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Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Richard Newman

Starred Review. In this elegant and insightful biography, historian Newman (The Transformation of American Abolitionism) offers a vivid portrait of Bishop Richard Allen (1760–1831), a tireless preacher committed to ending slavery and fostering … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Richard Newman
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: NYU Press
1 review about Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen,...

A Great Founding Father

  • Oct 22, 2008
Surprisingly, despite Richard Allen's towering achievements, no modern biography of his life and work existed before Richard Newman's current work. Newman's detailed research and captivating style fills this void admirably. As suggested by the subtitle (Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers), Newman's biography of Allen is in many ways also a biography of a race as a lived experience in the early American republic. The engaging account of the establishment of the first black church and the first black denomination are worth the proverbial price of the book.

One caveat, the title of chapter six, A Liberating Theology, should not cause readers to assume that Rev. Richard Allen preached liberation theology. As evidenced by The Doctrines and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which mimicked the ideals of Wesley's Methodist Church, Allen's theology maintained the basic doctrinal principles of conservative Methodism. Allen's liberating theology highlighted the equality of all people as image bearers, the conversion experienced based upon faith in Christ alone, the importance of progressive sanctification, and the call to outreach--doing works of service.

For a lively portrayal of one of America's great founding fathers, of any race, Freedom's Prophet is the book of choice.

Reviewer: Robert W. 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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