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On Being Black and Reformed

By Byron Snapp
Carter is well-read in Reformed theology and black history.

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On Being Black and Reformed: A New Perspective on the African-American Christian Experience by Anthony J. Carter.  P& R Publishing, 154 pp, 2003. 


Anthony J. Carter, a co-founder of the Black Alliance for Reformed Theology, seeks to provide answers to questions that plague many on the issue of Christianity and American slavery.  These questions include: Where was God in the ongoing slave trade involving Africa and America?  Why would Christianity be embraced by slaves?  Why would Christians hold people of another race in bondage?


Carter writes with a firm conviction that only Reformed theology can provide substantive, satisfactory answers to these nagging questions.  Particularly, he points to the facts of God's sovereignty, man's sinfulness and Christ's sufficiency.


In providing these answers he explains the five points of Calvinism, while detailing scriptural support for God's sovereignty in all of life.  He recognizes that mankind is totally depraved and that only God can take the initiative, make the provision, and actually apply spiritual life to sinners.


Carter also provides a brief overview of black history in America.  In doing so he recounts the evangelistic outreach among the blacks and gives reasons why this outreach was not more widespread.  This history reveals a dearth of integration, which he believes our culture needs.  He details the importance of blacks knowing about the Reformers and Reformed history, and how whites need to understand the sufferings blacks have lived through.


In an appendix the author includes the texts of actions toward reconciliation taken by three church bodies: The Assemblies of God, the Southern Baptist Convention and the Presbyterian Church in America.  A second appendix contains the message delivered at the 2001 African-American Pastor's Conference, which was sponsored by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.


Carter is well-read in Reformed theology and black history.  He desires that Christians of all races think in terms of Scripture, see the sovereign hand of God in history, and embrace Reformed theology.  He repeatedly stresses that Reformed theology is biblical, historical and experiential.


On Being Black and Reformed is well-written and provides us with an understanding of black history in America.  It also provides a fine introduction to Reformed theology.


The book will open up avenues for discussion of basic Reformed theology and provide a practical framework for applying God's word in daily life.


Reviewed by TE Byron Snapp, associate pastor of Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Hampton, Va. 


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    God Substituting Himself for Man

    The concept of substitution may be said to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.

    John Stott in The Cross of Christ

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