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The Decline of African American Theology? A Critical Response to Thabiti Anyabwile

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Thabiti Anyabwile’s recent book, The Decline of African American Theology: From Biblical Faith to Cultural Captivity, presents a historical and theological critique of developments in the African American theological tradition. Yet Anyabwile’s polemic is questionable as it is based on Reformed theology’s reading of the Bible. This essay raises questions about the methodological underpinnings of Anyabwile’s thesis, particularly its problematic and uncritical application to the African American Christian experience, and suggests in turn that the author should have written another kind of book to further the conversation about African American theology.

Affiliations: 1: J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology Regent University School of Divinity 1000 Regent University DriveVirginia Beach, VA 23464, Email:; 2: Director of Black Church Studies Program Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary 1044 Alta Vista Road Louisville, KY 40205, Email:


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