An Extraordinary Theology from an African-American Pastor and Former Slave

Earlier this year, we announced the reintroduction of a forgotten masterpiece, Plain Theology for Plain People by Charles Octavius Boothe. In this handbook first published in 1890, Boothe simply and beautifully lays out the basics of theology for common people. He brought the heights of academic theology down to everyday language, and he helps us do the same today.

Get to know Charles Octavius Boothe

In his introduction to Plain Theology for Plain People, Walter Strickland II provides us with a glimpse of who this extraordinary man was. In this brief excerpt, Strickland describes Boothe’s purpose behind writing Plain Theology for Plain People.

Charles Octavius Boothe was a reluctant teacher. To spare others his frustration with learning and teaching from books laced with dense theological rhetoric, Boothe wrote Plain Theology for Plain People. He wrote for the average sharecropper, accommodating an unlearned audience that included pastors, teachers, and community leaders born into poverty with little access to education. While leaders and laity alike desperately needed biblical and theological truth, they had little time, energy, and resources to pursue education. “The doctrines of our holy religion need to be studied in order, according to some definite system,” he wrote, “but simplicity should prevail—simplicity of arrangement and simplicity of language.” Thus, Boothe set out to write a succinct and accessible theological handbook.

The first reactions

The first review copies of Plain Theology for Plain People have been sent out and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s just a sample from Twitter:

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In Plain Theology for Plain People, Charles Octavius Boothe simply and elegantly lays out the basics of theology for everyday people.

Written by
Jake Mailhot

Jake Mailhot is the product manager for Lexham Press. He also writes about baseball and lives in Bellingham, WA.

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Written by Jake Mailhot