In Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday January 20, 2014

FROM KING TO OBAMA; A FULFILLMENT OF JEWISH PROPHECY?

Psalm 68:31: “Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.”

Does the Hebrew Scripture predict descendants of Africa occupying seats of worldwide political influence and power before the Lord returns? Was the election of Barack Hussein Obama a fulfillment of biblical prophecy? Does a study of Noah’s descendants throughout the Bible demonstrate a pattern of how God has operated in the history of mankind? Did Martin Luther King, Jr. have a unique sense or intuitive knowledge of the special role of Israel in world history? The answers to these questions from my vantage point are, Yes! Yes! Yes! And Yes!

My thesis is:  A study of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament regarding Noah’s sons and their descendants will indicate that the children of Ham would experience political and spiritual empowerment and renewal before the coming of the Lord within a Judeo-Christian context. Are we in the midst of witnessing, “Princes coming out of Egypt, and the Ethiopian stretching out their hand to God”? Could President Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Pastor Fred Luter, Justice Clarence Thomas, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, Lecrae and Kofi Annan be partially fulfilling this verse (to name just a few)?

The day after Barack Obama won the election, an Anglo Texas Southern Baptist Convention Pastor sent the following email to a close friend of mine who also happened to be an Anglo Southern Baptist Convention pastor:

“If our ancestors had known that the country would come to this they might have picked their own [_____] cotton.” [You can probably guess correctly what word was originally in the place of the blank, that I chose to leave blank.]

Africans were brought to the United States to pick cotton, not to pick Presidents, and certainly not to be elected President. If the slave masters realized that Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Richard Allen, Ralph Abernathy, Martin Luther King and many of the men and women who voted for Senator Obama were in those slave ships, the ships would not have been allowed to leave the docks of West Africa.

Dr. King understood the commonality of suffering and being victimized by discrimination shared by the Negro and the Jew. As the guest speaker at the first American Jewish Congress convention held in a Southern state, Florida, King noted:

“My people were brought to America in chains. Your people were driven here to escape the chains fashioned for them in Europe. Our unity is born of our common struggle for centuries, not only to rid ourselves of bondage, but to make oppression of any people by others an impossibility.” (Rabbi Marc Schneier, Shared Dreams: Martin Luther King, Jr. & The Jewish Community, Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock, VT, P. 34)

Rabbi March Schneier, author of this insightful and engaging book, Shared Dreams, also acknowledged and affirm the roots of the relationship between Jews and Africans go all the way back to the Bible:

“The relationship between Jews and blacks dates back to the days of the Hebrews. The forefathers of Abraham were the dark-skinned Cushites. Moses had no difficulty passing himself off as olive-skinned Egyptian, and his wife, Tzipporah was a woman of color. The line between Jews and darker-skinned people was pliable and porous—and often it completely disappeared.” (Schneier, Shared Dreams, P. 20)

The late Radio Bible Preacher, J. Vernon McGhee provides an interesting, arresting, and I believe accurate understanding of the identity and historical development of the races of mankind recorded in Genesis 10:

“The first great civilization, therefore, came out from the sons of Ham. We need to recognize that. It is so easy today to fall into the old patterns that we were taught in school a few years ago. Now the black man is wanting more study of his race. I don’t blame him. He hasn’t been given an opportunity in the past several hundred years. The story of the beginning of the black man is that he headed up the first two great civilizations that appeared on this earth. They were from the sons of Ham. Nimrod was a son of Ham. I’m not going to attempt to develop that line any further.” (J. Vernon McGhee, Through the Bible-Genesis, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN, 1981, p. 51)

McGhee further elaborates on Genesis 10:

“In chapter 10, seventy nations are listed. Fourteen of them are from Japheth. Thirty of them come from Ham. Don’t forget that. It will give you a different conception of the Black man at his beginning. And twenty-six nations come from Shem….

Why has the white man in our day been so prominent? Well, I tell you why. Because at the beginning it was the Black man, the colored races, that were prominent.

Apparently, we are currently in the period in which the white man has come to the front. It seems to me that all three are demonstrating that regardless of whether they are a son of Ham or a son of Shem or a son of Japheth, they are incapable of ruling this world.” (McGhee, pp. 33-34)

The sons of Japheth were remote in the Old Testament and very little is said about them there. Recorded history for the Japhetic races does not begin until about 1000 B.C.

Rome was founded in 750 B.C. City-states in Greece did not begin until 800 B.C. The sons of Shem did not emerge as a racial or cultural group until the time of Abraham (1800-1600 B.C.). However, the sons of Ham ruled Shinar (Sumer) as early as 4000 B.C. Hamites ruled Ethiopia from 3500 B.C. to this present day. Hamites ruled Egypt from 3500 B.C. to the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 B.C. Hamites ruled Canaan from 4000 B.C. to 1200 B.C. and Mesopotamia from 4000 B.C. to 2350 B.C. The ancient Egyptian and Sumerian people enslaved Japhetic, Semitic and even other Hamitic people. Seemingly the dominant group always rules the minority people. Hamites ruled India from 3000 B.C. until conquest of the Persians in 500 B.C. In every instance, these peo­ple led extremely advanced civilizations and cultures. Dr. T.B. Matson, a former professor of Christian Ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theologi­cal Seminars); had this to say about the early descendants of Ham:

“Those who emphasize the curse of Ham need to remember that some of the descendants of Ham, even some of the chil­dren of Canaan, were quite prosperous. They built great cities, such as Ninevah and Babylon. They were rearing palaces, dig­ging canals, organizing governments and founding empires at a time when descendants of Japheth were wandering over Europe with no better weapons than implements of flint and bone.” (Dr. T.B. Matson, The Bible and Race, Nashville, TN, Broadman Press, 1959)

Observation: History can be divided into three dimensions. Generally speaking, each race has been given 2000 years to reign: the Reign of Ham – 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C.; the Reign of Shem 2000 B.C. to 300 B.C.; the Reign of Japheth – 300 B.C. to the present. What will happen when Japheth’s reign is over? Could it be that we then enter into a period that I call the Reign of Jesus? John the Apostle envisioned the time when all the redeemed “of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” would stand before the throne and worship Jesus (Revelation 5:9). “He which testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)

As the election of Senator Obama to the presidency of the U.S. began to look like a possibility in the fall of 2008, it prompted me to reflect on McGhee’s view of racial history. Understanding that the sons of Ham ruled 2000 years, the sons of Shem ruled two thousand years, and for the past two thousand years the sons of Japheth were ruling—it triggered the question in my mind, what would happen at the end of two thousand years of European/Japhetic Rule? I thought of only two possibilities: (1) The return of Jesus; or (2) The return of a son of Ham to political leadership.

President Obama is undeniably a son of Ham, or Africa. The President of the National Baptist Convention in 1973 began his address with these words:  “The sons of Ham have gathered.” The Bible calls Egypt the land of Ham (Psalm 105:23, 27; 106:22). The Yoruba Tribe in Nigeria traces their roots back to “Ham.” The unusualness of a direct African descendant being elected President of the U.S. is staggering and astounding to many. Many of us disagree vehemently with his abortion and same-sex marriage policies, but we must admit he was God’s sovereign choice for this position. He certainly provides poetic justice for America’s racist past.

Many Americans of all colors and political persuasions thought that they would never live to see the day that the son or daughter of Africa would become President of the United States of America. I was no different. Yet, in the back of my mind I was cognizant of McGhee’s view of racial history, and I was also aware of Psalm 68:31; therefore, it was not totally out of the realm of possibility from my perspective. The original King James Version reads:

“Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.”

The word “Princes” in Hebrew can mean bronze. The root word for “Princes” means political figures, nobles, kings, envoys or ambassadors. Princes, kings, and/or envoys shall come out of Egypt according to the Hebrew Bible. The Ethiopian will soon stretch out their hands to God.

When the Bible speaks of Ethiopia, Egypt, and the land of Ham, it is talking about the entire continent of Africa. On the earliest maps, the entire continent would be labeled by one of those three names.

In this obscure verse, God was showing David something. I’m not saying this with certainty, but, it appears that David was saying that descendants of Africa would have a political impact beyond Africa. David said Princes shall “come out of” Egypt or Africa. Africa would be their roots, but their “shoots” would be elsewhere.

Perhaps this is the reason that Barack Obama’s dad is not from Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, or Tennessee. Who would have ever thought that America would have a President named with a Hebrew and African name: “Barack Obama”? President Obama’s name and his dad are directly out of Kenya. Kenya is just below Egypt and at one time Egypt engulfed that whole area. Princes, political leaders, kings, nobles and dignitaries will emanate from, or come directly out of Africa. They will have a political impact according to the Psalmist.

Dr. King in an interview with BBC in 1960 stated that America could have a Negro President in forty years. He missed it by eight years. If Dr. King could see it, I believe the Hebrew writer of Psalm could also see it. We have seen a proliferation of African descendants in political leadership at every level in America over the past fifty years. Canada and Europe have also seen African descendants occupy political seats in their domain. This was out of the question in the first half of the last century, with few exceptions.

If I asked you who pastored the largest church in Europe, would you not assume that it would be a European? No! The largest church in Europe is pastored by an African from Nigeria named Sunday Adelaja, in Kiev, Ukraine. How does a Nigerian get 26,000 Europeans to join his church? Could it be because “Princes shall come out of Egypt, and the African will stretch out their hands to God—meaning that they will come to God and influence the world for God?

In Psalm 72:10, 15, it is predicted that gifts would be brought to the Messiah from Tarshish (Gen. 10:4, Japheth), Seba and Sheba (Gen. 10:7, Ham) and Sheba (Gen. 10:28, Shem). Isaiah 18:2, 7 says that gifts would be brought from Cush or Ethiopia. Perhaps this Scripture was fulfilled when the Wise Men came with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Descendants of Ham, Shem and Japheth brought gifts to Jesus. Descendants of Ham, Shem, and Japheth have been political rulers at different points in world history.

At the cross, Shem (Jesus) hung on the cross, Ham helped Jesus carry the cross-Simon of Cyrene—an African country, and the Romans (Japheth) hung Him on the cross. The Roman soldier who pierced Him cried out, “Surely, this must be the Son of God.”

In Acts 8:26-39, an African (son of Ham) gave his life to Christ. In Acts, 9:1-19, Saul (son of Shem) was converted to Christ and his name was changed to Paul. In Acts 10:1-33, Cornelius (an Italian 10:1, son of Japheth) was converted to Christ.

In Acts 13, leaders of the first Gentile congregation are Barnabas from Cyprus, a European country, “Simeon who was called Niger” (Niger is a term denoting an African), Manaen, “brought up with Herod” a Roman (son of Japheth), and Saul (Paul, a son of Shem).

It appears that at critical points in history, God tended to work through the various sons of Noah and their descendants.

