Black Christians: The Untold Story

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This book is a historical study of African American Christians who choose to stay within white denominations.
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This book is a historical study of Africian American Christians who choose to stay within white denominations. Four key objectives are covered, first to propose an alternative framework for the study of black Lutheranism, second this book will trace the development of black Lutheranism beginning with the middle of the 17th century, third it examine the development of black Lutheranism in the larger social context in which it occurred, and finally identifies the strategies Lutherans have used in working with black people.  


Greetings, Fellow Kingdom Workers in LCMS Black Ministry:

It is a pleasure and a privilege for LCMS Black Ministry in partnership with Concordia Publishing House to bring to you some classic books about the history of LCMS Black Ministry. As we celebrate 140 years of Witness, Mercy, and Life Together, these literary resources by leaders in black ministry are to aid you in your reading, research, and resonance of your forefathers and foremothers, on whose shoulders LCMS Black Ministry was launched. These resources tell the history of Sunday School classes, Christian school education, and Word and Sacrament congregations gathered around the historic confession of the Lutheran Reformation: grace, faith, and Scripture in Christ—to the glory of God alone! It is the history of how the Gospel message changed the lives of untold thousands of black Americans only 14 years from enslavement and 40 years from the founding of the LCMS. It is a history of great joy and immense struggles, as black Lutherans celebrated their heritage as Lutherans and stood up for their Lutheran equality and inclusion.

As this early mission work unfolded, the narrative was recorded in the verbiage and language of that time. These resources are the written history of those who lived in a segregated, prejudiced, and xenophobic society, especially in the Deep South where most of LCMS Black Ministry started before spreading throughout the United States.

Neither I nor Concordia Publishing House endorse, embrace, or approve of such language. But we discussed the historic nature of the works and are reproducing these resources in the language of the writers. As the leader of LCMS Black Ministry, I asked Concordia Publishing House to make these books available again. My prayer is that you find in these books the historic narrative of a great number of Lutheran pastors, educators, and laypeople who left us the legacy of black Lutheranism, rich in its heritage.

We stand on the shoulders of those courageous, faithful men and women who have preserved our faith and heritage as Lutherans. They have left us a legacy that we must courageously fulfill for the future, for new generations of laypeople, educators, deaconesses, pastors, and other church workers for centuries to come—to witness of the glorious Gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ, God’s salvation for everyone who believes it.

As we look back 500 years to the start of the Reformation and at 140 years of LCMS Black Ministry, we are at the threshold of a Reformation for these new generations to come. Like Drs. Rosa Young, Robert King, Richard Dickinson, Julius Jenkins, and others, we have a mission to accomplish. May God gift us with His Spirit to faithfully engage the world with His love, mercy, and grace in Christ.

Now, “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

Sincerely, serving Christ and His Church,

Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray Jr.
Director, Black and African Ministry
LCMS Office of National Mission

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