The Rev. Raphael Warnock is personally engaging, likable, and has a warm smile. He is a superb orator, master pulpiteer, and scholar with many accomplishments. He says he has a soft side as a man who likes puppies.
As current pastor of historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Rev. Warnock has inherited the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the very man who gave his life to achieve unity and equality between blacks and whites.
King’s principal belief was Christ’s teachings of love for one’s neighbor and fellow man would overcome hate and win out. Dr. King’s legacy is in large part responsible for Warnock being a formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate in Georgia.
What is not clear to many is Rev. Warnock’s faith is radically different from Dr. King’s. Warnock is a devoted adherent to black liberation theology, which is Christian in name only. Unlike Dr. King, Warnock’s beliefs are a significant departure from historic, biblical Christianity.
His views are well explained in his widely available 2014 book, “The Divided Mind of the Black Church: Theology, Piety, and Public Witness.” One need only read Warnock’s introduction to grasp how he views the Christian church as “a community formed in memory of Jesus Christ.” He then says the members of the church, not Scripture, may shape the mission of the church.
Why does this matter? There is no religious test for public office. So what difference does his religious views make? A good question which deserves a full answer.
First, in his book, Warnock describes his beliefs as “black theology” dropping the term “liberation” which is a well-known link to the sect’s neo-Marxist roots. This also creates the impression “black theology” is (or should be) the common practice of every black church. Far from it, the vast majority of blacks and black churches hold orthodox, traditional views of the Scriptures and teachings of Christ.
Second, unlike historic Christianity, Warnock’s faith is a political ideology practiced as religion. Should Warnock remain a pastor, he is free to preach and practice whatever religious or political philosophy he believes.
If elected to the U.S. Senate, he will also be free to bring his radical views to all of Georgia and beyond. But first, he must pass muster of Georgia voters — and his leftist political ideology does not preach well throughout Georgia. This is why millions in political funding is coming into our state to support his election.
Third, Warnock was educated and trained as a black liberationist. He earned his master’s and doctorate at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Dr. James Cone, founder and father of black liberation theology, was his doctoral advisor and close personal mentor until his recent death.
Cone adopted the Marxist tenet that life is a struggle of the oppressed against oppressors. He defined the oppressors as whites and the white church and the oppressed as blacks and the black church. He then redefined the purpose of the Christian faith as deliverance from oppression.
Fourth, Warnock has proved himself to be more of a follower of Cone than Christ. Dr. Cone writes in his foundational book, “Black Theology and Black Power,” “We cannot solve ethical questions of the twentieth century by looking at what Jesus did in the first. Our choices are not the same as his [Christ’s]. Being Christians does not mean following in his steps.”
This is directly contrary to Jesus’ words, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
Fifth, Warnock stands by those who denounce America. In a March 20, 2020 AJC newspaper article, Warnock justified fellow black liberationist, Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s profane condemnation of America. Warnock continues his support of Wright even after President Obama separated himself from his former, long-time Chicago pastor.
Warnock is quoted in the recent article as saying those critical of Wright “failed to grasp the deeper meaning of Wright’s sermon or the unique role of black pastors who are not just religious leaders, but social justice activists.”
Sixth, Warnock’s honest admission that he too is a black liberationist makes it clear he is seeking election to gain power and a larger platform for his brand of social activism. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Whites, and others should understand that Warnock’s black separatist, political beliefs will not bring unity and healing to Georgia or America. Instead of overcoming racism, there will be increased divisiveness, disunity, and distrust between all races.
Seventh, Warnock and other liberationists are allies with progressives like Jon Ossoff, who is running for the other U.S. Senator seat in Georgia. Both have neo-Marxist beliefs in common. Both want to deconstruct and radically transform America. Socialism is their solution for America’s societal ills. Certainly, racial discrimination must be overcome in America, but socialism is not the answer.
Eighth, and finally, as a black liberationist, Warnock believes systemic racism by white supremacists is the foundation upon which America was established and continues as a nation. He views the U.S. Constitution, our system of law, and free enterprise all as corrupt and needing radical transformation.
He also supports unrestricted abortion on demand, gay marriage, transgender biological males competing with biological females, and a long list of other progressive, socialist issues including weakening our law enforcement and military.
The upcoming Senatorial election is a vital one for Georgia and our nation. Who to vote for is an individual decision, but it should not be decided on the basis of race alone.
You may believe as I do, Rev. Warnock is a sincere man of humble beginnings who wants to change America. But the important question for me is: Does he love the America that is or the socialist America he wants it to be? In my view, his political beliefs answer the question beyond any doubt. How could a man who loves puppies be so wrong?
[Ed Sherwood is a former U.S. Army officer, defense contractor executive, and retired pastor. Born and raised in Atlanta, he has an undergraduate and MBA degree from Georgia State University and a Master of Divinity from Luther Rice Seminary in Stonecrest, Georgia.]