MLK at the Lincoln Memorial

With the recent 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, many evangelical Christians have been celebrating his life. The Gospel Coalition hosted the MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop conference, lauding his life and work, and calling on the church to reflect on racial unity then and now.

Unorthodox Theology
Martin Luther King Jr’s theology was very liberal. In papers he wrote during his time at Crozer Theological Seminary he made his views clear. He said that the evidence for the Virgin Birth is “is too shallow to convince any objective thinker.” He stripped the doctrines of the divine sonship of Christ, the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of all literal meaning, saying, “we [could] argue with all degrees of logic that these doctrines are historically and [philosophically] untenable.” In another paper he wrote:

[A] supernatural plan of salvation, the Trinity, the substitutionary theory of the atonement, and the second coming of Christ are all quite prominent in fundamentalist thinking. Such are the views of the fundamentalist and they reveal that he is oppose[d] to theological adaption to social and cultural change. … Amid change all around he is willing to preserve certain ancient ideas even though they are contrary to science.

He did not believe these doctrines even though the Bible taught them. Instead he rejected them as superstition because they did not fit his notions of modern science. The doctrines he was rejecting are fundamental to Biblical Christianity.

After graduating from college, we do not see a radical change in King’s theology, or a repudiation of his former unorthodox views. Although he did not explicitly preach these liberal beliefs, his messages were still consistent with them. His message would fall under the banner of black liberation theology – he preached a form of Christianity that was reworked to apply to physical freedom of the slaves. The central theme of his Christianity was not Jesus Christ, the son of God coming to earth, it was the deliverance of the Israel from their slavery in Egypt. In his famous “mountaintop” speech, when he was listing the seminal events of history, he mentioned the Exodus, not Christ’s death and resurrection.

Liberation theology is a secularization of Christianity, using the Bible as a framework to speak to people’s longing for freedom. It is an abandonment of the message of the Bible. Instead of applying the full breath of scriptural to the hearers, it constructs a new theology to appeal to your worldly needs. This fits perfect with King’s denial of fundamental beliefs in the supernatural events scripture records. He didn’t need to believe them if he was just repurposing a few events from scripture to construct his own story of the world.

MLK at the University of Minnesota

Immoral Life
There is substantial evidence that Martin Luther King Jr.’s private life and character was unworthy of a minister of the Gospel, or even of a Christian. The FBI monitored him for many years, wrongly and unconstitutionally using their surveillance powers to get damaging information to discredit him for political purposes. This monitoring included following him on his travels around the country and placing recording devices in his hotel rooms. The FBI claimed to have evidence, both anecdotal and on audio recording of King committing adulteries on many occasions. They even went to the point of sending him an anonymous letter threatening him with the release of this information and encouraging him to commit suicide. The FBI records on King will remain sealed until at least 2027.

We do not have to take the word of the FBI to believe that MLK was not a man who lived a righteous life. Dr. Ralph Abernathy, a close friend of King’s, admitted as much in his book, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down. He wrote that even the night before his assassination, King had committed adultery with multiple women. The consensus among historians is that Martin Luther King Jr. was repeatedly unfaithful to his wife.

 

It is right to commend and remember King for what he got right, including the equality of all nationalities and non violent protests against injustice. But we must not ignore his failings. As with any other historical figure, we must be honest about King, complementing and emulating what he did well, and condemning him where he was wrong. Christians must not forget, in their rush to crown him their hero, that he lived a wicked life and denied the very basics of orthodox Christianity. It is deceptive and wrong for evangelical Christians to claim King as a brother in Christ, when all the evidence suggests that he was not.

MLK meets with President Lyndon Johnson

5 Comments

  1. Well, if he did not accept the divinity of Christ nor accepted Him as His savior, then MLK would probably be experiencing an eternal separation from God in a place called Hell.

    1. Are you sure beyond measure of doubt that such a place called hell exists. Yes the Bible may say so but are these really God’s own words or men’s interpretation of God?

  2. Sadly, this author only found what he was looking for because it took me only minutes to research evidence of what kind of faith Martin Luther King, Jr. had.

    I find that if many of us were judged by our childhood and early life we would also be found lacking in faith in word and in deed, but it is how we finish that should more accurately define us. In that context I don’t doubt that MLK Jr. was a follower of Christ in word and in deed. When he was older, although like all of us imperfect, he spoke of his hope being in eternity and in the Lord. He famously said:

    “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

    MLK Jr.’s submission was to God’s will and his faith was clearly in the Lord.

    Before today I had never heard that MLK Jr. wasn’t a Christian, although I heard of his infidelity towards his wife. I also recognize that even great men of God, such as David, failed in this way to be Godly. Even so, he was called a man after God’s own heart, David being a murderer and adulterer. Of course it’s because he repented before the Lord.

    God tells us that man looks at the outward but He looks at our hearts. Jesus says that if we confess Him before men He will confess us before His Father. Listen the video below and judge for yourself.

    In the audio to the following video MLK Jr.’s faith was in the Lord and in eternity. He clearly proclaims how he returned to the teaching of his father in the following video and talks about the Lord helping him, quotes Jesus from the NT and then names Him. I don’t doubt Martin Luther King, Jr. was a born again Christian. Please watch and see what you think. God bless.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhRQa6pQkoY

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