Theological Position of Dwight N Hopkins Essay

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Theological position of Dwight N. Hopkins

The biblical presentation of human existence and its origin and our own experience of human life in this world are to accept the fact that Adam and Eve were real persons and they are the descents of all human beings. The biblical representation is not limited to the Genesis but it represents a broader perspective which is related to the God's creation. The biblical representation reveals the God's presence in this world in the form of light and playing a unique role and dignity for mankind. This is what we all experience in our daily lives. All human desire for God and need Him, depends on Him to fulfill their wishes and forgiveness of their sins. Thus all the aspect of human creation and their living is governed and known by God (Collins, 2010).

The essay on theological position of Dwight N. Hopkins will illustrate the issue of faith among black people across the world. Dwight N. Hopkins is a creative theologian making his contributions in the areas of contemporary models of theology, black theologies, liberation theologies and East- West cross-cultural comparisons (Hopkins, 1999). His approach to academic study of religion is based on multi-disciplinary approaches that studies religion within the context of culture, politics, economy and interpretive methods. Some of his insightful works on the subject are Being Human: Race, Culture, and Religion; Another World Is Possible: Spiritualities and Religions of Global Darker Peoples; Introducing Black Theology of Liberation; Down, Up and Over: Slave Religion and Black Theology; and Black Faith and Public Talk: Essays in Honor of James Cone's Black Theology and Black Power, contributed as an editor.

The essay will uncover various theological authors' perspectives on theological methods, dynamics of faith, use of scripture and religious symbols in the theological studies.

Theology of black liberation

Theological Method:

Black theology by Hopkins, 1999 identified the struggle for liberation by the poor and depressed people as the fundamental of the black religious experience in America. Black theologians irrespective of gender affirm that the History of Jesus is essential in the African-American understanding. The author has shown the significance of life of Jesus among the Black people. Black has surrounded their life with the teachings of Jesus. Jesus has taken freedom from socio-psychological, psycho-cultural, economic and political oppression of the black people. (Hopkins, 1999)

James Cone is the founder of black theology of liberation. Cone in elaborated the movement which was rooted back in the 1960s civil rights activism and describes a theology that consider God as concerned with the poor and the weak (Cone, 1990). When the civil rights and black power movement broke out and was at its pinnacle of protest, James Cone had introduced a revolutionary theology which was based on the African-American experience of repression and search of liberation. His revolutionary thoughts were also demonstrated in his literary work which includes various works done on African- American theological framework like Black Theology and Black Power; A Black Theology of Liberation; The Spirituals and the Blues: An Interpretation; Speaking the Truth: Ecumenism, Liberation, and Black Theology and For My People: Black Theology and the Black Church.

Theological Concept of Black Liberation:

Hopkins, 1999 and Cone, 1990 have both argued that theology is the outcome of experiences of the community. Community plays its major role in describing what God means. The theology for African-Americans was shown in their struggle for freedom and justice which was due to the dominance of Western European theology. The protest of African- American for their rights had made them believe that God must be Black. Since He is the creator of all mankind and He had created all the blacks so He must be of the same kind. The black theology of liberation has demonstrated the relationship between theology, oppression and liberation and the conceptual framework of African- Americans to consider God as being black. (Hopkin, 1999 & Cone 1990)

The birth of the modern theology was not the consequential effect of any one event that had happened in the late sixties. It had earmarked a phenomenal impact on the theological doctrine. There are many aspects covered in the black theology of liberation that are uneasy for the white readers or conventional thinking blacks. Many of the white liberals were unveiled of the hypocritical comments. In the second phase of theologian development black theology evolved as an academic discipline. Literature had imposed pressure on white to remain quiet and give space to black to express their views and protest for liberations. Yet there are many white theologians who consider black theology as no concept in existence. That's why the work of black theology is ignored on the international discussion conference where white theologians dominate. It was in the second stage of theological development when black theologians had distinguished themselves as scholars and established Society for the Study of Black Religion in 1970 (Cone, 1990).

In the third stage of theological development, black theologians where more concerned about the global perspectives concentrating their efforts on the dialogue with the third world liberation theologians. During the third stage American theology also came into existence. The main contributors to this regime were Latin and North White Americans. When black theologians were being ignored by the white theologians, Cone finally toke a drastic step through his literary sharp tone and talked in favor of black and other form of feminist theology. Cone was against the female subordination to male. It was in the third stage of black theological development when female activist, scholars, religious thinks had stated making their contribution in narrating the stories of black women experiences of racism, sexism and classism.

Understanding the Dynamics of Faith

The dynamics of faith according to Hopkins is based on the person's ability of being faithful to the objectives of tradition with which they are bounded. He has considered this the role of theology which creates a sense of accountability discipline. (Hopkin, 1999)

Faith not only provides a means for deliverance but is also means all the promises made to Christ to hold fast the doctrine of faith. Faith is very critical aspect of human existence as it's a connection between God and His creature (Fairbanks, 2010).

Religious Symbols and teachings:

The symbols of Catholic religion are served to be 'logic', 'point', 'structure', and describe the Christian tradition with profound language which cannot be easily understood by the unfaithful mind. These symbols are actually the means for reawakening of the spirituality and practice of religion (Haight, 2002).

Faith is the spiritual existence of mankind and without it a person's existence has no meaning. Therefore, it is crucially important that every believer should take keen interest in knowing the dynamics of faith, what constitutes faith and how does it relation to religious bonding.

The teachings of Bible says that without faith God can't be pleased and when the God is not please then anything done is considered as a sinful deed. Ignorance of faith takes a person to doubts and unbelief, which consequently breaks the spiritual connection of the believer and God. When the spiritual connection is broken then the essence of human life is lost. The Bible has mentioned in Matthew 13:58 that Jesus has a profound personality who can do miracles in man's life but this was possible because he had a spiritual connection with the God through his believe and faith (Makelele, 2010).

The Dynamics of faith suggest following main postulates about the existence of faith in Christianity:

1. Visibility of the Faith: If a man holds fast on his faith it is never ignored by God. He knows the true intentions of all mankind and which is unknown to all but all known to God. James 2:17 - faith without works is dead. Genuine faith is expressed through action.

2. Faith is herd: God hears all the cry and pain of His creation if it is done faithfully. That is why it is said that when people pray from clean heart their prayers are always accepted in front of God.

3. Acceptance of Faith: Nobody is born with the faith. It creates its place in man's heart and mind through learning, understanding and observing the religious aspects and concepts. When all the religious doubts are clarified from the mind then it gives place for faith to enter.

4. Possibility when keeping strong faith: Like is much easier who has strong faith in God and His decisions. The one who keeps his faith firm consistently for him everything is possible and achievable.

5. Faith gives voice: As it was apparent in the black theology they had tried to get liberation from their theological concepts and have firm believe in the existence of God. Faith gave them the courage to speak for themselves and raise their voice in the favor of their rights and authorities.

6. Faith is Revelation: Galatians 3:23 - Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. It is…

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