Friday, July 17, 2009

James Cone

Chapter Six of The Limits of Liberalism is "The Limits of Liberalism's Understanding of God." But before writing about the problem areas, I point out what I see as positive aspects of liberalism's view of God--such as its emphasis on the justice of God.

In connection with the justice of God, just this morning I added the following statement by Dr. James Cone: "God is the political God, the Protector of the poor and the Establisher of the right for those who are oppressed. To know God is to experience the acts of God in the concrete affairs and relationships of people, liberating the weak and the helpless from pain and humiliation. For theologians to speak of this God, they too must become interested in politics and economics, recognizing that there is no truth about Yahweh unless it is the truth of freedom as that event is revealed in the oppressed people’s struggle for justice in this world" (God of the Oppressed, revised edition, 1997, p. 57).

Cone, who was born ten days before me (in 1938), is giving the Binns Lectures at William Jewell College this fall, and I am looking forward to hearing him again. More than thirty years ago he was in Fukuoka, and I had the privilege of introducing him at a Seinan Gakuin University chapel service. Maybe later I can write up an amusing thing that happened when Dr. Cone spoke to a group of missionaries at one of their regular study meetings.

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