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"Sermons"

Transformed Nonconformist

In this draft of the "Transformed Nonconformist", Dr. King urges the abandonment of societal practices of injustice.

It's Hard to Be a Christian

Dr. King outlines his sermon entitled "It's Hard to Be a Christian." King asserts that in order for one to be a fully committed Christian he or she must subordinate their ego and prioritize their concern for God's kingdom.

Questions Which Easter Answers

Dr. King writes a sermon entitled, "Questions Which Easter Answers." King asserts that while many people attend church on Easter because of its value as it relates to Christ, the true significance in Easter is in the fact that is makes one think of immortality; as symbolized in Jesus Christ.

A Tough Mind and A Tender Heart

Sunday, August 30, 1959

An early foreshadowing of his nonviolent philosophy, Dr. King advises Negroes of a particular course of action they should adhere to in order to properly equip themselves to combat racial injustice. Seeking to avoid both complacency and hostility, he challenges those who desire self-satisfaction, as well as those who seek to pacify their oppressors, by proposing the idea of one having both a tough mind and a tender heart.

Guidelines for a Constructive Church

Sunday, June 5, 1966

In this sermon delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Dr. King spells out guidelines for the church: healing the broken-hearted, preaching deliverance to the captive (freeing people from everything that enslaves), and preaching the acceptable year of the Lord. The acceptable year of the Lord, he says, is every year the time is right to do right, stop lying and cheating, do justice, learn to live as brothers and beat swords into plowshares.

Paul's Letter to American Christians

Sunday, November 4, 1956

Dr. King shares "Paul's Letter to American Christians" with the congregation of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In this contemporary letter revised by Dr. King, Apostle Paul writes concerning the "responsibilities of Americans to live as Christians." He discusses his appreciation for America, the danger of capitalism, communism, segregation in churches, and the many denominations of Protestantism. But above all things, Apostle Paul believes that love is the most "durable power in the world."

Making the Best of A Bad Mess

Sunday, April 24, 1966

This text of Dr. King's "Making the Best of a Bad Mess" sermon encourages the congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church to remain faithful in times of destitution. He makes clear the point that happiness is not found, but is instead created.

Loving Your Enemies

Sunday, November 10, 1957

In this sermon, Dr. King states that "love is the key to the solution of the problems which we confront in the world today." Dr. King notes that this is not a simple task, but it is necessary.

God

Dr. King describes the power of God.

Manichaeism

Dr. King describes Manichaeism, a religion and philosophical doctrine that originated in Persia.

A Knock At Midnight

Sunday, August 9, 1964

In a tape-recorded address to the Riverside Church in New York City, Dr. King compares the civil rights struggle to a parable from St. Luke. His sermon specifically tackles contemporary social issues such as segregation, discrimination, and the philosophy of nonviolence. In addition, Dr. King explores the role of the church in dealing with such problems.

MLK Draft Notes: Worship

Dr. King preached this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist church on August 7, 1955. In this handwritten outline, Dr. King focuses on the practice of worship, claiming that it is an intrinsic part of human culture. After outlining a negative definition of worship, he approaches it from a "positive angle," describing a multitude of experiences he deems worshipful. Ultimately, he asserts that worship is useful on both a private and public level as it "helps us to transcend the hurly-burly of everyday life."

Outline for Why Does History Move?

Dr. King's sermon outline references Hegel and Marx in relation to questions surrounding the concept of history.

Dr. King Sermon Outline

The document, shown here, contains an outline for a sermon given by Dr. King. The sermon was entitled, "The Fellow Who Stayed at Home." According, to the outline, Dr. King breaks down two types of sin: Sins of Passion and Sins of Disposition.

Symbolic Mountains

On the stationary of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York, Dr. King outlines a sermon entitled "Symbolic Mountains." These include the mountains of ethical relations, practical materialism, indifference concerning poverty, and racial segregation.

Radio Sermons Listing

Under the title "Radio Sermons," is a listing of sermon titles and dates given by Dr. King.

Handwritten Notecard about Peace

On this notecard, Dr. King outlines J Maritain's views on Peace, from the book Christianity and Democracy.

Tribute to Jimmy Lee Jackson

Friday, February 26, 1965

Dr. King edits a draft of a eulogy he wrote in the wake of four girls killed in a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. King applauded these martyrs, for their brief yet powerful appearance on this Earth and their contribution to the "holy crusade for freedom and human dignity." Reiterating these sentiments, Dr. King edits the eulogy to fit the life story of Jimmy Lee Jackson.

The Misuse of Prayer

Monday, July 17, 1950

In this sermon delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King elaborates on the proper uses of prayer and how it should be a supplemental asset.

What Shall We Do to Be Saved

This is an outline for a sermon given by Dr. King, entitled, "What Shall We Do To Be Saved?" It includes an intended introduction. The date and location for which this sermon was delivered is unknown.

Sacrifice

Dr. King explains that Isaiah 1:11 means God can’t be appeased by sacrifice but demands righteous living.

Making the Best of a Bad Mess

In this sermon, Dr. King discusses the letter Paul sent to Titus while he was in Crete. According to the letter, Crete was a terrible place for Christians, and Titus may have been confused as to why he was left there. Paul wrote to him saying that he left him there to make the situation better for the other people there. That is how one makes the best out of a bad mess.

The Second Sunday After Easter

Sunday, April 28, 1968

The preacher begins by reminding the audience about various forms of evil, the church's mission to help humans obtain heavenly rights and other topics from the previous week's sermon. After recapping last Sunday's sermon, the preacher uses the Word of God to answer the question, "How should Christians react to the afflictions they suffer in the world?" The three answers to this question are broken up into three different sections and explained in depth by the speaker.

Note Cards on God

Dr. King's writes on the possibility of finding God from the First Book of Chronicles.

Tribute to Dr. King by Rev. Joseph L. Roberts

Friday, April 5, 1968

In this document, Rev. Joseph L. Roberts, Presiding Elder for the West Detroit District of the AME church, delivered this profound tribute to Dr. King, the day after his assassination.

Transition Period

Dr. King quotes an unknown source that links the transition period to Alfred North Whitehead’s rejection of his earlier view about science and philosophy.

The Danger of Misguided Goodness

Under the title, "The Danger of Misguided Goodness," the central message in these sermon notes is the need for all individuals to be morally conscientious.

Levels of Love

Sunday, May 21, 1967

Dr. King describes five levels of love, from lowest to highest: utilitarian love, friendship, romantic love, humanitarian love, and agape. The last he refers to as Christian love, the love of God operating in the human heart. The first four, he states, are love for one’s own sake. The fifth is love for another person for their sake. This sermon was delivered by Dr. King on May 21, 1967 at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Eternal Significance of Christ

Dr. King outlines a sermon and references the Book of 2 Corinthians. The passage states "It is impossible to understand the significance of Christ without understanding the whole history of Biblical religion."

Standing By The Best in an Evil Time" E

Sunday, August 6, 1967

In this sermon, Dr. King addresses the evil in the world and suggest to his congregation that they counter this by being strong and steadfast in the Lord. Dr. King also touches on the current issues in society and how to continue the use of nonviolence as means to for peace and social justice.