Dr. King seemingly understood a very special and unique role of Israel and the Jews in World History. During Israel’s 1956 war with Egypt, he wrote:  “There is something in the very nature of the universe which is on the side of Israel in its struggle with every Egypt.” (Schneier, Shared Dreams, pp. 160-161)

In his very last sermon preached in Memphis, TN, Dr. King spoke about his trip to Jerusalem and Jericho in Israel in 1959. “Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). That trip provided Dr. King with critical insight into the Parable of the Good Samaritan, having observed the peculiarities of the road between Jerusalem and Jericho (Luke 10:30-51):

“You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 miles — or rather 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about 2200 feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the “Bloody Pass.”

Dr. King’s visit to Israel enhanced his knowledge of the Bible and informed his preaching.

Dr. King cultivated a mutual reciprocal relationship with the Jewish Community. He spoke against anti-Semitism whether it was regarding Jews in the Soviet Union or New York. Dr. King’s powerful and positive working and personal relationship with Jews is perhaps the most neglected aspect of his legacy. The Jews in Israel have named a street in his honor. African Americans ought to visibly and tangibly document and demonstrate appreciation and affection toward the legacy of Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

Many African Americans fifty years of age or older would recognize names like Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, Hosea Williams, Fannie Lou Hamer, Daisy Bates, A.G. Gaston, Thurgood Marshall, Wyatt Walker and Benjamin Hooks. All of these men and women played significant roles in the Civil Rights Movement.

Oliver Brown was the plaintiff named in the Brown vs. the board of Education case that led to the desegregation of the public schools. But it was a Jewish woman who hired the attorney and raised the funds for his fees. Her motivation was simply that she resented the fact that her Black housekeeper’s children were being educated in a “separate but equal” dilapidated shack that passed as the Black school house. The Jewish woman’s name who led this effort was Esther Brown. Esther Brown’s name ought to be remembered in African American History.

There were many who stood with Dr. King and some lost their lives in an effort to bring liberty and justice for all. Who could forget Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, whose bodies were found not far from Philadelphia, MS? These Jewish men died while on a pursuit to investigate church burnings and the beating of church members by the Ku Klux Klan in Longdale, MS. We need to remember those brave Jewish Rabbis in the South who fought against discrimination:  Perry Nussbaun, Charles Mantinband, and Alfred Goodman.

We need to remember the cadre of Jewish lawyers who greatly aided the cause: Morris Abram, Stanley Levison, and Jack Greenberg, who worked as second in command of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, under Thurgood Marshall.

Time and space will not permit the naming of all persons worthy; but suffice it to say that Blacks and Jews have a storied history, even with tensions and strained relationships along the way.

Rabbi Friedlander, a participant in the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 shared personal reflections and a biblical perspective of Jews and Africans marching together. The Rabbi reported:

 “Some images stand out in my mind: Professor Abraham Heschel marching in front of me, firm and erect, the wind catching his white beard and hair…. A Negro lady (Mrs. Foster), walking next to me, pointed out the exact spot on that highway where Alabama troopers had beaten her to the ground. ‘Going all the way this time,’ she smiled, and waved to some friends along the road….

But the heart of the march was the group of Negro marchers from Alabama who wanted the vote, each with a red band on his arm, still in mourning for Jimmy Lee Jackson and their other, unknown, martyrs. It was their march; and perhaps our main reason for being with them was the fact that our white skins gave them some protec­tion from the rifles ready in the swampland surrounding us…

If nothing else, we had finally felt the living essence of the words of Amos: ‘Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto Me, Oh children of Israel?’”

What a powerful, scriptural quote from Rabbi Friedlander (Amos 9:7), recognizing that the roots of the relationship between the African American and the American Jew was rooted in Scripture. The presence of the Jew among the Civil Rights Marches probably saved the lives of many. Thank God for our Jewish brethren!

I want to conclude with a couple of powerful quotes that sum up Dr. King’s position on the important of understanding the Jewish Heritage of the Christian Faith:

“Jesus was a Jew… [And] it is impossible to understand Jesus outside the race in which he was born. The Christian Church has tended to overlook its Judaic origins, but the fact is that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew of Palestine. He shared the experiences of his fellow-countryman. So as we study Jesus we are wholly in a Jewish atmosphere.”

“I draw not from Marxism or any other secular philosophy but from the prophets of Israel; from their passion for justice and cry for righteousness. The ethic of Judaism is integral to my Christian faith.” (Schneier, Shared Dreams, p. 32)

May God use this writing to whet our appetites to grow in the Jewish understanding of our Christian Faith! Dr. King is right:  “It is impossible to understand Jesus outside the race in which he was born.” If I may take a flight off of Dr. King’s runway, I might add: It is impossible to understand our Christian faith without understanding her Jewish roots.  May God grant us all the grace to stretch out our hands to the God of Israel, and His Son, Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:21)!

Truly, Israel and Africa historically, spiritually, biblically, emotionally, physiologically, geographically, geologically and cooperatively—are connected. God Himself affirmed and testified to the connection:  “Are ye not like the people of Ethiopia to Me, O Children of Israel?” (Amos 9:7)

CHALLENGING JESSE JACKSON AND MICHAEL ERIC DYSON TO DEBATE THE PHIL ROBERTSON’S REMARKS FOR THE SAKE OF KINGDOM TRUTH

TEN REASONS WHY PHIL ROBERTSON HAS BECOME THE NEW ROSA PARKS

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

In an attempt to discredit and defame the unabashed and uncompromising Kingdom citizen—Phillip Robertson— Jesse Jackson has credited “white privilege” for providing the platform, context and cover for Robertson’s controversial remarks regarding homosexuality and race. (Read more:  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-12-25/news/chi-jesse-jackson-duck-dynasty-20131224_1_duck-dynasty-jesse-jackson-sr-anti-gay-comments)

Michael Eric Dyson stated that when men express love for Jesus, above love for women, they sound “interestingly homoerotic to people who are outside of religious traditions” (Read more: http://hotair.com/archives/2013/12/26/msnbc-wonders-christian-love-for-jesus-is-kind-of-homoerotic-huh/comment-page-7/). People outside of religious traditions generally understand that Kingdom citizens believe that Jesus is Lord, King, Sovereign and Ruler. Consequently, they would also understand that there is nothing “homoerotic” about loving and worshiping Jesus if He is Lord.

What would trigger Jackson and Dyson to lodge such loaded rhetorical bombshells into an already explosive discussion regarding homosexuality and race? Jesse Jackson and Michael Dyson affirm homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage. Phil Robertson does not. The root cause of this division is not race, but different beliefs regarding homosexuality. Jackson, Dyson and Al Sharpton are passionate, militant promoters of the homosexual agenda. These three men have abandoned their Black Baptist Biblical roots on this issue. Interestingly, Dr. Martin Luther King and Phil Robertson would be in agreement regarding homosexuality.

Should a person be charged with speaking from a platform of “white privilege” and should those of us who love Jesus more than we love our female wives, be labeled “interestingly homoerotic,” because of our love for Jesus, and our common bond with Phil Robertson on the belief that homosexuality is a sin?

I would really love to debate these extreme positions adopted and articulated by these two Baptist preachers. The “white privilege” and “interestingly homoerotic” response adopted and articulated by Jackson and Dyson are far out of the mainstream thinking of African American Kingdom Citizens. Holding to the view that homosexuality is sin and marriage is between a man and a woman, should not subject one to the baseless ridicule, rejection and accusations of ignorance, bigotry, and racism experienced by Phil Robertson.

Jackson and Dyson are misrepresenting the Bible and Black America by articulating these extreme and unsubstantiated points of view. Disagree with Robertson if you must—that’s your constitutional right and freedom. But please don’t label his traditional view of homosexuality and his love for Jesus as “homoerotic” and “white privilege.”  President Obama ran for President in 2008 holding to a traditional view of marriage based on Christian beliefs. We all know in 2012 he changed his mind. Phil Robertson and the National Baptist Convention share the same view on the biblical definition of marriage. The majority of African Americans share Robertson’s view of marriage. How can Jesse Jackson then logically label his view, “white privilege”?

Perhaps Jackson and Dyson are responding equally to Robertson’s comments about race in the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era. Unfortunately, the exact question that Robertson was asked regarding race is not recorded in the GQ Interview that ignited this controversy.  Only a caption and his response are recorded.

Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Was Robertson asked,

1. “What are your thoughts on how Blacks were treated in the South during the Jim Crow era?” If that was the question, Robertson certainly was aware of the fact that in Northwest Louisiana, where he grew up, there were lynching, murders, segregation, economic exploitation, unequal pay, an unjust criminal justice system, police brutality and the like. I am willing to give Robertson the benefit of the doubt. Had he been asked a question regarding how Blacks were generally treated in the South I believe that he would have given an honest answer, according to his trademark.

But, what if he was asked,

2. “What did you see growing up in the South during the Jim Crow era?” A question of that nature limits itself to what he actually saw. Inasmuch as his remarks are in line with this question, why would we assume he is addressing a broader question? Most of Robertson’s critics are responding to what he didn’t say rather than to what he said. We don’t know what he was asked; therefore it is patently¸ unfair and unreasonable, to judge the man on his answer to a question that we are unaware of.

While channel surfing I have caught portions of Duck Dynasty twice. I must admit that I like nature scenes, family scenes, and Southern culture in general. Therefore, the show did arrest my attention once I landed there. Until this controversy I was unaware of Robertson’s name or the name of the show. My point is—to use Southern parlance—I have no dog in this fight. However, I do hate to see any man or woman regardless of color being mistreated, castigated, and humiliated without any evidence to support their baseless accusations against them.

For those who argue that Robertson was responding to the first question; they must prove this. For those who believe that Robertson was responding to the second question, then you would have to conclude that he was lying when he said he had not personally witnessed any mistreatment of Blacks in the area where he lived. On what grounds can we say for certain that he is not being truthful?

Robertson said, “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person, not once.” Which one of us can say with absolute certainty and with evidence to back it up that Phil Robertson is not telling the truth about what he did not see “with my [Robertson’s] eyes”? Unless we can disprove his claim, it is un-Christ like for us to address him as if he is lying. Although blatant discrimination and racism certainly existed and was prevalent in the South during Robertson’s upbringing and still exist today, it is possible that in his “neck of the woods,” he literally did not witness it with his own eyes. He did not say it did not exist, He said, he never saw it. That is a huge difference. His critics are responding to him as if he said, it did not exist. Again, it is inappropriate to respond to a remark that he never made. Which one of us would like to respond to or defend a statement that we’ve never uttered?

Phil Robertson characterized Black persons that he knows during this time frame as “farmers,” “godly,” “singing,” “happy,” and non-complaining. Which one of those adjectives would be untrue, based on one’s personal observations? No one would debate that agricultural endeavors were the primary economic engine of the South in that time frame. Most historical Black Colleges in the South offered majors in Agriculture, and the official name of many colleges included the word “Agriculture” or the letter “A”; or as In Prairie View A&M University, Arkansas A, M, and N , and now UAPB and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Alabama  A&M, etc.

