The Resident Scholar Program at Myrtle Baptist Church seeks to advance Christian thinking from an African-American, biblio-centric point of view. The primary purpose of the Resident Scholar program is to advance topics and present key issues that are relevant to our community through a lens that is Christ-centered.
The Resident Scholar program meets on Sundays at 9:30am and is a part of our Christian life development and Sunday school ministries. However, the Resident Scholar program is a special program and is therefore subject to the availability to teaching staff. If you are interested in participating or leading a class, please contact Minister Justin Reed and read more information here.
Myrtle’s current Resident Scholar: Winford Kennadean Rice Jr.
From Kant to Kierkegaard: On the Continuity Between Faith and Reason
By: Winford Kennadean Rice Jr.
Is God best conceptualized as a metaphysical entity or as a regulative metaphor,. or both? The construct of God’s reality, and our reality, is predicated and dependent upon the aforementioned thought as an abstract allegory or concrete actuality. I have, as of late, wrestled with this philosophical if not theological question; I have tried to delineate all of the factors and dynamic variable that provide confirming or falsifying evidence for either of these ideas. God, as an idea or an ideal, conjured by the human species merely serves the intellectual enterprise of humanity and seemingly has no anthropological ramifications. Contrarily, if we are to relegate God to a finite being, , then we have forfeited the [non-finite] being of It. Paul Tillich concluded that God was the ground of all being, or better yet, Being Itself. Thus, with this existential dilemma–interwoven into the fabric of humanity–one must consider the role reason plays coupled with unmerited claims of faith in assessing the existence or nonexistence of God.
In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work Strength to Love, he classifies ‘the other’ by using a parable lodged in the Christian Testament. He begins to chip away at this waning quandary of identifying God temporally and spatially (in time and space), while being burdened with the difficulty of defining the neighbor. He concludes that the neighbor, which may be synonymous to the metaphysical representation of God, is not reducible to theological language, rather a life situation. In the same way that Richard Niebuhr speaks of the enduring problem and what Tillich calls the eternal message in relation to the current situation, King purports that God is identified in community as ‘the other.’ If we are to accept this depiction of God, first we must acknowledge that our efforts are futile at best, and that we engage in reductionism to suggest that the sensorium reveals the true nature or essence of God as finite beings. Nevertheless, in efforts to distinguish the characteristics of God in form and being, one cannot give account for the ontological state of God. However, since we cannot comprehend the physical nature of God, perhaps we can come to know It or the hidden or otherwise undisclosed God through means of negation–what John Scotus Erigena, theologian of the scholastic middle ages, describes as the method of via negativa. Humanity can only speak to what God is not if we are to postulate that Itis metaphysical and not metaphorical. For example, we cannot specify whether or not God is male or female, noting these are both anthropomorphic qualities projected onto Being. However, humanity can say for certain that God is not just male or just female because of the limitations placed on It. All things considered, and within the limits of reason alone, “Kant asserted that
human knowledge is limited to what can be experienced with the five senses, and since God cannot be so experienced, we cannot know He [sic] exists.”1 Hence, I find it necessary to examine the works of Immanuel Kant and Soren Kierkegaard to appropriate the existence or nonexistence of God, and the function that reason and faith plays in experiencing or knowing that Being. cont’d…
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Winford Kennadean Rice Jr., commonly known as Kenny, is the proud son of Winford K. Rice Sr. and Crystal S. Rice from Suffolk, Virginia. He is 2014 Magne Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. where he received a bachelor of arts in Religion & Philosophy. While at the college, Kenny served as the President of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants program and the chaplain for the Alpha Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Additionally, during the summer of 2013, he worked in the US House of Representatives with Congressman John Lewis through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation as a congressional intern.In June of 2014, Kenny was licensed to preach in gospel ministry by Dr. Steven G. Blunt of the historic First Baptist Church, Mahan in Suffolk, Va. This fall, he will be begin his Masters of Divinity degree at Harvard University’s Divinity School as the Entering Ministry Fellow. Kenny seeks to bridge head and heart by serving in the parish and studying in the academy on this life long pursuit of enlightenment. In all things that he does, he aims to preach the gospel, and when necessary–uses words.
Previous Resident Scholars at Myrtle Baptist:
Zakiya Muwwakkil, Ph.D.
Justin Reed – MTS Harvard University 2013
Christopher Jones, M.Div.