Before he was a civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a man of the church. His father was a pastor, and much of young Martin's time was spent in Baptist churches. He went on to seminary and received a Ph.D. in theology. In 1953, he took over leadership of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Atlanta. The church was his home. But, as he began working for civil rights, King became a fierce critic of the churches, both black and white. He railed against white Christian leaders who urged him to be patient in the struggle-or even opposed civil rights altogether. And, while the black church was the platform from which King launched the struggle for civil rights, he was deeply ambivalent toward the church as an institution, and saw it as in constant need of reform. In this book, Lewis Baldwin explores King's complex relationship with the Christian church, from his days growing up at Ebenezer Baptist, to his work as a pastor, to his battles with American churches over civil rights, to his vision for the global church. King, Baldwin argues, had a robust and multifaceted view of the nature and purpose of the church that serves as a model for the church in the 21st century.