In this essay I raise some questions concerning the role of Black faith and religious institutions in Britain. It seems to me that certain assertions made -concerning the progressive nature of this role have remained unquestioned. Lest this be perceived as yet another attack on Black faith from an outsider, it will be presented in terms of an exercise in self-criticism. I will use a collection of papers on Black theology in Britain, which I co-edited, to illustrate my argument concerning the limitations of our faith-based radicalism.

Given that the aim here is less precise conceptual clarity and more broad political mapping, debates concerning the exact composition of the Black Church in Britain need not detain us. It is suffice for current purposes to say that I will use the term to refer to those denominations and fellowships that could be regarded as Black-led, as well as Black Christians involved in white-led churches. Furthermore, discussions concerning the exact ethnic or national origin of the churches are less important than the trends in their concerns, structures and responses to social injustice that seem to cut across ethnic boundaries.


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