Black History Month honoree Rev. A.R. Bernard is the CEO & Founder of the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.
Next year, the megachurch will mark 40 years of ministry in New York City. What started in a small room with 20 folding chairs now has nearly 40,000 members.
Rev. Bernard tells 1010 WINS’ Larry Mullins he worked in the banking industry for 10 years and was a member of the Nation of Islam when his secretary introduced him to Christianity in a new and different way.
“That night – January 11, 1975 – I experienced my epiphany. I knew that the things I was looking for in other religious systems and other organizations culminated at that point in the person of Christ – not the institution of Christianity, but the person of Christ,” he says. “And that started me on a whole new journey to understand him and the church that he gave birth to.”
He says he believes evangelicalism is a theological identity with four primary elements: conversionism, biblical authority, crucicentrism and activism. As such, the Christian Cultural Center has grown to become more than a church – it has a school, bookstore and more.
“I believe in a Christ that is very present in the culture and in the dynamics of the culture, who is the cosmic ruler of the universe. So not divorced from the universe, but definitely involved in the social structures through the lives of people,” he says. “So we believe very strongly here that we have to be present in the society that we serve in every way possible.”
Rev. Bernard’s work often focuses on men.
“I believe very strong that men, based upon the biblical model of family, have the greatest level of responsibility as a leader. Not to exercise domination, but dominion,” he says. “And the true sense of the word dominion means that as a leader, the man is able to identify the gifts, the talents, the abilities, the strengths that exist in the wife and in the children and has a responsibility to bring out the best in those individuals so that they can contribute to the family and the family then contributes to society.”
Rev. Bernard goes on to discuss the current political climate and talks about joining and stepping down from Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board.
“America is being forced to have a conversation that it has refused to have and tried to gloss over. There’s a wonderful passage in The Book of Jeremiah in The Living Bible and it says that you cannot heal a thing by saying it’s not there. And that’s so true. So we’ve tried to ignore the reality and failed to address it,” he says. “But this climate is forcing a conversation. If anything Donald Trump has done as president, he has exposed the spiritual and moral condition of our nation. So it’s less about him as a person – more about the character of the nation.”
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Source: CBS New York