The History of Black Americans and the Black Church #75

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with episode #75 of the The History of Black Americans and the Black Church podcast.

Our Scripture Verse for today is Ephesians 2:8-9 which reads: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

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, “According to Keller (2000), “The largest religious group in the world is Christianity with a total world membership of approximately 1,929,987,000 or 33% of the world population” (p. 28). Hence, approximately two billion of the world’s population of six billion at this point in time were Christians. Islam is the second largest religion in the world with a membership of 1,147,494,000 or 19.6% of the world’s population. Keller (2000) stated that 300 million of these are in Africa and 4.06 million are in North America. However, other estimates of the number of Muslims in North America are higher.”

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 9: The Carolinas and Georgia, Part 4” from the book, “From Slavery to Freedom” by John Hope Franklin.

Much of Georgia’s slave code, adopted in 1755, was taken from the South Carolina code, and it reflected South Carolina’s experience rather than Georgia’s. For example, the interdiction against more than seven Negroes being out together without a white chaperone indicated South Carolina’s general fear of black uprisings. Between Saturday evening and Monday morning, not even those slaves who were authorized to possess firearms were permitted to carry them on their persons. Under no conditions were they to be taught to read and write.

If the slaves of colonial Georgia did not actually engage in rebellion, they nevertheless resisted their enslavement by running away to Florida and by committing acts of sabotage. Strangely enough, Georgia displayed a relative indifference to insurrection by subjecting her slaves to service in the militia. Perhaps the service that Spanish Florida rendered as a place of escape for more discontented blacks made possible the paradoxical practice of using blacks as Georgia’s militiamen to assist in the return of fugitive slaves to Georgia.

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

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Our second topic for today is “Negro Religion in the City, Part 24: Negro Cults in the City, Part 10” from “The Negro Church in America” by E. Franklin Frazier.

In this cult, it will be noted, the Negro members have found an escape from their traditional identification and lowly status and become the first people of the earth. Even God has become black. This transformation of the Negroes is reinforced by the learning of the Hebrew language on the part of the members of the cult. The fact that they have dispensed with the Bible as the final authority and refused to observe such Christian holidays as Christmas and Easter is an indication of the extent to which they have broken with traditional Negro religion. It is also significant that death and funerals, which have been such an important part of the religious life of the Negro, are of little consequence.

The second cult, the Moorish Science Temple of America, represents an even more radical departure from the traditional religion of the Negro. Moreover, as we shall see, it takes on the character of a nationalistic religion. The founder of the Moorish Science Temple was Timothy Drew who was born in North Carolina in 1886. Sometime in his life he came into contact with oriental philosophy and ‘was impressed with its racial catholicity. The fruits of his research have been compressed into the Holy Koran of the Moorish Holy Temple of Science, which is not to be confused with the orthodox Mohammedan Koran. Moreover, he became obsessed with the idea that Negroes could find salvation by discovering their national origin and refuse henceforth ‘to be called Negroes, black folk, coloured people, or Ethiopians’ and call themselves Asiatics or specifically Moors or Moorish Americans. He bagan his crusade by haranguing small groups of Negroes on street corners, in tenements, and on vacant lots. To compensate for his little formal education, he possessed a certain personal magnetism and gave evidence of being sincere in his desire to help Negroes to escape from race prejudice and racial discriminations. He established his first temple in Newark, New Jersey, and as his following increased, temples were set up in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and cities in the South. But his major achievement was the establishment of a temple in Chicago.

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

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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 18 of Chapter 5: “Radicalism: 1915 – 1953”

Wealth of the Movement: After this “divine retribution,” the conviction was reversed and Father Divine was freed on June 24, 1932. From that point on, money poured in, until the movement was worth an estimated twenty million dollars, with holdings in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York worth approximately twelve million dollars. The organization’s more substantial financial support came from Whites. Divine was fined $60 in 1953 for speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike. He forbade his followers to travel on it. Evidently deity did not own everything in the world.

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, gospellightsociety.com. 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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