A REPLY TO DR. DELMAN COATES FROM PASTOR DWIGHT MCKISSIC,

CO-CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS

APRIL 15, 2015

Dr. Coates, grace and peace to you in the Name of our Great King, Jesus Christ. Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough response to the National Baptist Concerned Pastors Press Release regarding three pro-gay marriage speakers who recently appeared on the campus of American Baptist College, Nashville, TN. The tenor and tone of your response posted at “Many Voices:  Black Church Movement for Gay and Transgender Justice” seeks to communicate truth, wrapped in a veil of tenderness. As you know, with regard to same-sex marriage, you and I don’t share agreement on what the truth is. Nevertheless, it is my desire to “speak the truth in love” in reply to your response, just as you sought to do. When and if an opportunity presents itself, I too would welcome an opportunity to dialogue concerning this matter.

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors (NBFCP) believe that the Bible teaches that all sex outside of God’s plan for marriage, and sex between same-sex partners, married or unmarried, is sin. This is the historical tradition held by the Church and most societies on the planet for more than 5000 years. Therefore, if there is anyone pushing a divisive agenda, it would be those who are seeking to undermine and overturn 5000 years of established tradition. Dr. Forrest Harris, President of American Baptist College, in extending an invitation to three proponents of same-sex marriage that contradicts the published positions regarding marriage on the NBC website—is the one responsible for fostering division. Blaming those of us who are “currently contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints” “for the potential division,” is simply a dishonest response to the facts.

Allow me to address your concern that our request to ask American Baptist College to rescind the invitation to Bishop Flunder “seems contrary to what one would expect from an institution of higher learning that seeks to encourage the free exchange of ideas.”  You are correct, Dr. Coates:  Colleges are historically places where “free exchange of ideas” is encouraged.

Just as there are limits on free speech, there are also limits on a “free exchange of ideas” even in a college setting. As you know, one cannot yell “fire, fire” in a movie theater or any similar gathering place, unless there really is a fire. One can’t articulate language that’s designed to incite a riot, while addressing an emotionally charged audience. These are well-known exceptions to the idea and principle of “free speech.”

Likewise, there are limits and parameters that contextually a Baptist college speaker must honor, respect and not violate. Prostitution is legal in certain cities in Nevada. Yet, it would be inappropriate to affirm prostitution on a Baptist College campus. Payday lending loans that carry exorbitant interest rates are legal in many states, and some are owned by Black investors. But, it would be inappropriate to affirm payday lending loans in a message at a Baptist College, with young impressionable minds having to sort through the pros and cons of such a loan. Consenting sexual relations between an adult male and a sixteen year old male is legal in some states. Again, it would be inappropriate to affirm that “legal” act in a speech at a Baptist college. Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in the state of Tennessee. It is inappropriate to affirm same-sex marriage that’s in violation of the laws of Tennessee. Currently, on the NBC website, chaplains are only authorized to perform heterosexual marriages. You get the point. Even on a college campus all “free exchanges of ideas” are simply not wise or appropriate. I’m sure that you would agree with me on this.

Dr. Coates, you are correct that National Baptists permit a wide range of views on many different doctrinal topics, to repeat some that you’ve named: “Speaking in tongues…whether women can be deacons or ordained to preach, the return of Christ, whether there should be Baptist Bishops; the list goes on and on.” Honestly, I love the diversity of theological views permitted by National Baptists. I find this compelling and attractive, more so than any other existing Baptist denomination that I am aware of. However, we don’t offer a “range of views” on the applicability of the Ten Commandments, the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus, the sinless life, the bodily resurrection, and the return of Christ. We don’t offer a “range of views” on “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Historically, we have not offered “wide range of views” on the sanctity of marriage, and marriage is a union between one man and one woman. The same holds true for each individual Commandment. There is no wide range of views regarding “Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not covet. Thou shall not commit adultery.” Dr. Coates, it is simply not true that National Baptists offer a “range of views” on any and all theological subject matters. And when it comes to same-sex marriage, you know and I know, National Baptists have offered only one view…just as there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Ephesians 4:6).

Dr. Coates, you are right again: the autonomy of the local church is a cherished Baptist freedom. American Baptist College is an institution whose charter clearly indicates that its Board of Trustees is to be appointed by the NBC and her President. Therefore, ABC should reflect the beliefs of the NBC.

If National Baptists allow any and all theological viewpoints, as your letter suggests, that literally means that a National Baptist pastor and church could embrace polytheism and bigamy; and based on your argument, the NBC should tolerate such a pastor based on local church autonomy, and the four “freedoms” referenced in your letter. Dr. Martin Luther King said “Freedom must always be within the framework of destiny.” What you are arguing for is an abuse of freedom in the name of Baptist autonomy.

With regard to the NBFCP not addressing other sins that clergy sometimes commit, my question to you is this: Of all the distinguished lecturers in the history of the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, which one has publicly announced their sin, affirmatively preached their sins, and the congregation applauded their sin? I submit to you, Bishop Flunder is the only one that has come in and “worn her sin as a badge of honor,” to borrow language from Dr. Randy Vaughn. But to this extent I agree with you; when or if a lecturer comes to ABC and wear their sin “as a badge of honor” the NBFCP will be compelled to address that sin with the same tenacity that we’ve addressed Bishop Flunder’s. Please notify us if that happens, and we’ll get right on it.

At the heart of what it means to be an evangelical is to believe that the Bible is inspired and infallible. In my judgment, it is impossible for one to label himself or herself an evangelical while rejecting Matthew 19:4-6, where Jesus clearly taught the exclusivity of marriage between a man and a woman.

I don’t quiver or disagree with your distinctions regarding “civil law” and church law as it relates to marriage. In a Democratic society—as we see unveiling before our very eyes—indeed the democratic, legislative, and judicial  processes may eventually redefine marriage in every state in the Union. It’s at that point that for the believer, God’s laws ought to trump man’s laws (Acts 5:29). There is a moral law for the believer that should supersede man’s law. And what you consider to be “marriage equality” the Bible would consider that to be moral insanity and gender identity confusion (Romans 1:14-32). It is baffling to me why preachers would quote and cite the Constitution in juxtaposition to the Bible.

Finally, “there may be indeed strong perspectives on all sides,” but ultimately the Word of God does not bow to contemporary culture; contemporary culture must bow to the Word of God.

I do not question whether or not one can be a Christian, and because of civil law, affirm same-sex marriage. I do question whether or not one can be an evangelical, and hold to a belief in same-sex marriage.

Regardless, though, I receive you as a Christian brother, I respect your success as a pastor, and your scholarship achievements. I respect your preaching/teaching gift. One of my members heard you deliver two messages at the ABC Lecture Series and was greatly impressed. She placed you in the tradition of C.A.W. Clark, E.K. Bailey and other great lecturer/preachers who’ve lectured at ABC.

I also humbly submit this reply in hopes that it will engender open dialogue and reflection. Compassionate faith and understanding are important traits for believers. I share your quest for these traits. If at any point that Bishop Flunder and/or yourself wish to dialogue further, I will gladly host. Dr. McMickle has offered to do the same at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. I’m in Arlington, TX, in the DFW Metroplex. I will even provide first class hotel accommodations and meals, if you all travel here for a one-two day dialogue. We know going in, none of us are going to change our minds; but the understanding, love, “exchange of ideas” and various understanding of text, would certainly be informative. And I believe that we all are committed to mutual respect and compassion.

By the way, Bishop Flunder boldly stated that the press conference held by the NBFCP was “paid for by people who do not have our community’s best interest at heart.” For the record, Black pastors and Black Christians who want to preserve the sanctity of marriage in the Black community as being between one man and one woman, have paid for all expenses in total related to the travel, press conference and public relations firm. I would appreciate it if Bishop Flunder would retract this totally untrue misrepresentation.

Dwight McKissic

817-468-0083, ext. 205

dmckissic@cbcarlington.org

WILL LEE DANIELS, BISHOP YVETTE FLUNDER AND DR. FORREST HARRIS CONVINCE THE BLACK CHURCH/COMMUNITY TO AFFIRM HOMOSEXUALITY?

ORTHODOX CHURCHES MUST ADDRESS AND ADJUST TO THE NEW REALITY OF A GAY AFFIRMING AMERICA

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

April 1, 2015

Most churches in America were birth in an era when consensual sex between two persons of the same sex was a criminal offense; same-sex marriage was illegal; and homosexuality was viewed as deviant behavior. Until 1974, the American Psychiatric Association literally classified homosexuality as a mental illness. The old adage is true; however, “Time brings about a change.”

In the dawning of this new millennium, homosexuality has burst out of the closet and into the mainstream of American life and society. Satan has strategically and successfully sought to secure sanctioning for same-sex marriage in every sector of American society. The same-sex marriage quest for success is now knocking at the door of God’s sanctuaries, seeking a seat at the leadership table, under the banner marked “justice” and “equality.”

Along beside Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestant Liberals—the LGBTQIA wants to be recognized, respected and seated at the table of Christian brotherhood under the banner of “Welcome and Affirming Churches.” To deny the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Allies—allies are persons like President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton who passionately support the LGBTQIA community—a place at the table is considered discrimination, bigotry, homophobic, theologically and biblically ignorant; and practicing Bible idolatry. Interestingly, when President Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Jesse Jackson said before the 2008 Presidential elections that they believed marriage was exclusively between a man and a woman, none of them were called or viewed as bigots. If today you hold such a view, you are considered by the LGBTQIA and—“welcome and affirming churches” as discriminating toward homosexual couples.

There are many denominations, churches, affinity groups, and divinity schools, who have granted the LGBTQIA community a seat at the table. The orthodox, traditional Bible-believing conservative, evangelical wing of the church has not recognized the LGBTQIA community as a valid social category, or denominational—similar to “welcome and affirming churches”—for three primary reasons:

  1. We believe that the Bible teaches that all sex outside of marriage is sin.
  2. We believe that the Bible teaches that no person is born a homosexual or with a homosexual orientation.
  3. We believe that the Bible speaks clearly, unequivocally, and eternally regarding homosexuality and strongly condemns same-sex relationships, married or unmarried, and condemns fornication and adultery as well.

Therefore, in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “Just like a tree planted by the water, I [we] shall not be moved.” For evangelicals, to change the Bible would have to change; and obviously that’s not going to happen.

The lines are being drawn fast, hard, and irrevocably among church groups and denominations surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage. Historically and currently, the Black church has held to biblical standards on the subject of homosexuality, but we are now being tested from within and without. In the past 40 years, how did we move from homosexuality being a “mental illness” and a felony and same-sex marriage being illegal, to it being “justice” and “equality,” “welcome and affirming” and approved of by every sector of society, except the evangelical church?

Reportedly, major high profile charitable foundations, have donated several million dollars to gay-friendly, Black-led, non-profit educational, ecclesiastical, and “social justice” entities, in order to persuade the Black Community to accept homosexuality. Lee Daniels—the creator of “Empire,” who is also Black and gay—was bold and brazen enough to admit that the purpose  of “Empire” was to “blow the lid off homophobia” in the African-American community, with a depiction of the show’s lead character’s hostile relationship with his gay son. “Empire” is phenomenally popular and shows on Wednesday nights—going head to head with mid-week worship, and winning.

Lee Daniels is quite transparent about his goals as it relates to converting African Americans to accept and affirm homosexuality. In a response to the question regarding a gay character in “Empire,” Lee Daniels offers the following in Time Magazine:

“There are so many themes, but part of [my goal with Empire] was really to address homophobia in the African-American community and in the impoverished community. To educate people. Not that this is a gay show, but it’s one of many subject matters we hit on. There’s so much homophobia in the hip-hop community. It’s the civil rights of our time, and I think I am making a little bit of a contribution, because I’ve seen people change who were homophobic, after seeing this. “

Slowly, but surely, we are beginning to see leaks in the dam in the Black Church as it relates to compromising on same-sex marriage. We recently witnessed Bishop Yvette Flunder—the face of the:  I’m Black, I’m Gay, I’m a Christian and I’m Proud Movement—introduce her legal female spouse in a worship setting at the headquarters of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., in the Baptist World Center, on the campus of American Baptist College, to an enthusiastic applause from a primarily “welcome and affirming” audience. This was truly a historic hour in a Black Baptist worship context—one that I’d thought that I would never, ever see. It would be my guess that no same-sex couple has ever been presented publicly in a traditional Black Baptist Church setting before.

The objection to Bishop Flunder’s coming was based on her same-sex marriage and practicing, proud lesbian lifestyle which was/is in violation of the Bible. Dr. Harris does not deny what the Bible says, but makes it relevant only for the First Century. Dr. Harris’ adamant stand in support of gay marriage is in defiance of the accrediting agency that has accredited ABC for the next ten years. The Association for Biblical Higher Education—the accrediting agency—requires that schools that they grant accreditation to affirm the following statement:

“We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.”

For a college president whose accreditation requires that he believe the Bible is “infallible,” his invitation and defense of the Flunder invitation is simply incomprehensible and impossible to reconcile with a belief that the Bible is “infallible.” The Bible cannot be “infallible” and irrelevant simultaneously. Harris’ view of intolerance must bow to the infallibility of Scripture.

It is impossible to reconcile the above requirement confession of the ABHE with Dr. Harris’ view of the Bible. Dr. Forrest Harris, President of ABC, defended Flunder’s appearance as a matter of not tolerating intolerance (“The Tennessean” article):

“What does Harris define as ‘idolatry of the Bible?’ ‘When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,’ he said. ‘We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.’”

Reported by The Associated Press supporting Dr. Forrest Harris:

“In a phone interview, Harris noted the college’s long commitment to social justice. ‘We will not tolerate intolerance,’ he said.’”

It is a high, high probability that by late June of this year, the Supreme Court of the United States will sanction same-sex marriage in every State in the nation. Currently, it is approved in 37 states. The only hope that same-sex marriage does not become the law of the land this calendar year, is that the church comes together across racial and denominational lines, and hold a solemn assembly, seeking God’s face to Divinely intervene and prevent this from happening. Nevertheless, the Church needs to be prepared to address our position on homosexuality regardless to the decision that the Supreme Court takes.

Every Evangelical church needs to be prepared to provide rational and biblical answers for the following questions before 2015 ends:

  1. Are acts of homosexual behavior sin?
  2. Is it discrimination to fail to perform a wedding ceremony between two people of the same sex?
  3. What will we do if a same-sex married couple seeks to join our church next Sunday?
  4. What will we do if a same-sex engaged couple wants to rent our facility for a wedding?
  5. What would we say/do if we are asked to perform a wedding for a same-sex couple?
  6. What would we do if the legal spouse of a same-sex partner wants to be recognized by name in a funeral program because they are related to a deceased family member?
  7. What would you do/say if you are asked to allow your facility to be used to hold a funeral service for a same-sex married partner?
  8. What if you’re asked to perform a dedication ceremony for a same-sex couple who adopt a child?
  9. Do you already have policies in place to address these inevitable scenarios that are going to become real life, real soon?
  10. What are the legal ramifications of the decisions that we make, if any?

Orthodox evangelicals who hold to a biblical view of marriage are going to have to answer these questions soon, and very soon.

The major social question that had spiritual, theological, ecclesiastical, and political ramifications that America faced the first 200+ years of her existence—that took a war to partially resolve—was the question of civil rights for people of color.

The next major social question that America and her churches will face the next 200+ years if the Lord tarries His coming—is the question of should the LGBTQIA community be recognized by churches and in every realm of society as a distinct social category deserving the same kind of constitutional and ecclesiastical rights that people of color are entitled to? Resolving this question will not result in another civil war, but I predict it will produce a social/ecclesiastical war the likes of which we’ve never seen.

The difference between the rights of the people of color, and the non-rights for the LGBTQIA is this: This is not a color issue, it is a character issue; this is not a justice issue; it is a righteous issue. The Orthodox Church has to decide if she is going to view the act and sin of homosexuality as a “skin color-like” issue, or a character issue? Will we view it as a “justice issue” or a righteousness issue? Dr. King not only talked about his four children not being judged by the “color of their skins…he also talked about them being judged by “the content of their character.” Dr. King not only sounded a clarion call for justice, but also for righteousness. On this issue, the Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian Church ought to be able to stand together across color and denominational lines. What we didn’t do together during the Civil Rights Movement, we have an opportunity to do together now. Let’s pray that God raise up some anointed men and women of God who would call the Orthodox Churches of this nation to a solemn assembly. May God’s hand be upon His Church as we must now address and adjust to the new reality of a gay-affirming America! Will we let Lee Daniels, Bishop Flunder, and Dr. Forrest Harris change our minds? HEAVEN NO!!!