George Washington Carver was renowned for his farming and scientific exploits. He was also a “godly” man who taught Sunday School on Sundays at Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington, and agriculture and science during the week. He clearly viewed Genesis 19 as an illustration of the judgment of God on a nation that embraces homosexuality. While discussing Sodom and Gomorrah, Dr. Carver asked his class, “And what happened to these wicked cities?” He viewed the desire and activity of same-sex involvement as “wicked.” He then used his scientific talents to cause a sudden burst of flames and fumes to shoot up from the table, and the Bible students fled. He sure knew how to make Sunday School interesting and to illustrate his point. George Washington Carver taught against the practice of homosexuality. (George Washington Carver; An American Biography, by Rackham Holt, 1943, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, p. 198). I wonder what Jackson and Dyson would say about him. If Carver did the same illustration today, it would create a firestorm of controversy.

Robertson labeled Black persons as “godly” that he grew up around. In 1960, 80% of all Black families were intact. Today over 70% of Black children are being born out of wedlock. Bill Cosby’s book documents a higher percentage of White inmates during the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era than today.  Blacks are committing and being convicted of crimes at a higher rate than in the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era. School dropout rates are higher today than then. What exactly did Robertson say that was racist or untrue? I wish his critics would quote his exact words that could be viewed as “racist”!

A Black preacher, Charles Price Jones, wrote the popular hymn sung in Black churches during the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era, “I’m Happy with Jesus Alone.” A traditional favorite hymn that Kirk Franklin later did a remix of had a popular refrain: “I Sing Because I’m Happy, I Sing Because I’m Free. His Eye is on the Sparrow and I know He Watches me.” There was another fairly well known song of that time: “I am so happy, happy as can be, because I have a Savior, who is walking daily with me.” We learned in childhood back then:  “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” A popular solo that has stood the test of time over the past 30 years in the Black church is named, “I Won’t Complain.” Because Phil Robertson did not hear Black people complaining did not mean they didn’t complain. We were simply taught to take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there. We dealt with injustice and racism within the confines of immediate and extended family and our churches. We looked to our Pastors to voice our complaints because at times they were the only individuals whose paycheck was solely derived from Black employment.

My point is: I recall the Blacks in my childhood as happy. I was happy.  Those that I observed were basically happy also; and that was because of our faith. And although we failed miserably at times, Robertson is right…there was a pursuit of godliness that existed among our families and leaders. I fail to understand why some find that point of view offensive.

I am ten years younger than Robertson. Certainly, I am not denying or turning a blind eye to the reality of racism. It was cruel and unusual; and unlike Robertson, I did see it, feel it and experience it. Yet, that did not keep us from experiencing the joy of the Lord. I refuse to let my past limit my present pursuit to maximize my potential.And it was the godly people Robertson was referring to. Exactly what qualifies his remarks to be “white privilege” and “homoerotic”? Please explain!

Perhaps it is the Rosa Parks and Phil Robertson analogy that has Jackson and Dyson upset. However, there are ten similarities between Rosa Parks and Phil Robertson:

  1. They both took principled stands.
  2. The positions that they took were rooted in biblical righteousness.
  3. Their positions were counter-culture at the time they took them.
  4. There was a huge backlash and criticism for their positions that they took.
  5. They both ignited public debate that captured the nation’s attention.
  6. Their positions polarized the nation.
  7. Their positions triggered boycotts.
  8. They both were on the right side of history.
  9. Their positions unveiled the weakness of the church; for Rosa Parks—the weakness of the White church. Jackson and Dyson are exposing one of the weaknesses of the Black church.
  10. They both became a cultural heroine and a cultural hero.

Yes!!! Phil Robertson is the new Rosa Parks!!!!

THE NAACP AND THE MEDIA OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED FOR ATTEMPTING TO EXPLOIT AND MISREPRESENT PHIL ROBERTSON’S REMARKS REGARDING HOMOSEXUALITY AND RACE

WHY BELIEVERS SHOULD SUPPORT DUCK DYNASTY STAR, PHIL ROBERTSON

By William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.

UNBELIEVABLE!!! Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, has been suspended indefinitely from the most popular show in the history of cable television for simply expressing a biblical worldview regarding homosexuality.

The A&E Television Network has determined that silencing and punishing Phil Robertson was/is more important than respecting his right of free speech and alienating millions of kingdom-minded Bible believing Christians just like him. If A&E does not withdraw their decision to suspend Phil Robertson, the believers who share his views need to boycott A&E and her sponsors.

If no one else will, I will submit a resolution at the SBC Annual Meeting in Baltimore encouraging all believers to boycott watching the A&E Network and to boycott their sponsors if they don’t retract their position. Why? An attack on Phil Robertson’s views and free speech on this matter is also an attack on the millions of other believers who share his view.

Furthermore, I am deeply disappointed in the NAACP for taking Robertson’s innocent racial remarks regarding relationship that he had with Blacks on the bayou’s of Louisiana during his earlier years and spinning it into some kind of racial animus or insensitivity toward Blacks during the Jim Crow Era. Shame on the NAACP for this exploitation of such a sensitive and volatile topic!

Robertson was simply expressing his personal observations and relationships with Blacks that he knew in the Louisiana swamps and farmland. He stated:

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field …. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word! … Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

This is simply an account of one man’s experience with a people group that he interacted with. He described them as “happy” and “godly.” If you asked me to describe Black people in my sphere of observation during my childhood in the late 50’s and 60’s, I would make a similar observation. We were “farmers,” “hoeing cotton,” “godly,” going to church, “singing” and “happy.” That was the general disposition of Black people in the South in my childhood.”

Did racism exist? Was it a reality? Absolutely! Did Black people discuss it and address it primarily among themselves? Absolutely! Did the Black Preacher take on the role and responsibility of addressing racism because quite often he was the only Black in a given community self-employed? Absolutely! In many ways morally, spiritually, family oriented and self-reliant were Blacks better off in the “pre-entitlement, pre-welfare” era? Absolutely! The facts would support such a conclusion. Are Robertson’s remarks racists, wrong, or insensitive or untrue? Absolutely Not!!! Robertson was not addressing the over-all obvious racism that existed in the South during that era. He was simply commenting on the general daily disposition of Blacks in his circle of acquaintances and relationships. It is tragic that the media, NAACP and others are unfairly using race in a twisted and shameful manner, because they simply disagree with his righteous and biblical stand on homosexuality.

The Civil Rights Community ought to be in the streets marching and protecting the free speech rights of Phil Robertson. The egregious act of suspending him for his statement should be aggressively repudiated and marched and protested against as if he were a Black man fired for making a similar remark. There is not a Black man in America who grew up in the South, who would have made a similar remark, and it would have been viewed as controversial or racist. Therefore, Robertson’s racial comment should be a non-issue.

May the Lord bless Phil Robertson! He is being persecuted for righteousness sake. His persecution is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Jesus said that believers would be hated because of His name’s sake. The prophet Isaiah said that the day would come when wrong would be called right and right would be called wrong. Phil Robertson is a classic example of both prophecies being fulfilled.

Believers of every kind throughout America ought to support Phil Robertson simply because his comments were/are scriptural, racially innocent, sincere, sensitive, supportive and true. Therefore, the negative and unwarranted response to his comments is simply orchestrated by “the prince of the power of the air.”

AFRICANS IN THE BABY JESUS’ BLOODLINE

A Biblical Response to Megyn Kelly’s Claim That Santa Claus and Jesus are White

By William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.

In response to Aisha Harris’ article “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” Fox News Commentator, Megyn Kelly gave the following response:

“By the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa is white but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. Santa is what he is and just so you know, we are debating this because someone wrote about it, kids. Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure. That’s a verifiable fact — as is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.” (http://ishouldbelaughing.blogspot.com/search?q=megyn+kelly)

Kelly offered no supporting evidence for Santa or Jesus being White. She was simply echoing the thinking of the culture that surrounded and produced her. In the case of Jesus, Kelly was ethnicizing Deity, and in the case of Santa Claus she was ethnicizing mythology.

By declaring Jesus and Santa White, Kelly consciously or sub-consciously empowered any person who is also White with a sense of high self-esteem and racial supremacy based on her perception of the ethnicity of the historical Jesus and Santa Claus. If Jesus is God’s Son and He is White, what color would that make His Father? If God, Jesus, and Santa are White, what are the inherent implications of those notions?

The implications of Kelly’s remarks are dangerous and deceptive. Inadvertently, perhaps, but Kelly’s remarks were rooted in a racial and racist DNA that America was constructed on; and the residual effect still exists.

There are two reasons that I never taught my four children the Santa Claus myth: (1) Once they discovered that Santa Claus was a myth, I didn’t want to run the risk of them also thinking of Jesus in the same manner. (2) Rather than giving the credit to an overweight Anglo man from the North Pole who brought gifts once a year to place around the Christmas tree, my wife and I decided to give the credit to their overweight African-American father and loving mother who maintained a relationship with them all year long.

Even if one argues as Bill O’Reilly does that the Santa Claus myth is based on a historical person that lived in Turkey in the 4th Century; one has to also admit that the vast majority of people in Asia Minor or modern day Turkey, then and now, don’t fit the description of most blond-haired blue-eyed Europeans. Although O’Reilly joins Kelly in proclaiming Santa Claus as White, the vast majority of people in Turkey and the Middle East simply don’t look like the popular depictions of the American White Santa Claus. As most Middle Eastern people, the people are olive or tannish in complexion with black hair. Megan Kelly and Bill O’Reilly are simply wrong. The color of Santa is the color of the parents who provide the Christmas gifts.

In all fairness to Kelly, after receiving much criticism for her ethnocentrism, unfounded claims, she later said that her claims regarding Santa Claus being White were tongue-in-check, and the color of Jesus was not a settled matter. Nevertheless, because her earlier expressed viewpoints regarding Jesus’ ethnicity is a common view in America, and in contradiction of the Bible, I feel compelled to address her claim related to Jesus being White.

If Jesus is White, that would have huge implications and impact on evangelism, apologetics, Christian Education and the study of biblical backgrounds.

Was Megyn Kelly right? Was Jesus a White Man when He walked this earth? We must look to the Bible for an answer to this question. According to the Bible, Jesus was a person of mixed ancestry with physical features that would reflect a composite of the three basic races of mankind. Jesus can be claimed by Asians because He was born in an Asian country. Israel is on the Continent of Asia, located in Southwest Asia; Jesus can be claimed by Africans because there are four African-Hamitic ladies mentioned by name in the bloodline or genealogy of Jesus. None of the Jewish wives are mentioned—only the African-Hamitic wives (Matthew 1:1-16). Jesus can be claimed by Caucasians because His dominant people-group category was Semitic (Luke 3:36-38). He was a descendant of Noah’s son, Shem. Semitic people, although they range in skin complexion from chocolate to chalk, are anthropologically and academically classified as Anglo or Caucasian. Therefore, Jesus can be classified as a mestizo—a person of missed ancestry. He can be legitimately claimed by all people groups. It is simply dishonest and historically inaccurate for any one people group to exclusively claim Him. My thesis is:  We often overlook the fact that Jesus was a Jew—who loved Israel—and four African women were in His bloodline, and was born into a Greek and Roman social and political culture.

