That was the message of a number of prominent black pastors gathered in Dallas this week for a preaching symposium.
“Voices are not as loud as they ought to be,” said William Shaw, president of the predominantly black National Baptist Convention, USA. “Sometimes they are far too accommodating.”
Dr. Shaw and other black church leaders, including Major Jemison, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, gathered for the E.K. Bailey Ministries’ annual International Conference on Expository Preaching.
Some 600 pastors and others attended, and Dr. Shaw – pastor for 50 years at White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia – was given a “Living Legend” award.
But at a Wednesday news conference, he was less than celebratory about the state of black preaching, saying more pastors should speak out against highly restrictive immigration proposals and the Iraq War.
“We were against going to war,” he said of his denomination. “It has become a terribly diversionary activity that has refocused economic resources. It has become an umbrella of actions that stands dangerously close to depriving us of a lot of the liberties that have defined us.”
Dr. Jemison and others echoed Dr. Shaw’s concern that black preaching has become associated with the prosperity gospel rather than “prophetic” preaching.
Dr. Shaw will be back in Dallas in September, when the National Baptist Convention, USA holds it annual meeting, bringing to the city around 25,000 delegates.
“The economic impact is always $30 million to $40 million,” Dr. Shaw said.
This week’s preaching conference was the 11th put on by E.K. Bailey Ministries, named for the late, renowned Dallas pastor.