An Open Letter Response to American Baptist College President Dr. Forrest Harris

And

Colgate Rochester Crozer President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

By Rev. Dr. John H. Grant, D. Min., Pastor

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Asheville, NC

March 27, 2015

I am affiliated with the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors and endorsed a recent letter objecting to same-sex marriage advocates Bishop Yvette Flunder, Dr. Delmen Coates and Dr. Allan Boesak being invited to preach at our American Baptist College in Nashville.

If we concerned pastors are guilty of “idolatry of the Bible” as Dr. Harris alleges, then what kind of idolatry is he guilty of?  Has he elevated as synonymous with truth his opinion and the opinions of those who agree with him?  A kind of idolatry of self?  Do people like Dr. Harris and his allies discredit the Bible because they, in the words of Dr. Ben Carson, “need to remove any authority other than themselves as the arbiter of right and wrong?”

A statement from John R.W. Stott is compelling:

The Scriptures have the content, authority, and power for a proper evangelistic message. … God has clothed His thoughts in words, and there is no way to know Him except by knowing the Scriptures. … We can’t even read each other’s minds, much less what is in the mind of God.

If we are not to discern the mind of God on homosexual conduct from the Bible, where else are we to discern God’s mind on the subject?   From the opinions of fallible, vacillating and “evolved” minds like those of Dr. Harris or Dr. McMickle, or any of the rest of us, or even of our President Obama?

Contrary to Dr. Harris’s claim, if anyone has “misappropriated the theology of the National Baptist Convention,” evidence would indicate in this instance that it is he and Dr. McMickle.  Consider the theology in the Statement of Faith posted on our Convention website:

The Scriptures. We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.

Every single one of the 18 Articles of Faith posted on our Convention website begins with the affirmation We believe the Scriptures teach . . .” In light of this affirmation, it is excessively remarkable that Dr. Harris would denigrate our embrace of biblical truth, dismiss and relegate it to the ash heaps of history as a “first-century worldview” by which we moderns “can’t be guided and dictated” and from which the more enlightened mortals (as himself) have evolved. I guess we are supposed to evolve beyond Jesus. To his credit, however, Dr. Harris does not deny the biblical truth about homosexuality. He just denies that that truth has relevance beyond the first-century.

It is worthy of note that not only do National Baptists have a high regard for Scripture, but so did Jesus:

  1. He treated it as fully authoritative. (Matthew 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-12)
  2. Praying for His disciples, He asked the Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17, NKJV)
  3. He taught that it points to him, and that He is its fulfillment. (Matthew 21:42-44; Luke 24:27, 44; Matthew 5:17)

Harris also stated: “It’s tragic these conservative pastors are in opposition to what education ought to be about, to expose students to critical moral thinkers and a broad education.”  If anyone believes having Bishop Flunder preach at American Baptist College was about exposing students to critical moral thinkers and broad education, all one has to do is read the transcript of her speech given on Tuesday evening, March 17, 2015 at the Baptist World Center on the campus of American Baptist College, which was posted on a Kingdom Global Strategy blog.   Among other things contrary to academia, her speech was effectively and essentially a pep rally promoting sexual behavior which our Convention has historically characterized as perversion.

As a 1979 graduate of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and with all due respect, I am personally embarrassed by our school president’s (Dr. McMickle) comments in defense of Dr. Harris, including his patronizing insinuation regarding our “biblical and theological standing” and whether any “noted biblical and theological scholars” are among our number.  Those promoting the radical homosexual movement often and openly use harsh rhetoric, nasty name-calling, and display blatant intolerance toward others who dare to differ with their more “morally superior” perspectives for the purpose of intimidating or embarrassing them into silence.

To them, anyone who dares to differ with their “more enlightened minds” on this subject has to be displaying disrespect and bigotry, among other similarly disgraceful things. They claim for themselves the virtues of tolerance and open-mindedness while at the same time displaying intolerance and close-mindedness toward perspectives that differ from theirs. In America people with different perspectives are supposed to be able to discuss their differences courteously and respectfully without resorting to personal attacks. It should be about respectful debate, not about accusing others of hate.  However, people with weak arguments and inclinations toward one-sided monologue rather than constructive dialogue are notorious for resorting to nasty rhetoric.  Erwin W. Lutzer’s words are apropos here:

Ours is a battle that cannot be won by reason, scientific data, or dialogue.  The radical homosexual movement that preaches tolerance will not itself tolerate alternate opinions.  Everyone must move in lockstep with their agenda—or pay a price.

The price to be paid for reasoned and respectful disagreement is character assassination, demonization, denunciation and vilification as reflected in such words (also used by Dr. McMickle) as “ignorance” and “bigotry.”  To so label others who disagree with him is very judgmental on his part and represents the virulent vitriol so prevalent today from pro-homosexual activists toward those who take exception to the “sex-style.” His own comments are also self-revealing, indicating guilt of the very kind of intolerance he condemns in others.

He asks, “Who has authorized these pastors to speak so broadly about Baptist doctrine and biblical faith?” I ask, who has authorized him to question so broadly our theological standing and insinuate that we are intellectually and theologically inferior to himself and to those who agree with him. I would submit that in regard to what is posted on our Convention website, our position is more authorized than either his or Dr. Harris’.  Consider, for example, the following statements from our website:

  • In all matters of Faith and Practice, National Baptists are guided by Holy Scriptures. Genesis 2: 18-25 shows God’s concern for relationships by creating the woman to be a partner with man. National Baptist Endorsed Chaplains, although serving in a pluralistic environment, are not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same sex marriage or same sex union. ( Charles F. Thomas, Sr., Office of the Ecclesiastical Endorser, Home Mission Board National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.)
  • . . . the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. affirms that marriage is a sacred biblical covenant between a man and a woman. (Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, Immediate past President)

Dr. McMickle further opines:

Why are they so enraged by same-sex marriage and homosexuality, but apparently not equally concerned about adultery, fornication, and divorce; all of which are spoken against in the Bible and all of which are currently occurring in black Baptist churches and black Baptist pulpits? This selective reading and enforcement of biblical teachings is infuriating to me.

Even if it were true, as Dr. McMickle alleges in his self-righteous infuriation, that we are not equally concerned about other sins spoken against in the Bible, that failure to be equally concerned about the others would not justify the affirmation of homosexuality. Failure to equally address one sin does not justify the affirmation of another.

Also, I don’t know of any adulterer or other types of fornicators demanding their sexual behavior be accepted, advocated, celebrated, legalized and elevated to the legal and moral equivalent of its opposite. If anyone is not “equally concerned” about these other sexual sins, it would appear be the mainstream secular and liberal media, much of corporate America, so-called Hollywood and intellectual elites, activist courts and judges, who have inundated our public airways, institutions and courts of law with a steady diet of prime-time homosexual propaganda.  Many of the advocates of this pro-homosexual propaganda are now postulating the absurd position that a right to same-sex marriage exists in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and that they expect the U.S. Supreme court to rule accordingly this summer.

Scholars like Carson Holloway have reminded us, however, that members of the Supreme Court are fallible human being with their own partisan biases, can be and have been wrong in the past, as in the cases of Brown v. Board of Education and Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), in which it held that the Constitution gave Congress no power to forbid slavery in the federal territories and that even free blacks could never be citizens of the United States. (This is a reason why we have) the other branches of government (that each may balance and hold in check the other).

Carson goes on to quote President Abraham Lincoln’s problem with the notion of judicial supremacy:

the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14410/)

If the Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage the law of the land, then citizens of this country may find ourselves ruled by what Lincoln called that “eminent tribunal” rather than by “we the people.”

To be sure, as Dr. McMickle and others contend, it may be true that adulterers and other kind of fornicators, in addition to homosexuals, have preached at the American Baptist College without objection from groups like ours.  But even if they have, they have not come brazenly and openly promoting, advocating, advertising and wearing their sin, in the words of Dr. Randy Vaughn, as a “badge of honor.”

Since Dr. McMickle seems to be so much concerned about civil rights and equality, what about the civil and equal rights of children to be raised by their mother and father? Same-sex marriage necessarily deprives a child of either the child’s mother or father or both, and is therefore antithetical to the well-being of children. Research shows that, in general, children in homes without their biological mother or father are at greater risk of abuse. Further, same-sex marriage, particularly among male same-sex couples who desire children, is now resulting in babies/children being severed from the inevitable bonds of their biological parents and treated as commodities to be commercially bought and sold, with the creation of a subclass of women who are treated as breeders, all for the purpose of birthing babies to satisfy the whims of adults. Who will fight for the civil and equal rights of these babies, many of whom as grown up adults are now speaking out against this abuse?

Also, if the real issue is civil rights, why isn’t there organized advocacy for the equal rights of those who practice other types of sexual sins like adultery, etc.?  The civil rights struggle of the 50’s and 60’s was about people being victimized for an immutable trait, skin color, not about legitimizing one’s sexual behavior. While it is universally indisputable that race is an immutable trait, there is no science to prove that homosexual conduct is.   Thus, the argument equating one’s sexual conduct to skin color and calling it immutable is, as a matter of fact, without merit. There are documented cases – based on clinical experience, peer-reviewed research and personal testimonies – of many former homosexuals, but there are no known instances of a former black person.

According the scholarly National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (“NARTH”):

Although many people have been misled to believe that homosexuality is biologically based and therefore unchangeable, researchers acknowledge that people are not simply born homosexual.  Researchers have never found a biological basis for homosexuality (APA, 2008).  Anyone familiar with the research knows clearly that many factors contribute for sexual orientation. There are many pathways into and out of homosexuality. 

There is disturbing scientific evidence/proofs, even from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, of the harmful effects of this “sex-style” on the individuals who practice it and upon the larger society.  Not long ago in a letter to the editor of our local newspaper (Asheville Citizen-Times), I raised the question of why the indisputable public health consequences of  men who have sex with men (MSM) are not being more widely debated and disseminated in the mainstream media. The CDC reports that Gay and bisexual men is the only risk group in the U.S. in which the annual number of new HIV infections is increasing.”

  • MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year (53%, or an estimated 28,700 infections).
  • While CDC estimates that MSM account for just 4 percent of the U.S. male population aged 13 and older, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the U.S. is more than 44 times that of other men (range: 522–989 per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men). (http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/fastfacts-msm-final508comp.pdf)

Other researchers report that the HIV-positive rate for homosexual men is as high as fifty-times more likely than for heterosexual men. The CDC also reports that MSM are at “elevated risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.”  Studies also show that women who identify as lesbian are at a higher risk for more gynecologic cancers and increased likelihood of bacterial vaginosis compared to heterosexual women.

It’s not ignorance and bigotry to point out these adverse health consequences.  The real danger to public health is the pro-homosexual bigotry that would keep the public in ignorance about these consequences. Who is really being unloving?  Those who shine the light on these troubling statistics, or those who try to prevent these statistics from becoming widely disseminated and legitimately debated?  In this instance, the debate has nothing to do with the Bible or religion but with public health.

Our culture and courts are elevating a known risky sexual behavior to the level of a civil right, enshrining it into law, criminalizing dissent, prosecuting non-cooperating business owners with stiff penalties and the threat of being deprived of their businesses, reputations and livelihoods – all for advocating a view of marriage which Christians and adherents of other major world religions have universally affirmed for thousands of years. This view of marriage as between a man and woman was even advocated by President Obama just a few years ago prior to his “evolution” before the previous presidential election.

Finally, as a 1987 graduate of Erskine Theological Seminary’s doctoral program, I fully endorse and support my Alma Marta’s position on homosexuality:

We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position . . . Sexual relations outside of marriage or between persons of the same sex are spoken of in scripture as sin and contrary to the will of the Creator.

There are numerous compassionate, competent, credentialed scholars and theologians, as well as other persons of impeccable character, academic credentials and intelligence who do not agree with Doctors Harris and McMickle on the subjects of homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

In addition to those of us affiliated with the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, here are a few more noted scholars/theologians, among others, who do not agree that disagreeing with homosexual behavior is a matter of ignorance and bigotry:

Their disagreement, like ours, is not due to ignorance, homophobia or hatred of homosexuals, but due to a sincerely-held, well-grounded and researched conviction on the nature of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Today there is alarming and widespread animus, as well as brazen intolerance, against those of us who hold to this conviction, and there is being hurled at us a disturbing brand of anti-Christian and anti-Bible bigotry.  It is high time that more of us start naming and challenging this brand of bigotry.

I say to those who disagree with our conviction about the nature of marriage that we stand where we stand respectfully, unapologetically, unequivocally and compassionately.  Compassion does not require the compromise of convictions which are based on biblical truth. I welcome ongoing and respectful dialogue on this subject. We can agree to disagree without attacking each other’s character, intelligence, or theological standing.

Contact Information for the Author:

Rev. Dr. John H. Grant, Pastor & President
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Asheville, Inc.
47 Eagle Street
Asheville, NC  28801
Office: 828-252-0515
Cell: 828-713-0583
www.mtzionasheville.org

A SAD DAY IN THE HISTORY OF BLACK BAPTISTS AT AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE

What President Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess” Jezebel Have In Common

By William Dwight McKissic, SR.

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Revelation 2:20-21 KJV)

An incredible, unprecedented, and thus far un-repented of, event took placed on Tuesday evening, March 17, 2015, at the Baptist World Center on the campus of American Baptist College (Dr. Forrest Harris, President). It was reminiscent of an event strongly rebuked by Jesus, that’s recorded in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:18-25). The purpose of this article is to summarize and capsulate that awful evening for posterity sake, and to communicate to the larger National Baptist family the sad state of affairs, theologically and spiritually, at American Baptist College, Nashville, Tennessee.

The “angel of the house”—the messenger or Pastor of The Church at Thyatira—permitted Jezebel, “which calleth herself a prophetess to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication.” Jezebel taught the congregation at Thyatira that sexually deviant practices, contrary to the Word of God, were permissible. Jesus rebuked the pastor and the church at Thyatira for permitting this false teaching to take place in His Church.

What President Forrest Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess” Jezebel have in common is this: They all three affirm deviant sexual behavior and believe that the Bible is an insufficient guide in matters of sexual conduct for today’s believers.

In response to the lesbian bishop speaking controversy at ABC recently, Dr. Harris stated to the “Tennessean,” a local newspaper:

“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,”

When asked to define “idolatry of the Bible,” Harris said:

“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.” [Emphasis mine]

That statement, and that statement alone, ought to be enough reason for the ABC Trustee Board to immediately relieve Dr. Harris of his duties. Dr. Harris’ statement not only contradicts the Words of Jesus, that equated God’s Word with truth (John 17:17); his statement also contradicts the official doctrinal statement of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., that holds a much higher view of the Bible than does Dr. Harris. In the Articles of Faith adopted by the National Baptist Convention, the very first article states the opposite of Dr. Harris’ view of the Bible as an insufficient guide, and not being synonymous with truth:

“We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried.”

Where the NBCUSA, Inc. stands on the Bible, and where the President of ABC stands on the Bible are light years apart. Therefore, National Baptist churches can no longer trust ABC to educate our college students and they return to our churches holding the beliefs that are consistent with our doctrinal statement.

President Harris affirmed Bishop Flunder’s same-sex marriage before she preached that dreadful Tuesday evening. Dr. Harris asked 30-40 freshman students seated on the first couple of rows to stand, and stated to Bishop Flunder, “These students are here to support you.” Bishop Flunder introduced Shirley Miller whom she’s been in a lesbian relationship with for 30 years, and legally married her when laws in America permitted it. When Yvette Flunder recorded “Love Alive IV” in 1990 on the album with Walter Hawkins Singers, and did the lead role on the popular gospel tune that’s sung almost unanimously in Black churches—“Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done For Me”—she was in a lesbian relationship with Shirley Miller—who after Dorothy Combs Morriston left the Edwin Hawkins singers to establish a solo career—Shirley Miller, Yvette Flunder’s spouse, was the voice of the phenomenally popular gospel hit, “Oh Happy Day.” “Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done for Me” is married to “Oh Happy Day.”

On January 30, 2015, I emailed and forwarded to Dr. Harris a letter that contained the following questions that he refused to answer:

  • “Is the pro-Gay lifestyle and same-sex marriage affirmed and taught as acceptable at ABC?”
  • “Does ABC believe that homosexual acts are sinful within or outside of a “marriage” context?”
  •  “Dr. Harris, are you aware that Dr. Yvette Flunder is a practicing lesbian, legally married to a woman?”

To this date, Dr. Harris has not responded to my letter. He told Baptist Press that he decided to “let his supporters respond” to me.

Dr. Harris posted on ABC’s website a letter from “The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries” who is a group of churches led by gay pastors, or pastors sympathetic and supportive of “same-gender loving couples” and “marriage equality.”

As reported to the Baptist Press—letting “his supporters respond”—the following quotes are from “The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries” in support of Dr. Harris; and obviously these are his answers to my questions:

“No matter its denominational roots or current relationships, ABC is right to maintain its commitment to academic integrity by introducing students to a fuller witness of the Christian faith and life, including that of Bishop Funder and other same-gender loving Christians.”

