Martin Luther King, Jr. - Career in Ministry
In this revealing essay written for Davis’s course the Religious Development of Personality, King reviews the influences of his family and church on his religious beliefs. King recalls a nurturing family life—closely interwoven with activities in his father’s church—which conditioned him to be optimistic about human nature.
William E. Gardner, the presumed author of this evaluation, was a friend of the King family and pastor of First Baptist Church in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York. Although Gardner rated King “above average” in pulpit ability, he noted major weaknesses: “An attitude of aloofness, disdain & possible snobbishness which prevent his coming to close grips with the rank and file of ordinary people.”
Jesus’s encounter with the Pharisees and a female adulterer serves as the basis of this handwritten sermon.1 “Let us be slow to condemn others,” King comments, reasoning that most people “need to be given new confidence in their power to do the good. They need not our condemnation, but our help.”
Burroughs expresses appreciation for King’s 9 September speech at the annual meeting of the Woman’s Auxiliary, National Baptist Convention, in St. Louis.
Rev M L King Jr
93 Boulevard N E
Dear Rev King:
I cannot forgo the pleasure of saying, again, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your rich and challenging contribution to the program of our St Louis Meeting.
On 9 September 1954, King delivered the noonday message to the Woman’s Auxiliary, National Baptist Convention. The brief minutes of the convention show that King, introduced as the “son of the organist of the Woman’s Convention,” exhorted his audience to do more than simply pay lip service to the spiritual life. The minutes included only these few lines from the speech.
The president of the Woman’s Auxiliary, National Baptist Convention, invites King to speak at the group’s annual meeting in St. Louis.1
Rev M L King Jr
193 Boulevard N E
Dear Rev King:
I am writing to invite you to be one of the Noonday speakers at our St Louis meeting.
Following King's second visit to Dexter, he wrote a letter conditionally accepting the congregation’s call to be its next pastor.1 After a church meeting on 18 April, clerk Robert D.
After meeting with the members of Dexter’s pulpit committee on 4 April King conditionally accepts the call to the pastorate, at a salary that will make him one of the highest-paid black ministers in Montgomery.
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
R. D. Nesbitt, Clerk
Dear Officers and Members:
King wrestles with the relationship between communism and Christianity, arguing that they are ultimately incompatible.1 Influenced by Riverside Church pastor Robert J. McCracken, he encourages the Ebenezer congregation to learn from communism, noting "It should challenge us first to be more concerned about social justice."
During his holiday break from graduate school, King delivered a version of the following handwritten sermon outline at Ebenezer.1 He asks,"Will Christmas mean just another item in our social calendar or will it mean a new life and new attitudes resulting from our encounter with Christ."