The Jewish people are a people of mixed ancestry according to Exodus 12:38. They comprise a mixture of African-Egyptian-Hamitic blood and Semitic blood. They later mingled with Europeans. The Sephardic Jews of North Africa and the Mediterranean carry the sickle cell anemia trait, which is commonly carried by African descendants.

According to John MacArthur, all racial-people groups existed before the flood and after the flood:

“The fact of the matter is that all human beings came from Adam, through Noah. Which means that all there is in the genetic code for all human races was in Adam and Eve, and all that there is of genetic coding that is in all the races that exist today was in the family of Noah. That has all kinds of interesting implications. Because in the world you have so much diversity; a very dark-skinned people, very light-skinned people, you have various features of certain kinds of people that are identifiable; Caucasoid, Negroid, astrolid, etc. Mongoloid. Particular descriptions of physical features, and yet all these differences in skin color and all these differences in facial look and body design and the question is often asked, where did this diversity come from and the answer is the genetic code for all of that was in Adam and Eve. And the genetic code for all of the humanity in all of its diversity today was in the family of Noah. Everyone from pigmies and dwarfs and aborigines to seven foot two Zulus, and basketball players, came from Noah and his wife. All physical features, all skin colors, all physical characteristics, all eye shapes, noses, eye colors, hair colors, etc. All of the necessary genetic coding was in Adam and Eve, and all of it was in those eight people. In fact, all of it was in those three couples, the combinations multiplied by each new union almost without limit.”

“Further along the line thinking this through, for a few centuries after the flood, everybody was one big family. One language, one family, one culture. And so everybody intermarried. No barriers to marriage. And many believe that that tended to keep the skin color and the physical features generally away from extremes. Right? You have the whole of humanity all sort of living together. There are no barriers. There’s one culture. And so it tends to keep features and skin color away from extremes because all are exposed constantly to the full gene pool.

Very light skin sometimes appears, very dark skin sometimes appears, features vary, but because the people intermarry, the average stays generally similar. And biologists will tell you that to obtain distinct separation of color and distinct separation of features, it is necessary to break a large breeding group into smaller groups and keep them completely separated so they don’t interbreed. So you have to pull people off and isolate them, and then they would begin to be dominated by the genetic features that are within that people group. That’s exactly what happened at the Tower of Babel.”

To express it in “hood language,” the people of the biblical world were not “lily white.” Therefore, the bloodline of Jesus could not have been “lily white.” The Bible testifies to the fact that the original occupants of the land of Israel/Canaan were the people of Ham (I Chronicles 4:40), and four of them show up in the bloodline of Jesus. Again, Ham was the progenitor or ancestral father of the African and some of the Asiatic people.

The biblical world consisted of people of all colors. The largest people group in the biblical world was people of Hamitic-African descent (Gen. 10:6-20). Ham had thirty descendants. Shem had twenty-six descendants (10:21-31). And Japheth had fourteen descendants (Gen. 10:2-5). That is the reason that there are more dark and dusky skinned people in the world than fairer complexioned people. Although disputed, the etymology of the word Ham means “dark or black.” The etymology of the word Shem means “dusky or olive colored.” The etymology of the word Japheth means “bright or fair.” Japheth is considered the father or progenitor of the European people. Shem is considered to have been the progenitor or ancestral father of the Semitic people; the Jewish, Arabic and other Middle Eastern People. The entire African Continent was named at one point: “the Land of Ham.” Again, although Jesus was primarily of Semitic lineage, there were people of African-Hamitic descent in His bloodline. Four of the five ladies mentioned in the bloodline of Jesus descended from Ham.

Before I name persons of African-Hamitic descent in the bloodline of Jesus, I want to share with you biblical descriptions of physical features of Jesus:

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2)

This verse suggests that Jesus would not make the world’s ten most beautiful person’s list. Physically, Jesus was not a “beautiful” person. The attraction to Jesus would not be based on physical appearance. The implication is that His physical features might repel one, rather than attract one. In his Genesis Commentary, Martin Luther said that Noah’s son, Ham, had a “foul” complexion. Interestingly, Jesus and Ham were not considered “beautiful.”

The Apostle John was exiled to the isle of Patmos for the Word of God (Revelation 1:9). While at Patmos, John was granted a glimpse of the glorified Savior (Revelation 1:10-17). In Revelation 1:14-15, John gives us a description of the glorified Son of God.

“His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.” (Revelation 1:14, 15 KJV)

John used the word “white” twice in these two verses to describe the physical features of Jesus Christ. Permit me to define this word “white” based on the original Greek word “Leukon(s)” translated “white” twice in this verse. In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, pages 212 and 213, we discover that “Leukos” is an adjective describing a color that can be compared to “ripened grain.” This same word “Leukos” is also found in John 4:35 as a reference to ripened grain. The Greek word “Lampros” is translated “white” in Revelation 15:6 to describe “white linen.” A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testa­ment, page 472, by Arndt, Giugrich and Bauer, explains that the word “Leukon(s),” Greek for white, included for the Greek many shades of that color and gives as an illustration our “white” wine. John tells us his feet were like unto brass. Brass, ripened grain and white wine are all similar in color. This apparently was the color of the glorified Christ, which is consistent with the meaning and complexion of Shem and Semitic people, “dusky” and “olive-colored.” Caucasian Christians usu­ally portray Jesus in their paintings as a man with Caucasian features. Hamitic Christians in recent years usually portray Jesus in their paint­ings as a man with Negroid features. It will do Black and White Chris­tians well who have strong feelings about this issue to hear the words of Tom Skinner.

“One thing is certain; whatever contemporary man decides about the “color” of religion, Christ stands outside the debate. He was God in the form of man—neither Black nor White.”

The historical Jesus is the Holy Son of God. He came to reveal God, redeem man and reign over our hearts. Regardless of his complexion and physical features, I’m glad that through Jesus Christ God demon­strated his love for all mankind in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). I’m glad that I’ve met the Holy and historical Jesus by faith. Have you?

The four Hamitic-African ladies in the bloodline of Jesus were Rahab, Tamar, Ruth, and Bathsheba. Rahab, Tamar, and Ruth were descendants of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were descendants of Noah’s son, Ham. Africa and Egypt have been referred to as “The Land of Ham” in the Bible and ancient history. Bathsheba can also be traced through the lineage of Ham (Gen. 10:7). Prominent biblical characters such as David and Solomon who are listed in the lineage of Jesus also descended from these four non-Jewish ladies. Biblical descriptions of David and Solomon are described as “ruddy” (I Samuel 17:42; Song of Solomon 5:10, 11).

Solomon’s complexion and hair features are described in Solomon 5:10-11. This description is apparently given by the woman who described herself as “Black but beautiful” (Song of Solomon 1:5). (David Adamo, Ph.D. in Old Testament from Baylor University, states that this phrase could just as easily have been translated “Black and beautiful” and still remained true to the Hebrew text.) This dark-complexioned lady described Solomon’s features as follows:

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thou­sand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as raven (Song of Solomon 5:10, 11)

The Living Bible reads:

My beloved one is tanned and handsome, better than ten thousand others! His head is purest gold and he has wavy raven hair (Son of Solomon 5:10, 11).

The Hebrew word for “white” in the King James Version is “tsach” (5:10). The definition given is “dazzling” or “sunny” or “bright.” The Hebrew word translated “ruddy” in the King James version is “Adom” from the root word “Adam,” which means taken out of red earth.” I believe from these two verses we can deduce two facts regarding Solomon’s physical features: (1) his head was as gold — mean­ing tan, dazzling, sunny, or bright and (2) his hair was black, bushy and wavy.

In the South one was considered Black if one could trace “one drop” of Black blood in one’s heritage. It was often said, the blood of a Negro is like the blood of Jesus—one drop makes you whole. However, it would be unfair to impose the “one-drop” Southern rule on Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea. Therefore, I do not claim that Jesus was Black. Nor do I claim that He was White. Jesus was Jewish, Semitic. But having been born in brown Asia, hidden in Black Africa, and categorized by anthropologist and scholars as Caucasian based on His Jewish roots—Jesus can be legitimately claimed racially by all. Red and yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves all the people of the world.

If Megyn Kelly is searching for Jesus’ racial roots, if she promises not to go back to Europe, I will promise not to go back to Africa, and we will meet up somewhere on Noah’s Ark. Ultimately we will end up at Nazareth and Bethlehem where Asians, Africans, Europeans, and Middle Eastern people meet and celebrate historically (Psalm 87).

Color is inconsequential in the New Jerusalem. And when it comes to the color of Jesus, it would be better if we all would probably make it an inconsequential matter.

The two preachers who have impacted the kingdom the most in the past fifty years were Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr. They both made interesting comments about the color of Jesus.

Alan Blum reported:

“Even Martin Luther King Jr. claimed that Jesus was white, after being asked why God created Jesus as a white man.

King responded that the color of Christ’s skin didn’t matter. Jesus would have been just as important ‘if His skin had been black.’ He ‘is no less significant because His skin was white.’”

Billy Graham stated, according to Blum:

“Famed evangelist Billy Graham preached in the 1950s, and then wrote emphatically in his autobiography ‘Just As I Am,’ that, ‘Jesus was not a white man.’”

The truth of this matter lies between King’s statement and Graham’s statement. Jesus was probably the color of white wine, which reflects His interracial ancestry.

Christmas is a time not to fight about His color, but worship His majesty. JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME, LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING.

A SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION PASTOR’S PRESENCE AMONG PREACHERS OF LA
One Size Does Not Fit All

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

Materialistic; Immoral; Egotistical; Prosperity Preachers; Pulpit Pimps, Soft on Homosexuality; and Celebrity Seekers; are among some of the nicer descriptions tossed about relative to the “Preachers of LA.”

The debut telecast had one million viewers—the second highest ranked cable TV show that aired on that Wednesday evening—which is historically a church mid-week worship night. With an audience of that magnitude, church goers and non-churchgoers were watching.

Many are asking the question: “Will this show be a boom or bust for the Church?” It is generally believed that this show will do a lot more harm than good for the Church universally and locally. But God has been known to flip the script (Gen. 50:20).

The family life, financial life, and spiritual fitness readiness of pastors at mega-churches are under the scope in this TV reality show. The mere fact that this show exists says something about the influence of the Black Church in the Black Community. The Black Church has often been called the most important social institution in the Black Community. Because the plethora of Black mega churches that exists today is unprecedented and is a phenomenon of modern history (the past 30-40 years)—this show is a wake-up call to the fact that today’s church is not our grandfather’s church. The state of the Black Church is a matter of concern for many of us who love it. This show is simply revealing some of our challenges, weaknesses, failures, and strengths. Hopefully, as this show forces us to evaluate today’s church, it will also lead to reform and renewal in today’s church.

There are six preachers featured in this “reality” show that primarily centers around Black preachers and the Black Church. I’ve never met Noel Jones, Ron Gibson, Deitrick Haddon, and Jay Haizlip —the only Anglo preacher featured. I briefly met Clarence McClendon twenty plus years ago. We simply exchanged names, greetings, and well wishes. There has been no follow-up communication between the two of us.

There is one of the six LA Preachers that I know quite well and consider him a close friend. He gets the least attention among the six—which is good. God is keeping him covered, so that really soon, he will be discovered.

