February 2020 – The Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Carter, Jr. T’07 spoke during a community forum at Drew Theological School to celebrate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his role as a prophet preacher in raising the moral conscience of the nation.
"King was one of America’s rare heroes. The work of King helped to alter the downward slide of this country, he refused to let America go to hell in peace."
“King was one of America’s rare heroes,” said Carter, the 14th pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown, NJ. “The work of King helped to alter the downward slide of this country, he refused to let America go to hell in peace.”
During his talk, Carter compared King to the two types of prophetic guilds in ancient Israel: The cult prophet, who delivered oracles from God to the people; and the court prophet, who spoke to the king concerning the matters of the well-being of the nation.
“When God is displeased, he sends a prophet,” said Carter.
“King’s preachings were in the context of the cult, but he was addressing the court, accentuating the need for action now,” said Carter. Although King organized marches and rallies, his most potent form of applying pressure to President Kennedy to “act decisively by enacting federal laws” was through his words. “It took a prophet to teach a president,” said Carter.
Turning his attention to the audience of pastors and aspiring pastors, Carter offered guidance, “If we’re going to raise the moral conscience of the nation, our preaching, teaching, writing and singing must be imaginative and honest,” said Carter. “But most importantly, it needs to be hopeful. Prophetic preaching without the element of hope is nothing more than the venting of pent-up frustration.”
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