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Theology, Philosophy, Black Theology, Black Liberation Theology, Black Theology of Revolution, Secular Theology, James Cone


For the purposes of this paper, I attempt to wrestle with the question of whether or not it is a requisite for a “believer” (which turns out to be a loaded and ambiguous term) to be a part of a formal/institutional Christian Church. This is a difficult task to accomplish, and this, I admit. There is no way to answer this, truly with certainty. But Metaphysics are rarely grounded in “certainty.” This is true for many Christian Theological tasks as well. Nevertheless, this argument will be attempted by working with and off of the Black liberation theologian and philosopher, James H. Cone's basic structured argument found in "Black Theology & Black Power." It's important to note that Cone is a systematic theologian writing in 1969, a time where White America (and its "Christians") helped contribute to the assassination of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Not to mention, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was on a hunt for the next “Black Messiah,” had already infiltrated the Black Power movement, and that same year was making serious moves in undermining the Black Panther Party. Whereas White “Christian” America largely had his full support. After all the atrocities Black people in America have gone through, especially by its "Christians," many Black people had lost hope; they were broken, tired, many were angry—and righteously so. Cone’s 1969 argument reflects these Black sensibilities, a righteously angry theological and philosophical argument. I am attempting to wrestle with whether the basic structure of his argument is still applicable in contemporary America during the modern Black Lives Matter Movement. Thus, after rendering Cone’s argument from 1969, we imaginatively bend space and time to fast forward to the modern era 2020 and on, where we see if, by implication, Cone's argument is still relevant to the majority ("white") "Christian" Institutional/Formal Church. For the purposes of this paper, I will attempt to argue that Cone’s basic argument structure is still applicable, and that it is not a requisite for a Christian “believer” to be a part of a formal/institutional church. In this paper, I look at the ramifications of the Black Lives Matter movement in relation to the Christian formal institutional Church.