The Gospel and Jeremiah Wright
I recently wrote a comment on another man's blog about the criticism being heaped upon Wright (and consequently, Barack Obama), and pointed out that, while I am disgusted by the media's treatment of Rev. Wright, I do believe there are some upsides to the controversy, namely that it puts a spotlight on the inherent problems of Liberation Theology and its influence in the African-American church. I don't have the time, nor the patience (or really the education) to dive deeply into Liberation Theology, so let me offer a few links for further study:
An article, "What is Liberation Theology?" at GotQuestions.org
An interview with Eric Redmond, an African American Pastor in Maryland, by Albert Mohler
A partial transcript of that interview at Townhall.com entitled, "Is Jeremiah Wright Mainstream?"
Eric Redmond's post, "Jeremiah Wright’s BLT" (Black Liberation Theology), on his blog, A Man From Issachar
Suffice to say, the problems of Liberation Theology are vast, and they are a stumbling block to the gospel. As one commenter at Townhall.com wrote:
Liberation theology creates further division.I would agree with this assessment. And since Rev. Wright resurfaced a few days ago and today was blasted by Barack Obama for remarks he made at the National Press Club Monday in Washington, I have been thinking even more about Wright and his theology. As I was considering this, I stumbled across Warren Kelly's post on Wright at his blog View From The Pew. Kelly discusses Wright's answer to a question posed to him by a moderator after his speech at the National Press Club on Monday. The moderator stated, "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the father but through me.'" Then the moderator asked, "Do you believe this? And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?" Wright replied simply, "Jesus also said, 'Other sheep have I who are not of this fold,'" seeming to indicate that indeed Muslims and those of other religions would inherit eternal life apart from a personal relationship with Christ. Sadly, applause followed his comment. Kelly noted,
Liberation theology counters racism with racism.
Liberation theology is man-made and runs perpendicular to the gospel.
Liberation theology is no gospel at all.
Wright had what I call an Osteen moment. He had the chance to share the Gospel in front of millions. Not only that, but he had the chance to calm the fears of evangelical Christians that his church was somehow not really a Christian church. He could have done so much, but he decided not to.He then wisely observed that, "Jeremiah Wright did to Jesus exactly what the news media have been doing to him -- taken [sic] a part of a sermon, quoted it out of context, and made it sound like something that wasn't intended."
Denny Burk, Assistant Professor of New Testament at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas. and blogger extraordinaire picked up on the story as well and explains what Jesus was actually referring to in John chapter 10:
When Jesus says that he has “other sheep who are not of this fold,” it’s likely that he is referring to Gentiles who would later come to faith in Christ. The sheep that are following Him at that point in the narrative are Jews, but Jesus aims to have followers from among the Gentiles as well. Whoever the “other sheep” are understood to be, they nevertheless have the characteristics of “sheep.” They listen to and follow Christ, and they are saved only by Him.Additionally, he points out that, "To say that 'other sheep' refers to unbelievers (or followers of Islam in Reverend Wright’s case) simply runs roughshod over the plain meaning of the passage."
So, as I noted to the other blogger in my comments referred to at the start of this post, Jeremiah Wright's pulpit rhetoric doesn't really bother me - it's his misunderstanding of the Gospel and disregard for the fundamentals of the faith that worry me.