As God’s preacher, I am compelled by His love to contend for the souls of humanity bound by Satan’s ties through preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I fish for men as a first priority because we are His chosen leaders in the human family as He constructed it. Among men are those for whom I am deeply burdened because of our shared experience of being born black in America. If it is true that Satan binds men with spiritual, mental and emotional ties that are common to the human experience, then why have black American males historically had such an extraordinary and disproportionately difficult ordeal in terms of dysfunction, criminality and incarceration?
Nearly two million men are presently on lockdown and just at fifty percent or more of them is black American. They are there for murdering or harming mostly one another through gang and other crime related violence along with all manner of conscience and natural self-control breaching lawless conduct. They are there not only because of a cycle of poverty, low educational attainment, unemployment, fatherless households, culturally conditioned poor choices or the very real white controlled societal apparatus still adverse to them, but also their own self-sabotage as I wrote in June 2015 blogs reflecting on the state of black Americans one hundred and fifty years after slavery.
However, even the foregoing does not get to the root ties Satan has used to bind the black male soul so tautly there is self-hatred enough not only to self-sabotage, but as well, lash out violently on our own people. Again, these root ties are common to mankind, but have been applied during the excruciating events of the black American historical experience; root ties that are the continuing mental and emotional legacies of slavery and racism. By stating this, please do not hear me to be making excuses for the evil behavior of black males as criminals--set free by Christ, I no longer embrace victimization--or somehow diminishing the pain of those hurt by them.
Nevertheless, I can testify to the fact the continuing mental and emotional legacies of slavery and racism as root ties that at some point have bound nearly every black male soul are actual, understandable and hallelujah, removable! As a result of the work of Sigmund Freud and those that have come after him since the turn of the last century, the soul business has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the West. Exploding in the middle of the last century, the troubled souls of mostly whites have paid educated persons to help them identify and cope with any number of mental and emotional maladies through counseling, therapy and drugs. It is even trendy to have a “therapist.”
If the souls of white folk cannot “just get over it” (whatever it is that leads to seeking help), why do the souls of black males have to? Because of the stigma of perceived weakness as a man that remains to this hour though, many pride filled men do not voluntarily present themselves to the soul doctors for help. For black American men, it is also the sense of final capitulation in seeking help after clinging so long to the delusion self-remedies will finally successfully handle the root ties that bind their souls. Besides, if the dismissive attitude from guilt toward the continuing mental and emotional legacies of slavery and racism by white professionals dominant in the soul business is anything like white society at large, why should a troubled black male soul bother?
Among the root ties Satan uses to bind the black male soul as continuing mental and emotional legacies of slavery and racism I have identified in my research and from personal experience are anger, victimization, powerlessness and frustration. Examining just anger for a moment, hostile, violent and subtle oppression as a bully creates anger in its object in short order. Imagine being oppressed almost 400 years with very little relief. Now, imagine being threatened to suppress that anger short of being killed by the bully and add to the mix other sources of anger such as an absent or neglectful father. Any normal human being without any intervening positive coping mechanisms such as Christian forgiveness would be beyond angry (Matthew 6:9-15, 18:21-35)!
I bring up the issue of the continuing mental and emotional legacies of slavery and racism in a number of published works in my “Journal” on our www.fromslaverytovictory.org Web Site. The site beginning on its Home Page points the willing toward the biblical worldview and truths that can begin to bring help, healing and hope to the seeking soul. Too, I mention the legacies related to barriers to black male professing Christians aspiring to become strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics with an eye toward future elaboration.
In light of all of the trouble black males are having with the police among other white authority figures and their non-coincidental high rate of incarceration, this Black History Month I plead with my brothers by race to recognize we need help; help only God the soul’s Creator can provide through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Genesis 2:7; Psalm 139:13-14; Luke 4:16-21; 1 John 5:4-5). He alone has the superior power to one by one break every chain as ties Satan has used to bind our souls and enable us to live victoriously as aspiring strong men of God in Him going forward!1
1 Please support our Books To USA Prisons Project that will send two copies of my book presenting the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ
and what is involved in becoming a strong man of God in the image of Christ able to effectively cope with the troubles of this world. Go
While men may continue to debate the purpose of earthly prisons to punish or restore, in my blog, God Soft On Crime?, February 7, 2016 under the category, The Cause, the Lord led me to clearly assert from His perspective it is both. It is the perfect will of God that sin driven crimes be justly dealt with in ordered, human societies. While there is room for mercy, crime in major part must be deterred by appropriate punishment to include incarceration. That said, men commit crimes (some repeatedly) because bound by the same spiritual, mental and emotional ties as other sinners, they breach their conscience and natural self-control. God wills to liberate and restore such men too!
