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A Review of On Being Black and Reformed: A New Perspective on the African-American Christian Experience

The writer, co-founder of the Black Alliance for Reformed Theology, seeks to provide answers to questions that plague many on the issue of Christianity and American slavery.

  • Byron Snapp
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The writer, co-founder of the Black Alliance for Reformed Theology, seeks to provide answers to questions that plague many on the issue of Christianity and American slavery. These questions include, Where was God in the ongoing slave trade involving Africa and America ? Why would Christianity be embraced by slaves? Why would Christians hold people of another race in bondage? Mr. Carter writes with firm conviction that only Reformed theology can provide substantive, satisfactory answers to these nagging questions. Particularly, he points the reader to the facts of God's sovereignty, man's sinfulness, and Christ's sufficiency.

In providing these answers, he is careful to explain the five points of Calvinism, while detailing scriptural support for God's sovereignty in all of life. He recognizes that mankind is totally depraved and that only God can take the initiative, make the provision, and actually apply spiritual life to sinners.

Mr. Carter provides a brief overview of black history in America. In doing so, he recounts the evangelistic outreach among the blacks and gives reasons why this outreach was not more widespread. This history reveals a dearth of integration, which he believes the races need. He notes the importance of the blacks knowing the Reformers and Reformed history and whites understanding the sufferings blacks have experienced as their songs and spirituals testify.

In an appendix the author includes the texts of actions toward reconciliation taken by three church bodies: the Assemblies of God, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Presbyterian Church in America . A second appendix is the message delivered at the 2001 African-American Pastors Conference, which was sponsored by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

The author is well-read in Reformed theology and understands black history. He desires that Christians of all races think today in terms of Scripture, see the sovereign hand of God in history, and embrace Reformed theology. He repeatedly stresses that Reformed theology is Biblical, historical, and experiential.

This well-written volume provides one with an understanding of black history in America . It also provides a fine introduction to Reformed theology. The text provides many avenues for discussing basic Reformed theology and for showing the practical framework for applying God's Word in daily life.

  • Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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