Date of Graduation

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department/Program

International and Multicultural Education

First Advisor

Patricia A Mitchell

Second Advisor

James L Taylor

Third Advisor

Emma H Fuentes

Abstract

The identity of the African American Churches of Christ is deeply rooted in the American struggle for racial equality. Without a formal governing body, the Churches of Christ have survived throughout the majority of the 20th century without making an official stance on racial relations. Many leaders in the religious movement have claimed racial immunity but have not addressed the evident division among ethnic lines. This study explored the extent of cultural influence that Caucasian Churches of Christ have on African American congregations.

This study observed these influences and how they shape religious culture and tradition in Black churches. The current religious customs of the African American churches of Christ are examined through a sociological lens as a product of the Stone-Campbell movement and years of racial separation. Specifically, this study sought to explore the development of religious education in Black Churches of Christ and how that legacy shapes current practices and traditions. Also this study sought to distinguish religious tradition from scripture and to free Black Churches of Christ to more effectively engage the 21st century community.

The practices of an African American Church of Christ are examined through qualitative interviews of its congregants. This analysis is needed because it exposes Eurocentric influences and allows Black Churches of Christ to better connect with other denominations in the African American church community.

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