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Carl Ellis helps us understand the difference between “Side A theology” (propositional theology arrived at through rationality) and “Side B theology” (ethical theology arrived at through intuition). He unpacks how the evangelical church fell into cultural captivity during the lion’s share of the 20th century, resulting in deep ethical failures, especially in sins of omission during the civil-rights movement and beyond. Our concern for ethical theology is critical for a skeptical world in a secular age. Ellis also explores some of the more obscure, yet highly influential, figures of the historical black church. The group discusses:

  • Introduction of Carl Ellis (1:07)
  • Side A and Side B theology and how it affects race conversations (4:03)
  • Clarifying parameters of Side A and Side B theology (13:10)
  • Why churches struggle with Side B theology (17:09)
  • How deficient Side B theology hinders churches in carrying out Christ’s mission (27:41)
  • The importance of Moses to the historic black church and Side B theology (32:11)
  • Tuskegee Airmen, the GI Bill, and being shut out of the commercial airline industry (40:49)
  • The civil-rights movement as a Christian; cultural apologetics (46:28)

Explore more from TGC on the topics of race and slavery.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. How would you have traditionally defined “theology”? Does your answer betray an affinity towards “Side A theology” (propositional theology arrived at through rationality) or “Side B theology” (ethical theology arrived at through intuition)?

2. Does your church have more of an affinity for Side A or Side B theology?

3. What does it look like for a church to champion Side A theology? What about Side B theology?

4. To meet this modern movement, what would a biblically grounded Side B theology look like?

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