By Richard W. Wills
Students universally recognize the position that Christian trust performed within the social move engendered through Martin Luther King Jr. but few have truly delved into the complexity of King's theology itself. The centrality of 1 element of his theology specifically - imago Dei, the idea that people are made in God's snapshot - has been unusually overlooked.
In this e-book, Richard W. Wills Sr. deals a entire research of King's attraction for civil rights through investigating his figuring out of imago Dei. Wills starts off through tracing the evolution of this concept throughout the historical past of Christian idea, exhibiting the highbrow resources King drew on in developing his personal ideals. Wills then demonstrates how King hired this concept in his civil rights paintings. the idea that we're all made in God's picture was once the most important, Wills indicates, to King's figuring out of human nature and equality. whereas King shared with a lot of his black church forebears the view that humanity's construction through God was once a strong argument for the equality of everybody, he additionally took the idea that a lot extra. For King, being made in God's photograph intended that people haven't purely definitely the right but in addition the ability to reshape society and to construct a "beloved group" in the world. notwithstanding explicitly grounded in Christian religion, the doctrine of imago Dei supplied King with a theological intent that used to be able to addressing the desires of the group well past the partitions of churches.
Wills's thorough reconsideration King's notion makes the case for his significance as a theologian. It convincingly demonstrates that the idea that of imago Dei shaped the guts of his theology and, in flip, that his theology used to be imperative to the unfolding of the civil rights circulation.
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Additional info for Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Image of God
More than faith formation, what circumstances, insights, and persons helped to facilitate a worldview that afﬁrmed the possibilities for good in the lives of both friend and foe? While King appropriates language from a relevant and readily accessible social context, he does so with an acute awareness of those who signiﬁcantly shaped his theological and doctrinal identity. In this respect, it is understood that King’s theological preference is derived from his critical relationships with others.
37 Many of the decisions, though well-intentioned, did not represent the mainstream thinking on the matter and as a result failed to have the kind of 20 historical explication sweeping impact abolitionists hoped for. Notwithstanding the signiﬁcance of the advocacy provided by judges such as Green and abolitionists such as Douglass, the prevailing thought continued to dominate the body politic. Little more than a decade following Green’s hopeful appeal, with little regard to reasons of human rights premised upon judicial or religious rationale, many of the lower court arguments regarding the rights of persons of African heritage, slave or free, would be squarely settled with the 1857 setback of the Dred Scott decision.
The ministerial model provided by King’s father, then pastor of the prominent Ebenezer Baptist Church, uniquely conveyed aspects of this hopeful struggle. ”4 His father’s example, even prior to his introduction to Walter Rauschenbusch’s social gospel, provided the initial paradigm through which the concerns of pastoral compassion and political advocacy were engaged as noncontradictory acts of faith. ” While others associated with church life may have been of the opinion that it was somehow an act of “meddling” to mix religion with politics, King found in his father a ﬁne theoretical and practical foundation upon which to further develop his social gospel.
Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Image of God by Richard W. Wills