Black Church Figures You Should Know - Dr. Howard-John Wesley

Why the series?

Historical Theology and Church History in the African American context is rarely celebrated. That is a very sad occasion. There is much we can learn from the rich tradition of the African American church. When we do, it affirms the great doctrine that all men are created in the Image of God and it kills the great sin of intellectual racism.

What about the series?

A few things must be noted about our list. First and foremost, please be aware that appearances on the list do not automatically confirm theological content and biblical orthodoxy. Please consider each figure in light on proper biblical interpretation and refer to our statement of beliefs when in doubt. Secondly, this list is nowhere near being exhaustive in scope or content. We are barely scratching the surface and this is merely the tip of the iceberg. We considered appearances on the list by surveying several avid supporters for their considerations based upon the figures of significant impact, rich content, and historical significance.

Howard-John Wesley- A Dynamic Preacher and Leader

A fourth generation preacher, Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley is a biblical scholar and arguably one of the greatest orators of our generation.  In addition to biblical scholarship, he is also one of the leading voices concerning national issues and social justice.  He is the 8th pastor the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia whose history dates back over 200 years.  Under his leadership, Alfred Street Baptist Church became the first and only faith-based organization to donate $1 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Three of his sermons (“When the Verdict Hurts,” “A Rizpah Response,” and “Tell Your Own Story”) will be archived in the museum’s faith-based collection. 

A native of the south side of Chicago, Dr. Wesley is a 1994 graduate of Duke University where he majored in Biomedical and Electrical Engineering.  He then attended Boston University School of Theology where he was Martin L. King Scholar and a 1997 summa cum laude graduate in Biblical Studies and African-American religious history.  He received his Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching from the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary 2003. 

As a result of his faithfulness to his calling, Dr. Wesley has received numerous awards.  In 2013 he was one of the 2013 recipients of The Root 100: A Who’s Who of Black America award, he’s been recognized by the African American Pulpit as one of the top 20 preachers under 40 in the Black Church.  His sermon “When the Verdict Hurts”, was acknowledge in Time magazine’s July 29, 2013 cover story, “After Travon”, as one of the best sermons preached in the United States following the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman verdict.  Most recently, Dr. Wesley received the 2016 NAACP Chairman’s Image Award: given by the Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors to individuals and organizations that have used their distinct platforms to be agents of change. 

Check out Dr. Wesley's Jude 3 Interview:

Also, check out a sermon by Dr. Wesley: