A group of black pastors is looking to spread biblical teaching and quash the prosperity gospel teachings that have been proliferating in their churches.
Lance Lewis, pastor of Christ Liberation Fellowship in Philadelphia, says the health and wealth gospel is as much a threat to the historic black church as theological liberalism was to the evangelical church in the early part of the 20th century, as reported by By Faith magazine.
"For the balance of the 20th century the mainstream historic black church while not reformed certainly held to the main tenets of orthodox faith," he said in a letter to leaders in the Presbyterian Church in America. "However towards the end of the last century the prosperity gospel (which in its various forms had always lurked near the fringe of the black church) moved closer and closer to becoming the central theology believed and practiced by the black church."
"The churches in which we grew up or came to faith now spout this destructive form of heresy," said Lewis, whose church is touted as a multi-ethnic Bible believing, Bible teaching church.
Lewis is among a group of pastors in the PCA who are preparing to host an event this summer called Revival 2K10. Organizers of the June 4-6 conference in Baltimore, Md., plan to launch a movement to counter the "heresy" of the prosperity gospel.
"The purpose of this event is to impact the black church and black community with historic, redemptive Christianity that is biblically grounded, gospel driven and Christ-centered," Lewis explained.
The prosperity gospel is a highly criticized theology that teaches wealth and good health are a sign of God's blessing.
In recent years, a number of black Christian leaders have come out in opposition to the teaching and expressed concern that it was specifically pervading African-American churches.
Dr. Robert M. Franklin wrote in Crisis in the Village that the prosperity gospel was the greatest threat to black churches.
The nation's largest African American religious organization – the 7.5 million-member National Baptist Convention – has denounced the teaching and the Lausanne Theology Working Group recently noted its popularity in Africa.
Lewis of PCA is seeking to bring reform to the black church.
He insisted, "Our desire is not to cause any kind of separation. We only hope to see God work among our people who as we know have had little exposure to biblically reformed theology for over a hundred and fifty years."
Revival 2K10 will take place at New Song Community Church in Baltimore and feature speakers Doug Logan of Epiphany Fellowship of Philadelphia, Kevin Smith of Pinelands Presbyterian Church of Miami and Thurman Williams of New Song.