Why Martin Luther King Jr. Rejected Protestant Liberalism

Comments (8)
  1. Gary says:

    Actually, he didn’t reject theological liberalism: https://www.tikkun.org/article.php/nov_dec_09_scofield

    Alex Wright completely misrepresents King.

  2. RMS3 says:

    So, just why did Detroit suffer when whites moved out? Was a white majority required to prevent blacks from engaging in violent and petty crime and indolence? Does responsible govt both and private and civic – beyond the reach of blacks

    To categorize the desire to remove one’s family home away from crime and squalor as a “sin” is worse than drivel, it’s fatuous false testimony, dishonest and sub-Christian. What are they teaching at seminaries these days?

  3. Bill Smith says:

    Alex, do you actually live in Jackson? And whether you live in the city or elsewhere, how long have you lived in the area. I was a student at RTS 1969-72. We rented a house in west Jackson, just off the Road of Remembrance is you know where that is. We were perfectly safe. The neighborhoods around the Seminary were nice with faculty and students living in houses there. I worked he summers of 1970 and 71 in the only Black Presbyterian church in the city – on Bailey Avenue. Let me ask you how often you go, and if you have a wife take her down Bailey Avenue or around the Road of Remembrance? Jackson has gone to hell. Is some of that the result of slavery and Jim Crow? Yes. But most of it? No. The civic life of Jackson is not desirable for those, white or black, who can afford to escape. Worse than that, it is dangerous, Is this the fault of white or black who could move north? No, it’s not. When government is both corrupt and incompetent, the quality of life poor and getting worse, culture falling apart and people are not safe, they will either wall themselves in or leave. I lived in Belhaven Heights in the mid part of the first decade of this century. Would I today? No. In fact there are very, very few places in Jackson I would dare live. My guess is you have not been in MS or Jackson long. It’s pretty clear you do not know the State or city. White people in MS have a great deal to answer for, but the state of Jackson today is not one of them.

  4. ” much of Detroit’s pain and decay can be attributed to the sinful unwillingness of white people to live alongside African Americans, and share their resources.”

    It seems racist to me to assert that black people need whites living next door or they can’t prosper. It was just as racist to insist that black teachers couldn’t teach so black children needed white teachers.

    And both fly in the face of history and modern reality. Today there are many wealthy blacks who became wealthy in spite of whites. In the 1920s, the black business district of my hometown, Tulsa, was so rich it was known as black Wall Street. Whites rioted and burned the entire district to the ground, but blacks were so wealthy they rebuild and became even richer than before.

    Black wealth was destroyed with the Civil Rights movement. Black customers suddenly abandoned black businesses for white ones, but whites didn’t reciprocate. Thousands of black businesses disappeared along with their wealth.

    Detroit doesn’t need whites living there. BTW, the wealthy blacks fled with the whites. There are plenty of wealthy black people who could transform Detroit. But they won’t because Detroit’s only problem is decades of socialism following in the footsteps of Rauschenbusch. Rauschenbusch’s policies were no different from those of the USSR and Communist China, both of which destroyed the wealth of their countries. .

  5. Michael says:

    Super dumb question, but how can a system have sin? I get that bad systems may have been produced by sinful people, and some done so specifically to harm others. What I don’t understand is how a system can have sin. That suggests a system can repent, but a system in inanimate. It has no soul. It is not in control of itself.

  6. Bill Smith says:

    From the Blog:

    At least in his student days Dr. King held typically liberal theological views. Did he change them? Some say he came to see neo-orthodoxy as a needed corrective to liberalism. Others say that in his latter years he identified increasingly with the sufferings of Jesus. Jim Wallis, the evangelical progressive social activist, apparently believes that King’s theology developed in a more conservative direction:

    His theological liberalism was not an adequate foundation for what he would face later…I would argue that the more deeply one moves in the struggle for social justice … personal faith becomes more important.
    However, one writer who interviewed the professor to whom Mrs. King entrusted the early writings of Dr. King says:

    Dr. Clayborne Carson, a world-renowned King scholar and director of the King Papers Project at Stanford, told me that he had not seen any documentary evidence of a later shift in King’s thinking from his early views on Christian doctrines. He also said King may have found creative ways to avoid expressing his unorthodox views, as he was trained in a liberal seminary but served a Baptist congregation.


    1. Is so important how his beliefs are called? More importantly, what MLK did for racial reconciliation.

      1. Bill Smith says:

        It does not matter, as I say in my blog – you might want to read the whole thing – if you say he is a Civil Rights hero and worthy of the special day set aside to honor him. The trouble comes when you hold him up as also a Christian hero whose actions were an outworking of his faith who shows us the way to work out our Christian faith in matters of race. Unless he changed his views later, King’s beliefs were not Christian beliefs. If his beliefs were those of which we have documentary knowledge, then his beliefs were heretical.

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