An African American
Appraisal of the
Lloyd A. Lewis
In a sermon entitled “Finding Our Margin of Freedom,” Samuel D. Proctor, distinguished pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, spoke of a central hope of black people:
It does not matter where we were born, what kind of rearing we had,
who our friends were, what kind of trouble we once got into, how low we
sank, or how far behind we fell. When we add it all up, we still have some
options left, we still have some choices we can make.1
Proctor is raising a pertinent issue here since he speaks of those things that in most cases determine an individual’s position in society. Galatians 3:1-29, his text for the sermon, has the function of challenging that which is static and those things that are often appealed to as social determinants, as justifiers of the status quo.
Nonetheless Paul has been a particularly difficult character for those African Americans who would venture into the skies of biblical interpretation. For many of us he offers more bane than blessing. By this I mean
1. Samuel D. Proctor and William Watley, Sermons from the Black Pulpit (Valley Forge,
Pa.: Judson Press, 1984), 38.