Although, Pastor Wayne Chaney is getting the least amount of attention at the moment, he will emerge from the pack as a leader of monumental significance that will impact our nation and this world for God’s Kingdom in a mighty way. He will also constructively and redemptively address the pathos in the Black community and will be a major force in the revitalization and renewal of the African American Church.

My purpose for writing this post is not to condone or condemn the other five preachers. As I’ve already stated, I don’t know them. But I am here to write in support and defense of Pastor Wayne Chaney of the Antioch Church—a Southern Baptist Convention affiliated church in Long Beach, California. I know for certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Pastor Chaney does not fit any of the adjectives that introduced this Post. Thankfully, thus far, he has not been portrayed or depicted in the trailers or first episode as being materialistic, immoral, egotistical, or in any compromising manner. Pastor Chaney simply does not fit the negative and ungodly descriptions that many are labeling the “LA6” with—ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.

Here is what I know for certain about Pastor Chaney. I met him on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2006, in a meeting with fellow Black Southern Baptist Pastors. Black SBC denominational employees had spoken highly of Pastor Chaney as a young man with great moral character and pastoring a fast growing dynamic SBC Church in the LA area. Upon meeting him I discovered that he was the grandson of two well-known highly regarded Black Pastors. His paternal and maternal grandfathers are highly acclaimed figures in the Black Baptist preaching community. I had recently been involved in a theological controversy on the campus of SWBTS and consequently I anticipated some level of aloofness from some of the pastors in attendance; but not Pastor Chaney. He affirmed and embraced me and expressed a heartfelt identification with my controversial theological viewpoint; at that moment, a friendship was born.

At the time I met Pastor Chaney, I was praying about whom to invite to preach a revival meeting on the subject of tabernacle worship at our church. Specifically, that was to be the focus of the revival preaching at this meeting. Very few preachers are equipped to address that subject. As I sat at lunch visiting with Pastor Chaney, I felt prompted to ask him if he’d ever studied and preached on Tabernacle Worship. Not only did he respond with a “Yes”! I could tell from the ensuing conversation that he was well versed on that subject. Therefore, I invited him to preach our New Year’s Revival in 2007. His preaching on tabernacle worship was classic. He has become one of the favorite guest preachers at Cornerstone. He has preached at our church approximately 12-15 times. Every message has been solid, scriptural and relevant. Not once have I heard him preach a “prosperity gospel message.”

Pastor Chaney and twelve other Black preachers spent a week with twelve White preachers in a week-long meeting on a mountain resort in Asheville, North Carolina, with the well-known SBC preacher and best-selling Broadman Press author—Jack Taylor. We were mentored by Jack Taylor concerning the Kingdom of God. I had five days of uninterrupted fellowship with Pastor Chaney. I can truly testify that he is a genuine man who is hungry for God and one who leads a life of integrity.

Pastor Chaney’s doctrine is sound. His life is unspotted. His family is intact; He is madly in love with his talented, gifted, and precious wife who has also ministered in song at our church; his church is exploding with growth—qualitatively and quantitatively. His spiritual maturity is evident in his preaching and living.

Given the magnitude of his ministry, visitors to his home have been impressed with the modesty of his house. It is not uncommon for pastors, who pastor much larger than average churches, to live in much larger than average homes; but not Pastor Chaney—at least not at this point. Therefore, it is shameful that Pastor Chaney is being judged because of the portrayal and descriptions that are being pinned on others. Regarding Pastor Chaney—One Size Does Not Fit All.

Pastor Chaney is the only Baptist pastor among these six pastors. He needs to be celebrated, not condemned, because thus far, and I believe it will continue—he is being depicted in a positive light. Wayne Chaney probably pastors the second largest SBC California church behind Rick Warren’s Saddleback.

Finally, I don’t bemoan or begrudge the kind of house, car, clothes, or any other material item that any believer or pastor has acquired through honest means. I have been privileged to be the guest for lunch at the President’s home at SEBTS and SWBTS while Dr. Patterson was/is President. I have watched Dr. Patterson being chauffeured in a luxury car that he owns. I’m told that Dr. Mohler’s current house was once the Music Building at Southern that was retrofitted/renovated to be the President’s home. Seminary Presidents and SBC pastors of large churches generally receive generous salaries and I know for certain SBC seminary presidents live in large palatial homes. I really don’t understand why Hollywood is placing the spotlight on the material attainments of those pastors of LA. This could as easily be said or shown of prominent SBC personalities. I celebrate the huge, palatial home and the luxury vehicle driven by Dr. Patterson; but none of that qualifies him to be a prosperity preacher. Neither does that make Pastor Wayne Chaney a prosperity preacher because he may drive a nice car and wear nice clothes.

If I had a regret, it would be that the pastors are allowing themselves to be exploited by the focus being placed on their material attainments. But, thank God, this has not been shown to be the case with Pastor Chaney. He simply does not fit the labels that the critics of this show have hurled.

Pastor Wayne Chaney is not materialistic, immoral, egotistical, a prosperity preacher, a celebrity seeker, or soft on homosexuality. One must be careful about generalizing regarding either one of those six preachers. That tactic is called guilt by association. Christians should avoid engaging in that activity. These scandalous accusations should not be hurled against Pastor Chaney unless you know for certain that they are true.

Pastor Chaney expressed a passion to take the gospel outside of the four walls of the church when I first met him seven years ago. God has answered his prayer and has created an opportunity for him to impact Hollywood and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let the critics—criticize. But I believe that this will truly be a case when all things working together for the good of them that love the Lord, because Wayne Chaney really, really, loves the Lord!!!!

I believe God is using and will continue to use Wayne Chaney inside and outside of Hollywood to impact His Kingdom for the Glory of God! And, therefore, I appreciatively applaud Pastor Wayne Chaney’s presence among the LA preachers. He will be a voice of righteousness, reason and Kingdom influence.

A RESPONSE TO BART BARBER’S QUESTIONS REGARDING THE RELATIONSHIP OF TONGUES IN ACTS AND I CORINTHIANS 12-14

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

SBC Voices published a post in early September authored by Bart Barber entitled, “The Nature of the Biblical Gift of Tongues:  Consideration of Relevant Narrative New Testament Passages.”  In the comment section of Barber’s post he addressed the following remark to yours truly:

Dwight,

I appreciate the thoughtful work that you’ve put toward an exegesis of 1 Corinthians 12-14 from your theological vantage-point. If you would like to offer your understanding of the narrative passages in Acts, to refute the points that I have tried to make, then I would be interested in reading that, whether it should come by comment here or by separate post.

It seems to me that the most difficult work to be done is to coordinate Corinthians and Acts. I will freely confess that, when I come to 1 Corinthians, I do so with Acts in the back of my mind, and vice-versa. I think it amounts to a responsible way of reading the Bible to have, at least to some degree, a full canonical context in mind as we approach difficult passages. Acts and 1 Corinthians do not contradict one another—I take that not only as a cardinal doctrine of the faith but also as a personal observation that not all understandings of these passages lead to conflict. And yet the two passages do exhibit noteworthy differences.

Perhaps some of our differences arise out of those differences in the canon, taking them further than we ought? Certainly it might be more charitable to think so than to conclude that some spirit-less rationalism lies at the root.

- See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/the-nature-of-the-biblical-gift-of-tongues-consideration-of-relevant-narrative-new-testament-passages/#sthash.v7m0jUj8.dpuf

I responded to Barber’s request by offering a reprint/posting of my sermon, “The Baptism and Filling of The Holy Spirit.”  It was my hope that my sermon would adequately answer Barber’s concerns.

As evidenced by Barber’s response to my reprint/posting of my sermon (printed below), I fell woefully short of providing Barber with a satisfactory response to his early September post.

Dwight,

Thank you for reprinting your sermon—one in which we could find and discuss many points of commonality between us.

The focus of my series has been upon discovering the nature of “speaking in tongues” in the New Testament. Is the gift of speaking in tongues in the New Testament a gift generally designed for the hearing of men or for private use and self-edification? Is it a gift generally associated more with a function more like prayer or a function more like prophecy? Is it a gift generally associated with an outcome in human language or an outcome in other-than-human language?

This sermon—interesting as it is (and it is interesting), historically significant as it is (and you have pointed out the historical significance of it), and important as it is (certainly the subject of the reception of the Holy Spirit is of paramount importance)—seems to focus on subject matters other than the questions that I have been exploring in my posts. I appreciate your work on this subject matter and your passion for it, but I do not walk away from this post with a sense that I understand entirely the reasons why you have concluded that the Corinthian material, saying as little as it says about the nature of glossolalia, completely overturns the much fuller descriptions of the gift of tongues in the Book of Acts.

- See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/the-baptism-and-filling-of-the-holy-spirit-by-wm-dwight-mckissic-sr/#sthash.497KMI0r.dpuf

Therefore, I will attempt in this post to clearly and specifically address the pointed and fair questions that Barber raised in the above quoted comments.

I.    A Brief Summary of Barber’s Position As I Understand It

Barber views the tongues in Acts and the tongues in Corinthians as analogous. Both refer to “the act of miraculously speaking in human languages that one has not studied.” His final answers regarding the tongues in Acts and Corinthians:

“Conclusion

Considering the relevant narrative passages in the New Testament, we conclude the following:

  1. None of them was private.
  2. None of them was identified as being in the form of prayer.
  3. None of them was identified as having employed other-than-human languages.
  4. None of them involved the expression of personal burdens or matters difficult to articulate in human language.
  5. None of them states that the tongues-speaking was not understood by those who heard it.
  6. Some of them plainly state that the tongues involved were human languages theretofore unknown to the speaker.
  7. Most of them connect tongues-speaking with prophecy.
  8. Most of them connect tongues-speaking with the exaltation of God.
  9. All of them tie tongues-speaking with the initial reception of the Holy Spirit.
  10. All of them regard tongues-speaking as a miraculous action of the Holy Spirit.
  11. All of them consider tongues-speaking to be ipso facto evidence of conversion. That is, all of them plainly regard tongues-speaking as something that no unbeliever could possibly accomplish.

- See more at: http://sbcvoices.com/the-nature-of-the-biblical-gift-of-tongues-consideration-of-relevant-narrative-new-testament-passages/#sthash.v7m0jUj8.dpuf

Barber sees no distinction between the tongues in Acts and the tongues in Corinthians. Barber does not believe that tongues was spoken in private as an act of prayer in Acts or Corinthians. Barber believes that whenever tongues was spoken in Acts and I Corinthians in both cases they were speaking a language that was known and would have been understood by someone present who was familiar with that language.

Barber believes that one cannot interpret and apply the Pauline teaching on tongues in I Corinthians without relating or viewing the Corinthians text through the lenses of the Acts text. He explains it, thusly.

