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Abstract

It has been argued that the black church underwent a period of deradicalization in the early twentieth century resulting in its adoption of an accommodationalist posture. This accommodationalist posture represented a capitulation to oppressive forces seeking to continue the domination of the poor and communities of color. This work affirms that deradicalization has occurred but that the cause of this deradicalization has been misdiagnosed. The explanation often offered for this deradicalization is that it results from theological deficiencies within the church. These theological deficiencies are attributed to the over-reliance on an other-worldliness believed to be inherent in Christianity. This project suggests that the deradicalization is the result of the undue influence of economic ideology on the black church. More specifically, this project examines the influence of neoliberalism’s ideology on the black church and identifies those churches most impacted as the ‘neoliberal black church. The neoliberal black church, a subset of the black church generally, has been complicit in its surrender to neoliberalism through its promulgation of the solitary individual of neoliberalism who is devoted only to her or his individualism and thus self-interest. Neoliberalism’s ideology, which acts like a competing theology and whose god is the free market is especially visible in the suburbanization of the neoliberal black church.This project offers a response to the challenge to the neoliberal black church as presented by neoliberalism though a Lazarian Liberative theology.

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