“The Christian community cannot make sanctuary for biblical idolatry and interpretive inertia, grounding our stubbornness and phobias in shaky notions of denominational heritage. We must instead seek a new and continual revelation in our sacred text that continues to breathe life and preach liberty to those most vulnerable and marginalized, including same-gender loving and transgender people.” [Emphasis mine]

American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing, and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships. http://www.awab.org/statement-of-support-for-dr-forrest-harris-and-the-american-baptist-college.html [Emphasis mine]

On the opening night of the lecture series at ABC, the worshippers were asked to participate in a “Responsive Reading” where the worship leader stated the following:

“We are committed to a love and justice ministry that shuns all forms of oppression and hates based on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.  We are committed to fostering leaders who uphold cultural and racial diversity, gender justice, and developing effective leadership for a more inclusive church and society.” [Emphasis mine]

There is no biblical or biological proof that a person is born with a “sexual orientation” that causes them to be attracted to the same sex. Romans 1:24-32 seems to indicate that individuals choose to become homosexual “through the lusts of their own hearts” (24), “changing the truth of God into a lie” (25), changing the natural use into that which is against nature” (26), “men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burning with lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly” (27). To ask worshipers at a Baptist College to affirm “sexual orientation” as an undisputed social category without any scientific or scriptural backing for such a notion is beneath the integrity, intellect, honor, and holiness that you would expect from a Baptist College.

In a letter supporting Dr. Harris, Marvin A. McMickle, President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, stated, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and we do not yet know the degree to which sexual orientation is simply a matter of ‘how we have been made.’” Maybe Dr. McMickle doesn’t know “how we have been made,” but the apostle Paul claimed to know; and he clearly argued that we were not made to engage in homosexual activities.

After Bishop Flunder gave a $500.00 gift to ABC, Dr. Harris pledged to raise an additional $9,500.00 from gay and gay affirming churches in order to name a dormitory room in honor of Bishop Yvette Flunder on the campus of ABC. To form a fundraising alliance, recruit students from gay and gay affirming churches, and enshrine Bishop Flunder on the walls of that institution on the basis of her same-sex marriage is tantamount to high crime and treason by Dr. Harris, in light of the NBC’s statements in support of marriage being between one man and one woman.

A Nashville news station broadcast Dr. Harris greeting Bishop Flunder upon her arrival at ABC with, “You’re a Great Woman.” Here is what Dr. Harris’ “Great Woman” preached at ABC:

When Bishop Flunder mounted the pulpit at the World Baptist Center, she acknowledged, Dr. Emily Townes—the lesbian Dean at Vanderbilt Divinity School; Bishop Alex Byrd, pastor of a Dallas gay church. Flunder then asked “All the Fellowship pastors who are here to please stand, because these are some powerful preaching and leading sisters and brothers.” A large segment of the audience was from the gay community. Flunder then introduced her “spouse”—“Mother Shirley Miller”—to which there was a hearty applause from the audience—which included at least three ABC board members, and former NBC President, Dr. Julius Scruggs. In another context, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPOktKBBwJ0) Flunder said sometimes Shirley plays the husband role and vice-versa, depending on which day of the week it is. Shirley Miller is twelve years older than Yvette Flunder. She then recognized Bishop Elect Dennis Meredith—who is a self-proclaimed “openly gay-bisexual.” He pastors the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Atlanta.

In another context, while speaking at Pastor Dennis Meredith’s church in Atlanta, Bishop Lawrence Kirby, a current trustee at ABC, issued a resolution in support of Dennis Meredith becoming a bishop in an official ceremony. There seem to be an above average number of individuals who are sympathetic and supportive of gay marriage on the ABC Trustee Board. Their views are way out of the main stream of the majority of the NBC. But it provides a plausible explanation as to why Flunder was able to come representing a gay marriage and to affirm gay persons in the audience. The spirit of Jezebel is alive and well at American Baptist College.

Bishop Flunder acknowledged her Church of God In Christ roots at the outset; but she failed to mention that she has been rejected by the COGIC because of her lesbianism. Why did ABC not hold to the standard the church of her roots held to?

Flunder referred to ABC as a “neo-Pentecostal institution.” She further elaborated:

“This prophetic neo-Pentecostal institution filled with the Spirit where great minds are in this room and space to speak in new tongues. Somebody hear what I’m saying. And fearlessly guide people beyond where God has been to where God is. Somebody hear what I’m saying…brand new Pentecostals.”

It was news for me to learn that ABC is now a “neo-Pentecostal” school. I am probably the most COGIC/Pentecostal-friendly Baptist pastor on the planet. Indeed my wife was genuinely born again in a COGIC Church. I take the Bible literally and affirm all the gifts of the Spirit—including tongues. I am a continuationist as opposed to a cessationist when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit. I firmly believe in biblical and demonstrative praise and worship; spiritual warfare; and the Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18-21). I even believe if there is interpretation, there can even be speaking in tongues in a worship service (I Cor. 14:27-28), no more than three though, as the Scripture says. If there is no interpretation, I believe that person who is gifted to speak in tongues should do it within as Paul instructed (I Cor. 14:27-28). My point is, I am not anti-Pentecostal. My challenge with her statement is that a Baptist College does not have to take on an identity, the theology, or doctrine of “neo-Pentecostals” in order to fulfill God’s vision.

You can be Baptist, and make sure that you stop by Calvary and receive your pardon—and stop by Pentecost and receive your power. That does not make you “neo-Pentecostal.” That makes you a Spirit-filled Baptist. There is only one baptism in the Spirit that all genuinely born-again believers receive upon salvation (I Cor. 12:13); but there are many fillings of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18-23). What we need to be is Spirit-filled Baptists, not neo-Pentecostals. Even at Pentecost, there were some who were filled with the Spirit who did not speak in tongues (Acts 2:43-47). There were others who were filled with the Spirit who did speak in tongues (Acts 2:4). Our calling is to be Spirit-filled Baptists; not neo-Pentecostals irrespective of our beliefs and practices regarding tongues. I must admit that the only section of her sermon that did not receive enthusiastic verbal support was when she attempted to label ABC a neo-Pentecostal college. I interpreted the virtual silence during this section of the sermon to mean they were not buying that.

The late Dr. L. Jack Gray, a former professor at SWBTS, stated in his booklet, Studies of the Holy Spirit:

“Baptism with or entrance of the Holy Spirit is simultaneous with conversion. It happens once, is permanent, and cannot be repeated. (Jn. 3:5-6; Acts 2:38; Rm. 8:9; I Cor. 6:19; 12-13; Gal. 4:4-7). The fillings of the Holy Spirit are God’s acts of continued nur­ture, growth, empowerment and equipping for life and service. Fullness of the Spirit is temporary and must be daily repeated. (Lk. 9:23; I Cor. 15:31; II Cor. 4:11; Eph. 3:16-19; 4:13; 5:18). The gifts of the Holy Spirit are means of equipping the church for her varied and total ministries. (I Cor. 12:4-7; Eph. 4:8-16). The fruit of the Spirit is the result of being filled with the . Holy Spirit. We are known by our fruit, not our gifts. (Gal. 5:22-23; Rm. 5:5; 12:11; Matt. 7:16, 20).”

I’m a Kingdom man. I have no problem with persons from other denominations speaking at a Baptist school. But to pronounce a different identity, direction, and doctrine, stepped over the line.

Flunder’s most egregious statements had to do with her views on the nature of Scripture. Her being a lesbian, legally married to a woman is less problematic for me than her beliefs that the Bible is insufficient and incomplete. Flunder taught at ABC:

“God will not be fixed; God will not be stuck; God will not be concretized.”

She made that statement while intentionally flipping both ends of the Bible, to symbolize that God could not be “concretized” in the canon of Scripture. She further stated:

“My theology is alive and shifting and it’s not stuck between the corners and the pages of a book. Just like God spoke to them, God is speaking to us. I’d like to see Martin’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” canonized one day…maybe in a Testament III—because God is still speaking…Thank God for theological evolution.” [Emphasis Mine]

Referring to the “Third Testament,” equivalent to the Bible, that Flunder proposes, because “God is still speaking” Flunder suggested that it could include “skype,” “in-vitro fertilization,” and…”somebody will write about me and Shirley and 30 years.” Flunder dared to have the audacity to place her and her spouse in a “Third Testament” that she would consider canonical based on her evolution theology.

Flunder suggested that Jesus was also theologically evolving when the Syro-Phoenician woman responded with faith and determination to Jesus’ response to her request to heal her daughter. Flunder said, “Jesus’ eyes popped open.”

Flunder said, “There’s a new gospel afoot.” Bishop Flunder was introduced as the successor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ushering in a new era of “justice” in America.

She closed her message affirming LGBT persons. Flunder said that she was surrounded by “loving men—straight and gay.” She has no better friend and supporter in the work than President Forrest Harris. His hospitality to her is subsidized by National Baptist dollars. This is her second consecutive year speaking at the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series at ABC.

“We are going to pray together because Jesus had the oil. The prophet has the oil of anointing. Oil…God’s symbol of affirmation and ordination and enablement. Oil does not come cheaply… Jesus had the oil…Malcolm had the oil…Martin had the oil…American Baptist College has the oil…God sent the oil…and the oil is in the room…Tell your neighbor, I see your oil…bring your oil, your Pentecostal oil, your Baptist oil, your straight oil, your gay oil…bring your prophetic gifts.”

The request to bring “your gay oil” is nothing more or nothing less than an attempt to mainstream the gay lifestyle, in what were heretofore orthodox churches.

I close by repeating my thesis: What does President Forrest Harris, Bishop Flunder, and “Prophetess Jezebel” have in common? They all three affirm deviant sexual practices; teach contrary to the Word of God; and sees the Bible as something less than the final authority, in guiding and governing the affairs of man.

I pray that what took place at ABC on Tuesday evening, March 17, at the Baptist World Center, will never repeat itself again.

Bapt. college ‘ground zero’ in gay marriage debate

by David Roach, posted Wednesday, March 18, 2015

“For reasons only known in the heavenly realms, American Baptist College has” become “ground zero for this battle over same-sex marriage in the Baptist church,” Dwight McKissic, co-coordinator of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, said at a March 17 press conference in Nashville.

The fellowship is a coalition of pastors who minister at congregations in cooperation with the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., America’s largest predominantly African American Baptist denomination.

Other pastors present at the press conference alongside McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, were Robert White of Freedom Church in Bedford, Texas; Ronnie Goines of Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas; Patrick McGrew of Higher Praise Family Church in Fort Worth, Texas; Calvin Barlow of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville; and Randy Vaughn of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Port Arthur, Texas, fellowship co-coordinator.

McKissic, Goines and McGrew pastor churches that cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention in addition to the NBC USA Inc.

The coalition of concerned pastors, which includes some 150 members, objects to American Baptist College’s speaking invitation to Yvette Flunder, an open lesbian and United Church of Christ bishop, Delman Coates, a pastor who led a campaign in Maryland to legalize gay marriage, and Allan Boesak, a South African minister and politician who urged the South African Dutch Reformed Church to affirm same-sex marriage.

Much of the objection seemed to focus on Flunder, a vocal advocate of the homosexual lifestyle.

Members of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors asked in a news release that American Baptist College President Forrest Harris rescind Flunder’s invitation; that NBC USA Inc. President Jerry Young release a statement expressing his position on Flunder’s invitation; and that Flunder’s addresses be moved from the college’s facilities.

Harris said previously that it is inappropriate to oppose homosexual behavior by employing “idolatry of the Bible,” which he defined as “when people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth,” the Tennessean reported. He added, “We can’t be guided by a first century worldview.”

American Baptist College trustees should either ask the NBC USA Inc. for permission to advocate the homosexual worldview, McKissic said, or they should fire Harris if they disagree with his statements and invitation of pro-gay speakers.

White noted the college’s long association with the convention.

“The American Baptist College has historically been connected to and supported by the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., an organization which on more than one occasion has addressed this very issue of same-sex marriage through statements affirming marriage as being between one man and one woman,” White said. “… The American Baptist College has no right or authority to teach or endorse a doctrine or position other than that of this convention.”

A statement by immediate past NBC USA Inc. president Julius Scruggs on the convention’s website states, “The National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated does not dictate to its constituent churches what position to take on issues because we believe in the autonomy of the local church. However, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. affirms that marriage is a sacred biblical covenant between a man and a woman.”

Scruggs, who is also a trustee at American Baptist College, did not respond to a request for comment by BP’s publication deadline. Former trustee Kelly Miller Smith Jr. also did not respond to BP’s request for comment by the publication deadline.

American Baptist College’s response

Harris’ media spokeswoman released a letter to BP in which Harris defended the speaking invitations to Flunder, Coates and Boesak by appealing to federal law and the college’s mission.

“Based on good advice from the college’s Board Chair, I have decided as president of the college not to respond to [the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors’] negative message as it would be counterproductive at this time,” Harris wrote. “I do, however, want to share … the college’s vision of education in light of this negative document which has been disseminated around the country” — a reference to a press release distributed by the concerned pastors.

Harris said “the college expresses neither favor not disfavor” with the various viewpoints to which students are exposed, “in accordance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination.” He noted that the college receives federal funding. Harris added that the lecture series which has drawn criticism is a “significant component of the college’s academic legacy.”

Harris also wrote, “The fact that the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. serves a conservative constituent base that renders a different view of education will not distract the college from its educational mission.”

Governing structure questioned

Who controls American Baptist College appears to be in dispute. “We don’t really know who owns the college,” McKissic said.

Monchiere Holmes-Jones, a spokeswoman for American Baptist College, told BP the school “is not directly correlated” with the NBC USA Inc. “even though they are associated by history and being next door” to the NBC USA Inc. offices.

The NBC USA Inc.’s website describes American Baptist College as “an independent college for the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.” The school’s legal charter on file with the Tennessee secretary of state says, “The corporation shall be governed by a Board of Trustees, who shall be directors, and who shall be appointed by the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.”

Jim Guenther, an attorney for the Southern Baptist Convention, told BP the charter “is the primary controlling governing document” of an entity. The charter cannot be superseded by any other document unless the legal entity amends its charter, he said. Records on file with the secretary of state reflect no such amendment of the NBC USA Inc. charter.

“If a corporation has a board of directors inconsistent with the charter,” Guenther said, “then the corporation is fatally flawed and the actions of the board are null and void. … If the charter says the convention elects the trustees, then the convention needs to elect those trustees.”

Jerlen Nelson, the NBC USA Inc.’s director of media and press relations, told BP that American Baptist College’s board is in practice self-perpetuating and that the convention has not elected trustees in recent memory.

Pastors who are displeased with American Baptist College’s actions and believe the school is acting in violation of its charter could attempt several courses of action, Guenther said. Among them:

— If the convention is not electing trustees as called for in the charter, a messenger to an NBC USA Inc. annual session could make a motion that the convention elect to the college’s board specific individuals sympathetic to the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors. If elected, those trustees would replace any improperly appointed trustees and govern the school.

— A concerned pastor could file a complaint with either the Internal Revenue Service or the Tennessee attorney general, stating that the college is violating its charter.

— A messenger to a convention annual session might have legal standing to challenge in court the seating of any unauthorized trustees by the college.

At the press conference, Vaughn lamented that the gay agenda “has already won support from organizations that are dear to our heart, like NAACP and the National Urban League — organizations that use the black church as human capital. And now this sin, this same-sex nonsense wants to preach in our holy place.”

Vaughn challenged the NBC USA Inc. to act.

“The National Baptist Convention has held its mouth in silence while allowing this sin to be publicized over our websites, in our national publications and using our national facility to house what we believe is a desecration of our temple,” Vaughn said. “So today we challenge our national leadership, our national president Dr. Jerry Young to make a declarative statement because silence is not an option.”

Young announced in January that he would appoint a resolutions committee to develop a position statement on same-sex marriage for National Baptists to vote on later this year, according to McKissic’s blog. Last year, the NBC USA Inc.’s Home Mission Board released a statement instructing board-endorsed military chaplains “not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same sex marriage or same sex union.”

For more information about American Baptist College, please see related story.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.
Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP).

AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE: GROUND-ZERO IN THE BATTLE OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

In his sermon, “The Death of Evil Upon the Seashore” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated:

“The whole history of life is a struggle between good and evil. There seems to be a tension at the very core of the universe…in traditional Judaism and Christianity [this tension is called] a conflict between God and Satan.”

The question that we are facing in the Baptist Church today is whether or not God sanctions same-sex marriage. Concerning the question of same-sex marriage, God has spoken, and He didn’t stutter; and humans cannot redefine what God has eternally assigned. Man cannot redefine a week into three days, or four days, because God assigned a week as seven days. Neither can man redefine a marriage consisting of two people of the same sex; because, God defined a marriage in His word as a union between one man and one woman.

Satan has strategically and successfully sought to secure sanctioning for same-sex marriage in every sector of society, including our spiritual houses of worship. The battle over same-sex marriage in America is a matter of spiritual warfare.

Spiritual warfare is a conflict between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. For reasons only known in the heavenly realms, ABC has been chosen as Ground-Zero for this battle over same-sex marriage in the Baptist Church. The church of the living god—the moral guardian of society—and the pillar and ground of truth—is the last holdout in American society steadfastly opposed to same-sex marriage. Satan has decided if he can get the ABC and the NBC to succumb to same-sex marriage, he can get every other denomination to fall like a stack of dominoes. But in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, “just like a tree planted by the waters, I shall not be moved.” Therefore, we have no choice but to fight for the sanctity of marriage as being between one man and one woman as God set it up from the beginning (Matthew 19:4-6).

It was nothing short of a declaration of war against the Baptist Church and the Church of the Living God, for Dr. Forrest Harris to invite an unrepentant lesbian bishop to lead worship and preach to Baptist college students on a campus that was once dedicated to advancing the Kingdom of God.

The Apostle Paul said, “God is not the author of confusion“(I Cor. 14:33). Who then is responsible for the confusion surrounding an unrepentant lesbian bishop preaching at ABC? Jesus said that the Kingdom of God has suffered violence from the days of John the Baptist until now, but the violent must take it by force. It is way past time for the church to be simply a cruise ship; it is the time in the life of the church, once again, that we must become, a battle ship. A lesbian bishop preaching at a Baptist college is evidence of the gates of hell assailing against the church, but the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Therefore:

  1. We have come to Nashville to answer Dr. Harris’ declaration of war on the Baptist Church over same-sex marriage. The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds believers that there is “a time for war,” and that time is now. The Church of the Living God is now under attack.
  1. We have come to Nashville so that it will not be recorded in the annals of history, that a lesbian bishop spoke to our precious Baptist students, for two consecutive years, and no one raised an objection. We’ve come today to throw a penalty flag on Dr. Harris and the ABC Board, and announce that ABC has violated God’s rules.
  1. If the ABC Board disagrees with Dr. Harris’ decision to invite a lesbian bishop to preach, we’ve come to ask the ABC Board of Trustees to immediately relieve Dr. Harris of his duties as President for violating God’s rules. And if the ABC Board agrees with Dr. Harris’ decision to allow a lesbian bishop to speak, then we are asking the NBC USA, Inc. to remove the ABC board of trustees of their duties in your next annual meeting.
  1. We’ve come to ask ABC Board of Trustees to clarify the governance relationship between ABC and NBC.
  1. We’ve come to ask ABC Board of Trustees, if you support Dr. Harris’ decision to affirm same-sex married partners, would you be so kind to give an official notice of such approval to the NBC for this calendar year?

To redefine a sin issue as a justice issue is a serious matter. Civil rights are rooted in moral authority; Gay rights are rooted in a lack of moral restraint. Civil rights are rooted in constitutional authority. Gay rights are rooted in carnal antinomianism. The Civil Rights Movement was birth in the Church. The gay rights movement was birth outside the church. At ABC, the Gay rights agenda is masquerading as “sexual orientation” and has boldly and brazenly entered into the Baptist Church at the invitation of Forrest Harris in the name of social justice. To compare gay rights to civil rights is to compare their sin to my skin.

Finally, in the late ‘90’s the late great celebrated NBC pastor from Florida, Dr. Mack King Carter, against the backdrop of another NBC scandal of a different nature—yet, highly publicized—told an unforgettable, relevant and applicable story, similar to this:

The owner of a country meat house discovered early one morning that a fox had come in overnight and ravaged his spoils. He noticed upon entering the meat house that the butcher assigned to close the gate and secure the facility had neglected his responsibilities. As the meat house owner stood among the ravaged spoils and contemplated his losses; he was in a quandary trying to determine who was most responsible for his loss: the fox that ravaged the spoils, or the butcher that left the gate open.

Who is responsible for a lesbian Bishop legally married to another female preaching at ABC? Dr. Harris, the President, and the Board of Trustees are responsible for the ABC/lesbian bishop scandal. Ultimately, it is the ABC Board of Trustees who is responsible. And they must now, close the gate.

If the NBC and ABC lose the battle, other Bible-believing denominations will retreat. Therefore, it is time for war. Albert Einstein said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” We must do something, and that something is nothing short of warfare. It’s time for spiritual war. And if the Church of the Living God go down in this war, we will go down standing up! And that’s why we’ve come to Nashville today.

THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS

NEWS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:         Heidi McDow, 214.679.3409, heidimcdow@yahoo.com

Pastors Call for Accountability as American Baptist College Hosts Lesbian Bishop;

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors to hold Press Conference to Address Objections to Same-Sex Marriage Advocates at Lecture Series

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Mar. 12, 2015 In response to a controversial choice by American Baptist College (ABC) leadership to invite three active proponents of same-sex marriage to speak and lead worship at the College’s distinguished annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series and preach at the worship services, a group of pastors within the National Baptist Convention (NBC) have informally convened to express their concerns at a press conference to be held at the Renaissance Hotel on Tuesday, March 17 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. CDT.

The three presenters to which the group objects are United Church of Christ Bishop Yvette Flunder, who is legally married to a woman and who has advocated for her position publicly; Pastor Delman Coates, who successfully led the campaign to win the popular vote for same-sex marriage in Maryland; and Alan Bosaek, who attempted to persuade the South African Dutch Reformed Church to affirm same-sex marriage.

Known as the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, the pastors want to hold accountable the president and board of trustees of ABC, which is owned and operated by the orthodox, Bible-believing denomination which holds to a biblical view of marriage, for their misguided decision to invite the chosen speakers to helm the lecture series, “Ministry in Motion: Living Faith, Doing Justice.”

The pastors have attempted to reach out to ABC President Forrest Harris in hopes of starting a constructive conversation around this issue, but he has not responded to their phone calls or emails. Speaking for the group, Pastor W. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, is troubled by ABC’s implicit application of the word “justice” to the positioning of same-sex marriage within the context of Christian orthodoxy.

“The board and administration of ABC have adopted our vocabulary, but not our dictionary,” McKissic said. “This is a moral issue, rather than one of social justice; our concern about Bishop Flunder preaching at the worship service is not about intellectual or educational inquiry, but indoctrination of a worldview placed on the pedestal of theological authority.

“As a result,” Pastor McKissic continued, “ABC is deliberately exposing young people to unorthodox views in a worship and preaching setting that wrongly affirms them as biblical truth, rather than more appropriately discussing them in a solely academic exercise.” 

The move by ABC to affirm same-sex marriage through these three speakers violates the official position of the College’s governing religious body, the NBC, which declared in a statement issued in January 2014 that, “In all matters of Faith and Practice, National Baptists are guided by Holy Scriptures. Genesis 2:18-25 shows God’s concern for relationships by creating the woman to be a partner with man.”

The NBC additionally asserted that while endorsed NBC Chaplains serve in a “pluralistic environment,” providing compassionate pastoral support to all individuals based on a traditional interpretation of Scripture, they are “not to participate in any activity that implies or condones same-sex marriage or same-sex union.”

Additionally, Pastor McKissic and his colleagues wish to make the parents of ABC students aware of controversial messages contrary to the denomination’s adherence to biblical standards for marriage and sexuality that their sons and daughters may receive through the lecture series’ speakers.

“The decision on where to educate one’s child requires a great deal of prayer, financial resources and faith in a higher learning institution’s tradition, values and leadership,” Pastor McKissic said. “Our main reasons for making this information public is so that parents can (1) be properly made aware, (2) correspondingly make informed decisions, and (3) so that history and posterity can record that a group of NBC pastors prayerfully and publicly opposed the invitation that was extended to a widely known (and presently married to another woman) same-sex proponent and participant to preach in public Christian worship at our coveted denominational college.”

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors is also distributing a petition for other faith leaders to sign in support of the group’s concerns, available at www.change.org. The pastors stress that they are in no way officially or unofficially representative of the NBC, but speak out for the sake of an informed and aware public.

EDITOR’S NOTE: to RSVP for the press conference, please contact Heidi McDow at heidimcdow@yahoo.com or call 214-679-3409.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ABC BOARD OF TRUSTEES
“Who Left The Gate Open?
THE AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
By William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.

How is it possible that an unrepentant lesbian bishop, legally married to a female, be invited to preach and lead the Tuesday night worship service, at the prestigious 58th Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, on the campus of American Baptist College, Nashville, TN?  Who opened the gate and let Bishop Yvette Flunder, for two consecutive years, come and preach/lecture to impressionable students—while she is arguably the face of the rapidly growing—“I’m Black, I’m Gay, I’m a Christian, and I’m Proud”—movement?  This is a critical question that National Baptists must answer, address and redress:  Who left the gate open? How did we get here?

If National Baptists don’t close this gate, now—and I mean “soon and very soon”—we will see more and more episodes of same-sex married partners leading worship and in any and all capacities in our churches. Does Bishop Flunder’s appearance at ABC signify the future for our churches, or is this simply an unfortunate and momentary lapse in administrative judgment?

While contemplating this clear question of responsibility and accountability for National Baptists and ABC, I recalled an applicable story told by the revered and fondly remembered Dr. Mack King Carter, one of our beloved, now departed colleagues in the NBCUSA, out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  On the floor of an Annual Session of our Congress back in the late ‘90’s, amidst a different, but yet highly publicized controversy, Pastor Carter cited an illustration similar to this:  The owner of a country meat house discovered early one morning that a fox had come in overnight and ravaged his shop. He also noticed on his way to the meat house that the butcher assigned to secure the facility had failed to do so the previous night.  While assessing the damage, he thought to himself, “I actually don’t know who is to blame; the fox that ravaged the spoils, or the butcher who left the gate open.”

As many of us contemplate the question—“How did we get here?”—I am much like the country meat house owner; I’m trying to figure out who actually is to blame: The fox that ravaged the meat or the butcher who left the gate open!

Bishop Yvette Flunder did not invite herself to ABC.  Regarding any responsibility or accountability for her invitation, Sister Flunder is certainly most innocent. There is no attempt to make her out to be a villain in this real live case scenario, or “reality show.” Who, then, is ultimately responsible and should be held accountability for Bishop Flunder’s dubious appearance? Clearly, a gate has been left open, our trust has been violated, and history alone will sadly reveal the incalculable damage resulting from this tragic blunder!

Ultimately, the American Baptist College Trustee Board are the individuals responsible for Bishop Yvette Flunder—a lesbian bishop, married to Shirley Miller—preaching and leading worship at the Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series. The ABC Board of Trustees has remained silent during this whole discussion. Not only are they silent, but to the public at large they are invisible. But, back to the question, who left the gate open? Namely, ABC 2015 Board of Trustees:

Dr. Albert G. Berry, Board Chair
Berry Consultants
Nashville, Tennessee

Bishop Lawrence Kirby, Board Vice Chair
St. Paul Baptist Church
Racine, Wisconsin

Rev. Dr. Julius R.Scruggs
First Missionary Baptist Church
Huntsville, Alabama

Mr. Frank C. Davis
Frank C. Davis & Associates
Nashville, Tennessee

Ms. Linda Rose, Esq.
Rose Immigration Law Firm
Nashville, Tennessee

Dr. Iva Carruthers
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap
President Emerita – Author – Educator – Lecturer
St. Petersburg, Florida

Mr. Dennie Marshall
Sun Trust Bank
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Samuel Hale
Zion Baptist Church
Springfield, Illinois

Rev. Dr. Wilma Johnson
New Prospect Baptist Church
Detroit, Michigan

Rev. Don Darius Butler
Tabernacle Community Baptist Church
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Ms. Sherri L. Neal
Hospital Corporation of America
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Dr. Darrell Drumwright
Temple Baptist Church
Nashville, TN

Mr. Webb Campbell, Atty.
Sherrard & Roe, PLC
Nashville, Tennessee

Ms. Latrisha Jemison
Regions Bank
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Derrick L. Jackson
First Baptist Church of Gallatin
Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Tellis J. Chapman
Galilee Baptist Church
Detroit, Michigan

James A. Crumlin, Jr., Attorney
Bone McAllester North, PLLC
Nashville, Tennessee

These prominent and good-hearted men and women of God, owes it to their National Baptist family, answers to the following questions:

1. Did you and do you support the decision of President Forrest Harris to have invited Bishop Flunder for two consecutive years? And, if so, why?

2. What are the governance, ownership/proprietary, and legal relationship between ABC and NBC? The technical, accurate, actual, functional, and working answer to that question, seems to be shrouded in mystery and uncertainty?

3. Just as Vanderbilt School of Divinity makes it absolutely clear on their website that they affirm same-sex relationships; and it is promoted, protected, and respected…if this is now where ABC is as a school, is this a matter of official policy as it is at Vanderbilt? Or did ABC simply morph into this pro-gay agenda during the Forrest Harris administration?

4. Shouldn’t the ABC Board of Trustees come to the floor of the NBC and in a transparent and truthful manner report to the NBC, ABC’s current pro-gay philosophy and practice mindset?

5. How are board members appointed at ABC? Are they appointed by the NBC, or are they internally appointed?

6. Most, if not all, Christian colleges have an official doctrinal statement. What is ABC’s doctrinal statement?

7. How much money has the NBC donated to the ABC over the past five years?

8. Does the following quotes by President Harris as they appear in a Nashville, TN, newspaper—the Tennessean—accurately reflect the thinking and theology of ABC?

Pastors Oppose Lesbian Bishop Speaker at Baptist College

A Baptist college president in Nashville said Tuesday evening that people should not use “idolatry of the Bible” to discriminate against homosexuals.

“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people,” American Baptist College President Forrest Harris said in response to criticism involving the decision to allow a lesbian bishop to speak there.

What does Harris define as “idolatry of the Bible?

“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.”

The decision by the Nashville college to schedule a married, lesbian bishop to speak at the school next week has enraged some conservative black preachers who believe homosexuality is a sin and have called for the college president to rescind the invitation.

The National Baptist Convention, the largest predominantly African-American Christian denomination in the United States and the one with which the Nashville college is affiliated, has promoted the event on its official website.

American Baptist College has defended its decision to invite Bishop Yvette Flunder to speak at the annual Garnett Nabrit Lecture Series at the school, March 15-18. She is scheduled to speak about her work advocating for the rights and needs of people suffering from HIV and AIDS. The event will be the second time Flunder has spoken at the school, a historically black college with many connections to leaders in the Civil Rights movement.

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, also affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, questioned Harris and the president of the National Baptist Convention.

“For a Baptist college president to invite a lesbian bishop legally married to a woman, to be a guest speaker and worship leader on a Baptist college campus is irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God,” the news release said.

The group asked Harris to rescind Flunder’s invitation, for National Baptist Convention President Jerry Young to release a statement revealing his stance on Flunder and for Young to remove promotion of Flunder’s appearance at the college from the National Baptist Convention website.

If Harris and Young refuse to rescind Flunder’s invitation, the groups asked that the event be moved from American Baptist College facilities.

Reverends Randy Vaughn and Dwight McKissic, co-coordinators of the conservative pastor group called Harris’ words “disheartening” “heretical,” and said he “trampled on the beliefs of the school’s founders.”

“It is so disappointing and disheartening that at the American Baptist College, where the land was bought and paid for by Baptists who took the Bible literally, their blood, sweat and tears are being trampled on,” said McKissic, senior pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. “We believe the Bible and its teachings. We believe homosexuality – as a matter of fact all the Bible talks about as sin – is sin.”

Vaughn, pastor of the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Port Arthur, Texas, said the moment can’t go forward without there being a recorded protest.

Both pastors said more than 150 conservative National Baptist Convention Christians have joined their group.

But Harris said the group of pastors that has criticized his decision does not understand and has misinterpreted the theology of the large Baptist denomination to which they belong.

“I think they have misappropriated the theology of the National Baptist Convention which says that churches and individuals can hold their own theological beliefs about what they think is right and wrong,” Harris said. “It’s tragic these conservative pastors are in opposition to what education ought to be about, to expose students to critical moral thinkers and a broad education.”

The concerned pastors want Young and Harris to alert students, parents, alumni and all National Baptist Convention pastors and churches that Flunder has been invited to the school for two years.

Harris has said the demands of the group of pastors and their requests “fly in the face of everything that ABC stands for as an institution of higher education rooted in the cause of social justice and equality for all,” according to a news release sent to The Tennessean on behalf of the of the school Tuesday.

Harris also said the American Baptist College has received federal funding and expresses “neither favor nor disfavor of positions, groups or individuals (who speak at the school) in accordance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination.”

