Dr. King’s Recipe for Fighting Evil

So, I am devoting this week to Dr. King, his honor, and his unfinished business. The Reverend King was a once in a generation man who happened upon a once in a lifetime historical moment.  He was a man exuding with appreciation of life, the grandest will to love, and full of wisdom. We honor a hero and a lodestar for a world even more in turmoil than the one embraced and challenged by the preacher from Georgia.

Asbury’s Dr. Tennent in his recent book on Theology in Mission talks about the theology of the Son who is the archetype missionary.  “Missions,” he writes, “is placed securely within the context of revelation and response…the incarnation is the ultimate, ‘translation’ of deity into humanity.  God takes on human flesh and demonstrates how we are to live in this world.”  As God’s church we must go beyond the passive hope that someday all things will be put right.  We are to transform what was meant for evil into the salvation for many, because God transforms evil.  And Jesus shows this will require suffering.  Dr. King knew this well and embraced the path to Everest.

In his book on Love, Dr. King tries to answer this perplexing question: Why could we not cast him out, referring to the disciples who could not cast the evil out of a demon possessed boy?  King writes, “Human life through the centuries has been characterized by man’s persistent efforts to remove evil from the earth.” He goes on to reflect on the two ways in which humans usually try to remove evil. On the one hand, he writes, humans, “try to remove evil through their own power and ingenuity in the strange conviction that by thinking, inventing, and governing, he will at last conquer the nagging forces of evil.”  On the other hand, he writes, “the second idea for removing evil from the world stipulates that if man waits submissively upon the Lord, in his own good time God alone will redeem the world.” Yet, neither are God’s revelation to us nor consistent with our human experience.  Dr. King concludes, and get ready for this, because it the exact lesson we learn from Joseph. Dr. King writes, “neither God nor man will individually bring the world’s salvation.  Rather, both man and God, made one in a marvelous unity of purpose through an overflowing love as the free the gift of himself, on the part of God and by perfect obedience and receptivity on the part of man can transform the old into the new and drive out the deadly cancer of sin.”  The key, a faithfulness that can transform through suffering that which was meant for evil into the salvation for many…

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