For the record, because men are fallen sinners that in natural pride craft laws and sentencing guidelines, they can and do err with bias and being overly harsh in sending citizens to prison for crimes committed. However, keeping it real, those not breaking the law do not typically face prison sentences (Romans 13:2-3). So, while it happens that those who have not committed a crime are wrongly accused, tried and sent to prison (though consider is anyone truly innocent outside of Christ in the eyes of the ultimate Judge and Warden?--Romans 3:9-20), it is primarily those guilty of breaking the law that have this experience.
Christians are not normally supposed to be among those found guilty of crimes and sent to prison since we are being regenerated as the people of God and honor His higher Law as well as the just laws of men through the inner working of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25; Titus 3:1-8; 1 Peter 2:13-17). Yet, professed Christians prior to incarceration are also well represented in American prisons. Those I minister to, I remind the punishment they endure is Poppa’s woodshed and He wants them to get their lesson (Hebrews 12:5-11)! The Lord wants all incarcerated men to get their lesson because in Christ, His heart is to restore, not crush men’s lives (Lamentations 3:27-42).
Not inferior in the least bit to mortals in mercy, God gives sinners many chances to repent from their sinful deeds before bringing judgment as I am a witness. The Lord’s penalty for sin is death which He has every right as Creator-Judge to carry out on the spot! However, since Eden this has not been done by Him except on occasion as a sober warning and deterrent to all who would consider His typical mercy filled delay to judge, unwilling weakness (Leviticus 10:1-3). When we sin, though others may not see it right away, we can be sure our sin will find us out; God’s judgment overtakes the guilty (Numbers 32:20-23; Psalm 90:8; Galatians 6:7; 1 Timothy 5:24-25).
By the time a man ends up in prison even if it occurs as a result of his first crime, the Lord gracious and merciful has already given him as a sinner many chances to repent and be set free from ties that bind. These ties are common to all mankind and encompass every pathos of the soul and sinful work of the flesh including not looking to or trusting in God (Job 3, 10:1; Psalm 42:1-6a, 77:1-9; 142; Romans 14:23b; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 5:19-21). In our day, the tendency is to separate sin and evil crime; sinners and evil criminals. But in God’s eyes, what starts in the heart of the sinner as sin is evil whether it leads to crimes defined by human law or not (Mark 7:20-23).
Thus, the man that seeks to medicate himself through drunkenness and/or drug abuse (sorcery) to dull the misery of his life, for example, is bound up by the pathos of his soul, his evil conduct in response (having rejected the more excellent way of faith in Christ) and the consequences of violating any human laws as a result in the process. Upon arrest on whatever charges, the man is now bound with physical ties of various types (among them shackles) and incarcerated. In God’s permissive will another bound up prospective strong man of God in the image of Christ is put on lockdown; taken away from freedom, family and his other life goods now to be plundered by the evil one stronger than he who first began to bind him up (Matthew 12:29).
Whatever the mix of ties that Satan has used to bind up those that end up being incarcerated--including in extreme cases, demon possession wrongly labeled by skeptics as just mental illness, they too can come to enjoy the difference between them and us who are faithful Christians (Luke 8:26-39). For we are living by faith in Christ as freedmen, daily put the flesh to death, walk in the Spirit, armor up resisting the devil with perseverance and confess our sins to God as they occur or are revealed in all repentance (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 6:15-22, 8:12-13; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 6:10-18; James 4:7-10, 5:7-11; 1 John 1:8-9).1
Otherwise, the only difference between the incarcerated and those bound up on the outside is that those on the outside have not yet breached their conscience and natural self-control to the point of criminal acts or been caught. They will with all, still have to face the Judge (2 Corinthians 5:10)! Even so, let faithful Christians be warned that with sinful men what is legal today will be a crime tomorrow (Daniel 6:1-17; Luke 22:47-54; John 15:18-20; Revelation 2:8-11).
1 For this reason, I appeal to you to support our Books To USA Prisons Project to provide another resource through my book, The Strong
Man Of God: Back To Basics God can use to show unsaved men on lockdown how to become faithful Christians and aspiring strong
men of God in the image of Christ! Go to https://www.thestrongmanofgod.org/web/Donate/tabid/1239/Default.aspx.
My heart has gone and goes out to the young black males especially that believe our people have suffered long enough and that white authority--most outwardly represented by the police--must be stood up to; respect for their black person insisted upon. Tragically, too many in history and our times have not lived to report that this posture turned out positive for him. While saying this is not to commend those that have abused their authority or devalue human dignity, nevertheless, our sons must accept all authority originates from and is granted by God with the expectation it is to be respected. He holds any of us sinful mortals wielding authority accountable (Romans 13:1-7)!
