Book Review: "God of the Oppressed"
“God of the Oppressed”
James H. Cone “God of the Oppressed” is a history of the African American Struggle through the complex account of its author, James H. Cone. Written in 1975, “God of the Oppressed” is the continuation of Cone’s theological position, which was introduced in his earlier writings of, “Black Theology and Black Power,” (1969) and “A Black Theology of Liberation” (1975). This final account was put together and published as a response to the continuous dismissal of Black Theology. This response shows Cone’s use of personal experiences, knowledge, and faith to explain the actual God of the oppressed found in Black Theology. The importance of the chosen title is maintained through all ten of Cone’s chapters
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This is crucial to Black Theology because God is working through Jesus, so when Jesus suffers it is God himself suffering with the oppressed people. This shows that God relates to poor people not the oppressors, “in our experience that makes it possible to struggle for freedom because we know that God is struggling too.” (178) The reason the blacks have to suffer oppression is because that is what connects them to God, “for in the fight for liberation God joins them and grants them the vision to see beyond the present to the future. Faith thus is God’s gift to those in trouble.” (178) In conclusion the themes work as follows, through suffering the blacks being oppressed were connect to God through God’s use of Jesus in scripture. The story of the Exodus shows the blacks that because they are oppressed like the Israelites they too will be placed on the Lord’s journey, which is reserved for God’s people. This journey ends with Divine liberation because of Jesus’ eschatological promise. Until that day comes, God struggling with the black community tells them they have the right to struggle for freedom, also liberation. For Black Theology, scripture teaches blacks that liberation is the goal that is reached through suffering. James Cone wanted this book to respond to