News • March 30, 2022

Professor explores gifts from African American Christian tradition in lecture series

Professor explores gifts from African American Christian tradition in lecture series

Riverside, Calif. (March 30, 2022) – Dr. Walter R. Strickland II shared the importance of the African American Christian tradition with an audience at California Baptist University.

“Every Christian has a unique gift they offer to the body of Christ,” Strickland said. “Cultivating us into the likeness of Jesus and exploring aspects of the African American Christian story is a worthy task.” 

Strickland is an assistant professor of systematic and contextual theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He also serves as the teaching pastor at Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has contributed to, edited, and authored several books on theological studies. He spoke as part of the School of Christian Ministries Lecture Series at CBU on March 29. 

He discussed the gifts, challenges, trials and victories that mark the African American Christian experience. 

“I think oftentimes we read about other people, but we don’t read about them for the sake of sharpening us,” he said. “The idea of sharpening across the lines of difference explains the reality of church history and learning from the past for the sake of the present.”

Christ’s resurrection offered a foretaste of victory over personal sin and all oppression, Strickland discussed. This helped African American believers as they faced hardships.

 “They were looking to Jesus, and He was victorious over death,” Strickland said. “Many have died, but only one has risen.”

Seeing Christ strung up on a tree and being disregarded is a characteristic of Christ's humble descent into the depths of humanity and that also encouraged Black believers, he said.

 “It encouraged them to carry on because Jesus walked through sufferings yet emerged victoriously for the purpose of making that victory available to them,” he said.

Strickland emphasized that having faith and trusting that God is going to show up in the midst of a trial is at the core of the African American Christian experience.

“The faith of a mustard seed can move mountains,” Strickland said. “The gift to the African American tradition is that reality, the faith of a mustard seed.” 

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