Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rev. Dr. Freddie Haynes Takes Survey On the Black Church

By: Min. Angela Lee Price

Below is an excerpt from the transcript of my WLOU interview with Rev. Dr. Freddie Haynes, Sr. Pastor, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. Dr. Haynes spoke with me by phone on Wednesday, September 27th live from Dallas just after speaking in Louisville at the St. Stephen Church Fall Revival Tuesday evening, September 26, 2006.

Two questions on the Jesus Saves Ministries' Survey of the Black Church were asked of Dr. Haynes: 1) Is there a schism in the Black Church between proponents of the prosperity gospel and the social justice gospel?; 2) Has the Black Church lost her prophetic voice? Here are Dr. Haynes answers.

Angela: Is the church divided today? There is a lot of what I call “hocus pocus” preaching, and my pastor talks about it a lot. Is there a division between those preachers preaching a prosperity gospel and those who are concerned about social justice, helping the poor and the needy?

Dr. Haynes: I think this is something that is not new because you have always had within the church those who have taken different approaches to ministry. With the prosperity gospel, you had Rev. Ike back in the day, Father Divine as oppose to a Martin Luther King, Jr. and an Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. So, this is really nothing new, but it represents, again, the reality that there are different approaches to ministry, different philosophical approaches to ministry. Some, shamefully, even sinfully, do not deal with the harsh realities that our people are facing. So, those of us who have more of a social conscious, prophetic witness, in our gospel ministry, there is a concern on our part that we have a lot of people who are being pimped by this “prosperity gospel” whereby you’re simply saying to people, “Money cometh to me.” Well, money cannot cometh if I can’t get a “jobth” because of racism.

Angela: Say that!

Dr. Haynes: So, until you deal the social realities that the people in the pews are facing when they leave church, then basically, your prosperity gospel is basically a hocus pocus gospel, as you just said. It makes people feel real good for the moment, but as soon as church is over they’ve got to go face those harsh realities that have not been addressed by that hocus pocus homiletic.

Angela: You’ve hit the nail right on the head. That is why our people are spiritually bankrupt.

Dr. Haynes: There is no question. We have divorced our social reality from the spiritual power and the anointing that everybody is jumping on now. Everybody’s talking about the anointing, the anointing! Well, when I read Scripture, Jesus said the Spirit of the God Lord is upon me because He has anointed me, watch this, to preach Good News to the poor, to set the captives free, to heal those who are heartbroken, proclaim the year of economic justice and empowerment. Listen, the anointing was not about you getting some personal car. The anointing was about dealing with social issues, overcoming oppression, and so, whenever you hear somebody talking about the anointing this, the anointing that, if it does not connect to the social realities that people are facing in terms of overcoming oppression, then that anointing is a pseudo anointing, and they are just playing games with the gospel.

Angela: Let’s talk for a minute about being prophetic in the pulpit. Has the church lost her prophetic voice today?

Dr. Haynes: I wouldn’t say it’s lost. I would say that, unfortunately, it’s been muted. Some of the muting is self-inflicted in that some of our gospel preachers are so close to Caesar in Washington, D.C. because they are being funded by Caesar that they cannot challenge Caesar. Then, we have pockets of the prophetic witness. Right there in Louisville, Kentucky, you have Dr. Kevin Cosby. You have persons around the country, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Jeffrey Johnson, and so many others who, again, have not divorced the social content of the gospel from their spiritual witness. So, you have pockets here and there, but in too many instances, again, this social witness has been muted.

Angela: I am looking here at an article, No Social Justice, No Spiritual Peace. It references the conference that you had at your church, The National Conference and Revival for Social Justice in the Black Church. It was a two-day conference. Rev. Al Sharpton was in the house. He was here recently for the General Association of Baptist in Kentucky Convention. Referring to Rev. Sharpton’s comment at your church, President Cosby quoted this particular line in the article, “People who are in shackles don’t need people to anoint their shackles.”

Dr. Haynes: The sad reality is that the shackles are manifest in desperate way our public school system is funded. Our children are going to schools that are overcrowded, with under qualified teachers, lack of resources that schools in other districts are blessed to have. The anointing of those shackles is in deed a farce. It’s a sad commentary on where we are now as relates to ministry. You cannot talk about anointing if in my community we are experiencing economic dysfunction, economic apartheid, the redlining of our communities so that we do not have economic development. All of that is going on, and a lot of these churches who are shouting about the anointing, and the shackles are right there, but, again, that oil ain’t releasing me from those shackles.

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus saves!


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