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The Voice of ConscienceThe Church in the Mind of Martin Luther King, Jr.$
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Lewis Baldwin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380316

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380316.001.0001

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A Balm in Gilead

A Balm in Gilead

The Black Church as Mission and Movement

(p.101) 3 A Balm in Gilead
The Voice of Conscience

Lewis V. Baldwin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The content of this chapter unfolds along several lines of discussion. First, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sense of the entire history of the black church and how that institution had functioned in African American life and culture up to his time is discussed. Early images of the church as refuge, as comprehensive community, as exodus and exilic community, as chosen people, as unbroken tradition, as suffering servant, as messianic instrument, as counterculture, and as critic and transformer of culture are seriously considered. Second, King’s portrait of the civil rights movement as church-based and church-centered is stressed, with special attention to his view of the black church as “movement headquarters.” The chapter closes with reflections on King’s conflicts with other black leaders, especially conservatives and nationalists, over the meaning and proper role of the church in the personal and social lives of African Americans.

Keywords:   mission and movement, creative minority, chosen people, all-comprehending institution, messianic instrument, suffering servant, resident aliens

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