While nursing a bad cold yesterday (which seems to be more, but heck if this child of Depression Era children is going to see a doctor), I went to the website of Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah and heard a couple of fine catechetical sermons by senior pastor, Terry Johnson. One was on effectual calling and one on justification and adoption. I believe I heard mention of “union” twice. But I digress.
While at the church’s website I also ran across a series of posts by Terry on Reformed Worship and Ethnic Churches. It is smart and reflects Johnson’s own work on the history of Reformed worship. Terry also shows the welcome capacity to read outside biblical and theological sources to understand the common realm of culture. What follows is from the second part of the series:
There would seem to be many who think that the only “authentic” black worship is of the Pentecostal variety. The DNA of African Americans, so the theory goes, requires “emotionally expressive” music, preaching and congregational interaction. Thomas Sowell, scholar at Stanford University, Hoover Institute, offers another perspective. He connects inner-city African-American culture, including black dialect and music, the ghetto culture of violence, promiscuity, and indolence, as well as the oratorical style and the emotionalism of African-American church culture, with the northern Britains who populated the Southern states in the eighteenth century. They brought their social pathologies with them from the lawless, violent, barely civilized border regions of late 17th to early 18th century northern Britain including Scotland, and northern Ireland, and perpetuated them in what became white “redneck” culture. Poor “crackers,” as rural southern whites are sometimes called, provided the cultural context within which slave and post-emancipation African-American culture developed. It was “cracker” social and religious behaviors which southern blacks often mimicked.
Whether you agree with Johnson or Sowell, this is a perspective worth considering and one that you seldom hear from sappy evangelicals.