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Is the Black Church dead?

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In February, Eddie Glaude, professor of religion at Princeton University, wrote in the Huffington Post that the Black Church is, indeed, dead. Specifically, he stated:

“The Black Church, as we’ve known it or imagined it, is dead. Of course, many African Americans still go to church. According to the PEW Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, 87 percent of African Americans identify with a religious group and 79 percent say that religion is very important in their lives. But the idea of this venerable institution as central to black life and as a repository for the social and moral conscience of the nation has all but disappeared.”

No matter your affinity or displeasure with the “Black Church” in its many forms, many people are as likely to gasp at this remark as they are to note that the truth of it parallels a larger moral decline in American culture and society. 

Rev. Byron Williams, pastor of Resurrection Community Church in Oakland, California, and the nation’s only syndicate columnist who is also a preacher, notes that Glaude is correct in his assertion.  However, it is only because Glaude has simplified the argument, reducing the diverse notion of the Black Church into a monolith that no longer exists because the social conditions that once necessitated it no longer exist.  Williams’ article, “Eddie Glaude is Right,” is available on his personal website,

Written by demon53

April 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm

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