While I humbly confess to still not having mastered the ways of the Lord in this myself, my born again soul assents to them as righteous and what pleases Him. Thus, as it concerns submission to sinful mortal authority for example, as did Christ my Lord and every aspiring strong man of God in His image through history,1 it is done without regarding oneself as inferior or robbed of dignity, but honoring God who ordained authority no matter how inferior in station, ugly in attitude or behavior or unworthy in merit the authority figure(s) or is not Christ the Son of God? Even so, one can speak up calmly to evil in strength under control as Christ also exemplified (Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-11).2
Knowing the foregoing, I am all the more appreciative of the black aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ from slavery that have endured great evil against themselves in conscious humble submission. This space is limited, but as the Lord has led, I am pleased to be able to post this edited 2010 Commentary to at least acknowledge, honor and hold up such men from my community as examples for all of us that must stand for Christ in the current and worsening evil days we live in. As well, I joyfully continue to fulfill the mission of this Ministry’s From Slavery To Victory Education Project in its 25th year!
Originally Published June 2010
On the nineteenth of this month black Americans will celebrate the 145th anniversary of the day Texas slaves heard about Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation some two years earlier on January 1, 1863. For the last sixteen years in another work of our parent Ministry called The From Slavery To Victory Education Project, we have tried to inform especially black Americans of our incredible spiritual legacy created in the caldron of our suffering. The story of aspiring black American strong men of God is not the least portion of that legacy and should be an inspiration to all men, but especially our own sons.
Before just only scratching the surface of the story of aspiring black American strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ, we must first properly link it to the larger story of all of them God has forged in this New Testament era. Indeed, Jewish men who fifty days earlier had been found huddled together in fear for their lives, stood to face the same crowds that had chanted against their Master, “Crucify Him,” (John 19:5-7, NKJV). In holy fire and languages previously unknown, on the “Day of Pentecost” they with the women present declared “the wonderful works of God” before them (Acts 2:1-13, NKJV). Then, one of the men, Peter, who had even denied three times that he knew his Lord, boldly preached His resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:14-36)!
Empowered with strength from on High, the apostles of Jesus Christ mightily proclaimed the Gospel about Him throughout the Roman Empire. They did so with a relentless passion to please God and do His will regardless of the cost. History and tradition tell us most of these men paid for their zeal with their lives! In fact, the first place to look for evidence of aspiring strong men of God throughout this New Testament era is the trail of blood left by the martyrs. While not every aspiring strong man of God since the 1st century has been a martyr, all would have suffered in some measure as part of His overarching purpose to conform them to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 5:8-9, 12:1-11; 1 Peter 2:18-25).
God in His sovereignty chose to shape willing men taken from the tribes of West Africa into the image of His Son through the refining fire of slavery and bitter trials. In the New World far from their land of origin, He humbled proud black men through forced labor (Psalm 107:10-16). Those that called to Him for deliverance had their souls saved and gratefully waited in hope for Him to unshackle their bodies as it occurred first at the end of the Civil War, then finally, among Texas slaves. But their trials continued. They were severely tried through Jim Crow segregation, racially motivated discrimination and other oppressive acts of terror and murder through the mid-20th century.
At that time, in the spirit of European church reformers from centuries past, black churchmen and supporting godly women led by men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rose up to peacefully protest our nation's comfortable mistreatment of its black citizens. They suffered arrest, violent opposition and even martyrdom as they marched to highlight and seek relief from America's legally sanctioned oppression of blacks. The walls of oppression began to tumble one by one as the nation's conscience could no longer bear to see the morally indefensible mistreatment of its citizens due exclusively to the color of their skin and the hate filled, ugly side of violently enforcing it.
The names of the Christian black men from slavery through the Civil Rights Movement that willfully chose to suffer in order to please God and do His will while waiting on His intervention are many and not widely known. The few that are well known such as Booker T. Washington, also made peaceful assaults on the status quo by working to improve the lot of their people through education and enterprise. A great number wore "Reverend" in front of their names such as Aaron Johnson of North Carolina and John Perkins of Mississippi. Today, in sports, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith stand out as longsuffering victors in Christ. All of these Christian black men are inspiring role models for any man that will aspire to be a strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ!
1 To learn more about what is involved in becoming a strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ, get a print copy or digital download of my book, The Strong Man
Of God: Back To Basics, at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get the book in
either format in the Strong Man Store.
2 The four Gospels of the New Testament clearly show that while being direct, penetrating, truthful and prophetic, the Lord Jesus never insulted, cursed angrily at or
threatened those that arrested, falsely accused, tried and carried out His crucifixion. Also, His words became fewer and expressed concern for others as He made His
way to the cross in total submission to His Father’s will (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 23:26-43; John 19:25-27). Foretelling His disciples would face similar circumstances,
He gave instructions right down to words to speak that emulated how He handled His experience (Mark 13:11-13).