“I will freely confess that, when I come to 1 Corinthians, I do so with Acts in the back of my mind, and vice-versa. I think it amounts to a responsible way of reading the Bible to have, at least to some degree, a full canonical context in mind as we approach difficult passages. Acts and 1 Corinthians do not contradict one another—I take that not only as a cardinal doctrine of the faith but also as a personal observation that not all understandings of these passages lead to conflict. And yet the two passages do exhibit noteworthy differences.” (Comment section under Barber’s post)

In explaining the differences between how Barber and I view the Acts narrative and the I Corinthians passage differently, he concludes:

“Perhaps some of our differences arise out of those differences in the canon, taking them further than we ought? Certainly it might be more charitable to think so than to conclude that some spirit-less rationalism lies at the root.” (Comment section under Barber’s post)

II.   Points of Agreement With Barber

  1. Barber prefaced his comments with this statement that I wholeheartedly agree with:  “It seems that the most difficult work to be done is to coordinate Corinthians and Acts.” To that I render a hearty, AMEN!!!
  2. Bart Barber is a scholar and a gentleman in the truest and fullest sense of the term. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for him as a person, pastor, professor, pensman, pulpiteer, Vice-President of the SBC and co-laborer in the gospel ministry. He also has a genuine heart for racial healing and reconciliation that I also greatly respect. As genuinely humble as Barber is, deep down—he agrees with everything I just stated in this point :-).
  3. Barber and I would wholeheartedly agree that Acts and I Corinthians do not contradict one another. (See Comment Section in Barber’s post).
  4. Barber and I would agree that Acts and I Corinthians “exhibit noteworthy differences” specifically with regard to what they reveal about the gift of tongues. (See Comment Section in Barber’s post).
  5. Barber is also right that the fundamental difference between his belief system and mine on this issue lies in “differences [that] arise out of those differences in the canon.” (See Comment Section in Barber’s post).
  6. Barber and I would agree that a simple reading of the New Testament, with no additional information, would lead one to believe that the biblical gift of tongues still exists today. (A paraphrase of what Barber said in the comment thread of my post on, “The Baptism and Filling of the Holy Spirit”.)
  7. Barber and I would agree that the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs simultaneously with salvation (I Cor. 12:13).
  8. Barber and I would agree that tongues is not the evidence of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).
  9. Barber and I would agree that all believers are not gifted to speak in tongues (I Cor. 12:28-30).

III.   Points of Disagreement with Barber

  1. Barber relies heavily on Acts for his understanding and application of the biblical gift of tongues. I rely heavily on I Corinthians 12-14 for my understanding and application/practice of this gift. Therein, is probably where the base and root of our disagreement lies.
  2. I believe that when the Bible speaks of the sovereign Holy Spirit distributing gifts of the Holy spirit as “He wills” (I Cor. 12:7, 11); and included in those gifts are “different kinds of tongues” (12:10) that simply means that tongues manifest themselves at the unction and gifting of the Holy Spirit in more than one “manifestation” (12:7) and with “different kinds of tongues” (12:10). Barber only sees one manifestation of the gift of tongues!
  3. I am not sure how Barber would explain “different kinds of tongues” (12:10), but he certainly does not believe that one of the ways that the Holy Spirit manifest Himself is by gifting some believers to pray, praise and give thanks in tongues at the Spirit’s prompting (I Cor. 14:2, 4 14, 15, 16).

Barber in his summary statement regarding tongues in Acts and Corinthians makes the bold, declarative, and startling statement that “None of them was identified as being in the form of prayer.” I beg to differ. Paul is very clear in declaring:

“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” (I Cor. 14:2)

I find it quite amazing that persons, who argue passionately for biblical authority, reject the most basic reading and common sense understanding of this verse; and that is:  One manifestation of the gift of tongues is, “not speaking to men but to God.” Speaking to God is a basic definition of prayer biblically-based and universally recognized; yet Barber and the IMB argues that tongues speaking referenced here is not a “form of prayer.” Paul went a step further and specifically confirmed this manifestation of the gift of “different kinds of tongues” as prayer:

“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.” (I Cor. 14:14)

For believers exercising this gift, Paul taught that while the gifted believer is praying in tongues they are “blessing” [praising] (14:16), “giving thanks” (14:17) and even “singing” (14:15) in tongues—as gifted by the Holy Spirit (14:14).

4.  Barber believes that speaking to men in tongues, is the only legitimate form of speaking in tongues. I believe that speaking to God in tongues is also a biblically valid, legitimate gift of tongues represented in Scripture.

5.  I agree with Barber that we don’t see a private prayer manifestation of tongues in Acts, but we do see that in I Corinthians 14:2, 4, 18, and 19. Paul clearly affirmed praying, praising, giving thanks and singing in tongues in private and personally within in the following verses:

“ I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (I Cor. 12:18, 19).”

In this verse Paul acknowledges that he “speak with tongues,” “Yet in the church” he speaks with understanding. Where then does Paul “speak with tongues”? The clear implication is that this is done in private; having already declared, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays” (I Cor. 14:14). This verse clearly affirms praying in tongues in private as one is gifted and prompted by the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, Barber argues that speaking in tongues in I Corinthians was not an act of prayer or done privately. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only did Paul testify that he prayed in tongues in private, but he also taught that believers who are gifted to pray in tongues could do so personally within, even during a public worship setting:

“If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God (I Cor. 14:27-28, emphasis mine).

When one reads these verses (I Cor. 14:2, 4, 14-19, 27, 28) it baffles me as to how they could reach the conclusion that “considering relevant passages, in the New Testament” with regard to speaking in tongues, “None of them was private” and “none of them was identified as being in the form of prayer.” Those statements directly contradict the testimony and teaching of the Apostle Paul.

6.  The late Dr. Jack Gray of SWBTS taught his class to learn history from Acts and doctrine from Corinthians. Dr. Gray was certainly not saying that Acts’ only value was historical, and Corinthians’ only value was doctrinal. But he was saying as it relates to the gift of tongues, Paul was giving instructions as to how the Holy Spirit manifest Himself in the life of believers so gifted with tongues. Dr. Gray primarily viewed the tongues in Acts as prophecy fulfilled. Just as we would not expect the literal mighty rushing wind, and the cloven tongues of fire, to appear again, we don’t necessarily look for tongues being manifest among people groups as it was in the book of Acts. God is sovereign. And certainly, He can repeat everything in the book of Acts as He so chooses, but this is not the norm today. Tongues as explained and exemplified in Corinthians based on Paul’s guidelines, I believe, is the norm for today. This has also occurred throughout church history as it is in I Corinthians.

7.  Jimmy Draper delineated the distinctions between the tongues in Acts and the tongues in I Corinthians far better than I ever could in his book, The Church Christ Approves, Pages 50-52:

“There is, however, a great difference in the tongues on the day of Pentecost, in Acts 10 and 19, and those at Corinth. At Pentecost all the believers spoke in tongues (Acts 2:4). Not everyone spoke in tongues at Corinth (1 Cor. 12:30). The languages spoken at Pentecost were understood by all (Acts 2:11). At Corinth they were understood by none (1 Cor. 14:2). At Pentecost they spoke to men (Acts 2:11). At Corinth they spoke to God (1 Cor. 14:2). No interpreter was needed at Pentecost (Acts 2:7-8). Tongues were forbidden at Corinth if no interpreter was present (! Cor. 14:28). Pentecostal tongues filled strangers with awe and amazement (Acts 2:7). At Corinth, Paul warned them that strangers would say they were mad (! Cor. 14:23). There was perfect harmony at Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 42-46). Corinth was filled with contention, division, and confusion (1 Cor. 1:10-11). At Pentecost the disciples went out into the streets preaching in tongues (Acts 2:6-8). At Corinth, it was done within the church group (1 Cor. 14).

Because of the tremendous difference in these two “languages,” it would be false interpretation to build a doctrine on the assumption that they were the same. The tongues in Acts 2 were used to proclaim the gospel in another language, and as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel and Isaiah concerning the day of the Messiah. In Acts 10 the gift of languages was made necessary because the Jews refused to include the Gentiles in the new movement. In order to show Peter and the other Jews that the Gentiles were included in God’s grace, he repeated the miracle of tongues. This taught the bigoted Jews that God had poured out his spirit on all men who would accept him. This was a Gentile Pentecost as shown by Peter’s words, “The Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). It was identical to Pentecost.

In Acts 19 we see Ephesian Jews who were disciples of John who had not heard of the great things which took place in Jerusalem or the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They had not been saved for they had not been told about the need of committing themselves to Jesus Christ. This case is unique because here is a group of people who were alive when Christ was ministering and sacrificing himself for our sins. They accepted John’s preaching about his coming, and now they accepted Christ upon hearing the whole gospel and were baptized as believers. Tongues in both Acts 2 and 10 meant languages understood by men. It is not likely that such a precise grammarian as Dr. Luke would use the same word to mean something else here. Apparently these people spoke in unlearned languages as at Pentecost. There is no evidence that this miracle was ever repeated with the same group twice. This experience in Acts 19 with Ephesian believers must have been an extension of the witness of Pentecost.

When we come to Corinth, we are faced with a vastly different expression on tongues. Here it is not a language others could understand. It was basically an ecstatic utterance directed to God and not man. It was of no value to the congregation unless there was an interpreter. Paul said that speaking in public in a tongue is useless without an interpreter, “for ye shall speak into the air” (I Cor. 14:9). Here at Corinth the gift of tongues was a private and personal gift which edified the individual. Paul declared, “Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” (! Cor. 14:12). The uncontrolled use of tongues did not then and does not now edify the church. The restrictions upon the use of this gift will be discussed later. The point here is the difference between the “languages” of Acts and Corinth. Do not build a system of theology that equates the two.” (Emphasis Mine)

Barber has done what Draper advised not to do; and that is to build a system of theology that equates the “languages” of Acts and Corinth. Barber is probably not driven by Spirit-less rationalism in his approach, but rather by a sincere belief that the Corinthians text must be interpreted and applied/practiced based on the Acts text. The problem that I find with Barber’s approach is that there is no biblical, exegetical, or theological basis that requires one to take such approach. As Draper points out that approach leads to a gross misunderstanding of I Corinthians. Again, perhaps not in Barber’s case, but generally speaking, this is a Western rationalistic isogetical approach to interpretation. An exegetical approach would allow the Corinthian text to speak for itself.

Acts and I Corinthians do not contradict each other. They simply address “different kinds of tongues” that are both biblically sanctioned. Just as Romans and James highlight a different emphasis and focus on the doctrine of salvation without contradicting each other; Acts and Corinthians shed light on different aspects of the gift of tongues without contradicting each other. Barber finds it necessary to coordinate the gift of tongues as recorded in Acts with the gift of tongues as recorded in Corinthians. Not only do I find that unnecessary, apparently Paul didn’t find it necessary either; inasmuch as he made no attempt to do so.

IV.  Specific Answers to Barber’s Specific Questions

“Is the gift of speaking in tongues in the New Testament a gift generally designed for the hearing of men or for private use and self-edification? Is it a gift generally associated more with a function more like prayer or a function more like prophecy? Is it a gift generally associated with an outcome in human language or an outcome in other-than-human language?”

Great questions…I want to answer brief and to the point with the addition of a few scholarly opinions that I partially embrace their viewpoints.

