Doing Indigenous Reformed Theology

My passion has been to foster engagement between African Americans and Reformed theology. I know the term “reformed theology” may be unfamiliar to some, but it refers to the historic Protestant Reformation and the teachings that have arisen from it over the past five centuries.

I have discovered rich, substantive biblical material in the Reformed tradition. It has strengthened my spiritual maturity and devotion to God. Reformed theology as a branch of Christianity, however, is sorely lacking in racial and ethnic diversity. We have nearly limitless stores of insights to gain from hearing the perspectives of believers from different people groups. To do this most effectively, though, we cannot simply regurgitate the same ethnically homogenous formulations we already have (and I don’t mean that at all derogatorily). We must actually develop new methods for doing theology so that we can answer the questions and address the issues of different racial and ethnic groups in a biblical way.

A man named Carl Ellis, Jr. pointed me to the phrase “indigenous Reformed theology” as a way of expressing what needs to happen in the theological enterprise today. I wrote a post on it called “Doing Indigenous Reformed Theology” at my other website, the Reformed African American Network ( The introduction to the post is below, and there’s a link to the rest of the post at the end.

Over 30 years ago Dr. Carl Ellis, Jr. articulated his desire to see an indigenous Reformed movement in the African American community. Among other implications, this means doing theology appropriate to the challenges and questions African Americans face in this day. During the the 2014 Leadership Development and Resource (LDR) Weekend, I realized that were doing the indigenous Reformed theology of which Dr. Ellis speaks.

Indigenous Reformed theology among African Americans draws upon existing Reformed theological formulations, but it does not simply mimic them. While biblical truth is timeless, the applications of that truth are limitless. A truly Indigenous Reformed theology applies biblical truth to the unique social and cultural milieu of different communities, in this case, African Americans. You can read more about this topic here.

So what does this look like? If the LDR Weekend showcased examples of doing indigenous Reformed theology then what are those examples? 

Here’s a link to the remainder of the post. Doing Indigenous Reformed Theology

So what do you think so far? Any thoughts on addressing contemporary issues of racial and ethnic minorities from a biblical perspective and ideas on how to do that? Leave your comments below.

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