Midweek Message

Update, 12th Day of Christmas, January 5, 2021

Jim Hopkins

January 4, 2021

The Georgia Senatorial Run-off Elections are today. Prayers for Pastor Allison as she is in Georgia as a polling place chaplain and prayers that all the registered voters of Georgia will be able to vote freely and safely.

One of the candidates in today’s elections is The Reverend Dr. Rafael Warnock, Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Here is an excerpt from a January 2, 2021 New York Times article about Dr. Warnock by Shalia Dewan and Mike Baker –

In the history of Black pastors-turned-politicians, among the most famous was Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the Harlem congressman and civil rights leader who in 1938 succeeded his father as the leader of Abyssinian Baptist Church.

That is where Mr. Warnock landed a job as youth minister at the church when he was 22. He had moved to New York to attend the prestigious Union Theological Seminary, where he would go on to earn two master’s degrees and later a doctorate. By that time, Abyssinian was under the leadership of Calvin O. Butts III, a fellow Morehouse alumnus.

While there, Mr. Warnock protested negative stereotypes in rap lyrics and criticized the heavy-handed police response to a “Million Youth March.” He also spoke out against the welfare work requirement put in place by Rudolph W. Giuliani, then the mayor, calling it a “hoax” in which “poor people are being put into competition with other poor people.”

In his scholarship, he dove into what would become a lifelong theme: the role of the church in public life.

He wrote a thesis exploring the Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s resistance against Nazi Germany and Dr. King’s struggles in the United States, which he called “two rare moments in which one can feel with unusual intensity the birthpangs of history seeking to give birth to true church.”

In the same paper, he articulated a complaint that he would later lodge against the “prosperity gospel” promoted by some of the suburban megachurches that competed with Ebenezer for members. “The Gospel preached in too many of our churches today is a ‘feel good’ Christianity, co-opted and commodified for ‘a culture addicted to stimulation,’” he wrote.

In his 2006 dissertation and a 2013 book, Mr. Warnock laid out a vision to unite the sometimes competing forces in Black Christianity to confront the ills of a nation plagued by mass imprisonment, drug addiction and a yawning wealth gap. As a candidate, he has adopted a similar platform, calling for criminal justice reform, a living wage and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“The Black church has been the conscience of America,” he said during a 2011 event.

On LABC Zoom

Tonight – 6:00 p.m. No Soup, But Study (Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom)

Wednesday – 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study (Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom)

Wednesday – 5:30 p.m. Service Honoring the 25th Anniversary of the Disfellowshiping

Thursday – 6:00 p.m. Together In Spirit