“The American Dream” – A Sermon by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK delivered a powerful sermon on July 4, 1965 entitled The American Dream.  It included this paragraph:

You see, the founding fathers were really influenced by the Bible. The whole concept of the imago dei, as it is expressed in Latin, the “image of God,” is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected. Not that they have substantial unity with God, but that every man has a capacity to have fellowship with God. And this gives him a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. And we must never forget this as a nation: there are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God’s keyboard, precisely because every man is made in the image of God. One day we will learn that. (Yes) We will know one day that God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every man.

He concluded the sermon with this plea:

We open the doors of the church now. If someone needs to accept Christ, (Yes, sir) this is a marvelous opportunity, a great moment to make a decision. And as we sing together, we bid you come at this time by Christian experience, baptism, watch care. But come at this moment, become a part of this great Christian fellowship and accept Christ (Yes, sir) as your personal savior.

I especially like the sentence “we open the doors of the church now” in the final paragraph.  He was probably speaking logistically.  But to me it is a connection between his imago dei-based rights argument and the way that in Jesus there is unity.

Entire sermon manuscript
Sermon audio

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