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Who Is Jesus Christ For Us Today? A Response

I found Dr. Cone’s book to be stimulating reading. His strong feelings were evident and I applaud his courage to criticize those theologians who are insensitive and indifferent to the subjectivity of Black Theology.

Overall, I agree with most of Cone’s theology. We do part company however at certain intersections.

I am not convinced that Cone’s unilateral approach is necessarily a good one. I sense something important is missing though I admit I am not at all sure what it is. But certainly, his universalism is so overshadowed with particularity that the casual reader may hastily assume that Cone’s theology does not include a universal view.

I realize that Dr. Cone’s approach to theology is from a black perspective. I can surely identify with that. Yet, I question if his identifying Jesus as black is not tantamount to making Jesus in “our image.” He stated that he was not referring so much to “color” as he was to Jesus’ oneness with the black experience. But doesn’t Jesus also have an “oneness” with the Red experience or the Yellow experience?

Because I believe that if blacks were absent from the world, oppression and injustice would still exist, I think any approach to theology must be all inclusive. Theology needs both poles of objectivity and subjectivity.

Yes, Jesus becomes black for the Blacks, but He also becomes brown for the Browns, and white for the Whites who experience the pain of an unjust and unfair social order. I believe that whatever color oppression and injustice is focused on or against, that is the color Jesus becomes to help them struggle vehemently against it.

Jesus’ Jewishness does not, in my understanding, negate or preclude His universalism. After all, His ability to liberate folks from various diseases and states of being was not limited to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but was inclusive of all believers. Since Jesus was not only Jew but divine as well, I am not sure that Jewishness plus divineness equals “particularity.” It seems to me that Jesus was particular and yet more than – universal; he was human and yet more than human – divine.

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