Two Baylor University Truett Seminary grads are showing the world the eventual end of Critical Race Theory, declaring the hymns are racist paragons of white supremacy that must be torn down because they portray Jesus as a male who is a “Master.”
Tracing the history of Black Hymnody from the 17th century to the 21st, the two explain that the theology of black hymns was developed at length in the work of Liberation theologian James Cone, enabling them to “embody a spirituality that transcends the loftiness of traditional eurocentric theology.”
Joslyn Henderson and Russ Tarpley, in a webinar from the First Baptist Church of Austin, explain that the white Christians have, in an act of colonization, utilized black spirituals like “Go tell it on the mountain” and “there is a balm in Gilead” so they could wrest it “from the mouths of those to which it belongs” in order to make it “vogue on the tongues of the oppressors.”
Naturally, this means white hymns are a tradition of deep racism and white supremacy, and black people are now being handed that racist history to partake in, bullied into corporately singing that which is racistly missappropriated.
These examples of internal dialogue within a hymnody and black cultures is a way for us, for white people, to lean into the conversation. But it’s not a spot to say where we get to necessarily contribute to that, because…this idea that Christ is male and white and master, these come from the generations, the centuries of the white Christian narrative that have therefore informed and shaped black hymnody to accept that…We were handed a tradition that was inherently racist, and so now we have [inaudible] the history of these hymns that now are inherently racist, and now we’re singing them. [We are sure that African theologians Augustine of Hippo and Athanasius of Alexandria would agree with this so-called “white” theology. Honestly, these guys need to learn some church history. -Ed.]
Henderson lauds the words of Jon Michael Spenser in his 1995 book Sing a new song, quoting him as saying:
This calls for the requisite of revision; where Christ is portrayed as male rather than as female (or feminine), as white rather than non-white (or pressed), as master rather than a servant (or impoverished), what results is the hymnic tradition of gender, race, and class hierarchy rooted in Greco-Roman societal conventions and philosophical sanctioning.
It’s problematic when, in hymns, “Christ is portrayed as male rather than as female…as master rather than as servant.”— Woke Preacher Clips (@WokePreacherTV) June 23, 2021
“We were handed a tradition that was inherently racist, and so now we have [inaudible] the history of these hymns that now are inherently racist.” pic.twitter.com/j2hZjq8ooA
h/t to WokePreacherTV for the clip