What We Can Learn from the Civil Rights Movement

Voddie Baucham | July 2, 2015

I think the civil rights movement teaches us a great deal, both positively and negatively, about how to exercise influence [in a hostile culture].

On the positive side,

  • It teaches us that we don’t have to give up on our Christianity in order to influence culture.
  • It also teaches us that there is power in the gospel for transformation—not just the transformation of the individual sinner but also the transformation of culture itself.
  • It also teaches that we cannot separate the gospel from the political realm, nor should you separate the gospel from the political realm. 

I think all of these things are positive lessons we can learn from the civil rights movement.

On the negative side, I think the civil rights movement

  • stands as a warning about the danger of politicizing the gospel,
  • of changing the way people view Christianity
  • and turning Christianity into a purely political tool as opposed to a prophetic tool,
  • of becoming a constituency
  • and of using political power as opposed to the power of prophetic persuasion.

Because then what happens is the church and the gospel sort of lose sway within the culture. So that today when people think about the title “Reverend” for black people they think about…

To read the rest of this article, visit http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-we-can-learn-from-the-civil-rights-movement.