Has Martin Luther King Jr. Become Savior for Millenial Evangelicals?

Martin-luther-king2

He had a voice that could inspire crowds with great diversity.  His message of equality and civil rights rang loud as the bell tolled changing the face of American social life, political life, and main street life.  His "I have a Dream Speech" is galvanized into the historical annals of American Pop Culture.  But has Martin Luther King Jr. become the savior so many people long for?

I hear from 20 somethings all the time, "Dr King said…" or "Gandhi said…." or "Buddha said…."  But rarely do I hear the source behind the good words or movements of great historical figures. 

Let me make evidently CLEAR right from the get go of this article, you need to know I stand in awe of what Dr. King accomplished.  His brevity in the face of adversity will never be equaled, as he stared in the soul of America at her worst historical moments and demanded better.  I believe in the movement He began, and I am participating as a co-laborer in equality of all people.  But I believe what started as a reaction to faith, many have turned into the source of their belief systems; and that's a bit disturbing to this faith traveler. 

You see, as we teach students how to take up the banner Dr. King began over 30 years ago, it's important to study his speeches, watch the videos we can grab off YouTube, or even discuss in settings large and small the impact one man can have on a civilization. 

But let us not forget the source of Dr. King's passion.  Dr. Lewis Baldwin of Vanderbilt University has said, "Dr. King's personal devotional life was very, very important in giving him the courage and the determination to fight for justice." 

In 1957 at a sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King prayed, ""Help me, O God, to see that I'm just a symbol of a movement."

It's just that…Dr. King is a symbol.  He's a great symbol of a movement and a message started long ago.  You see, It was the work of a Nazarene carpenter that fueled Dr. King's Visions.  His love for the gospel of Jesus to come and rescue all people, drove his movement forward. It won't take long for even the casual Jesus reader to see His purpose in coming to earth was to free mankind from the sin and bondage they endured while living here on earth. 

Much like Luke's story of Zaccheas found in Chapter 19, when Jesus saw the young Tax Collector sitting up in the tree, and invited Himself over for dinner.  (the tax collector was one of the most hated people in the early Jewish community.) 

Jesus went to eat at Zaccheas' house and found a fragile man pleading, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:8-10)

You see Jesus message was to help rescue the minority demographic and invite them into the Kingdom. His work was often with the poor and out-cast of the society.  He came to the world to help invite humanity back into a relationship with God, which He proved needed to come from a relationship with each other.  "The second is like it To Love your Neighbor As Yourself." (Matthew 22:37-40)

I stand in admiration of Dr. King's movement, but let's not forget the source that helped push US as a nation to a place where all God's Children might stand in light of their purposeful creation and ultimately have equal right to sit at the banquet table of His provision. 

Thank you Dr. King for helping us focus more clearly on Jesus. 

1 Comment

  1. This is so true! There are some personalities that inspire us to be closer to the Divine being, and enable us to leave our footsteps on the sands of time. A very enlightening piece of work indeed 🙂

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