Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Religious and Theological Studies

First Advisor

Theodore M. Vial, Jr., Ph.D.


Martin Luther King, Jr., Practical theology, Soteriology


This dissertation seeks to illuminate aspects of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s theological legacy that have thus far either gone unnoticed or have been inadequately addressed. In particular I am concerned to unearth King’s soteriological legacy for historically privileged groups, especially those claiming a Christian identity. This project explores the ways in which King’s theological method, doctrine of God, and theological anthropology informed his soteriology. Special attention is given to King’ social location as a fourth generation African American preacher reared in the racially hostile South, and the ways in which his early experiences shaped the questions, tasks, and aims of his theological program. From the early days of his teen years, King was acutely aware of the problem of evil, particularly in its social dimensions, and he began to explore what his role would be in its elimination. During his formal education at Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University, King refined the theological conceptions that he had inherited from the Black Baptist tradition of his youth while forging his own unique perspective. Over the course of his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, King’s praxis-oriented approach to doing theology provided ongoing clarity and epistemological certitude. King’s soteriology, in both its personal and social dimensions, still stands as a much needed complement and corrective for Christians in places of power and privilege today


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Jacob W. Kines, Jr.

File size

226 p.

File format





Theology, Ethics, Regional studies