On this thirty-third anniversary since the Lord led me to found Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc., the organizational parent of Strong Man Ministries, He has me continuing to deal with two themes: violence against young black males and folk practicing Christianity as a religion of manmade invention. In this post of an edited 2012 Commentary,1 however, the violence against and killing of young black males comes purposely at their own hands, while it is predominantly black Americans as professed Christians in many churches practicing their own form of Christianity completely powerlessness to reverse this evil to any extent that are addressed.2
Without repentance, total community self-destruction is assured! With repentance and embrace of biblical Christianity in genuine Holy Spirit empowered revival, there is still some hope and a little time left to make a difference for good among our spiritually lost, young black males and entire community. This hope is not a fantasy like that of the fictional, comic book Black Panther king, his other world magical flower and cloaked kingdom of Wakanda. Our hope is fully grounded in the reality of the Son of God, His anointed King, Jesus Christ, revealed from Heaven who died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again to bring salvation and its exceedingly great benefits including His eternal power and Kingdom rule to all mankind now (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:8)!
Originally Published August 2012
The mostly Portland, OR area black American men and pastors that walk the streets to intervene with our boys and that recently came together to address how churches should handle gang related funerals are to be commended for their efforts. Formerly in my pastorates and through Strong Man Ministries I have witnessed to gang members. Eight years ago, I also attended a community meeting in the aftermath of yet another uptick in gang violence and was pierced deeply by the statements of one gang member who shattered all of our presumptions about gang bangers. His words made me realize Spirit led Christians can help curtail gang violence, but must be more assertive about it.
Let me be clear that I fully understand the problem with gangs and all forms of lawlessness in our communities are complex and multi-faceted. Even so, at its core, the criminal enterprise of gang banging with all of its associated lifestyle props is a spiritual issue of sin and evil. For example, the gang member that greatly disturbed me and others in the community meeting said that they are not all from single female led homes and poverty. This particular gang member had come from a two-parent, middle class home and was banging for the thrill of it--so much for viewing and solving the problem solely as a matter of political, economic, social and educational victimization!
Secular governments and police agencies are frustrated along with the few engaged church leaders that deal with the gang problem having rejected a biblical worldview and approach to curtailing it. Biblical Christianity is plain that gang bangers are sinners and need the Gospel like all other sinners to face up to the fact that a holy God has condemned them and their wicked behavior (criminality, violence and murder are sin). However, God loves and sent His Son, Jesus Christ into the world to save sinners that will repent from their sins and believe in Him (John 3:16-18a)! Those who believe become new creations with renewed minds by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:17-24).
Sinners who refuse to repent and believe in Christ from the heart remain condemned before God (John 3:18b-21; Romans 3:9-20; Galatians 5:19-21). With our continued attempts to reach gang members in and out of prison,3 they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to include receiving the death penalty when they harm and murder others respectively (Genesis 9:4-6; Romans 13:1-4). Churches mocking Christ's words should not provide a Christian burial service to those killed while banging (Matthew 7:21-23). But such tough love will never happen until pastors repent from not preaching the Gospel and the whole counsel of God with a unified voice into our communities.
Again, in having rejected a biblical worldview, secular governments and police agencies are outwitted and gunned in their struggle with the gang problem while too many church leaders appear to be willfully ignoring or helpless against the reality of the evil that supports it. Biblical Christianity also presents lawlessness as the spiritual outworking of evil (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9). According to the Bible, Satan is the original gangster as well as author of gang violence among angels and murder among men (Ezekiel 28:11-16; John 8:44). Because of this reality, faithful Christians or the world will never totally eradicate gangs for lawlessness even increases as the Lord foretold (Matthew 24:12).
However, just as our Lord went about destroying the works of the devil for the love and liberation of oppressed humanity, so must we for the sake of our sons, families, churches and communities (Acts 10:36-38; 1 John 3:8). Aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ understand that we are not as a first priority wrestling against human beings, but territorial fallen spirits; demons whose mission it is to oppose God by destroying the men of His love (Daniel 10:1-14, 20-21; Ephesians 6:12).4 Therefore, we properly suit up and begin to attack the gang problem where it originates: in the spiritual realm among demonic hordes arrayed against us (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Ephesians 6:10-18).
Such warfare requires that sinning pastors turn back to and lead their churches in the way of biblical Christianity which is routinely the power of God on display (Mark 16:15-18)! And since they have failed to do this until now, much fasting and prayer in revival must precede and bathe the warfare (Mark 9:14-29). Our liberated children will still need to be mentored spiritually in faithful, Bible teaching churches and encouraged to pursue an education as well as positive activities, employment or entrepreneurial opportunities. Our boys in particular must no longer be given mixed messages about what a man is and does as a leader in the home and churches!5 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 This Commentary originally launched a trilogy on violence that ended with Arresting Violence Against Women that posted on October 6, 2017, under the category,
Biblical Worldview. Lord willing, the middle Commentary--a follow up to this one entitled, Valuing Human Life, will post August 19, 2018.
2 The Lord has led me to write many commentaries and blogs over the years to professed Christian black Americans and our churches calling for repentance from re-
ligion and revival because of the sinfully lost opportunities to showcase the life changing power of the Gospel and power of God in our community. Read for exam-
ple, the February 8-15, 2015 two-part post, Strong Through God, Not Religion, under the category, Black History.