Again, there are “different kinds of tongues” so it is not a matter of either/or but both/and. It is designed for the “hearing of men” and for “private use and self-edification.” It is a gift clearly associated with a “function more like prayer,” but it also encompasses “a function more like prophecy.” The human language vs. other-than-human language question is a question that has proponents who would argue on either side. I will simply share my belief and give you a couple of interesting scholarly opinions.

The word “glossa” not only means “language,” it also can mean “utterance.” “Utterance” leaves room for unintelligible speech being spoken. As it relates to prayer, praise and thanksgiving in tongues, I believe that what is being spoken is cognitive content understood by God, because He is the one being spoken to. I find it unnecessary to take a strong position on whether or not what is being spoken is “human language” or “other-than-human language” because it makes no practical or functional difference, as long as God understands and the believer is being edified (I Cor. 14:4).

For Barber and the IMB this is a sticking point and a must know answer—whether or not the person speaking in tongues is speaking a “human language” or an “other-than-human language.” For me, it is a moot question that has no practical or relevant meaning. When Jerry Rankin and other IMB missionaries were/are praying in tongues in private—why would it matter to anyone if it was a “human language” or “other-than-human language”? Who is actually going to listen to their private prayers and make such a determination? Why should anyone inspect and evaluate one’s private prayers? Inasmuch as I don’t see much significance associated with the language question, I will close by simply showing the views of Dr. J.W. MacGorman and Dr. Jack Gray on the language question

In his book, The Gifts of the Spirit; An Exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14, Dr. MacGorman states:

“Because of the extreme value placed upon this charismatic gift in Corinth and its increased prevalence in our own day, we need to understand it well. The following references in chapter 14 will help us:

(1)    It is addressed to God rather than to men. Those listening to the glossolalist cannot understand him, because “he utters mysteries in the Spirit” (v. 2).

(2)    The glossolalist himself does not understand what he is saying; thus he is urged to “pray for the power to interpret” (v. 13).

(3)    While speaking in tongues, one’s mind and utterance are not coordinated as in ordinary speech: “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful” (V. 14; cf. NEB: “If I use such language in my prayer, the Spirit in me prays, but my intellect lies fallow.”) Evidently in glossolalia there is a disengagement between rational processes and utterance.

(4)    Glossolalia is a medium through which one may express praise or thanksgiving to God (vv. 16-17).

(5)    The glossolalist is able to control the exercise of his gift. Otherwise Paul would not have commanded him to remain silent in church in the absence of an interpreter (v. 28). The exercise of this gift is not a seizure.

Upon the basis of these evidences we may conclude that glossolalia is Holy Spirit-inspired utterance that is unintelligible apart from interpretation, which itself is an attendant gift. It is a form of ecstatic utterance, a valid charismatic gift. (NEB: “ecstatic utterance;” TEV: “speak in strange tongues;” KJV: “he that speaketh in an unknown tongue.” Note that the translators put the word “unknown” in italics, indicating that it is not present in the Greek text. It tends to be misleading.)

Glossolalia is not speaking in foreign languages that one has never learned. The phenomenon of which Paul spoke had no vocabulary, recognizable grammar, and syntax through which thoughts were being communicated elsewhere in the world. In 1 Corinthians 14:2 the reason why no one understood what the glossolalist was saying was because he uttered “mysteries in the Spirit,” not because no Tibetan was present!” (Pages 42-43)

On page 90, Dr. MacGorman states:

“Glossolalia is good for praise, but not for proclamation. Such speaking goes unheard by human hearers; its content remains a mystery.”

Page 91:

“In ordinary speech there is a coordination between mental process and utterance. Because it is the product and articulate expression of one mind, its signals can be picked up and understood by another. However, in glossolalia the spirit alone is active; the mind is not. There is a disengagement of the gears of rational process and verbalization. The clutch of the mind, so to speak, has been thrown in.

“This is why no one else can make any sense out of the utterance. It is irrational; that is, it is mindless. While speaking in tongues, the intellect lies fallow, like land that is not under cultivation and so will produce no crop.”

Pages 118-120:

“There is a value to glossolalia, as one rightly expects of any gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit. Men do violence to the plain teaching of 1 Corinthians 12-14 when they deny either its validity or worth. They may do this severely, even blasphemously, by alleging: “It’s of the devil!” They may do it smugly, by relegating it to the neurotic fringe of Christian discipleship. Yet Paul spoke in tongues, and he was not rationally irresponsible or emotionally unstable. Or they may do it summarily by decreeing that though glossolalia was a legitimate gift in the Corinthian church of the first century, the Holy Spirit has not bestowed it since the apostolic age. One wonders what chapter and verse in the New Testament provide the basis for assigning so specific a locus and terminus. This seems to be a presumptuous encroachment upon the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit (12:11). He alone determines the whom, what, when, and where of all the spiritual gifts.

Many of us whose cultural rootage is in the West are uncomfortable in the presence of religious ecstasy. Not being at home For instance, I was guest in a home in Texas one time when the phone rang announcing the discovery of oil. Now there was a form of ecstasy that could be trusted! Nobody in the local chamber of commerce or Rotary Club was agitating for the removal of these enthusiasts from their rolls.

Nor do we feel out of place in a football stadium when the home crowd goes wild as a desperation pass in the final seconds wins the conference championship against a traditional rival. Ecstasy—because of one’s alma mater is safe; it’s ecstasy because of our heavenly Father that is suspect!

Would that we were as impatient with excessive death as we are with excessive life! No matter how dead a church is—how devoid of the presence of the Holy spirit or how long since anyone in its services experienced the life-transforming power of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord—it is thoroughly respectable. Death is exceedingly well-behaved. Yet many of us will agree with Baird’s verdict: ‘Although it is bad when an outsider comes in and says you are mad, it is worse when a visitor comes in and says you are dead.’”

Interestingly, ecstasy was the word that the Baptist historian Morgan Edwards used to describe worship sounds emanating from Sandy Creek.

MacGorman comments underscore what I have argued before and that is:  The rejection of speaking in tongues is based on emotional prejudice as opposed to exegetical precision and it is driven by Spirit-less Western rationalism and not the Word of God. To insist that the tongues of Corinthians must mirror the tongues of Acts is not a text driven conclusion, but rather an imposition on the Corinthians text to attempt to fit comfortably with a Western mindset.

Dr. Jack Gray offers the following relevant comments on our subject matter:

“Learn the STORY of the Holy Spirit for from the Gospels and Acts; learn doctrines of the Holy Spirit from the Epistles.” (Studies of the Holy Spirit, By: L Jack Gray, Page 6)

This statement points out a key distinction between Barber’s understanding of tongues and mine.

On Page 16 of Studies of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Gray defines Tongues:

“TONGUES—(I Cor. 12:10, 14:2, 13-16) This is the Spirit’s gift to speak to God in ecstatic languages, other than human language. It is the gift of a special language for communication with God. It is a special instrument for praise, singing and praying. It is not for communica­tion with people. There is no biblical record of God sending a message to be delivered by people in ecstatic utterances. It seems also to be the liberation of the spirit of a believer for praise and adoration of God, commun­ion with Him, and exalted worship of Him.”

From Dr. Gray’s Book, Pages 20-21:

“The gift of tongues used in the Corinthian Church was the gift of speaking in ecstatic utterances. I believe this because:

(1)  Careful reading of I Cor. 12 and 14 convinces me of this. (Read I Cor. 14 and substitute the word “language” where the word “tongue” is used. See how illogical it appears.)

(2)  Reputable recent translations of the New Testament translate the gift to be ecstatic utterances. (This does not settle the question but it does give logical support to the idea that this gift is ecstatic speech.)

(3)  Some New Testament professors at Southwestern Seminary are of the conviction that the Corinthian gift is ecstatic utterances. (See Dr. J.W. MacGorman’s book, The Gifts of the Spirit, pp. 42-44). Again, this does not settle the question, but it does give strong support to my interpretation.

(4)  That a Spirit-endowed interpreter was required leads one to the conclusion that the Corinthians with this gift spoke other than languages. A listening native could translate a statement made in a mother tongue. Moreover, Paul speaks of interpretations of tongues, not translations of languages.

(5)  That the use of this gift caused trouble in the church implies it was other than languages. The use of mul­tiple languages in one congregation has never been a source of trouble—to my knowledge. At least it is not a doctrinal issue.

Illustration: Gambrell Street Church sometimes has a worship service in which four languages are used: English, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. No confusion or question has resulted. Numerous languages are used at the Baptist World Alliance without conflict or objection.

(6)  That Satan continues successfully to counterfeit this gift with a spurious gift of tongues implies that it was ecstatic utterances. A counterfeit implies a genuine. No counterfeiter counterfeits a three dollar bill, he copies the genuine.”

I hope that I have provided complete, conclusive, and satisfactory answers here. I have reached the conclusion that debating this matter has only limited value. Practicing praying in the Spirit—whether done with words understood, words not understood, or even without words is what is most important. The recent prayer gathering in Southlake appears to have been a Spirit-empowered gathering. And at the end of the day, that’s what’s desperately needed. I commend Barber for his leadership and participation in that gathering. May we all build ourselves up in the most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20)!

V.   Settled Convictions Regarding the Biblical Gift of Tongues

  • Speaking in tongues is a valid, vital gift of the Holy Spirit to the body of Christ.
  • Speaking in tongues is the least of all gifts.
  • Speaking in tongues as recorded in the book of Acts was primarily given in the presence of specific people groups as a fulfillment of prophecy. Its value today is more historical than doctrinal.
  • God is sovereign and at His discretion, He can and sometime does move upon one person to communicate Divine truth to another person or persons through the biblical gift of tongues. This can and has/does happen in church settings. In church settings an interpretation is required when tongues are spoken publically.
  • When the Bible refers to “diversities of tongues (I Cor. 12:10), I believe it includes the type of tongue speaking recorded in the book of Acts and the type(s) of tongue speaking recorded in the Corinthian Church.
  • Speaking in tongues as recorded in I Corinthians primarily addressed tongues as a private act of devotion in the form of prayer, praise, thanksgiving and singing.
  • Speaking in tongues in public worship is restricted without interpretation to “speaking to himself and to God” (I Cor. 14:28).
  • Speaking in tongues in I Corinthians is primarily for private devotions and not public display.
  • Speaking in tongues in I Corinthians was for the edification of the believer so that he/she could in turn edify the body and advance the kingdom (I Cor. 14:4).
  • Speaking in tongues in I Corinthians was a language understood by God—cognitive content—and it is of no relevance as to whether or not man would understand what is being said (I Cor. 14:2).
  • The vast majority of evangelical world Christendom embraces tongues as a valid gift because it comports with the plain reading of Scripture. This gift is viewed as an act of private worship and as a gift to convey a Divine message to others as the Spirit gives utterance.
  • Evangelical believers who are cessationist of whatever stripe—must conclude that the millions of evangelical believers who believe in and practice speaking in tongues are delusional, deceived, or demonically inspired.
  • Because of the intellectual bent of the Western rational mind, tongues is rejected based on superfluous and rationalistic reasons, and sincere faulty exegesis.
  • The cessationist believer and the continuationist believer must love and cooperate with each other for the kingdom‘s sake and the advancement

THE BAPTISM AND FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

This message is offered as a response to Bart Barber’s request that I offer my “…understanding of the narrative passages in Acts, to refute points that I have tried to make…” Barber made this statement in the comment stream under his post, “The Nature of the Biblical Gift of Tongues:  Consideration of Relevant Narrative New Testament Passages This is also the message that I preached in Chapel at SWBTS in August 2006 that, in many ways, defined or redefined my relationship with Southern Baptists. I hope this message answers Bart’s questions about my view of the Acts narrative passages as they relate to I Corinthians 12-14. In the comment stream I will be glad to further elaborate if Bart’s question is not sufficiently answered. Succinctly stated I believe we are to learn history from Acts and Doctrine from Corinthians. I believe that Acts is descriptive and I Corinthians 12-14 is prescriptive. I believe Acts is primarily prophesy fulfilled and I Corinthians is pneumatology revealed and functioning in the life of the church. I believe speaking in tongues in Acts is the exception to the rule today—though it occasionally occurs under the sovereignty of God. I believe speaking in tongues in I Corinthians is the standard rule for today. The primary difference in the tongues speaking in Acts is that people spoke in tongues to men the wonderful works of God; in I Corinthians 14:2, 14, 16, 27, and 28, tongues speaking was directed to God. When the Bible speaks of the diversity of tongues in I Corinthians 12:10, this encompasses the tongues of Acts and I Corinthians. In the book of Acts we read about what God did. In I Corinthians we read about what God is doing.

