James Cone Essay

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Pages: 5

A Black Theology of Liberation
By James H. Cone
“Christian theology is a theology of liberation. It is a rational study of the being of God in the world in light of existential situations of an oppressed community, relating the forces of liberation to the essence of the gospel, which is Jesus Christ.” (pp. 1) James H. Cone stresses the idea that theology is not universal, but tied to specific historical contexts. In A Black Theology of
Liberation James, Cone explains what Black theology is and uses the Exodus story, found in the
Old Testament and the life of Jesus Christ, New Testament, to give examples of the oppression and liberation. Cone believes both stories are vital and necessary in understanding God and
God’s relationship
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Cone uses the Gospel of Luke toprove this point: "the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them. Cone argues that through Jesus Christ, God enters human affairs and takes sides with the oppressed. Their suffering becomes his. 1. The Birth. He was oppressed from birth and His birth was a symbol of oppression. Being born in a stable was the equivalent to being born in the ghetto using Luke 2:7 as the foundation to his argument. 2. Baptism and Temptation. Cone believes that Jesus baptism revealed his identification with the oppressed using Mark’s account of Jesus baptism. Cone believes John’s baptism was for sinners and Jesus submitting himself to be baptized by John connects him with sinners and affirmed that sinners do exist and He is one of them. God’s approval, “Thou art my beloved Son: with thee I am well please” (Mark 1:11) is proof according to Cone that this was a work that needed to be some by Jesus. The temptation story in Luke 4:3-
12 is another example that Cone says is essential to knowing Jesus’ identification to the oppressed more so in this case the poor. Jesus refusal to turn stone into bread was a form of his refusal to identify himself as King of kings. He wanted to suffer with the poor. 3. Ministry. Cone believes after John the Baptist was arrested and Jesus said “The time is