What makes the AME Church distinct?

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The AME church became a seperate denomination from the Methodist Episcopal church for social reasons. But what in our doctrine and discipline makes us distinct from other protestant denominations. How would you answer the question, "What is different about the AME church?"

-- Anonymous, February 29, 2000


Rev. Hill, This is a very good question. Unlike many of my fellow AME members I have only toiled this denominational road for only 5 years. Previously, I labored in the vineyard under Baptist [PNBC] affiliation. I would suggest the only distinctive aspects of the AME Church rests with her historic committment to a "liberation theology" for all descendants of the African Diaspora. When Bishop Henry McNeal Turner declared that God Is A Negro, circa 1895 this represented to me the defining theological manifesto for black Christianity. WEB DuBois argued that the AME Church was the greatest cultural accomplishment by blacks because of its committment to education & organization. At least among black Christians the DuBois observation still holds true today.

-- Anonymous, February 29, 2000

Richard Allen, the founder of the AME Church was not biased or racist. The AME Church had open doors to all people then and now. Read Allen's history and you will find that he was not a racist ans you make him out to be.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2000

I don't understand the response of Pastor Paris. I have not read anywhere on this site that anyone accused Bishop Allen of being a racist. Liberation Theology is not racist and it is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 2000

Reverend Paris,

How did you read "racism" into the statement. Liberation Theology speaks to the under-class and oppressed of every race.

-- Anonymous, March 11, 2000

I believe we will find the answer to this question between our mission statement and our articles of religion. The mission statement addresses who we are dedicated to serve and how, the articles of religion have much to say about what we do not believe and how we will not serve.

-- Anonymous, March 12, 2000

I am looking at a copy of the AME Disciple [1996] while contributing this response to Rev. Hill's last post. According to the Episcopal Salutation [pp2-3] sections 2, 5-7 & 10 make the strong case that liberation theology plays a paramount role in defining our theological mission. My earlier response to this thread was developed independently of this source. I read nothing in the Discipline inconsistent with my earlier comments. Thanks for the opportunity to participate.

-- Anonymous, March 18, 2000

I can agree with the statements which support the ideals of African Methodism in correlation with liberation theology. Having come to the AME from the Baptist (NBC,USA)I now can understand the reality of the liberation given to Negroes during the founding and full establishment of the AME Church and its' ministries. I believe what distinguishes the AME from other denominations is the commitment to the cause of liberation through the connection. I know of no other denomination (other than those African Methodist denominations which came after the full development of the AME church). Ours is a heritage rich with both our own culture and stability for three centuries now. No other black denomination can say that...that is what I believe makes us distinct.

