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The Resurrection Proved its Power among African Americans

A recent (2018) article in Christianity Today traces how early African American Christianity proved the power of the Resurrection against oppression.

In their book The Genesis of Liberation, scholars Emerson Powery and Rodney Sadler Jr. explore what they call the "miracle" of how many African American slaves came to faith in Christ. For most of them, Jesus was the "White Man's Savior." They used Jesus and the Bible to pacify slaves and justify their enslavement.

Miraculously, many African Americans, though not all, became Christians and attributed authority to the Bible. The question that remains is why. Why did enslaved Africans embrace the religion of their captors, who used the Bible to justify the brutal trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Here is their simple answer: "They fell in love with the God of Scripture … In Christ they found salvation from their sins and reconciliation." They write that in the Bible they found not just an otherworldly God offering spiritual blessings, but a here-and-now God who cared principally for the oppressed, acting to deliver the downtrodden from their abusers. They also found Jesus, a suffering Savior whose life and struggles paralleled their own struggles.

As they came in contact with this God, they found a different reality in him: the reality of Resurrection power. It was the reality of Jesus' death and resurrection that created a community of faith and … provided slaves with a theology of "resistance." The Resurrection had proved its power; there are Christians—even among African Americans.

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