How Martin Luther King Jr. Rejected the Christian Doctrines
Copyright 2012 Be Scofield
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You undoubtedly know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a progressive Christian and champion of civil rights and the social gospel. You may also know that he spoke out against the Vietnam War, harshly criticized U.S. foreign policy, and questioned the capitalist system that produced poverty. But do you know his theology?
Right up until Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had traveled to support striking sanitation workers, the civil rights leader worked—not as a secular activist but as a Baptist minister—to awaken the conscience of the nation. What was the meaning of Jesus for Dr. King? Did he see Jesus as divine? How did he interpret the Bible?
Biographies describe King as a liberal Protestant, but what does this mean? What was his understanding of Christian doctrines and why are they important to us? A number of academic papers written during his seminary years (1948–1951) provide an intimate look at the young King as he struggled to reconcile religion with a changing, dynamic, and modern world.