Ellis: A Third Way

As I poured through books by Black Consciousness thinkers in a quest for understanding, I faced an obvious choice: either acknowledge this new cultural challenge and dispense with my faith, or cling to my faith and disregard the new cultural challenge. Being a transcendent nonconformist, I rejected both options. Instead, I started reading a modern translation of the Bible beginning with Genesis 1:1—a portion of the Bible my theology said did not apply to today.

Letting the Bible speak for itself quickly bulldozed my inadequate theology and eclipsed it. God’s sovereignty over history and over his covenant people came into sharp focus. In the prophets, I saw God’s deep concern for justice and the plight of the oppressed—the very issues Black militants were debating in the streets. These discoveries moved me to seek God’s wisdom about the contemporary cultural upheaval. As I grew in understanding of a biblical worldview, I was more than able to hold my own as I engaged militants in street debates. But what I fervently prayed for was a way to debunk the notion that Christianity was the “White man’s religion” while clearly communicating biblical wisdom-preferably in the form of a book.

-Carl F. Ellis Jr., Free At Last: The Gospel in the African American Experience, 7.

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