I.             WHAT IS THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?

There are seven passages in the New Testament which speak specifically of the baptism with the Spirit.  Five of these passages refer to the baptism with the Spirit as a future event; four were spoken by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:7, 8; Luke 3:16, and John 1:33) and one was spoken by Jesus after His resurrection (Acts 1:4, 5).  In Acts 1:5 the expression, “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” means that this action was to take place at one particular time.  The King James Version tells us that this event was to take place, “Not many days hence.”  John the Baptist and Jesus referred to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a future historical event.  The sixth time we see the term “Baptized with the Holy Spirit” is in Acts 11:16 referring to the baptism in the Spirit as a fulfilled promise.  In Acts 11:16 Peter uses the term in reference to Cornelius and his household who had also received the Holy Spirit.  Peter viewed the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit comparable with the Jews receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost thus fulfilling the promises spoken by John the Baptist and Jesus.  The seventh and last time we see the term “baptized by one Spirit” specifically mentioned is in I Corinthians 12:13.  This passage speaks about the wider experience of all believers.

We can conclude from these passages of Scripture that the baptism with the Holy Spirit was first of all a prophetic event fulfilled (Matthew 3:11; Acts 2:1-41), a promised gift received (Acts 1:4, 2:38; Ephesians 1:13) and a purposeful experience (I Corinthians 12:13).  THE BAPTIST OF THE SPIRIT MAY BE PROPERLY DEFINED AS THAT ACTIVITY OF GOD WHEREBY THROUGH HIS SPIRIT HE BRINGS THE BELIEVER AT SALVATION INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST AND SIMULTANEOUSLY INTO A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST, THE CHURCH (I Corinthians 12:13).

II.            DOES THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT OCCUR SIMULTANEOUS WITH SALVATION OR SUBSEQUENT TO SALVATION?

In the book of Acts we find four occasions, for sure, and possibly five where the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred.  No one occasion is identical to the other, although there were some commonalities.

(1)       In Acts 2:1-4 the 120 believers experienced the Baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit simultaneously accompanied with tongues speaking at Pentecost.  Also at Pentecost there were three thousand who received the gift of the Holy Spirit and salvation under the preaching of Peter, no mention is made of them speaking in tongues.  The 120 were saved and received the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation.  The fact that the experience of the 120 was in two distinct stages was due simply to historical circumstances.  They could not have received the Pentecostal gift before Pentecost.

(2)       In Acts 8:12-17, we see where the Holy Spirit was received by the converts in Samaria after their water baptism.  Phillip “preached the good news of the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women” (Acts 8:12).  When Phillip preached in Samaria, it was the first time the gospel had been proclaimed outside Jerusalem, evidently because Samaritans and Jews had always been bitter enemies.  Acts 8:16 explains although they were believers and had been baptized, “the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them.”  I believe in this instance God sovereignly withheld the Holy Spirit from them until Peter and John arrived so they might see for themselves that God received even despised Samaritans who believed in Christ.  There could be no question of it.  Also in Acts 8:26-40, we see the Holy Spirit directing Phillip to go to Gaza to witness to an Ethiopian man.  This Ethiopian man like the 3000 on the day of Pentecost received the Word of God and was baptized, but there is no mention of tongues, a second baptism or the laying on of hands.

Acts 2 is often referred to as the Jewish Pentecost.  Acts 8:12-17 is often referred to as the Samaritan Pentecost.  If in Acts 8:26-40 this Ethiopian man received the “gift” or “baptism” of the Spirit, as I believe he did, in the same manner that the 3000 did on the day of Pentecost this could be referred to as the Ethiopian Pentecost.

(3)       In Acts 10:44-48 while Peter was preaching to Cornelius the Italian (Gentiles) and his family and friends the baptism and gift of the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentile Pentecost.  Unlike at Samaria when the Holy Spirit was given after water baptism, these Gentiles were baptized with the Holy Spirit while Peter was yet preaching.

(4)       In Acts 19:1-7 we find an encounter of Paul with the disciples of John the Baptist in Ephesus.  Paul asked them in verse 3, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  Behind the question is the assumption that this was when it usually happened.  They pled ignorance of the Holy Spirit, stating they had been baptized into John’s baptism.  Paul related John’s baptism to the ministry of Jesus, and they were baptized in water a second time and received the gift of baptism of the Holy Spirit.

To summarize, it is my belief that you cannot look to Acts for a fixed formula or definite pattern as to how one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.  No one has the Spirit of God in a box.  It is my belief that Pentecost instituted the Church.  Then all that remained was for Samaritans, Gentiles, Ethiopians and Jews who were unaware of the gospel to be brought into the Church representatively.  This occurred in Acts 8 for Samaritans and Ethiopians, Acts 10 for Gentiles (according to Acts 11:15) and Acts 19 for belated believers from John’s baptism.  Once this representative baptism with the Spirit had occurred, the normal pattern applied – baptism with the Spirit at the time each person (of whatever background) believed on Jesus Christ. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the initial experience of every believer at conversion (John 3:5-6; Acts 2:38; Romans 8:9 and I Corinthians 12:13).

III.           IS SPEAKING IN TONGUES THE EVIDENCE OF BEING BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?

The answer is no.  I speak in tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance; so I have no prejudice or bias against tongues.  However, I must stand on biblical truth and not popular opinion.  I do believe that all the spiritual gifts listed in Scripture are operative today, and by the grace of God some Christians will experience the gift of tongues when filled with the Holy Spirit.  Although the teaching that all Christians should experience speaking in tongues as evidence of being baptized in the Holy Ghost is unscriptural, the Scripture does not preclude speaking in tongues for some when they are filled with the Holy Spirit.  As the Spirit rushes in the corners of their lives, awakening new desires for prayer and praise, speaking in tongues will naturally flow forward in some.  Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 12:13 that all believers are baptized by the Spirit, but all do not speak with tongues (I Corinthians 12:30).  Since all Christians do not speak with tongues, it cannot be proof of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.  There is only one baptism in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:5).  Being baptized is equated with being a child of God (Galatians 3:26-27).  Believers are never commanded in Scripture to be baptized but to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).  There is the ongoing “filling” ministry of the Spirit for power.  There is only one baptism in the Holy Ghost, but many fillings.  All born again believers are baptized in the Holy Ghost (I Corinthians 12:13; John 3:5; Romans 8:9, Ephesians1:3).

The purpose of the baptism of the Holy Ghost is to place believers in the body of Christ.  Even carnal Christians are seen as having been baptized by the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13, I Corinthians 3:1-3).

The filling of the Holy Spirit means the full control of the Spirit—the enthronement of Jesus as Lord.  When a person receives salvation, baptism with the Spirit or the gift of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is resident.  When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit becomes “president” in the believer’s life.  The filling with the Holy Spirit makes one experience Jesus as complete Lord.  It is God-intoxication: “…not drunk with wine…but…filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).  Paul wrote of bringing every thought captive of Jesus Christ to acknowledge His authority (II Corinthians 10:5).  The fullness of the Spirit is for specific service.  The promise in Acts 1:8 was power and the service was witnessing.  The report in Acts 2:4 and 11 was that they “were filled” and unbelievers heard “them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”  In Acts 4:31 believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and “spoke the word of God boldly.”  Ephesians 5:18-21 states the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 7:20; Galatians 5:22, 23).  In conclusion, where does the Bible teach that all Christians are to speak in tongues as the evidence of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit?  I also believe that non Pentecostal evangelicals must recognize that the gift of tongues is a legitimate spiritual gift that has been and always will be a part of the church until Jesus returns (I Corinthians 13:8).  Some believers will experience the gift of tongues and some will not.  Pentecostals need to recognize that tongues is not a sign of spiritual power, although it does edify the one who is speaking (I Corinthians 14:4).  Baptists and other evangelicals need to recognize the Spirit-filled life and the fact that the Holy Spirit desires to have intimate fellowship with us daily for empowerment, fellowship, service, comfort and guidance (Acts 1; II Corinthians 13:14; John 14:26, 16:13; Romans 8:16).  What most Pentecostals refer to as the “Baptism of the Holy Ghost,” I refer to as the filling of the Holy Spirit.  However, regardless to what terminology we use, we both agree that we need the fullness of the Holy Spirit to render effective service for Christ, our families and even on our jobs (Ephesians 5:18-33, 6:1-9).

IV.          HOW TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

A.  Some things to remember when you seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit:

    1. The Holy Spirit lives in you now (Acts 2:38; John 1:12; Romans 8:9, 5:5; I Corinthians 6:19; Galatians 4:6-7).
    2. He will never leave you (John 14:16-18, 23; Ephesians 1:13-14; Hebrews 13:5).  Get down on your knees before God and thank Him that He lives in your heart now.  Rejoice in Him and in this fact.
    3. There is no complex formula given in the Bible or certain order as to what you do first, second, and third in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  “Ask and ye shall receive” is God’s simple word to His children.
    4. There is nothing to fear in being filled with the Spirit.  God blesses, not blasts; helps, not hurts.  To be filled with the Spirit is good and will result in your good and God’s glory (Ephesians 5:18-20).

B.  It is as simple as this:  Ask the Spirit to fill you, believe in Him to do it, obey His counsel.

    1. Hungry?  Eat.  Be filled. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst….filled” (Matthew 5:6).
    2. Thirsty?  Drink.  Be satisfied (never thirst) (Matthew 5:6; John 7:37-38).
    3. Heavy laden?  Come to me. Give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30).
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