Though a little dated (over a decade old), "Free at Last" by Carl Ellis, Jr. provides an interesting and needed perspective on African American Christianity. A major premise contrasts militant secular approaches to black self help with Christian religious approaches to spiritual help. One of the most helpful connections made is between Frederick Douglass' view of Christianity and the needed modern view of Christianity. As a "patron saint" of African American history, Douglass shrewdly distinquished between the Christianity of the Bible/Christ and the hypocritical Christianity of the white slave owners. Ellis makes the astute observation that black secularist have been unable to make this same distinction and that failure led to the secularization of a large segment of reactionary black leaders. Not all may agree with Ellis' comparison, but all should ponder his penetrating insights.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction.
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