The theological presuppositions of evangelical black pastoral leadership in relationship to conservative evangelical theology
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This research analyzed the theological presuppositions of evangelical African American pastoral leadership in relationship to African American theology and the theological presuppositions and models of conservative evangelical theology. The study was conducted with evangelical African American pastors who were in attendance at four separate venues held during the last quarter of 2004. These venues were: a meeting of the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition (IMC) of Louisville, Kentucky; a meeting of Concerned Black Clergy (CBC) of Atlanta, Georgia; the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC) which met in Jacksonville, Florida; and the Sunday School Publishing Board (SSPB) Conference which met in Nashville, Tennessee. The precedent literature of the study reviewed the three areas of (1) conservative evangelical theological presuppositions, (2) the two major contemporary theological models of Calvinism and Arminianism, and (3) the theological presuppositions posited within the literature of African American theology and pastoral leadership. The participants of the study completed a short demographic survey and a theological views survey. These surveys were used to determine the background characteristics of the participants and to measure their theological views and beliefs. The data was statistically analyzed utilizing the software program Excel. Results from the research showed that African American pastors leaned toward a three-point orientation toward the Calvinist model, with the tenet of total depravity having the strongest rating of concurrence. Results also showed that African American pastors leaned toward a four-point orientation toward the Arminian model, with the tenet of unlimited registering the strongest rating of concurrence. Results from the research also revealed that African American pastors rated the theological presuppositions of conservative evangelical theology above those of African American theology. The theological presuppositions held most strongly by African American pastors were that of Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation, the revelation of God as permanent, the belief in a closed theism, and the Bible as the authoritative guide for the church. The theological presuppositions held in least regard by African American pastors were the belief in an open theism, the Arminian tenet of free will, and the belief in the practice of relative ethics. Statistics from the research appeared to indicate that theological training and education for African American pastors has been on the rise over the last decade. There also appeared to be a moderate trend of decline in the adherence by African American pastors to some of the longstanding cultural and traditional views as posited by African American scholars, theologians, and clergy of the twentieth century.