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"Sermons"

The Significant Contributions of Jeremiah to Religious Thought

These handwritten notes appear to be a draft of the essay "The Significant Contributions of Jeremiah to Religious Thought." Dr. King wrote this for James Bennett Pritchard's class on the Old Testament at Crozer Theological Seminary. Circa September 14, 1948 - November 24, 1948. The actual essay is in the King Archive at Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.

Note Cards on God

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

MLK Sermon Notes

Dr. King writes notes regarding the story of Jesus and the healing of the paralytic. Jesus asked the crippled man, "will thou be made whole?" Dr. King states that some people are happy to be crippled because they lack the responsibilities of life that a healthy man has, and many people cater to their needs, but cautions against this attitude.

Opportunity, Fidelity, and Reward

Friday, January 1, 1954

This handwritten outline reflects a sermon delivered by Dr. King at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in January of 1954. The sermon is structured around "The Parable of the Talents" taken from Matthew 25:14-30. Dr. King highlights how the passage assures a "reward for faithfulness."

Follow Me

Dr. King outlines a sermon. "Follow Me" and "The Call of Christ" are considered as possible titles.

The Mastery of Fear

This outline explains the direction of Dr. King's sermon entitled "The Mastery of Fear." In it, Dr. King explores the challenges and necessity of confronting fear.

God

Dr. King expresses the power of God as being infinite beyond comprehension of man.

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.

Shattered Dreams

In a sermon entitled "Shattered Dreams", Dr. King opens with a passage from Romans 15:24. The Reverend continues with the expansion of hopes and the contrast of shattered dreams. Delivering this message from a theological vantage point, Dr. King closes with "Christian faith makes it possible for us nobly to accept that which cannot be changed, to meet disappointments and sorrow with an inner poise..."

Handwritten Notecard about Peace

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

MLK Sermon About Courage and Cowardice

The document is a single draft page from Dr. King's larger work "Strength to Love," with annotations handwritten by Dr. King. On this page, he discusses courage and self-affirmation.

Love

Dr. King quotes Tertullian on the subject of love from “Adversus Marcionem.”

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 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.

"The Drum Major Instinct" Ebenezer Baptist Church

Sunday, February 4, 1968

The Drum Major Instinct, a sermon delivered by Dr. King at the Atlanta Ebenezer Baptist Church, frames the “instinct” as being responsible for the social ills of the world. Dr. King proclaims that racial inequality in America and the war in Vietnam are the result of nations engaging in a “bitter colossal contest for supremacy.” He suggests that the only way to end this “suicidal thrust” is to abide by an altered definition of the instinct – the definition of Jesus Christ.

"Discerning the Signs of History"

Sunday, November 15, 1964

Dr. King believes that there are lessons in understanding the process of history, that evil carries the seed of destruction and that militarism is ultimately suicidal. Dr. King states that "history teaches the lesson that all reality hinges on moral foundations."

A Religion of Doing

Dr. King delivered this sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on July 4, 1954. In the sermon, Dr. King asserts the importance of active religion over passive theoretical practice. Citing the Book of Matthew, he maintains that belief and action must be united, as action is the crux of true religion. He proclaims that the church has to be a passage of the "dynamic force" that encourages action of its members.

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.

A Tough Mind and A Tender Heart

This outline to Dr. King's sermon "A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart" focuses on the premise that being a tough minded individual involves making critical decisions. The sermon emphasizes that those who possess a soft mind tend to be gullible and strictly follow the status quo. According to Dr. King, "We must come to the realization that life demands a tough mind."

MLK Sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church

Sunday, January 16, 1966

As pastor of Ebenezer, Dr. King delivered this particular sermon to his congregation in January of 196. He begins by referencing representative-elect Julian Bond's statement against war and against America's involvement in Vietnam, and he commends Mr. Bond for being courageous enough to speak his mind. He uses quotes from historical figures and biblical passages to support his claim that humans should be men of conviction and not of conformity. Dr.

Dr. King Sermon Outline - "Moral Absolutism"

Dr. King drafted this handwritten outline entitled "Moral Absolutism." The focus is on judgement and its relation to both good and evil.

Right & Wrong

Dr. King quotes James Martineau’s “Types of Ethical Theory, Volume II.”

Interruptions: Man from Porlock

Sunday, January 21, 1968

Dr. King delivered this sermon, "Interruptions," on January 21, 1968 at Ebenezer Baptist Church. He describes how no one lives a life free of interruptions, and that the major problem of life is learning how to handle them.

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.

Transformed Nonconformist

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

New Wine in Old Bottles

Sunday, January 2, 1966

In a New Year's sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. King addresses Matthew 9:17. His explains that new ideas or inspiration cannot thrive in closed minds or old structures, such as the idea of equality in a segregated society. While Victor Hugo's "idea whose time has come" may be here, Dr. King says, we need to "help time" and overcome the initial resistance to new ideas with persistence and a transformation of the old structures.

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."

Loving Your Enemies

Sunday, November 17, 1957

Dr. King interprets Jesus' command to "love your enemies" and outlines how to accomplish this goal. He closes this sermon by relating the philosophy of love to the use of nonviolence as a means to overcome oppression.

MLK Sermon: The Dimensions of A Complete Life

Sunday, April 19, 1959

In this sermon given at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King details the three dimensions of a complete life: length, breadth, and height.

Soul

Dr. King quotes Ephesus of Heraclitus' thoughts on soul.