3 Since 2005 Strong Man Ministries has been intentionally engaged in reaching young males with the Gospel using media, on the streets, in sports and the prisons.
Learn more about our activities in summary on our Web Site or for our work with youth go directly to the Strong Man Minute Page. This Ministry stands ready to
come along side of and stand with any Kingdom driven church of Jesus Christ to reach especially our males--God’s chosen family heads with the Gospel and make
a difference for good among all of our community members.
4 I write about Christian men as aspiring strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available at all
major internet book sellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
5 Males are purposely introduced to the Christian faith and taught biblical manhood which includes divinely willed Christ-like character in traits to help them mature in
Christ through The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study, available in the Strong Man Store. My book also teaches about purposeful mentoring by way of spiritual
fathering. This is spiritually maturing Christian men working with younger men and boys to help them grow in the faith. They also model to and teach them what it
means to be a man by God’s design and walk in His assignment of family headship and church leadership.
As the 25th Year Anniversary of The From Slavery To Victory Education Project (FSTVEP) conducted by the organizational parent of Strong Man Ministries, Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. (both of which I have been blessed to lead) draws near on Juneteenth this year, I am filled with excitement and gratitude to God.1 I write this post as the Lord leads in obedience to the instruction of the ancient Psalm writer He commissioned to exhort “the redeemed” above all to give thanks to Him for His goodness (Psalm 107:1-3, NKJV)! As well, with that Psalmist’s heart, to express the spiritual “what for” of the FSTVEP to the children of men among fellow black Americans.
Talk about amazing confluences. I write this realizing that it will be fifty years ago this upcoming September that I was asked by my no longer standing Fremont Junior High School, Seaside, CA, English teacher, Mr. Earle Rosenberg, to write a column reporting on our flag football teams. I have not stopped writing since and am overjoyed to have done so in the Lord’s cause for nearly forty of those years! As it turns out, 1969 was also another of a long string of great years for Rhythm and Blues or if you will, Soul Music. On September 23rd that year, the Temptations released their Temptations Puzzle People on Motown’s Gordy label with a number of impressive songs.
One of those songs composed by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong was entitled, Message From A Black Man. Arriving as it did just over a year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the bold and yet reasoned lyrics of the song directed to white America were delivered deftly by the singing of the Temps as well as the catchy, forceful rhythms of the band. Bold were such lines as, “Yes, my skin is black, but that’s no reason to hold me back…I have wants and desires just like you. So, move on the side ‘cause I’m comin’ through. No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop me now.” Call to action words for a thirteen year old who had been angrily watching the revolution on TV.
Even today, it is hard to honestly refute the logic in the lines, “Black is a color just like white. Tell me: how can a color determine whether you’re wrong or right?” Whitfield and Strong wrote and the Temptations delivered Message From A Black Man as decent “every black man” who were still coming out of the shell shocked silence of intimidation caused demoralization to firmly, yet, peacefully stand up to their oppressive and abusive intimidators. This is not unlike women today who are applauded for standing up to their abusers. While the message from a black man was certainly cathartic and necessary at that moment in 1969, it needed to also be given biblical feet and built on.
I carried the raw message throughout the rest of my secondary education and the first two years of college; leading out as a Black Student Union President giving speeches, helping to organize events, engaging white authorities, publishing materials and writing editorials. At Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) I also began to take the many newly rolled out Black Studies Courses offered and did well because of my intense interest. A desire to attend historic Howard University in 1976 was fueled by my interest in all things black. But as I have testified in other places,2 my passion for pursuing an education began to lose steam as I lost my way at Howard--itself a serious reality check.3
Coming to Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord who redeemed me from a life that had become empty, without purpose and meaning began to change me as a person to include my thinking and worldview after full surrender to Him. Now, for example, nobody could ultimately stop me from being who God created me to be and doing what God wanted me to do with Him working on my behalf (Romans 8:28-39; Philippians 4:13). Moreover, being black skinned in the human skin color spectrum was not a curse or something contemptible, but a blessing because God made me this way (Acts 17:26). Indeed, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139:14, NKJV)!
After receiving the Lord’s call to serve Him in broadcasting in August 1979, I returned to school at MPC that spring, then San Jose State University in San Jose, CA in fall 1980. There, I celebrated God as the inspirational, sustaining hand among black Christians in a radio documentary on the history of Black Gospel Music I wrote and produced. Inevitably, though, even after seminary studies I was stuck attempting to understand why the black American experience beginning with slavery was so in the first place. I had all of the major facts of our historical experience, but of themselves, they brought no satisfying appreciation for why. Instead, as is the case for so many black Americans, the painful facts of our history alone brought nothing but hopeless futility, grief and anger.
