After Rock speaks about Black preaching holding on to a prophetic vision on the scriptures, he notes that Adventist preaching is one of reform. He sees it as important for Adventist preaching to hold on to certain unique traits to be worthy of the name Adventist preaching.
Now Rock goes to his fundamental assertion that there are
Pitfalls of claiming Blackness but failing to articulate its justice concerns and professing Adventism but preaching without its prophetic essence. We need to do Black preaching because it resontates with our cultural past and present in ways that maximize the impact of truth. We must do Adventist preaching because that is our unique commission. Anything less is a denial of one’s oath, a tragedy for the people and a disappointment to God.
What we Must Do
Here the Black Adventist preacher is put in a position, according to Rock, where he or she MUST find a way to make explicit use of ones ethnic tradition as well as integrate and connect it to the mandate of being an Adventist preacher. Now some would argue that we simply give up our ethnic tradition, but to do so provides great problems in my estimation.
I believe that Rock is right that we must find a way to put our own stamp on Adventism as well as the fundamentals of the Gospel. If we provide that approach then perhaps we can see more of what Adventism has to say to the poor and the downtrodden which is the mandate of the black preacher. If we provide that angle, than perhaps we can emphasize more what are the “liberative aspects” of our message and the Gospel that may not have been emphasized as much in the past. If we can do that, perhaps we can provide a light to the social dimensions of the gospel that American Evangelical Christianity has not always emphasized.
But even if we accept that we must do both, the big question becomes how do we do this? I have written about this some at this link. You also might be interested in some other Black Preacher’s approaches to the question in my series on the book Preaching with Power by R. Clifford Jones. We will look at Calvin Rock’s suggestion as we continue this series and hopefully we will get to some practical examples as time goes on.