Has the African-American Christian church lost its influence? Has it become weaker? Do some pastors spend too much time hiding in their churches?
These are questions many people are asking, so it is time to examine and consider the power the black church and the black preacher have had on our lives and history.
I am writing about mostly African-American Protestant denominations, including the National Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Progressive National Convention, the African American Episcopal Church, the African American Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Church of God in Christ, and the United Church of Christ.
“The black church is the single most important institution in the black community,” writes theologian James Cone. “Beginning in the late 18th century and continuing to the present, it has been the oldest and most independent African-American organization. Its importance is so great that some scholars say that the black church is the black community, with each having no identity apart from the other.” (St. Loius American)