Book Summary: The Cross And The Lynching Tree

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The Cross and the Lynching Tree The Cross and the Lynching tree is a recent work from James H. Cone. Currently a Systematic Theology professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, he is renowned as a founder of black liberation theology. In this book, he reflects on the most brutal chapter of white racism in the 20th century America where 5,000 innocent blacks were lynched to death by white mobs. And he tells us how blacks were able to survive the unspeakable reality of violence and torture with faith and hope in Christ. As a witness for blacks who were voiceless and ignored, he speaks out against the white church for saying little about slavery and racial justice. His passion for social justice comes from growing up in Arkansas in the Jim Crow era. The memories of his father and lynch mobs never left him. Black church comforted him, but made him wonder. “If the white churches are Christian, how come they segregate us? And if God is God, why is He letting us suffer?” (1) The lifelong quest for answers to these questions shaped his theology…show more content…
LeAnn Snow Flesher, an Old Testament professor at American Baptist Seminary of the West lauds his theology as something open and honest protest to their white male perspective, that emphasize the cross of redemption without naming the tragedy of violence on lynching trees. (4) Critics say he developed a divisive and racist theology out of the bitterness of growing up in segregation in 1960’s. James Ellis, III, the senior pastor of a nondenominational congregation in Washington D.C. says “For Christians, white cannot be synonymous with evil nor black with good, or vice versa. That sort of rhetoric has no place in the kingdom of God.” He asserts the racial peace comes not from condemnation of whites, but from the reconciliation with God.

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