Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Michael C. Whittington


Love, Forgiveness, Truth, Peace, Evil, Hate, Racism


Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


In a nation mired in racial violence, how can African American churches reach the divided communities with the love of Jesus Christ? What methods can African American pastors use to enlighten their communities and seek racial unity within the greater community? How can African American pastors share this single truth with their communities: As long as America is divided by racial bigotry, economic disparity, and cultural indifference, every citizen is injured, and our nation is bound to fail. Although similar questions are asked nationwide, this thesis focuses on the perspectives of African American pastors and their churches from the Gullah culture in the lower Carolinas. As descendants of enslaved Africans, Low Country Christians are the standard-bearers of a culture that has preserved much of the African linguistic and cultural heritage of various peoples and absorbed new influences from other regions. Coming from this unique culture—one born in violence and diversity—Low Country African American pastors are ideally suited to address America’s racial divide and help the country realize the Founders’ promise that “all men are created equal.” Through their unique pastoral style of preaching and teaching their congregations with love, honesty, and good temperament, Low Country pastors are both culturally and biblically equipped to share the good news of Christ and help unify our nation. Supported by quantitative and qualitative analysis, this thesis provides a unique model of “brotherly love” in Jesus Christ, grounded in biblical exegesis and Low Country Gullah culture.