1 Too, I am grateful to the 1993-94 Ministry Board of Directors, Rev. Ira Gay, Jr., Rev. Richard Young (with the Lord), Rev. Ron Oliver and Mrs. Linda Beard that gave
unanimous approval for the project and the 2018-19 Directors, Messrs. Alvin Johnson, Richard Anderson and Philip Lovings who also in one accord approved this
year’s anniversary celebration. Not to be left out is my wife, Mary, and our three daughters Sherie, Roberta and Patricia at home at the time as youth and having to
bear with my very involved work on the project. You can learn more about the FSTVEP along with its flagship national Radio Special and now Webcast, From Sla-
very To Victory: One Man’s Journey, to be rolled out Juneteenth 2019 on its newly revamped Web Site, https://fromslaverytovictory.org.
2 For my most recent sharing on this aspect of my testimony, read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
3 Howard brought me face to face for the first time with the full mix of socio-economic classes, their divergent political thought and corresponding worldviews in what I
soberly learned was truly not a monolithic black community. Among other sobering realities, I especially had my conscience awakened to the contradictions inherit in
my chosen field of Marketing and the black struggle after spending an afternoon giving away free, addictive and destructive cigarette samples in Southeast DC--its
most economically challenged section. I also had to face my own hypocrisy in personally contributing not to the uplift of my community as I loudly called for, but its
destruction through abusing drugs and alcohol, sexual promiscuity, mistreatment of our women in that lifestyle and practical abandonment of two children I had
This is the second of an edited two part 2013 blog I have reposted for Black History Month. Only God could have foreknown the timely need for this fresh exhortation (and truly the whole body of messages I have delivered from Him since 1979 as a former pastor of mine from Fort Worth, TX, Rev. Tom Franklin recently called to tell me) to professing Christian black Americans in our churches given the heightened uneasiness now in black communities across the nation over the deaths of unarmed black males. As well, there are the overabundance of other community needs the Gospel, Word and power of Jesus Christ alone expressed through the churches can meet--if they will.
Originally Posted February 10, 2013
Black churches are the place oppressed souls came for a momentary release from burdens too great to otherwise bear and carried too long from the last service. My heart is in complete empathy with the black pastors since slavery that have looked out on seats filled with beleaguered black humanity in expectant anticipation of church services that would all too briefly yet necessarily transport them to a plane of existence away from their painful troubles in this world.
Primed by the soul stirring performance of musicians and singers, the preacher’s job was to deliver a message that would cause his own and the burdened souls present to take flight! The preachers knew then as they do now that among the sea of sweaty, shouting and dancing ecstatic souls there was a number who were not saved and many more that really did not care to deepen their spiritual maturity through purposeful Christian education. Still, the born again, relative faithful few growing in grace through daily meditation on the Word of God and walking in the Spirit were in the assembly too and apparent even to their oppressors on the outside.
Truly, it was the faith, hope and perseverance of those faithful few slave and free maturing saints among my forefathers that drew out the mercies of God to enable His bringing us “a mighty long way.” For as surely as many a gospel singer today belts out, “I shoulda been dead and gon” celebrating the mercies of God to save sinners, such is also true for our African ancestors who like all other Gentiles were of no great note to the Almighty. Many Gentiles nations have been destroyed from the face of the earth or where for example, are the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians Philistines, Moabites and more recently the Aztecs and Incas?
Slavery as it turns out, is a preferable alternative to eternal death since this is the deserved end of all sinners (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23). Thus, in the humility of Daniel and Levites in the days of Nehemiah who found themselves ministering during and after the judgment of God poured out on His only chosen people, Israel, respectively, my faithful Christian forefathers understood the spiritual realities (whatever men in the flesh might speculate) surrounding the enslavement and suffering of our people as the permitted, less than deserved remedial judgment of the sovereign God upon sinners (Daniel 9:1-19; Nehemiah 9:1-37).2
These aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ waited on God’s deliverance from their suffering in His timing because He would do so out of the same mercy and grace He had already shown to spare their physical lives and souls from eternal damnation! Additionally, the record of the Lord’s dealings with Israel in the Bible including their deliverance from Egyptian bondage stood as irrefutable evidence that God could and would someday do the same for them.
Faithful Christian slaves instilled this faith and hope in their children rehearsed thousands of times in their unique spirituals and work songs and left as a legacy to descendants as well as faithful Christians the world over as a latter day witness of what biblical perseverance is all about. I confess that I am unworthy of the example of patient endurance empowered through God’s strength left by my faithful Christian slave and free forefathers that continued in the blatant evil of Jim Crow segregation, racial bigotry, discrimination, injustice and terrorism right up through the mid-20th century.
Greater than their roles as a haven and outlet for emotional release, black churches have also been the incubators of leadership not only among their ranks, but extending out into the larger community. In fact, there was a time especially immediately following slavery through the Civil Rights Movement where church and community leadership was nearly identical. Reconstruction preachers such as Hiram R. Revels who served as a United States Senator from Mississippi and later, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. a Congressman out of New York are representative of a wide network of black clergy involved in all levels of the political arena. Most of them, however, served effectively in their local towns as social liaisons between the community and the white power structure.
