Black Hermeneutics

The hermeneutical approaches of black theology are based on a humanitarian, socio-political and socio-cultural basis; it tends to put man as the center of all theology in that it departs from the enquiry of what the Scriptures have said and focuses on change and transformation of societies. This type of theology is shaped and characterized by the conviction that God is more inclined to hear the cry of the poor by virtue of their poverty. Black theology originates out of a political viewpoint, where black ministers felt that they were undermined and made inferior to white people and therefore saw themselves at the center of God”™s historic plan of salvation.

A theology that is based on politics and socio-economics status will always find its hermeneutical approach opposed to Scripture as it attempts to explain God and His plan of salvation in unbiblical terms. This type of theology overlooks sin and the sinful condition of human beings and therefore exalts man especially the black man as the center of theology. Black theology argues that the gospel is “good news to the poor”, in the contrary they fail to recognize that the bible concluded all man under sin and in spiritual bankruptcy. In the biblical context, the poor are those who are poor spiritually and especially those who recognize their need for salvation. (cf. Matt 5:2)

Black hermeneutics interprets the poor to mean being poor in economic status and to be under oppression; they put God under obligation to deliver those who are politically oppressed without Him having to deal with their sin. They believe that the suffering of the poor and the oppressed is the suffering of God, and therefore Jesus entered into this world to experience what they experience. Christ is not viewed as the Savior who saves man from sin but from socio-cultural and economic impacts.


Though God cares for the poor and the oppressed, we are not to place the idea of suffering and oppression as the center of our theology. The deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt was not in the first place a deliverance from oppression but God wanted to free his people so they will worship and sacrifice to Him in the wilderness (cf. Exodus 7:16). A theological system that undermines God”™s anger towards sin and His plan of salvation is UN-Biblical and is to be rejected.

Soli Deo Gloria