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The issue of separation: on race and the racial ecclesiology of the Church of God

Ramsey, Bradley Dominick (2012)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Florida has and always will be at the heart of the racial struggle in the classical Pentecostal denomination, the Church of God. From its beginning, it has been the trailblazer and beacon of black leadership within the Church of God. This has been the case ever since the appointment of Edmond Barr. Most major American black leaders in the Church of God has either come from Florida or have moved to Florida at some point in their ministerial career. Therefore, any measure to deal with racial separation must directly engage the black church in Florida, as the Florida church stands as the last iron curtain of segregation in the church.

The historical background of the issue of separation in the Church of God exposes the nature of the church. In every town in Florida where there is a white church, there is also a black church. What about the Christian identity in which all are united under the color of Christ’s blood which is neither white nor black? Yet, it is not that simple, as this study will show through the narrative of the Church of God in the state of Florida which yielded a Church of two distinct groups, one black and the other white. What is surprising is that the two groups still exist as separate operational congregations within the Church of God denomination while other states have long integrated since the civil rights era. As well as providing a detailed history of the establishing of the Church of God in Florida and then the occurrence of the two separate churches (FloridaTampa and Florida-Cocoa) this study will explore the social nuances of why such division arose and why it is still occurring in the 21st century. Finally, this study will offer a way forward for the issue in Florida and offer suggestions for a path toward unity and renewed fellowship.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Anderson, Allan and Parris, Garnet
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Philsophy, Theology and Religion
Subjects:BR Christianity
BV Practical Theology
BX Christian Denominations
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3452
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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