It was on the historical shoulders of social activist black preachers that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood leading participating pastors and their churches to what will be known until Christ shortly returns as the pinnacle of their spiritual potency as national Civil Rights advocates during the period from 1955-1968. While King Lieutenants such as Rev. Jesse Jackson continued on nationally, Rev. Aaron Johnson of North Carolina is among preachers that made an impact in individual States.
Though it is true much religious, political and social good has come historically from black churches in all of their denominational configurations, tragically, after the “mountain top” experience of the Civil Rights Movement, there has not been a similar widespread, unified and concerted effort to refocus on their biblical mission commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:18-20. If there had been such a refocus, most of our communities in cities across America would not resemble war zones with violence, murder, other forms of lawlessness and familial irresponsibility ruling the streets.
Indeed, while not perfect, born again, faithful, spiritually maturing folks do not practice willfully sinning against God! Yet, for example, most incarcerated black Americans (overflowing the nation’s prisons) will tell you he or she is a Christian and grew up in the church. So, what happened? Nearly all grew up with Christianity the religion of men in churches still locked in the “safe house” mentality and shackled by human traditions that do not major on determining authenticity or insist on purposeful Christian education leading to spiritual maturity as should have been the case with a post-Civil Rights Movement refocus. This state of affairs cannot be blamed on “the white man” since again in pride, black churches belong to blacks!3
Black communities now need the churches to fully be the Church of Jesus Christ! This means as Civil Rights activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte strongly implied in his recent appeal to black churches on a NAACP Image Awards telecast, they must step up and go beyond being a place of religious refuge, political and social activism. Authentic, spiritually maturing black American Christians in their assemblies are needed as the “church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:14-15, NKJV) led by Jesus Christ as Lord, to stand firm on God’s Word and moral order; infused with power from on high, to liberate prospective strong men and great women of God from the chains of Satan!
Christianity the religion is utterly worthless to set these men and women truly free or get them to God as the Lord Jesus plainly taught (John 8:31-36, 14:6)! As in impassive white, so, in emotionally fervent black churches practicing Christianity the religion of men, the Lord calls the willing to repentance, revival and the strength He supplies His people to please Him and do His will (Colossians 1:9-12). Get my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics to learn more about God’s strength.4
2 Visit https://fromslaverytovictory.org/, a Web Site sponsored by Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. to journey through a very concise, biblically accurate and
satisfying elaboration of this point in a presentation entitled, Does God Care About African Americans?
3 I stand ready to offer Christian education consulting or assistance to any interested pastor. Contact me by any of the ways listed on our Web Site Contact Page.
4 The combined work of E. Franklin Frazier, The Negro Church in America and C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Church Since Frazier published in 1974 by Schocken Books,
Inc. served as a reference source for this blog.
I wrote to guilty pastors, elders and churches in a January 27, 2019 post footnote, “How can you seriously expect the world to hear you from God’s Word and you do not even obey it?”1 The fact of the matter is blatant disobedience to God’s Word has characterized many professed Christians, their churches and other ecclesiastical bodies reaching back to the apostles (Romans 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-2; Galatians 3:1-4). During the past 500 years, breakaway European Protestants protested the disobedience and corruptions of Catholicism only to find themselves in independence doing all of the same things as their mother (Revelation 17:1-6).
Both groups wickedly gave religious undergirding to the bigoted, violent and dehumanizing form of slavery my forefathers endured while passing down to them their manmade forms of Christianity the religion corruptly drawn from the Bible.2 Thanks to the continuing support of its many powerless manmade forms extant like yeast throughout American Christianity, racial bigotry and discrimination also remains a foil to the realization of a widespread display of biblically commanded, Holy Spirit fired love and brotherhood.3 This is to the glee of Satan who along with racial bigotry has initiated all of the deceitful strongholds of sin among the many harlot churches today God in His wrath will destroy (Amos 5:16-27; Revelation 16:17-19, 17:15-18:8)!4
Like our nation at this moment, American Christianity in the main is a racially divided house about to fall as I write in this edited 2013 Commentary.
