What Kind of Christianity (Paper)

A History of Slavery and Anti-Black Racism in the Presbyterian Church

  • 9780664264673
  • 6 x 9
  • 43.75
  • Paper
  • 0664264670
  • 8/30/2022
  • 3-5 days processing
$ 30.00


Like most Americans, Presbyterians in the United States know woefully little about the history of slavery and the rise of anti-Black racism in our country. Most think of slavery as a tragedy that “just happened,” without considering how it happened and who was involved. In What Kind of Christianity, William Yoo paints an accurate picture of the complicity of the majority of Presbyterians in promoting, supporting, or willfully ignoring the enslavement of other human beings. Most Presbyterians knew of the widespread physical and sexual violence that enslavers inflicted on  the enslaved, and either approved of it or did nothing to prevent it. Most Presbyterians in the nineteenth century—whether in the South or the North–held racist attitudes toward African Americans and acted on those attitudes on a daily basis. In short, during that period when the Presbyterian Church was establishing itself as a central part of American life, most of its members were promoting slavery and anti-Black racism. In this important book, William Yoo demonstrates that to understand how Presbyterian Christians can promote racial justice today, they must first understand and acknowledge how deeply racial injustice is embedded in their history and identity as a denomination.


“In the global reckoning of Black Lives Matter, this timely book, which teases out the multiple strands of the relationship between the Presbyterian Church and slavery, is indispensable for understanding America’s painful past, addressing anti-Blackness in the present, and imagining a different, possible future. I have learned a great deal from the book and highly recommend it.”

–Kwok Pui-lan, Dean’s Professor of Systematic Theology, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"Dr. Yoo provides us with a compelling, harrowing, and comprehensive history not only of the Presbyterian Church in 19th century America, but also a powerful deconstruction of the comforting and deceitful illusions we have harbored for centuries as white Presbyterians. What Kind of Christianity is a necessary call to repentance for each of us, compassionately reminding us that we are yet more than conquerors according to the Reformed faith. This sometimes excruciating text invites us to come to terms with our complicity towards the oppressive system(s) of white supremacy embedded in our own beloved Church, contributing to our perversion of the imago dei both in our neighbor and ourselves."

–Rev. Catherine Knott, Ph.D.   Ball Family Chaplain, Hanover College

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