, or being a good person does not mean you are saved. I wrote an article about this matter titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.

First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, understand that a horrible punishment eternal Hell awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon the Lord in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you do that today, then you can truly sing in the words of the Old Negro spiritual: Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I’m free at last.

Until next time, may God richly bless you.

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