"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."Cone argues that ‘in view of the biblical emphasis on liberation, it seems not only appropriate but necessary to define Christian community as the community of the oppressed which joins Jesus Christ in his fight for the Liberation of humankind.’ Cone rightly criticizes American white theology for its failure to be involved in the black struggle for liberation, for its religious sanctioning of oppression itself, and for becoming subservient to the state.
Cone relies heavily on the protestant existential theologian Paul Tillich. Tillich understood theology to be the discipline that related the truth to the situation of man. He argued that theology must be spoken in answer to the existential dilemma of man kind. He also believed that the content of religious language must by necessity be symbolic. He claimed that there is no way to directly describe God and that we therefore must use symbolic language and recognize theological language as symbolic. Cone used this point to make a case that ‘Blackness’ and ‘Whiteness’ have become symbols within black theology. Blackness, stands for all victims of oppression who Christ himself associates with. Whiteness, on the other hand, is a symbol of oppression and the antichrist. Using this language cone makes statements like ‘In order to be Christian theology, white theology must cease to be white theology and become black theology by denying its whiteness as an acceptable form of human existence and affirming blackness as God’s intention for humanity.’ Black theology finds its sources in black experience, black history, black culture, revelation, scripture, and tradition.
When Jesus said he came to preach good news to the poor it carried with it an implication of bad news for the rich. In a similar sense, Cone says ‘Because whiteness by its very nature is against blackness, the black prophet is a prophet of national doom. He proclaims the end of the American Way.He insists that ‘Black theologians must assume the dangerous responsibility of articulating the revolutionary mood of the black community. This means that their speech about God, in authentic prophetic tradition, will always move on the brink of treason and heresy in an oppressive society.’