Price's "prosperity teachings" still raise some eyebrows. He has caused concern among some African Americans, for instance, for influencing a rapidly growing number of up-and-coming black preachers to focus on self-enrichment rather than the traditional social gospel, Franklin said.
Many Embrace His Change of Heart
But Price's powerful new activism has changed many minds. "Traditional black clergy are thrilled that he has finally awakened to these social issues," Franklin said.
Whether Price's series, and forthcoming book, will help nudge the church forward is unknown.
Christian churches have witnessed dramatic gestures of racial reconciliation in recent years. The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, apologized for its past support of slavery and recently pledged to recruit more black members. An all-white Pentecostal association disbanded and formed a racially mixed group in 1994. Racially distinct churches are merging and, in May, Pasadena-area pastors held a conference on racial reconciliation.
"Racism is a major problem in our society," said Stephen Strang, the Charisma magazine publisher who came out strong and early with an editorial in support of Price. "My personal opinion is that the charismatic segment of the church is further down the road than others, with more integrated churches, voluntary associations, churches accepting blacks as leaders."
But people like Bishop Charles Blake of West Angeles Church of God in Christ see the glass as half-empty. He was active in forming the integrated Pentecostal group but said his interest has waned since members have shown no intent to tackle political action or other initiatives to alleviate racism.
People like Murray question the paucity of black leadership in largely white churches and the icons of Christ, Mary and the saints that paint a white portrait of divinity.
Price wants to know why, decades after the civil rights revolution, most Baptists and Methodists and evangelicals still worship in racially separate denominations.
But Price figures he's done his work for now. "My job is not to solve the problems," he said. "My job was to sound the alarm."