Reporter Jordan Buie can be reached at 615-726-5970 or on Twitter @jordanbuiehttp://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/03/10/pastors-oppose-lesbian-bishop-at-baptist-college/24727465/The Tennessean

9. Do you support the following quote in a letter in support of President Harris and Bishop Flunder which says the following:

“American Baptist College is dedicated to educating students to be strengthened in believing, practicing and proclaiming the liberating gospel of Jesus. The students of American Baptist College deserve to know that the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived and preached by faithful people, who are in committed, same-sex relationships in the same way the gospel of Jesus is believed, lived, and preached by faithful people who are in committed heterosexual relationships.”

10. Again, do you approve or disapprove of the decision of Forrest Harris to invite Bishop Flunder, and his belief that we cannot be guided by a “first century worldview”—a reference to the Bible?

There are 200 supporters who’ve signed petitions, thus far, in disagreement with the Bishop Flunder invite. I respectfully await your answers as to whether or not you agree.

“Who Left the Gate Open?”

A DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE NATION AND THE NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION

Ten Reasons Why American Baptist College President Forrest Harris Should Rescind Lesbian Bishop Yvette Flunder’s, Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Invitation

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Discussions, deliberations and decisions, regarding the legality and morality of same-sex marriage—have wound their way through courts of justice, halls of Congress, city councils and county governments, local school districts, voting booths and the office of the President of the United States. These discussions have been a part of American families’ table talks for many, many years, because many American families are impacted personally by an immediate or extended family member who is engaged in a same-sex relationship, or contemplating and evaluating their sexual identity.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America is scheduled to debate the legal fate of same-sex marriage in the United States on April 28 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-to-hear-same-sex-marriage-arguments-on-april-28-1425573877).  They are likely to issue an opinion before they adjourn this summer. Consequently, gay marriage could be legal throughout the length and breadth of America by the end of June. The Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage will be a defining moment for our nation; and their decision will have a trickle-down effect, and incredible influence and impact on every other sector in society. Gay marriage will then be the law of the land.

Not only are these discussions, deliberations and decisions taking place in the secular realms of society—they have also landed on the doorsteps of America’s churches and denominations, Christian colleges and universities. Needless to say, these are serious and often uncomfortable conversations for the Christian community to hold and process. Nevertheless, the changing culture in our society has made these discussions, deliberations and decisions absolutely necessary.

The Southern Baptist Convention has gone on record many, many times, officially, by way of resolution, declaring a non-negotiable, non-compromising, emphatically clear position that marriage is between one man and one woman. President William J. Shaw and President Julius Scruggs (immediate past presidents) have gone on record declaring personal convictions in writing, that the NBC believes that marriage biblically is between a man and a woman; but there has never been an official declaration, voted on by the NBC in their annual session that specifies that the NBC believes that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman. I was present in Jackson, MS, at the NBC Mid-Winter Board Meeting, this past January when the newly elected President (September 2014) of the NBC, Dr. Jerry Young, announced that he will appoint or already had appointed a resolutions committee to develop a resolution/position statement to be voted on by the NBC later this year, on the subject of same-sex marriage. It is certainly high time that the largest organized body of Black Christians anywhere in the world take a definitive, official stand on this subject.

Previously, the NBC had issued a statement instructing its’ chaplains to only perform marriages between a man and a woman. I am so grateful and proud of President Young for making a decision to lead the NBC to adopt an official position on same-sex marriage. I anticipate that we will get an update on this resolution in June in Detroit, at the Annual National Baptist Congress gathering, or in September of this year, in Memphis, at the Annual Session of the NBC. We certainly need to be in prayer for President Young as he guides our beloved NBC through these turbulent and unchartered waters related to developing a resolution/policy on same-sex marriage.

In the meantime, Dr. Forrest Harris, President of American Baptist College in Nashville, TN—a school we are often told during the NBC Annual Session, is owned and operated by the Convention—has very aggressively made his decision regarding affirming persons in same-sex marriages. For the second consecutive year, Dr. Harris has invited lesbian bishop, Yvette Flunder, to serve as a guest lecturer and worship leader at the 58th Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, held on the campus of ABC, and in the World Baptist Center facility, that’s owned by the NBC.

The land that ABC and the World Baptist Center sit on in Nashville, TN, was purchased by Negro Baptists in the first quarter of the 20th Century. The Black Baptists of that era were adamantly opposed to same-sex relationships based on biblical grounds. It is a dishonor, and an act of disrespect to those sainted souls, for President Harris to now host a lesbian bishop on those hallowed grounds.

Bishop Yvette Flunder, the lesbian bishop invited by Dr. Harris, and Dean Emilie Townes, the lesbian Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, where Dr. Harris also works, are both on record stating that the Bible does not address consensual same-sex relationships. It is disheartening to discover that Dr. Harris is introducing this false and heretical teaching to the campus of ABC. By extension, he is associating and influencing the Baptist students at ABC, and all the NBC churches to Flunder’s, Townes’ and Harris’ point of view that the Bible does not address same-sex relationships. This is a very serious matter. Bishop Flunder is expected to lead worship, preach and deliver a luncheon lecture on March 17-18, on the NBC, ABC campus. What a horrible day to trample on the history of those who sacrificed to buy the land for ABC, and to validate the heretical teaching of Flunder and Townes, that the Bible does not address homosexual relationships.

Bishop Flunder’s UCC denomination validates same-sex marriages. Emilie Townes’ Vanderbilt School of Divinity affirms same-sex marriage and homosexual relationships. Forrest Harris’ American Baptist College has not sanctioned same-sex marriages, nor has the NBC, that Harris is accountable to. Dr. Harris’ NBC constituency does not sanction and support gay marriage as does Flunder’s and Townes’ affiliations; therefore, the NBC must hold them accountable for this breach of trust.

There are ten reasons why Dr. Harris ought to rescind the invitation of Bishop Flunder to speak at ABC. It is also my prayer that Bishop Flunder would respect the history and biblical traditional beliefs of the NBC on this subject and voluntarily refrain from fulfilling Dr. Harris’ invitation.

  1. Bishop Flunder’s presence and preaching at ABC gives a false legitimacy to gay theology, gay apologetics, and gay exegesis. Her false views regarding what the Bible says and does not say regarding same-sex relations are validated by her welcome and acceptance at ABC.
  2. Bishop Flunder is legally married to Shirley Miller. Her presentation at ABC as a partner in a same-sex marriage makes an “incarnational” powerful statement to the students at ABC that her lifestyle is accepted and affirmed by the ABC administration and their denominational affiliation—NBC.
  3. Consequently, Bishop Flunder’s presence raises serious questions about the belief system, doctrine, and practices of the NBC constituency with regard to same-sex relationships. It is not a stretch to believe that Bishop Flunder would not be invited unless her “marriage” was thought to be approved of by the NBC.
  4. Bishop Flunder’s presence advances the gay agenda within and outside of the church. Does the NBC really want to play a role in that advancement? If practicing homosexuality is approved by the Black Baptist church—and her presence implicitly says that it is –on what basis then do we proclaim that fornication and adultery is wrong?
  5. Bishop Flunder’s presence presents a model of family life that the Bible does not support.
  6. Bishop Flunder’s presence exposes a lack of accountability structures in place within the NBC. Almost without exception, every NBC pastor, including our President Dr. Jerry Young, does not support Bishop Flunder’s appearance; yet, we are all powerless to stop it. That’s a huge problem and one that needs to be fixed in short order.
  7. Bishop Flunder’s coming represents a departure from the faith of our fathers, including Martin Luther King. King wrote a statement disapproving of same-sex relationships that can be accessed here: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/16/what-did-mlk-think-about-gay-people/.
  8. Bishop Flunder’s presence as a lecturer reinforces the false notion that gay-rights, civil rights, and justice issues are synonymous and compatible. ABC is aiding and abetting the gay community to hijack the language of the Civil Rights Movement with their affirmation of Bishop Flunder’s same-sex marriage.
  9. Bishop Flunder is scheduled to address the subject of AIDS at the prestigious Nannie Helen Burroughs Luncheon. Does ABC really believe that a person who affirms and advocates same-sex relationships is the most qualified person to address this subject?
  10. Bishop Flunder’s presence calls into question, if ABC and NBC could affirm the following statement adopted by Erskine college after two male athletes on their campus involved in a same-sex relationship became public knowledge:

“Christ affirms that marital union is to be between a man and woman (Matt 19:4-6). The Bible teaches that monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is God’s intended design for humanity and that sexual intimacy has its proper place only within the context of marriage (1 Thes. 4:3-5, Col. 3:5-7). Sexual relations outside of marriage or between persons of the same sex are spoken of in scripture as sin and contrary to the will of the Creator (Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-11).

We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.” (Emphasis mine)

Our current structure and system can’t stop a college president who does not believe that homosexuality is sin, from advancing his non-biblical views and pro-gay agenda on the students at ABC. Many of those students will become pastors and staff members at our churches. They will ultimately bring a different viewpoint to the people in the pews, than what National Baptists have historically believed. That is why Bishop Yvette Flunder’s coming is an ill-thought idea. Perhaps Bishop Flunder will do ABC and the NBC family a great favor and save us from this national embarrassment and scandal, by simply deciding that she will not appear at the Lecture Series at ABC. And prayerfully, the resolution/position statement that the NBC will adopt will convey to the College a clear position that the NBC does not in any way, shape, form or fashion endorse gay marriage. Consequently, if the College respects the position/statement of the NBC, “institutional decisions will be made in light of this position” and this kind of decision will never happen again. If Dr. Forrest Harris insists on following through with the invitation of Bishop Flunder, he needs to be forced to resign or be fired by the Board of ABC for violating the trust, the Bible and beliefs of the vast majority of National Baptists. Contrary to the thinking of Dr. Harris, Bishop Flunder and Dean Townes, the Bible is crystal clear on the subject of same-sex relationships. By comparing the Civil Rights Movement with the gay rights movement, they are comparing one people’s sin with another people’s skin. To do so is tragic, sinful and shameful. And this is what Forrest Harris is leading the American Baptist College to do, partially funded by NBC dollars. National Baptists need to rise up and let their voices be heard on this issue.

THE NATIONAL BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP OF CONCERNED PASTORS
LESBIAN BISHOP AND TWO PRO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PASTORS TO LECTURE AT THE AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE IN NASHVILLE, TN

The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors is an informal fellowship of pastors with an affinity to the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. (NBC) who are deeply concerned about the state of our nation, our families, our churches, and our schools. We have mobilized to address these issues because of our grave concern over our collective, downward drift morally as a nation. Therefore, we declare our support to the NBC’s efforts that addresses these concerns, and all Bible believing ministries that are proffering biblical, Spirit-led solutions to the ills of our nation.

We are praying for and in support of our President, Dr. Jerry Young, as he develops and deploys initiatives to address these concerns. We also stand with Dr. Young as he gives leadership to our Convention in strengthening and encouraging existing efforts to curb the downward moral tide of our nation.

We are praying and believing that God would use the National Baptist Convention, USA, in a mighty way, once again, to exalt Himself, evangelize the unchurched, educate and edify believers, and elevate our society. We seek to stand shoulder to shoulder with all pastors who recognize that our nation is in trouble, and ill-at-ease; and only through the adoption and passionate pursuit of a Biblical/Kingdom worldview will we find meaningful and lasting answers to the problems that plague us. Nothing short of Divine intervention and a Kingdom movement is going to save this great nation of ours.

Because the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors seeks to strengthen our families and churches, and to constructively address the ills of our nation’s educational systems, we acknowledge that we were/are disheartened to discover the current state of affairs at the American Baptist College (ABC) in Nashville, TN.

ABC hosted a lesbian bishop, who is legally married to a woman, to be a lecturer last year, and invited her back this year (March 15-18, 2015) to serve as the Tuesday Evening worship leader and preacher, in addition to serving as the Wednesday afternoon speaker for the prestigious Nanny Helen Burroughs Luncheon.

Dr. Forrest Harris, the President of ABC, who simultaneously serves as a professor at Vanderbilt Divinity School—where the Dean at Vanderbilt Divinity School is also a practicing lesbian (http://christiannews.net/2013/10/07/outspoken-lesbian-minister-promoted-to-dean-of-vanderbilt-divinity-school/) —is fully aware that Bishop Yvette Flunder is married to Shirley Miller. Dr. Harris is also aware that Bishop Flunder presides over 37-40 “welcome and affirming churches,” and she is affiliated with the United Churches of Christ denomination, that do not maintain the historic Baptist view that homosexuality is a sin, and the Bible is inspired, infallible, and inerrant.

For a Baptist college president to invite a lesbian bishop legally married to a woman, to be a guest speaker and worship leader on a Baptist college campus is irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God.

The National Baptist Convention needs to hold Dr. Forrest Harris accountable for his actions as it relates to the lack of wisdom involved; poor judgment displayed; the violation of the sacred trust exhibited; the failure to disclose this breech of Baptist tradition to the ABC Trustee Board, and the NBC constituency; failing to restrain his inner impulse to invite Bishop Flunder twice; and his failure to respect parental authority by not notifying the parents that he had chosen to expose their sons and daughters to a lesbian, legally-married bishop, on a Baptist college campus. It strains credulity to believe that Dr. Harris could not see that this decision was wrought with complexity, controversy, and complicity as it relates to the duality of the relationship that ABC has with NBC.

President Forrest Harris is heavily influenced by, and is heavily bringing the theological liberal views of Vanderbilt School of Divinity to ABC. Affirming same-sex marriage as ABC-Nashville has done by endorsing Bishop Flunder, is beyond the boundaries of Baptist/Evangelical thought.

This situation in Nashville is a scandal and travesty of the highest order, and a great disservice and injustice to the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., perpetrated by the American Baptist College. Therefore, the National Baptist Fellowship Of Concerned Pastors makes the following nine requests:

1. We are asking President Forrest Harris to rescind the invitation to Bishop Flunder to serve as a guest lecturer and worship leader at ABC in the upcoming Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series, solely on the basis that she is a proud, practicing, and public advocate of same-sex marriage.

2. We are asking Dr. Jerry Young, the President of the National Baptist Convention, to release a statement that reveals to his constituents where he stands on the scheduled appearance of Bishop Yvette Flunder at ABC during this year’s lecture series at ABC. It is our belief that Dr. Young is not in support of a lesbian Bishop speaking at ABC. We are requesting that he publicly make his position known.

3. We are asking Dr. Jerry Young to remove from the National Baptist Convention website the promotion and advertising of Bishop Flunder’s appearance at ABC.

4. We are requesting that if President Harris insist on bringing Bishop Flunder—in spite of what we believe to be against the wishes and in violation of the belief of the vast majority of the National Baptists—then we are asking that the event be held somewhere other than facilities owned by the National Baptist Convention.

5. We are requesting of President Young and President Harris, if Dr. Harris move forward with Bishop Flunder’s scheduled appearance, then they inform in writing the students, parents, alumni, and all NBC pastors and churches, that for two consecutive years American Baptist College has invited a lesbian United Church of Christ bishop to lecture at our school. Integrity demands that parents of the students at ABC be informed of the marital status of Bishop Flunder. Integrity also demands that all NBCUSA Churches be officially informed of the marital status of Bishop Flunder.

6. We are requesting that President Forrest Harris provide answers to the following questions:

A. Is the pro-Gay lifestyle and same-sex marriage affirmed and taught as acceptable at ABC?

B. What is the current and historic position of the National Baptist Convention on the subject of same-sex marriage and the gay lifestyle? Has that position changed recently? Does the NBC believe that homosexual acts are sinful within or outside of a “marriage” context?

C. What was the dollar amount given to ABC from the NBC over the past 3-4 years?

D. If we send students to ABC, will they be taught in the classroom that same-sex marriage is acceptable and the gay lifestyle is an alternative lifestyle?

E. Dr. Harris and Dr. Young, are you aware that Dr. Yvette Flunder is a practicing lesbian, legally married to a woman?

F. Would the NBC constituency embrace their mission funds going in partial support to subsidize a practicing lesbian speaking at our college that we own and operate?

G. What is the governing relationship between ABC and NBC? Is the responsible party for Bishop Flunder speaking ABC or NBC?

The information in this Press Release was sent to Dr. Jerry Young, Dr. Fred Campbell, Dr. Forrest Harris and also to several members of the Board of Trustees of the American Baptist College. As of to date no response has been received.

Therefore, we feel as if we have no other recourse, but to make this public appeal, with the hopes that someone with knowledge and answers to these questions may provide them. Our churches, associations and state conventions need to know the answers to these questions. We are sure that there are pastors who would share our concerns also, that may be able to persuade President Harris to provide some answers.

7. We are encouraging fellow National Baptists and all Baptists who have any strong passions and convictions about this issue—no matter what they are—to contact the offices of President Forrest Harris and President Jerry Young and register their convictions about this matter. More importantly, we are encouraging all Baptists to add these concerns to your prayer list, and if you are so inclined these concerns can be added to your church’s prayer ministry requests.

