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Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Image of God$
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Richard W. Wills

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195308990

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195308990.001.0001

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Beloved Community and Beyond

Beloved Community and Beyond

(p.165) 7 Beloved Community and Beyond
Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Image of God

Richard Wayne Wills Sr

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the degree to which King’s optimism was seriously tempered by subsequent signs of a growing political gradualism, the rise of counterproductive race rhetoric, the troubling response to his stand against the Vietnam War, and the plague of continued economic disparities. It discusses the extent to which this social backlash challenged King to rethink the meaning of image of God and its community implications in more eschatological terms. Given the unanticipated complexities of social transformation and the level of resistance encountered, particularly during the latter years of the movement, King was forced to reconsider his theological anthropology and give thought to additional social measure that would have to be instituted during the interim wait for beloved community’s realization.

Keywords:   gradualism, Vietnam War, backlash, resistance, rethink, movement, economic disparities

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