Making my way through Peter Goodwin Heltzel’s Jesus and Justice.
“Gary Dorrien emphasizes [MLK Jr’s] training in the evangelical liberal tradition of Walter Rauschenbusch and Edgar S. Brightman, and James H. Cone rightly points out King’s roots in the black church tradition of Daddy King and Benjamin Elijah Mays, but there is a third theological stream that informs King’s thought: evangelical theology…The influence of liberal vocabulary, concepts, and motifs saturate King’s early writings; however, as his thinking progresses in the civil rights movement, we observe that its most basic theological logic is evangelical–Christocenric, cruciform, and based on a strong faith in a loving, personal God” (p. 54-55).
[It’s an interesting argument. As I’ve noted before, even with just White folk, evangelicals are a motley crew. Throw King into the mix and…]
“The majority of white fundamentalists and evangelicals were silent or actively resisted King’s call for civil disobedience to accelerate the end of segregation. This evangelical resistance to civil rights was based on its deep roots in apolitical fundamentalist thought, often shaped by a nexus of beliefs that included orders of creation, social conservatism, and white racism” (p. 61).