The phone number and email addresses to Dr. Young’s office and Dr. Harris’ office are as follows:

Dr. Jerry Young, president@nationalbaptist.com,
Phone: (601) 362-6265, Fax: (601) 362-1854
New Hope Baptist Church, 5202 Watkins Drive, Jackson, MS 39206

Dr. Forrest E Harris, officeofthepresident@abcnash.edu,
Phone: (615) 256-1463, President and CEO, American Baptist College
1800 Baptist World Center Drive, Nashville, TN 37207

8. We are asking the National Baptist Convention to hold Dr. Forrest Harris accountable for his actions.

9. We are also concerned about two proponents of same-sex marriage sharing the lecture platform with Bishop Flunder—Pastor Delman Coates, who successfully led the campaign to win the popular vote for same-sex marriage in Maryland, and Alan Bosaek who attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the South African Dutch Reformed Church to approve of gay-marriage. It appears that under the theme of “Ministry in Motion: Living Faith, Doing Justice,” ABC is poised to promote implicitly same-sex marriage. Pastor Coates is scheduled to do a lecture on “Doing Justice” twice at ABC. He views the same-sex marriage issue as a “justice” issue. We view it as a moral issue. To redefine a sin issue as a justice issue is a serious spiritual violation and one that the NBC should not be a participant in, even by association.

The Forrest Harris’s same sex marriage issue is driven by a simple failure to believe and apply the Bible where the Bible speaks clearly and authoritatively. He has also opened the door for liberal theology of the worst kind to creep into the NBC. If what Dr. Harris has done is allowed to stand without accountability, he will inflict a wound and a debilitating disease upon the NBC with long-term and far-reaching consequences.

If there is a redeeming value to this scandal, it will force the NBC to take a stand on what we believe about biblical authority and application—at least on the issue of same-sex marriage—and that can’t help but be a good thing.

Our main reason for releasing this information to the public is so that history will record that a small group of NBC pastors went on record opposing the notion of a lesbian bishop lecturing at our institution—American Baptist College. Furthermore, we seriously want answers to the questions above and inasmuch as we could not get the answers from ABC we want anyone who has these answers to share them with us that we might share them with our constituencies.

Finally, thanks for your consideration of these matters. If there are other Baptist pastors and parishioners who want to add their names to this signatory list, we will provide a way for you to do that. Go to https://www.change.org/p/national-baptist-convention-usa-inc-and-american-baptist-college-your-signature-on-the-following-petition-is-documentation-that-president-forrest-harris-of-abc-and-president-jerry-young-of-the-national-baptist-convention-usa-inc-are-duly-notified-tha-2 .Your signature indicates that you are in support of the concerns and positions addressed in this statement. We will provide the entire list of signatures to Dr. Young, so that he will know where we stand, and so that history will not record that a lesbian bishop lectured at ABC for two consecutive years, and there was no registered, documented objectors to her appearance. Because Dr. Young believes in the authority of Scripture, we are confident that he will guide the NBC ship in the right direction.

The coordinating pastors, who are signing this list, do not officially or unofficially, in any way, represent the National Baptist Convention, Dr. Jerry Young (President). Each coordinator only represent themselves and perhaps the ministry that they are associated with. The National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors has absolutely no official relationship with the National Baptist Convention. We are simply proud members of the National Baptist Convention who love it and are concerned about the ABC matter.

In the Will of God,
National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, Coordinators,

Pastor Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., Cornerstone Church, 5415 Matlock Road, Arlington, TX 76108

Pastor Randy Vaughn, Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Port Arthur, TX

Contact: Veronica Griffith, Cornerstone Baptist Church – 5415 Matlock Rd. Arlington, TX 76018
Telephone: 817.468.0083 ext. 203 / Fax: 817.468.0309 / Cell: 817.903.0283
Email: vgriffith@cbcarlington.org; Web: http://www.cbcarlington.org

Contact: Cheryl Brewer, InView Communications, Cell: 214-493-1180; Email: mscbrewer1@gmail.com

IS A GEORGIA BAPTIST COLLEGE COVERING UP RACISM?

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

The Bible says, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses” (1 Timothy 5:19).

Three witnesses recently came forth to deliver charges of racially offensive comments from the lips of Dr. Ergun Caner, who recently resigned as President of Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia. Dr. Caner did not resign when faced with the allegations of racist remarks. His trustee board—including Michael Pigg, a Black trustee—all stood by him. They did not consider the testimony of three witnesses reliable enough for them to hold Ergun Caner accountable for his racist speech. When the then chairman of BPC Trustee Board was given testimony of Dr. Caner’s racist and vulgar comments, Gary Campbell’s response was: “Why are y’all making a bigger deal out of this than it is?” according to Dewayne Bynum, Director of Plant Operations at BPC, who also reported to the trustees, racist comments made by Dr. Caner. Bynum further reported that Dr. Caner’s comment to his (Bynum’s) attorney was “It was no big deal”!!! What incredible, irresponsible responses to racist comments of the most vile, vicious, and vulgar sort…“It was no big deal”!

People underreport racism for the same reason women underreport rape. Why? Because there are a great number of people who categorically dismiss, disregard, deny, deflect, defend, marginalize and seek to destroy anyone who would dare reveal to larger circle closeted racism. The way the BPC trustees have handled, or mishandled, the reports of racism on their campus would discourage anybody from ever reporting acts of racism there.

If we are going to root out racism in society, we must gather the intestinal fortitude to gracefully, lovingly, humbly and truthfully confront racism, whenever and whenever it raises its ugly head. We cannot conquer what we do not confront. We cannot fix what we don’t face. In order to defeat racism, we must confront racism.

Gary Campbell became acting President at BPC for a few days following President Ergun Caner’s resignation and before the appointment of Dr. Charles Bass as the interim President. During Campbell’s brief presidency, he fired Dr. C. B. Scott, one of the Vice Presidents at BPC, because Dr. Scott reported to the trustees and the executive staff at BPC the allegations of Dr. Caner’s racist remarks. Seriously, BPC? You would fire a man for reporting racism, at the same time that you want to recruit minorities to your campus? Now that we know for certain how the BPC trustees will handle allegations of racism, we also know that it is not a trustworthy place for minorities to attend, if matters of race have to be adjudicated by the current trustees.

When faced with inappropriate sexting communication allegations, the BPC trustees allowed Dr. Caner to resign. But when faced with allegations of racist commentary, the BPC trustees wholeheartedly gave support to Dr. Caner. The racial indiscretions should have been just as weighty to the BPC trustees as the “inappropriate” communications allegations.

Perhaps if Dr. Caner had been held accountable for inappropriate words in the past regarding women and the Black church, things wouldn’t have ever gotten to the place at BPC where Dr. Caner would have been comfortable communicating irresponsibly, racially and sexually.

In a recorded sermon a few years back, preaching at a men’s gathering in an Ohio church, Dr. Caner shows certain insensitivity toward women:

 “Dr. Caner, do you believe in women behind the pulpit? My answer is well, yeah, of course, how are they going to vacuum back there unless they get behind it….[laughter, and hoots and hollers]…..and that’s going to be in half of your pulpits next Sunday. FEEL FREE!!! I LOVE THAT LINE!! But you know one line like that shuts it all up, ’cause they’re not going to talk about it, and they’re not going to talk to you for a while, which is good, which is good.”

I would certainly pause before I considered sending my daughter to a college presided over by a man who reflected the mindset revealed by the statement above. The attitude and mindset behind the above statement suggest that he holds women in less than high esteem.

While preaching in the pulpit of FBC, Jacksonville, FL, several years ago, Caner gave an extremely false caricature of the Black Church. Ergun Caner made condescending and stereotypical remarks concerning the Black Church in a sermon preached at First Baptist of Jacksonville, FL. Caner’s observation certainly would not be true of the Black church that I pastor and the majority of Black churches that I’m aware of. Yet, his remarks were met with approving laughter. I don’t believe that he would have made those same remarks in a Black church. Caner essentially said Black churches do not put the preacher up to preach until about 1:00 p.m. That’s not true. Black churches, according to Caner, take up “twelve offerings”. That’s untrue. Caner further stated:

“… you go to a Black church gentlemen, you are not going to have on a blue suit, you are going to have blue shoes to match, and your handkerchief is going to match your tie, and your whole outfit is going to match your car. It’s BEAUTIFUL. And ladies: when we talk about black church, we’re talkin’ about hats. And I’m not just talkin’ Easter hats as some of you may wear, I’m talkin’ ’bout satellite dish hats. [laughter]. Big enough to receive a signal, with a curtain rod goin’ down the front that you can just pull the curtain across”.   [Ergun Caner, The Warrior Church, June 14, 2009]

By the grace of God, I have been privileged to preach over the past thirty six years in twenty seven states, at least seventy five cities, and in over one hundred and eighty pulpits or public venues across the length and breadth of America. The vast majority of those preaching assignments were in Black Baptist pulpits. My point is, Ergun Caner may have had a better opportunity to judge the social mores of the Black church more so than I, but it’s doubtful. I can truly say that what Ergun Caner stated is simply, generally not true. As a matter of fact, I’ve never witnessed what he described. If I stated that White preachers preached in Hawaiian shirts and encouraged married couples in their churches to have sex seven straight days, and wore toupees; that may be true in isolated cases but it would be unfair, inaccurate, and racially stereotypical, without foundation, for to me make such a claim as normative.

Caner owes FBC Jacksonville an apology. Caner owes the Black church an apology. His remarks were damaging to the reputation of the Black church in the minds and hearts of his hearers. One would expect better than this from a college President.

When I read Caner’s untruthful words about the Black church spoken at the major, Anglo FBC, who really couldn’t evaluate whether or not he was being truthful, I don’t find it a stretch to believe that he said the words attributed to him by persons at the Brewton-Parker College that he was President of until recently.

Dewayne Bynum, Maria Garvin, and Zakery Pitt—three witnesses—have all gone on record with first-hand accounts of racial rhetoric espoused by Dr. Caner. All three of them were found to be less than credible in establishing a truthful testimony that Dr. Caner had spoken racially offensive in the eyes of the trustees. My heart bleeds for these three brave citizens of the Kingdom of God, who sought to address this matter biblically by reporting it to the proper authorities. My heart bleeds for Dr. C.B. Scott who would dare provide a listening ear and address the concerns of these two students and one faculty member to the proper authorities.

Dr. C.B. Scott, is not only terminated, but is asked to sign a paper indicating that he will only testify on behalf of BPC against the three witnesses if this matter ever reaches the court system. How sad!!! BPC trustees refused to discipline the man who spoke the racist words, but was willing to fire the man who brought to their attention the racist words. How sad!!!

I am just a voice, crying in the wilderness; but I am going out on a limb, stepping out on faith and asking the BPC trustees to reconsider their decision regarding firing Dr. C.B. Scott. I’m asking that you offer him his job back. As a matter of fact, Dr. Scott has the integrity, scholarship, pastoral and administrative experience, and the backbone to serve Brewton-Parker College through this turbulent transition season in the very position that he was released from. Dr. Scott could help restore wholeness to the school again. His return to the faculty would certainly restore the trust to many, that matters related to race would be dealt with fairly and objectively and not swept under the rug.

Director of Plant Operations at BPC, Thomas Dewayne Bynum, provided the following statement to BPC trustee chairman, yet it was disregarded:

“This is a statement regarding a conversation that I had with Dr. Ergun Caner, President of Brewton Parker College February 5, 2014. I had gone over to the president’s house to talk with Dr. Caner about an email that he had sent days earlier about a potential “cyber stalker” incident. We were talking about the shape of the facilities and what needed to be done to get all of the buildings repaired and/or updated. At this time Dr. Caner said that he was misinformed by the board of trustees about the magnitude of the problems at Brewton Parker. I told him that they may not have known the full extent of the buildings issues because they had been misinformed. Dr. Caner then stated that he believed that they were aware and then said “they nigger dicked me is what they did”, I could not believe my ears and asked him “what did you say” and he then said “they nigger fucked me”. After this l must admit that my mind was reeling and I did not really comprehend much of what was said the next few seconds. We finished our meeting about the buildings (which all took place beside his car behind the house) and I left. Later I spoke with a vice president, Dr. Scott, and related to him that Dr. Caner had spoken to me on a vulgar way but I did not go into detail about what was actually said. I was embarrassed to give Dr. Scott the details at the time and told him that I hoped that it was because Dr. Caner was upset and it was not how he actually felt. Since then I have had conversations and overheard Dr. Caner speak in derogatory ways about African Americans, so I am now convinced that this is a part of his character.” (Director of Plant Operations, Brewton Parker College, Thomas Dewayne Bynum)

Maria Garvin’s statement:

“Yesterday, December 16, 2014, I, Maria Garvin, along with Zak Pitt were told to put in some light bulbs at Dr. Ergun Caner’s home. This was called in around 3:20 PM. Zak and I were let into Dr. Caner’s home by Dr. Caner’s youngest son Drake. Upon entering their home, Drake went to the back where we could here Dr. Caner talking on the phone. Personally, I was under the impression that Drake had gone to tell Dr. Caner that we were there to put in the light bulbs for him, but ten seconds later, Drake returns down the hall and tells us that his dad wasn’t quite ready yet. So Zak and I waited in the dining room area that is across from the front door.

Not too long after Drake had told us to wait, I begin to over hear a few of the things that Dr. Caner was talking about on the phone. One of the first things I heard was an issue that had gone on pertaining to the track team. Juan Castanon had been kicked off the team due to him swearing at the coach Matt Smith and the athletic director Greg “Boo” Mullins. Dr. Caner had his phone on speaker so not only could we hear everything that Dr. Caner was saying, but we could also hear what Juan was saying. Juan begin to ask Dr. Caner about his scholarship money and whether or not he would be able to keep it. Dr. Caner told Juan that he talked to the people in financial aid, and he would be able to keep his track scholarship even though he is ineligible to run through NAIA. Juan told Dr. Caner that he was aware of this to which Dr. Caner asked if Juan had sworn at the track coach and the athletic director. Juan reassured Dr. Caner that this information was false and that he would never do that, and he would never do such a thing to anyone. Dr. Caner then told Juan that Coach Mullins probably pulled his scholarship to try to free up more scholarship money for the baseball team. Juan agreed and shortly following, they both hung up the phone.

Not too long afterwards, Dr. Caner called someone else to which he discussed his previous phone call he had received from Juan. I believe it had to be his brother solely based on the conversation that followed. Dr. Caner was asking for his brother’s advice about what he should do in the situation concerning Juan. His brother responded that he had his VP of Affairs handle those types of situations. Dr. Caner then said that he wouldn’t dare put the individual that he had for that area over the situation because it was Dr. C.B. Scott. He then proceeded to tell his brother why he wouldn’t allow Dr. Scott to be over the situation stating that Dr. Scott doesn’t know how to communicate well with people, he is a terrible teacher, he doesn’t work well with others, he doesn’t fundraise, and to top it off he acts like he is half black. Personally, all of the statements that were made towards Dr. Scott I found obscene because I think he is a nice person, and I’ve never had a problem with him, but for Dr. Caner to say that Dr. Scott acts like he’s half black struck me as odd. What exactly is wrong with being half black or black at all? I was beyond offended when I heard that come from the president’s mouth because I am half black. I also thought that for Dr. Caner to be such an eloquent speaker and well respected leader that that was a very narrow minded thing for him to say, and in that brief moment, I lost my respect for him saying that.

Additional comment by Maria Garvin:

“Recently, a circumstance has occurred that has led us to believe that the president of Brewton-Parker College has been a participant of racial discrimination. However, there have been several instances in which this has happened on the campus of Brewton-Parker. Racial discrimination is a social issue that not only affects students on campus, but also the community around them. Discrimination has become institutionalized, meaning that various systems, with higher education being one of them, make decisions based on race unconsciously and sometimes consciously. Many times racism and discrimination can be taboo, but if we can address it up front, then we can change it upfront. Colleges are a significant part of what a community is, and the students are a huge part of what a college is, as it provides education for students coming from various neighborhoods and high schools. They can become a major turning point for students in building relationships with people of differing backgrounds than their own. If college students can become more aware of racial discrimination and what it means, they will be better equipped, as our country is becoming more diversified. There will be a need to understand racial discrimination and working with others different than oneself in the workforce. Racial discrimination is real and we need to address it. The differential treatment of people based on the color of their skin should not be tolerated.

With that being said, it is imperative that this current situation pertaining to Dr. Caner’s remark be addressed. If it is okay for the president to make such derogatory remarks, then who is he to correct anyone relating to such matters? Moreover, if we can attribute this behavior to Dr. Caner, it is safe to suggest that he condones this behavior seeing as how he displays it himself. A college president must be in tune with the student population, which is almost always comprised of hundreds or thousands of diverse individuals from all over America and around the world. Dealing with so many people and their opinions is a daunting task; the plethora of problems that are possible when several students collide with each other are limitless. However, how can one deal with these same individuals’ problems equally if all of these individuals are not viewed as being equal?

