Should one even attempt to integrate a black cultural perspective (or any cultural perspective) with Adventism. One might argue that such an integration is not needed. On this very blog one commenter stated that we should just “Preach the Word.”
While I understand the sentiment, we also must “Preach to the People.” If you are to be heard or understood one must preach in not only in the vernacular, but even making use of the culture of those who we are preaching to. This is what Jesus did when he used the popular idea of the dead being able to talk to the living in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man. Paul did the same thing when he spoke to the culture on Mars hill. While we must ever be mindful of what C. E. Bradford wrote in the book Preaching to the Times, that we are to preach TO the times and not merely preach the times, we also must interact with the culture that we find ourselves.
Preaching the Word to the People
To much preaching could be done anywhere. If your preaching does not change at all depending on audience, then the congregation is irrelevant to your preaching. No you must preach to real people. If you do that, then you must take into account the people in your preparation of the sermon.
“Preaching the Word” does not take away your responsibility to show how the “word” is relevant to the cultural perspective of the congregation that you are speaking to.
Great preaching is Encounter
Great preaching is an encounter between Spirit, preacher, and congregation. Even though you may preach the “same sermon” again, you will never really preach the same sermon again if you are open to the leading of the Spirit and interact with the congregation.
So preaching that takes seriously the culture of the Black community is needed, as well as preaching that takes seriously any culture that God has called you to preach to. Thus let us look at how we can relate these two perspectives to preach a relevant and faithful Gospel to God’s people in these last days. In the next few days we will look at some models to do that very thing.