Who am I? I am Rev. Philip L. Hilliard, the Senior Pastor of Austin Corinthian Baptist Church (ACBC), located on the Westside of Chicago. ACBC, was founded by my father, the late Rev. Clarence L. Hilliard – my mentor and spiritual leader, and I studied and received Biblical training under him. Therefore, I have no formal Bible Training since my undergrad degree is in business and I spent over 30 years in the Information Technology field; most of which was spent traveling coast-to-coast managing the implementation of and building computer information systems as a consultant. I assumed the role of Senior Pastor in 2005 when my dad went home to be with The Lord!
My dad was a Black Evangelical Prophet who put The Lord first in everything he did, and his whole focus was to build up the Kingdom of God by spreading unadulterated Gospel Truths to everyone he encountered. He grew up in Buffalo, NY and was a civil rights leader who fought for justice and fair housing. Because he championed justice, he received hate mail, but that never deterred his fight for justice, and he is noted for the following:
- Cohorting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by driving him around when he visited Buffalo, NY;
- Debating Malcolm X on the University of Buffalo South Campus in 1963;
- Developing the Funky Gospel (an abbreviated version appeared in Christianity Today in January 1976) – an equivocal message that Jesus challenges (then and now), the status quo and sides with the poor, powerless, and oppressed;
- Being forced out of his team pastorate position at Circle Evangelical Free Church, a church that sought to bridge the racial divide by adopting, what it called, the Open Church;
- Holding long time Board Chairmanship for National Black Evangelical Association (NBEA) and simultaneously holding position of Social Action Commission Chairperson for NBEA and NAE (National Association of Evangelicals); and
- Championing the cause of social justice, with his dissenting viewpoint, at the Consultation on World Evangelization conferences in Lausanne, Switzerland and Pattaya, Thailand.
My mother, Annie Pearl Williams Hilliard, grew up in Oxford, North Carolina, the daughter of a sharecropper. She experienced first-hand the discrimination and injustice imposed upon Blacks in the south. Her own father was arrested and on the brink of a lynching until an influential police officer, when he saw it was Bennie Williams, intervened because of his “good family name.” Eventually, my grandfather left his sons to farm the land, traveled to Buffalo, found work, and saved money to move his family.
A major focus of ACBC’s ministry has been to bridge the racial divide, because that is what the Kingdom of God (which is already among us), is all about! To that end, I meet with a multiracial group of Pastors and others, at least weekly, in different forums to address issues that are dividing God’s Kingdom. It is hard to miss the fact that God’s Word is taking a backseat to political ideology, fearmongering, racism, nationalism, injustice, and equality. On Wednesdays I lead a thought-provoking Bible Study, and we are currently studying James 2 which I believe speaks to various spiritual issues that plagues today’s Church and Evangelical Communities. Each week I will post a question and on the following week my answer and another question. God is a God of justice, so when we live His way, everyone benefits equally!
Today's Question: Broadly speaking, what are the major issues James confronts in Chapter 2, what is the gist of his arguments?