In short, this incident must be handled swiftly and with care. Even if that means contacting a higher power such as the NAACP whose sole purpose is to “inform the public of the adverse effects of racial discrimination and to seek its elimination” and “ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all citizens” as it clearly says in their mission statement. As a part of the student body at Brewton-Parker and a member of the African American community, I feel that it is my responsibility to aid in this effort.”

Zakery Pitt’s Statement:

“Yesterday, December 16, 2014, I, Zakery Pitt, as well as my co-worker Maria Garvin overheard a disturbing conversation at Dr. Caner’s home. Around 3:30 our boss, Dewayne Bynum, called and instructed us to go to Dr. Caner’s house with some light bulbs. So Maria and I went to Dr. Carter’s house with the light bulbs and were met by his son Drake at the door. We followed Drake inside and as we waited in the dining room Drake went to a different part of the house to notify Dr. Caner that we were there. Drake came back and told us that Dr. Caner was not ready yet, so we were under the impression that he would be out in just a minute. As we were waiting in the dining room Maria and I overheard Dr. Caner talking on the phone on speakerphone. I quickly recognized the voice as Juan Castanon, a student at Brewton Parker. During the conversation Juan was asking about his scholarship money for next semester for track. The athletic director, Boo Mullins, pulled his scholarship because of disciplinary actions regarding the cursing out of Boo Mullins and the head track coach. Dr. Caner asked Juan if he cursed them out and Juan denied it several times. Dr. Caner continued the conversation by reassuring Juan that he had his scholarship and that he would receive that scholarship next semester. The conversation ended at that point.

At this point Maria and I were sure that Dr. Caner was aware of our presence and he would join us in the dining room, but he started another conversation on the phone with whom I assume was his brother, Emir Caner, President of Truett Mcconnell College. He was asking him for advice on how to deal with the situation with Juan and the AD Boo Mullins. Caner said he felt that Boo needed to be checked with his power because he thought the only reason Boo pulled Juan’s scholarship was to free more money for the baseball program. Caller’s brother explained to him that at his school he placed the VP of Affairs over the AD. Caner said that Dr. C.B. Scott was his VP of Affairs and there would be no way that he would place him in that position. Dr. Caner continued by saying some disrespectful comments about Scott. Caner said that Scott was “horrible in the classroom, horrible with people, did not try to fundraise money, and thinks he is half black.” Dr. Caner also continued by saying that Dr. C.B. Scott wanted to be the Academic Dean. Caner and his brother laughed out loud and Caner said that Scott would never be put into that position. After that Caner received another call.

The third and final call was from Jennifer Blaylock. She called him complaining about Nikki Jones and Leslie Harrell. Blaylock said that Nikki Jones was repeatedly telling Leslie Harrell to not do something even after Caner told Blaylock to tell Harrell to do it. From Blaylock’s voice I could tell she was very upset and mad, even going to the extent and cursing (“shit”) while explaining the situation to Caner. Caner told her he understood why she was mad but it wasn’t Nikki Jones’s fault. Also, Blaylock was complaining about how Leslie does not know how to do her job because Nikki Jones did not train her fully. Caner responded by saying Nikki Jones will continue training her until fully equipped.

After Caner’s final conversation, his son Drake went back to where Caner was and again told him that we were still waiting. Caner obviously did not know we were still there as he acted dumbfounded. He came to the dining room and said that he could change them himself and he did not need our assistance. So Maria and I left Caner’s house.

Throughout this whole incident I was shocked for many reasons. As the president of a Christian college you should live by a higher standard of professional morals and ethics. The comments made about Dr. C.B. Scott were obviously unprofessional, but were also erroneous. Also, why is Caner believing a student over his administration? Above all, the racist remark by Caner really upset me. If our student population would have heard the things I heard, especially the African-American population, they would no longer want to attend a school under the realm of Dr. Caner. I find myself questioning the leadership and integrity of our president Dr. Caner. In fact, that questioning of Dr. Caner is a prominent factor in my decision to transfer schools this Christmas. I genuinely enjoy this school and the people in it, and would seriously consider coming back if people seriously reconsidered who they have as president of Brewton Parker College.”

According to Maria and Zakery, Dr. Caner referred to C.B. Scott as “half Black.” I have two grandsons that are the byproduct of an inter-racial marriage. Therefore, I found his “half Black” statement particularly bothersome, inasmuch as the context of the words he used suggest that being “half Black” is seen in a negative light by Dr. Caner.

Biblically speaking, how did BPC trustees dismiss the testimony of three witnesses? Actually, there were four total with the FBC Jacksonville statement?

My appeal to BPC is to simply do the right thing. Admit you acted in haste and prematurely in the dismissal of Dr. C.B. Scott. Offer Dr. Scott his job back. And please cease publishing articles that paint Dr. Caner as a victim.

Ergun Caner is a man that I’ve never met. I have no great admiration or disdain for him. I have no axe to grind with Ergun Caner. I am definitely not a Calvinist who is out to win a theological debate against him. He and I probably share in common a strong disagreement with Calvinism. Caner is a man who is hurting. His son Braxton committed suicide several months ago. As a result, Ergun Caner has faced some medical issues in response to his grief over his son that certainly any parent can relate to and be sensitive to.

Therefore, my intent here is to express gratitude, respect, admiration and appreciation for C.B. Scott for his bold, biblical and courageous stand to hold Ergun Caner accountable for racially insensitive and racist words from his mouth. It is not my intent or desire to bash Ergun Caner. If we are going to eradicate racism from this world, we need more men like Dr. C.B. Scott.

My prayer is that God would heal Ergun Caner and his family’s aching heart. My prayer is that the Lord would repair the broken pieces of Caner’s life. My prayer is that God would build Caner up where he is weak and strengthen him where he’s torn down. My prayer is that God would raise up Caner’s bowed-down head. My prayer is that Caner would smile and be set free again from the chains that seem to bind him. My prayer is that Caner would soar high again in ministry and minister to others mightily from the pain of his experiences. Therein may lay the secret to his healing.

I pray that God would meet Dr. C.B. Scott’s every need during this turbulent season in his life and his family’s sojourn. I pray that he, his wife or children will not become bitter, angry or unforgiving. I pray that they will not be weary in well doing knowing that in due season they will reap if they faint not.

I pray that Brewton-Parker College trustees would offer Dr. Scott his job back. At the very least, I pray that they will provide for him a one-year service package with full medical benefits. It is morally reprehensible for C.B. Scott to walk away from BPC with absolutely nothing, while Caner walks with a full one-year salary and benefits package.

In this season, where the Southern Baptist Convention is making quantum leaps forward in race relations, I pray that Brewton-Parker College’s handling of this situation would not be viewed by historians one day as a step backward by a SBC-affiliated institution.

THE SBC AND RACIAL UNITY:

DO FLOYD, MOORE AND LAND REPRESENT A SEA CHANGE?

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The apostle John described a picture in heaven of every racial, ethnic, and language group praising God together in unity. If heaven is a picture of racial unity and tranquility, shouldn’t—at least among God’s kingdom citizens on earth—there should be a demonstration of racial unity and peace? The Psalmist said, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1).

The Southern Baptist Convention, founded in 1845 in Augusta, GA, is renowned for being the largest protestant denomination and the most impactful and influential evangelistic, missionary, disciple-making ministry and kingdom-driven enterprise in the history of world Christianity. The SBC is also renowned for practicing and even preaching racism throughout the majority of her history. Thankfully, the SBC is making serious progress toward reversing the negative aspect of her legacy.

In a 1951 press release, ”Looking Back: Southern Baptist seminaries desegregated before desegregation,” the SBC proudly announced that the SBC seminaries were opening their doors to “carefully selected Negroes”—not even realizing that that phraseology—“carefully selected Negroes”—reeks with racism. In 1995 the SBC gave a formal apology to America and African Americans for her racist practices and positions. A demonstration of genuine fruit of repentance related to race in the SBC certainly moved in the right direction with the election of Pastor Fred Luter as President in 2012, but a continued all-White executive cabinet level entity heads since 1995, still leaves the question in suspense—has the SBC genuinely turned the corner racially?

There are Southern Baptists who have expressed insensitive and myopic remarks with racial overtones, against the back drop of the Ferguson and Staten Island (Eric Garner) fiascos. Pastor J.D. Hall stated in response to the Ferguson protestors:

 “The evangelical message needs to be, ‘We understand you have grievances. We understand you feel you’ve been wronged. Let’s discuss that, but first go home, tuck your kids in, and go to bed early so you can get up in the morning and be a productive citizen. Then, let’s talk.’”

Pastor Randy White stated in response to Professor Matthew Hall of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary statement in support of racial reconciliation being a gospel demand.

“Is racial reconciliation a ‘Gospel demand?’ Certainly not.”

However, recently The Lifeway Research Survey findings confirm that “Racial Reconciliation is mandated by the Gospel,” according to 90% of Protestant pastors surveyed.

Pastor and Professor Kevin Stilley labeled the response to Russell Moore’s expressing anguish and pain over the Eric Garner decision, “An Incendiary Statement”:

“Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Commission tweeted the following comment shortly after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict a New York police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

And then the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a press release in which Moore wrote:

“I’m stunned speechless by this news. We hear a lot about the rule of law—and rightly so. But a government that can choke a man to death on video for selling cigarettes is not a government living up to a biblical definition of justice or any recognizable definition of justice. We may not agree in this country on every particular case and situation, but it’s high time we start listening to our African American brothers and sisters in this country when they tell us they are experiencing a problem.”

I thought these communications to be ill advised and tweeted this response,

…There are four reasons why I believe the comments of Russell Moore and the ERLC were inappropriate and incendiary.

  1. The comments of Moore were emotionally charged reactions, not well reasoned responses.  The ERLC consistently states that it is its desire to show churches how they should respond in the midst of difficult cultural crises. Well, do we really want our churches and pastors out there emoting in the public sphere in a manner inconsistent with James 1:19-20?”

Kevin Stilley violated the unwritten policy of SBC employees to not publicly criticize SBC entities and entity heads. I was publically reprimanded by SWBTS for violating this unwritten policy; but not Professor Stilley? Go Figure! And to label Russell Moore’s response to the Staten Island verdict (Eric Garner) as an “Incendiary,” emotional,” “ill advised,” and not well reasoned” are subjective and judgmental. Furthermore, it completely ignores the fact that Russell Moore would not be sitting in his seat if his history was given to incendiary, ill advised, not-well-reasoned and emotional commentary. If Kevin Stilley had agreed with Russell Moore’s statement, he would not have described Russell Moore’s response with those words. I’ve discovered in SBC life when one cannot refute your arguments with facts they tend to dismiss it as emotional.

The J.D. Hall, Randy White and Kevin Stilley responses—based on history—are responses that one would expect from the SBC.

Then comes the current SBC President Ronnie Floyd, Richard Land (the former President of the SBC ERLC), Russell Moore and Ed Stetzer, all making public statements that, quite frankly, are non-typical of SBC personalities with regard to racial issues.

The Baptist Press reports these comments from President Ronnie Floyd:

“’The time is now for us to rise up together and cry out against the racism that still exists in our nation and our churches, and the subsequent injustices,” Floyd wrote. “We are grieved that racism and injustice still abound in our nation in 2014. All human beings are created by God and in His image. The dignity of each individual needs to be recognized and appreciated by each of us and by all of the 50,000 churches and congregations that comprise the Southern Baptist Convention.’”

“Floyd referenced 1 Corinthians 12:26 in calling for Southern Baptists to understand and work to alleviate the pain of racism and injustice within the body of Christ.”

“’With heavy hearts, we recognize the deep pain and hurt that has come to many of our African American brothers and sisters. The recent events in America have reawakened many of their greatest fears. Their wounds from the past run deep,” Floyd wrote. “Without relationships and conversations, we will never understand one another. Because you hurt, we hurt with you today. We are a part of the same body of Christ, His church, which is to be a picture of the multi-faceted wisdom of God.’”

The first SBC president that I ever heard prophetically and redemptively address a public controversial issue with racial overtones was Dr. Fred Luter when he addressed the Trayvon Martin saga. As I listened to Dr. Luter’s commentary concerning Trayvon Martin, it brought tears to my eyes. That was the first time I ever heard a SBC president address the pain of our reality with a view toward healing. Dr. Ronnie Floyd now becomes the second SBC president that I’ve heard address a controversial issue related to race identifying with our suffering and seeking solutions through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am deeply encouraged by Dr. Floyd’s commentary, rooted in the biblical language of 1 Corinthians 12:26.

Richard Land stated:

“America’s problem with race goes back to our beginnings. From our first encounters as Europeans with Native-Americans in Virginia and New England, race has been the serpent in the garden. For all of her greatness, America’s treatment of non-whites has been an ongoing tale of prejudice, abuse, and malign neglect.

Unfortunately, the Nobel Laureate William Faulkner was right when he observed, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” There are always the ghosts of the racist past among us, coloring how we perceive the present. Our present is always informed and tinted by our past experiences. Consequently, while most white Americans were dismissive of theories that the police framed O. J. Simpson, many African-Americans, based on their past experiences, found such accusations far too believable.

Once again, in the wake of Ferguson and Staten Island, people default to their past experiences. Like most Anglos, I must confess I have never had a negative experience with a police officer, white, brown, or black. I know few African-Americans, however, who have not had truly bad experiences with the police or know someone well who has.

The only way to truly bridge this divide, heal this rift, and move forward is for Christians, twice-born men and women, to come forward and take the lead in the immediate formation of ethnically diverse coalitions where people can tell each other their stories and begin to exorcise the ghosts of the past together.

Ultimately, we must seek to get out of our comfort zones and strive with intentionality to form truly multi-ethnic, multi-class churches where people of differing ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds worship together and minister to one another as equal members of the local body of Christ. Then we will hear and know each other’s stories, and we will put faces we know on racial and economic injustice. Such churches will truly transform our culture.”

I am really proud of Richard Land; this is the Richard Land we all thought we knew. Truth be told, Richard Land laid the foundation for the SBC ’95 repentance statement and all the positive changes we are beginning to see racially in the SBC. His statement above is perhaps the most powerful and persuasive statement yet made by a SBC personality on this subject.

Russell Moore stated:

“The mood in Ferguson, Missouri, is tense, after a grand jury decided against indicting a police officer for the killing of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. The tension ought to remind us, as the church, that we are living in a time in which racial division is hardly behind us. That reality ought to motivate us as citizens to work for justice, but also as the church to seek to embody the kingdom of Christ.”

The combined statements of Floyd, Land, Moore and Stetzer represent a sea change for Southern Baptists. Their statements are more powerful to me than the ’95 repentance statements or the election of Fred Luter. The ’95 statements and the election of Fred Luter were no-brainers, and simply the right and expedient thing to do. There was absolutely nothing to risk in either decision…only something to gain.

However, the statements made by Floyd, Moore, Land and Stetzer are indicative of courage, character, consistency with the ’95 statement, and respect and sensitivity to people of color within the SBC. I know for certain that there are many in the SBC sorely displeased with the published positions of the aforementioned SBC personalities with regard to acknowledging the pain and legitimacy of the concerns that African Americans have related to Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland and elsewhere.

These brothers represent a sea change in SBC life. They are willing to stand in solidarity with the suffering of African Americans over these issues. I respect their right not to declare guilt or innocence of any of the parties involved in the incidents that have given rise to the controversies. But I deeply appreciate their break with SBC tradition to identify with the pain and suffering and to acknowledge the racial injustices and inequities of the past and present.

May God bless the SBC! May she continue toward this path of racial healing! May she march on toward the inclusion and empowerment of people of color serving at the entity head level! When that occurs, the sea change will be complete.

IMPORTANT PROMISED LINKS CONCERNING FERGUSON

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Here are some links I promised to provide. In a strange way, I am believing God to bring healing and unity out of what appears to be division and doubt at the moment. I sense God is up to something. And I am on the tip-toe of anticipation about what God is going to do in the days to come.

