White Theology And Its Core Characteristics


The church has been known to have the power to influence various issues in society. For instance, with the support of the church, government agencies are able to implement the law. When the local, state and federal governments have tried to solve some of the social issues such as drugs or gun violence, the church through its leaders has been used. It is the church that brings various people in a community together and passes a particular piece of information that unites them. However, it has also been known for negative factors despite the good aspects. For example, it has, through various ministers and preachers, been used to spread the politics of racism, classism as well as sexism. In the United States, many people of color are currently facing discrimination in different aspects of their lives. For example, black people are often arrested and jailed for crimes they did not commit. Statistics show that there are more African Americans in United States prisons than their white counterparts.

Law enforcement has been used as a weapon against young black individuals, which is negative for society. Instead of rebuking this, the church continues to preach the message of exclusion. Using scriptures such as stories from the Old Testament and relating them to the black skin tone or female gender is one way that white theology has helped to spread social justice. This has also been distributed to other churches, such as the Pentecostals. This paper looks at the factors that distinguish white theology and the ways in which it manifests itself in the Pentecostal church.

Distinct Characteristics of White Theology

The factors that make it easier to distinguish white theology from any other form include racism and sexism. The idea of white supremacy is prevalent among white theologians and churches. Supporters of white theology, for instance, evangelicals, believe that black people or individuals of color deserve less than their white counterparts. This goes against what they preach, however, as they claim that in the eyes of God, everyone is equal and that He created every individual in His image. With such support from the church, persons with wrong motives against others in the United States have continued to oppress and discriminate against others.

For instance, it is because of such ideas that social injustice, especially by law enforcement, is at an all-time high. In the Old Testament, white theology teaches that black people originated from Ham, who was cursed. They, therefore, see the skin tone as a curse. This has led to many white ministers treating their black counterparts as less and thus not deserving of preaching in their churches. In the past, during slavery, churches split because of the differences in understanding of the word of God. For instance, a church named Baptist split into Northern and Southern branches. The splitting happened mainly because individuals in the latter branch claimed to embrace the word while also enslaving people and justify their actions by the scriptures. The Northern group could not agree to this and thus, separated.

The evangelicals read, interpret, and practice the Bible literally. They emphasize that individuals develop a personal association with their maker and work on their inside. They view the issue of racism as a political matter and not something concerning the church. This is unlike the word, especially when it relates to how Jesus Christ approached life. For instance, the New Testament records a specific event that occurred involving the Pharisees and a prostitute. The former wanted to kill the latter by stoning, but Jesus stopped and asked if there was any of them without sin to throw the first stone. None of them was clean, and thus, the woman was saved. It is with the same principle that the evangelicals ought to live with, but they do not.

Believing that the black people sinned and were cursed and thus, deserve less than them shows that they think they are clean of sin. Among the evangelicals, the concept of social justice and Jesus Christ is far from them as they believe that He is their savior, however, not the savior for all people. For a long time, they have used expressions such as “turn the other cheek” to convince the people of color that it is Christian-like for them to accept oppression and forgive. It has given white people the chance to criticize black people when they complain about certain issues, such as lack of representation in churches.

As they use the word to discriminate against others of different colors, they continue against female ministers. At the beginning of the Old Testament, there is a narration about how God first created man and then woman later. The evangelicals use this story to teach that man is the one ordained for leadership and that women are supposed to follow. This is manifested in how the female ministers are denied a chance to preach in the pulpits in the churches.

What Ways White Theology Manifests in Pentecostal Tradition

White theology and ideas and views on various issues in society have infiltrated every denomination among Christians, especially the Pentecostal church. This church has been known for a while to be very diverse as it embraces different communities, even those from the minority. It has allowed people to minister to preach regardless of their gender and social status. Every individual attending has been welcomed as an equal member despite some people being more prosperous than others.

However, some preachers have started applying ideas and concepts that look similar to those of white theology. For instance, individuals of high social status are being given special treatment than others. This is an issue of classism that has affected even how the word is passed on in churches. Pastors have had to ignore the wrongdoings of the affluent members and use a message, that does not address them directly. For instance, if someone gives a vast amount of money for church projects despite being mentioned in corrupt dealings, the clergy will protect his or her reputation among other members. They will use the scriptures to show how he or she is being attacked, similarly to how people of God were attacked in the Bible. This did not exist in the Pentecostal churches, but now it does as a result from the influence from white theology.

As suggested earlier, the Pentecostal church embraced diversity which means that it did not matter whether someone was black, white, Latino, or Asian, they were all welcomed. The differences helped to grow the church as various members from different communities felt comfortable maintaining their identity while also serving God. White theology discourages this as it uses scriptures to show how others who are not white do not deserve to be the same treatment. For instance, the ideas of black people being cursed, and white privilege have entered into the Pentecostal church. Individuals of color are now denied equal opportunities in the leadership of the church. Preaching options are limited as black ministers are too energetic and fail to teach the word. It is unlike how the church is known to worship.

Apart from racism and classism, white theology manifests through sexism in the Pentecostal church. For many years, female preachers and members of the evangelical churches have not been allowed equal opportunities similar to their male counterparts. This has not been the case for the Pentecostals but is recently being witnessed. Evangelical churches have used scriptures and stories from the Bible, such as the creation of Adam and Eve, to show how men deserve more to be leaders than women.


The paper has shown how one can distinguish white theology, for example, through the ideas it holds. For instance, through it, the church is associated with white supremacy. White people are believed to be better than black people, which is why some missionaries during slavery enslaved people and still were viewed as good Christians. These ideas continue to be seen today as the word of God is used to justify the wrong actions. The church’s existence is essential for society as it passes a message of peace and unity, which is excellent for everyone. However, teaching against other people is divisive and should not be allowed to continue. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the message conveyed does not support social injustice.


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