-- Anonymous, March 28, 2000

Brother Hill, you ask a most timely question, the biblical dynamics of which I can not fully expand on at this time. Please allow me to humbly attempt to address this issue from a biblical perspective. The AME church has one the most profound responsiblities found in holy writ. Let's first examine what I believe to be a divine calling, and that is the awakening of the black masses to their biblical lineage. Two points of reference must be made, point one the god of the people in the bible is know as Yah see Ps. 68:4 (Jah is pronouced Yah as in Hallelujah- Hal-le-lu-YAH). When the Afrikan slave was carried over to America he chanted a strange chant, that chant became so universally known throughout America it became a negro spiritual called Cum-bi-YAH (come-by-YAH). Whenever white folks got the blues and sought comfort they'd always demand their slaves to sing that song they heard the slave sing so often in the field while toiling under heavy burdens, and tremendous yokes "CumbiYah". Even in the sixties whites were famous for adopting cumbiYah as their theme song for people who were oppressed. So this thread links the Afikan slave back to his afore knowlegde of the god of the bible, dispite all the attempts to disinfranchise us from the knowledge of who we really are. Point two, in the book of Romans chapters 9,10 and 11 Paul prophesied the end day return of the orignal people of the bible fulfilling the promises given to Abraham as it relates to his seed. Now I want to touch on something that few would have the knowledge to support me in, namely the two horns of the second breast of the book of revelations chapter 13. Without going into great detail I would like us to see the prophetic mission Yah has called us out as a people to do. I am by no means political, but I do understand the role politics play in understanding prophesy. When we examine to 2 horned beast we see something distinct from the other beast of the bible (Daniel 7,8,and 9 and Revelation 12,13,and 17) all the other beast have crowns on their horns representing rulership or kings. But this second beast has no crowns, no kings, but two governing bodies the Senate and Congress. Now from out of these two legislative bodies we get our laws, more particular our rights, civil rights that is. Now please bare with me, religion without civility has always resulted in persecution. check the anals of history, over and over again whenever religion and government joined forces the results were always persecution to anyone who disagreed with status quo, and so it shall be again according to Matt. 24. Having said all that to put forth a clearer vision of what I summize to be the prophetic calling on the AME church. Simple put, the church must stand and reveal to the black nation here in America their historical positioning in the birth rite of Abraham. Also while undertaking this calling they must lead the fight in maintaining as many civil rights as they can, for once our civil rights are destroyed the beast will have an open avenue in which to enforce the mark of the beast. For my brothers it's not the the first beast of Revelation 13 that imposes the mark that eternally seal the fate of mankind, but it's the second beast who foces all to worship the first beast and recieve his mark. Please carefully examine your scriptures to get a clearer vision for what your church is being called to do in these last days. Peace.

-- Anonymous, April 18, 2000

Succinctly, Liberation Theology is that doctrine that belief in the Christian gospel requires that one support he struggles of the poor for freedom and economic justice. Long before the emergence of a defined and articulated ethos of Liberation Theology, it was ALREADY being implimented in the early struggles of black folk when Richard Alen and Absalom JOnes and others left old St. Georges church in a body to seek religious and social freedom "under their own vine and fig tree." Our committment as a religious body to social and economic justice in accord with our Discipline at one time, made us DIFFERENT from other denominations. I see facets of it yet manifested in some of our mega churches and maybe even in some medium size congregations of the world wide connection of African Methodism. But, like many great movements that arose from obscurity and public disdain to heights of recognized worth and acceptance, that which gave birth to the A.M.E. Church no longer SEEMS to impel its witness and the denomination has settled into a mode of "maintenance." I can't make a comparison "Doctinally" as the A.M.E. Church doesn not define or articulate what it's doctrine is in tThe Doctrone & Discipline of the A.M.E. Church (1996). It has to be inferred from the statements in its Articles of Religion. So what is different about the A.M.E. Church? Thankfully the freedom to YET be a "Liberating & Reconciling" people who can and who will [reach the "unsearchable riches of Christ" and live a life of holiness ". . . without which, no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14b) Thanks for this opportunity to express my views. God Bless us one and all.

-- Anonymous, June 06, 2000

Unlike most churches, the AME Church did not have its inception out of some theological dispute. Rather it began spontneously out of being fed up with inhumane treatment of one human against another human. When Richard Allen and the othes walked out of St George Church, it was so they could worship God in dignity and respect for all.

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2000

Unlike most churches, the AME Church did not have its inception out of some theological dispute. Rather it began spontneously out of being fed up with inhumane treatment of one human against another human. When Richard Allen and the othes walked out of St George Church, it was so they could worship God in dignity and respect for all. That is what makes the AME Church unique.

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2000

I am fascinated by the responses to this question. It seems that the consensus is that what makes us distinct is our commitment to a liberating gospel. So whether or not we are high church or low church in worship style, there should be an aspect to our service which continues the spirit of the first Free African Society. I am intrigued by the notion of our connection being a tool of this liberation. I wonder why this aspect of our church is not more effective. We are connected, but do not act in unity. Perhap we need to revisit the biblical concept of unity and apply it to our structural concept of connection.

-- Anonymous, July 30, 2000

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