Originally Published February 2013
The now deceased Rodney King's appeal, "Can we all get along" was moving, but not realistic for worldly men. His appeal came in the face of rioting after a 1992 trial acquitting white Los Angeles police officers of beating him that was captured on video and seen globally. For professed Christian American men, getting along in racial harmony is supposedly not to be the problem it is for worldly men since we have God resident in us. However, the nearly four centuries Christianity has been in America tragically presents contrary evidence. Aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ celebrate diversity in His Body; fostering unity, harmony and where needed, healing.5
It is Black History Month again. The occasion may seem to be a purposeful discomfiting reminder to white Americans of the racism that once ran so deep among their forefathers, an attempt was made to destroy black contributions from American history. However, to prevent the loss of our history, help build appreciation in blacks and willing others, black educator and historian Carter G. Woodson created the special emphasis last century that now spans all of February. Nevertheless, as the uproar in Rodney King’s beating twenty years ago and subsequent events such as last year’s killing of black teenager, Trayvon Martin, show, racial tensions remain skin deep.6
Tensions are apparent too in churches that are racially homogeneous and wish to remain so. How could racial segregation as initiated by whites during slavery and continued by many of their descendants along with reciprocating black and other minorities professing to be Christians remain to this hour? Why can’t we come together in our racial diversity as Christians? As the Lord led, I explored this issue through a booklet I wrote in 2005 entitled, The Scourge Of Racism.7 In it, I conclude racism in the churches is a failure by professed Christians to obey the Lord's command to love one another (John 13:34-35).
I also write about the failure to love one another in a number of blog posts.8 This failure is tied to America's brand of Christianity the religion where impostors devoid of the Holy Spirit and weak believers quenching His fire in willful sin, practice all manner of evil including racism. America's Christian house is divided in defiance of the Lord all claim to follow and His teaching that "a house divided against a house falls," (Luke 11:17; NKJV). If the guilty do not repent from the toleration of racism and other sins that divide, the Lord's teaching will soon be fulfilled since it can be no other way (Luke 11:23, 21:33)!
As I assert in The Scourge Of Racism, God our Creator from the one man, Adam, has made us all different by purposeful design that mankind in all of their diversity might with common heart seek Him (Acts 17:24-28)! Our diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, body size, abilities etc. is all to the glory of God in this present age and to be celebrated.9 This, the aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ do! For we all in Christ have been brought together in our diversity as sons by God through Christ, the blood He shed to save us on Calvary's cross and the new birth by the Holy Spirit. In Him, men are God's household and forever family held together in divine love (Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-22, 3:14-21)!
This is biblical Christianity that will only continue to seem as high idealism and deluded wishful thinking to professed Christians in divided churches until authentic repentance and revival sweeps through. In repentance, professed Christian white men must cease assuming they are superior to their brothers of color; that every way they see things or idea they propose is right because of their self-appointed standing as superior. They must also give up the notion that men of color should despise themselves and embrace every white value to gain acceptance. Truly, all are to be like Christ and obey His command to love each other as He has loved us (1 John 3:10-24, 4:20-5:3).
Professed Christian black and other men of color in repentance must let go of legitimate anger not just for past, but God knows about the ongoing racial injustices we suffer among many of our white, ostensibly Christian brothers. Bitter victimization is appealing, but is not God's way of love that forgives rather than keeps records of wrongs suffered (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Also, stop looking for sinful men to fully vindicate your suffering. As aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ we are waiting for divine vindication that will occur when Christ soon returns--unless you scoff at His coming (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; 1 Peter 2:19-23; 2 Peter 3:1-9)?10 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 The quote is found in the eighth footnote of the post, Contending For God’s Design Of Masculinity In Men, under the category, The Cause.
2 Read the two-part, August 2016 post, Christianity The Religion Of Men, under the category, Instruction.
3 See Christianity The Religion American Style posted September 4, 2016 under the category, Call To Repent.
4 Much of Western Christianity (my fellow black Americans well represented) continues to want to idolatrously recast God away from His eternal holiness, righteousness,
justice and enduring commands for this mortal age with ear scratching preaching (2 Timothy 4:1-4) and emotion charged, supposedly loving, female led so-called wor-
ship in sin. The worshipper may have “enjoyed” what was taking place, but the issue is did God? The God of the Bible’s ancient rebuke stands as declared by the pro-
phet Amos in the Scripture listed to which this footnote refers. He does not accept nor is He pleased with worship no matter how sincere or emotional that is mixed with
sin! Truly, before Amos, the prophet Samuel proclaimed, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…” and the Lord Jesus: “If you love Me, keep my commandments,”
(1 Samuel 15:22-23; John 14:15, NKJV). Read the three-part series of posts beginning January 4, 2015, Worshipping God Without God, under the category, Call To
Repent. The Lord’s judgment of the unrepentant is just!
5 Learn more about the aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Jesus Christ from my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics and compan-
ion instructional resource, The Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study. They are available in the Strong Man Store.
6 Read the two-part post beginning on July 29, 2018, The Racial Double Standard, under the category, Call To Repent.
7 The booklet is available on the Resources Page of our companion Web Site, https://fromslaverytovictory.org.
8 Read the four March 1-22, 2015 posts on love as an inescapable requirement of biblical Christianity under the category, Instruction.
9 See the December 6, 2015 post, Celebrating God’s Racial Diversity Initiative, under the category, Call To Repent.
10 Read When The Glory Comes, posted on November 29, 2015 under the category, Glory To God!
Strong Man Of God Resources
Get Your Copy Of The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics
Your purchase supports restoring men, families and communities through Strong Man Ministries!
Purchase It Now