Translated Witness

  • Garth Kasimu Baker-Fletcher
Part of the Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice book series (BRWT)


Chapters 3, 4, and 5 elaborate the primary understanding of Word in Bible Witness in Black Churches, as “witness.” To witness to something is to give one’s testimony, to attest to having seen or having been in the presence of something. The Bible may be described as many things— literature, poetry, symbols, and so on; however, one of the most important theological functions of the Bible is that it provides a witness of God’s historical dealing with those human beings chosen for God’s purpose. I choose the overarching theme of witness because giving testimony is a transcultural practice that crosses the boundaries of different racial, ethnic, and historical practices. Throughout the history of the Church Universal witness has given rise to the proclamation, reception, conversion, and the spread of the salvation that comes in the name of Jesus Christ. There is a profound connection between the proclamation of the message of Jesus, the reception of Jesus’ teaching, and the spreading of Jesus’ message to others. This connection is celebrated in a noted tradition of eloquence in African American preaching women and men, gospel music, glorious choirs, call-and-response singing, an enlivening worship experience in most traditional Black Church contexts, and so forth. The Bible itself points to this phenomena in Romans 10:14:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?And how can they believe in the one in whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (NIV)


Original Language Black Church Hebrew Word Bible Scholar Human Word 
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  1. 7.
    Spiro Zodhiates and Warren Baker Key Word Study Bible (NIV) “Old Testament Lexical Aids” (Chattanooga, TN: AMG, 1996), p. 1559.Google Scholar
  2. 23.
    Cf. Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vattimo eds Religion: Cultural Memory in the Present (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996)Google Scholar
  3. Jacques Derrida, Acts of Religion (New York: Routledge, 2002)Google Scholar
  4. John D. Caputo The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion Without Religion (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997).Google Scholar

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© Garth Kasimu Baker-Fletcher 2009

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  • Garth Kasimu Baker-Fletcher

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