BLACK-ON-BLACK VIOLENCE: PASTOR VODDIE BAUCHAM’S ASSAULT ON BLACK PEOPLE  

http://drewgihart.com/2014/12/01/black-on-black-violence-pastor-voddie-bauchams-assault-on-black-people-by-austin-channing-brown-christena-cleveland-drew-hart-and-efrem-smith/

A BLACK MAN IS KILLED IN THE U.S. EVERY 28 HOURS BY POLICEhttp://www.occupy.com/article/black-man-killed-us-every-28-hours-police

@ShaunKing exposes Ferguson PD lie about distance from SUVhttps://storify.com/VeryWhiteGuy/shaunking-exposes-ferguson-pd-lie-about-distance-from-SUV

Why exactly did the police lie for 108 days about how far Mike Brown ran from Darren Wilson?   http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/26/1347499/-Why-exactly-did-the-police-lie-for-108-days-about-how-far-Mike-Brown-ran-from-Darren-Wilson

Video: Police lied. Mike Brown was killed 148 feet away from Darren Wilson’s SUV;  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/20/1346374/-BREAKING-VIDEO-Police-Lied-Mike-Brown-was-killed-148-feet-away-from-Darren-Wilson-s-SUV

Shaun King Exposes Ferguson PD Lies About Michael …  http://www.blackenterprise.com/news/shaun-king-exposes-ferguson-pd-lies-about-michael-brown-case/

New Witnesses Say Michael Brown Had His Hands Up …  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/09/new-witnesses-michael-brown-had-hands-up.html

Thabiti Anyabwile: Why I Believe the Grand Jury Got It Wrong and Injustice Triumphed;  http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2014/11/26/why-i-believe-the-grand-jury-got-it-wrong-and-injustice-triumphed/

solutions

Fight Over Ferguson or Focus On Solutions:

How Should Evangelicals Respond?

By

William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Battle lines are being drawn among evangelicals regarding how to properly interpret and consequently communicate the happenings at Ferguson, within the context of a biblical-kingdom worldview. One side sees the problems of Ferguson as rooted in history; particularly the history of racial and economic injustice in America. I will address this side later.

The other side is articulated by JD Hall and Randy White.

  1. The JD Hall/Randy White “Evangelical Worldview of Ferguson”

The JD Hall/Randy White “Evangelical worldview of Ferguson is an isolated incident between a “criminal” running from a store robbery” and “an officer with an exemplary record and quality personal character was in fear that his life was in jeopardy from someone who, by all reasonable accounts, has a lengthy criminal record and troubled personal character, and the officer exercised necessary force to eliminate that threat.”

Those who simply view this as an isolated fight between a “criminal” with a “troubled personal character” and an officer with an “exemplary record and quality personal character” would then view the protestors in the streets of Ferguson and around the country and world as a “mob”, “not a hurting community”, a group with a “lack of values” and “questionably sincere outrage”.

JD Hall is a Calvinist Southern Baptist Pastor who views Officer Darren Wilson as completely innocent in his interaction with Mike Brown. Based on his description of Mike Brown as a “criminal”, in spite of the fact that there is no public record of Mike Brown ever being convicted of a crime, he “demonizes” Mike Brown just as Officer Darren Wilson did.

Hall then goes on to indict, the ‘Black churches’ of the Ferguson area who have done little but fan the flames of bad behavior, whether lending the pulpit to the communist community organizers raising an army of anarchy or offering their facilities or “sanctuaries” for rioters.

From Hall’s perspective “the mob shouldn’t be upset,” and “a mob is rioting in Ferguson who are not being called to repentance by the churches they attend.”

JD Hall summarizes “the evangelical message” in response to Ferguson and to those disturbed by the verdict, ought to be: “The evangelical message needs to be, ‘We understand you have grievances. We understand you feel you’ve been wronged. Let’s discuss that, but first go home, tuck your kids in, and go to bed early so you can get up in the morning and be a productive citizen. Then, let’s talk.’”

The “go to bed early” and be “a productive citizen” remarks represent paternalism at best and racism at the worst. The Black church “lending the pulpit to…communists” is absolutely untrue and reflects a low view of the Black church. The Black church purposefully housing “rioters” is also untrue.

All of the above quotes from the beginning of this article are attributed to JD Hall. He represents one side of the evangelical spectrum. The side that he represents is one reason I seldom use the term “evangelical”. I recognize that it is not a term most Black churches who hold to “evangelical theology” normally would use to describe themselves as such. Reason being, they fear guilt by association with a JD Hall mindset.

Again, the JD Hall faction of evangelicalism would view Ferguson as simply an isolated fight between a “troubled criminal” – who again has no prior criminal conviction on public record – vs. – an upstanding, innocent, police officer with a quality personal character and an exemplary record. I will label this view “The JD Hall Evangelical View of Ferguson.”

The following statement by Randy White seems to sum up his thesis and explains why he just doesn’t get it when it comes to the fight in Ferguson.

“Seems to me that racial reconciliation is a good thing and is a social issue, not a doctrinal or theological issue, and certainly not a “gospel demand.” If there is something Biblical that expresses racial reconciliation as a gospel demand, I’ve missed it.”

WOW! That is an incredible, reprehensible, biblically incorrect and racially offensive statement. To maintain that “racial reconciliation” is not a theological issue defies Malachi 2:10, Acts 10:34, Acts 17:26, Ephesians 4:4-6, Galatians 3:27, Revelation 5:9; 7:9 and a host of other Scriptures. I now understand the isolated, caviler, offensive and insensitive posture that JD Hall and Randy White have adopted. It is consistent with their theology that “racial reconciliation is not a doctrinal or theological issue, and not a gospel demand.”

2. The Russell Moore/Ed Stitzer Evangelical Worldview of Ferguson

Just as JD Hall makes it quite uncomfortable for me as a Black Pastor, being a Southern Baptist, having just read Russell Moore’s “FERGUSON AND THE PATH TO PEACE”, my chest is pumped out being a Southern Baptist. Thank God for men like Russell Moore, Ed Stitzer, and Thabiti Anyabwile, all Southern Baptist personalities attacked by JD Hall because they represent and articulate the other side of this evangelical coin. These men view the happenings of Ferguson not in isolation as do Hall and Randy White at First Baptist Church, Katy – they view the happenings in Ferguson as rooted in history and different life experiences for different social groups.

Dr. Moore actually presented a balanced and biblical values oriented statement that reflected an appreciation, understanding, and sympathy for both sides of the Wilson-Brown saga. Moore accurately expressed the differences in how Black and White believers tend to process and reach resolution on a matter like this. He did not attempt to give correction or critique to either side; only understanding.

Given the fact that the SBC is no longer a monolithic White Southern conservative racist convention any longer, it would be highly unwise, racist, and inflammatory if Russell Moore made a statement as the one that JD Hall made.

I am not sure where Bart Barber would land as it relates to being strongly in the Hall camp or Moore camp. My gut tells me he would be somewhat ill-at-ease with Hall’s verbiage. Nevertheless, Barber made comments that I found understanding the roots of the Ferguson conflict that Hall seems to completely separate from the conversation. Barber stated,

“The only solution is to try to figure out a way for communities like Ferguson, MO, not to exist. …All the way back in the 1870s, the St. Louis area was creating a toxic racial situation in the city. … Once you have a place like Ferguson, MO, located in a metropolitan area with a problematic history situated as a community with a large racially monolithic community, with a police force that looks nothing like the populace, with an environment of bad blood and crime problems, you’re going to have conflict. Try all you like to solve these conflicts one-by-one as they come up, but the only solution is to change that environment and put an end to communities like Ferguson, MO.”

The State of Missouri has a history of world changing and life altering decisions. In an article located at  http://www.ThisDayinQuotes.com/  you will find the infamous, oft-quoted conclusion of the Supreme Court’s decision, written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, was that current or former slaves and their descendants had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Many believe that this is the root of the current Ferguson conflict.

Barber views the roots of the Ferguson conflict as historic, systemic, and in need of change. That is a healthy and solution oriented evangelical view similar to Moore’s in my judgment. JD Hall took on a paternalistic view that will be widely rejected by Black evangelicals.

Barber, Moore, and Anyabwile all recognize the historic roots and relationship of the problem and without declaring guilt or innocence on either side; they begin to point toward solutions.

3. Evangelical Ferguson Solutions

Thabiti Anyabwile offers evangelicals solutions to Ferguson that we should take seriously and work on together, regardless to where we stand on the Ferguson verdict. His post is entitled, “THE FERGUSON GRAND JURY HAS GIVEN US OUR MARCHING ORDERS.” It is filled with solutions. The most prominent one being enacting a federal law requiring all police to wear body cameras. I’m sure Hall and White could also agree with police being required to wear body cameras.

Furthermore, the North American Missions Board Church Planting emphasis is one that I wholeheartedly endorse. It is inexcusable to plant monolithic churches today unless the neighborhood in which they are planted is monolithic. In other areas, we need to with intentionality, plant multiethnic churches. Ferguson may be a good place to start.

My encouragement to evangelicals is for us to stop fighting over Ferguson and focus on solutions.

KEEPING THE FAITH IN SPITE OF FERGUSON

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

Although I disagree with the Darren Wilson verdict as I understand the facts of this case, I am committed to the notion that a jury verdict must be respected and responded to with civility and restraint, even when there is vehement disagreement.

Therefore, I deplore and decry the rioting, looting, violence, burning, anarchy, and acts of disrespect, rebellion, and violence exhibited toward police and civil authorities in Ferguson, and elsewhere.

I am absolutely convinced that Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin would both be alive if the persons that killed them had not profiled them. Darren Wilson acknowledged that he assessed Michael Brown’s demeanor as “demonic” when he encountered him. There was nothing inherently “demonic” about Michael Brown or “suspicious” about Trayvon. Wilson nor Zimmerman would not have pulled the trigger as quickly—or in Wilson’s case, twelve times with Mike Brown being over 100 feet away when the last and fatal shot was fired—if they had encountered Justin Bieber, Johnny Manziel, or the Jonas brothers, even in the exact same locations and conditions that they encountered and killed Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin.

Dr. Richard Land genuinely apologized, and I believe that he was sincere concerning his Trayvon racial commentary. Yet, I believe that he honestly revealed a mindset that many Anglos have when they encounter Blacks, particularly where there is no previously existing positive relationship. Dr. Land stated something to the effect that it was permissible to profile Blacks based on crime statistics. Wow! That mindset explains why Zimmerman killed Martin, and why Wilson killed Brown. That mindset explains why there is an inherent caution, fear, and distrust when minority males and females encounter police officers. You are viewed as guilty, until proven innocent. And in the case of Wilson and Zimmerman, they began to hold court on the streets and render the death penalty.

Furthermore, why was Officer Wilson not required to write an initial police report? What a huge advantage he had to wait until he had knowledge of all the other testimonies and then go before the jury with his story. Why was Wilson not required to follow policy and make a report of the Brown shooting or be fired for failing to do so? It is that kind of behavior that leads to distrust between Blacks and the police departments of America. Why have Wilson’s supervisor not been reprimanded for not forcing him to complete a report near the time of the killing?

Perhaps Mike Brown’s fate was sealed when the video was revealed of him being engaged in a robbery. Black male life in America is generally devalued, as evidenced by higher salaries White males generally receive for doing the same work. When one has engaged in criminal activity, he is devalued even the more. Nevertheless, Mike Brown’s criminal behavior in the store did not merit him being shot twelve times—unarmed—in the streets. Even if Mike Brown assaulted Officer Wilson, as the evidence tend to indicate, once he was 100 feet removed from him, the shot that killed him was unjustifiable; and none of us know for sure how the altercation began between Wilson and Brown; but young Black males need to learn that is a fight that they will not and should not win. Respect for the law is simply a non-negotiable.

One reason why integration is still a challenge socially and ecclesiastically in America is because of the racial profiling mindset that Wilson, Zimmerman, and (according to Land) the majority of the SBC personalities engage in. In practical terms, if a crime occurs during the course of the SBC Annual Meeting and I’m present at the time, Dave Miller, Alan Cross, Bart Barber and David Worley are not first and foremost considered suspects. But, based on crime statistics, according to Zimmerman, I become “suspicious”; according to Wilson, I become “demonic,” and according to Land, I become a suspect. That line of thinking is horrible.

I remember Ed Stetzer writing a beautiful refutation to the notion that Black men should be viewed as suspects based on crime statistics. For that I shall always be grateful. Again, in the exact same scenarios, if they had been young White males, they would not have been labeled demonic or suspicious. Rand Paul makes it clear that as a teenager his behavior was capable of doing exactly as Mike Brown was doing; but he would not have gotten killed by a policeman for doing the exact same thing. Rand Paul told the naked truth. Rarely do you find this type of honesty spoken by politicians on an issue like this. Rand Paul has spoken profoundly on this matter. He is a ray of hope in this cesspool of darkness. May his tribe increase!

America needs a voice at this hour that can bring healing, hope, and unity to our nation—red, yellow, black, and white. There must be a clarion call for all of us—no matter our race or position—to value one another’s life. Agree or disagree with the jury’s verdict, but the tragedy of Ferguson is the taking away of a life that did not have to be.

In 1884, the Baptist Standard published an account of Rev. Allen Ralph Griggs, an outstanding Texas Black Baptist pastor of that era, addressing a group of more than 5000 men, Black and White, who had gathered for a public hanging. His words regarding the destruction of human life were so powerful that “the men dispersed, heads bowed, hats in hand, tears in many eyes, no longer interested in the sad spectacle. “

May the Lord raise up a voice to speak to us at this hour, so that we might disperse with “heads bowed, hats in hands, tears in many eyes, [and] no longer interested in the sad spectacle”!

In the meantime, we must keep the faith in spite of Ferguson, and keep looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We must also seek healing and understanding among the races.

This is a proposal and not an approved statement; it is a preliminary working document being prepared to submit to the GGMDA Board for approval.

WHY THE GALILEE GRIGGS MEMORIAL DISTRICT ASSOCIATION OF BAPTIST CHURCHES EXISTS

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Servant/Moderator of the GGMDABC And
Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, Arlington, TX

Impacting the Next Generation for the Kingdom
Psalm 145:4

I. INTRODUCTION AND TESTIMONIAL

Jesus established the church in order for the church to represent His Kingdom on planet earth. The church’s primary role is to be ambassadors of Christ’s Kingdom. Although the church and the Kingdom are not synonymous, they are interrelated and interdependent.

The theme of Jesus’ preaching was “the Kingdom of God.” Jesus said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4:43). If the stated purpose of Jesus’ preaching was to preach the Kingdom of God, should that not also be the theme of our preaching and teaching? In Matthew 10:7, Jesus said to his disciples, “And as you go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The church is a colony of the Kingdom of heaven on earth, assigned with the responsibility to preach the Kingdom of God throughout all the earth (Matthew 24:14). Jesus gave the keys of the Kingdom to the church so that the church would be vested with the authority to take the mission, message, ministry, and mandate of Jesus into all the world.

A Kingdom movement of churches can cooperatively fulfill the assignment that Jesus gave to the church to advance His Kingdom to the ends of the earth, far better than any one church can do separately.

The Cornerstone Baptist Church of Arlington, TX, joined the Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches in 2006, because we wanted to be a part of a larger Kingdom movement. We wanted to experience a Kingdom family where there was heartfelt identification. We wanted to be a part of a Kingdom family where we shared a common vision, values, and a Kingdom worldview. We longed to be connected to a family where unity exists, but, where they did not require uniformity on secondary and tertiary issues.

I have fond memories of associational gatherings in my native state of Arkansas. We wanted to join an Association of Churches that felt like home. We found the family that we were looking for in Galilee Griggs Association. I joined Galilee Griggs with zero aspirations to serve in leadership at any level. Succinctly stated, we simply were looking for a family. If God had wanted something other than a family, He would have had us to call Him something other than a Father. What a wonderful thing it is to be a part of the larger family of God! The Galilee Griggs Association is a Kingdom Family Fellowship of Churches dedicated to disciple-making in order to expand God’s Kingdom, edify God’s people, and empower the next generation to glorify the King and make His praise glorious.

In June 2014, one of the biggest surprises of my life occurred when I was asked and encouraged by leading pastors in the Association to run for Moderator. The upcoming election was to be held on October 1, 2014, at the Annual Session held in Fort Worth at the Community Baptist Church, Rev. Robert McGinty, Pastor. In National Baptist life, the Moderator and Director of Missions are one in the same office. Previously, I held no elected position or office of any kind in the Association. I felt most unqualified and unworthy to serve as Moderator. But after 21 days of prayer and fasting concerning the matter, I received a “green light” from God to run for the office of Moderator. I was committed to seeking God concerning His will in the matter for 40 days before I gave an answer to those asking me to run. After receiving the “green light” to run after 21days, I then spent the remaining 19 days making peace with losing.

The Lord reminded me during the remaining 19 days that it was not about me. It was about Him. It was not about my ego, reputation, or feelings, if I lost. It was solely about whether or not it was his will for me to run. During that time, I made peace with not only running, but losing the election. But as God would have it, the vote count was 93-40 in my favor on October 1.

My opponent was and is affable, formidable, fruitful, friendly, effective and prayerful. We have become great friends and prayer partners. He will fill in Cornerstone’s pulpit in December, while I’m away serving as a guest preacher in Tallahassee, FL. Galilee Griggs is a family. And the fellowship in the family is sweet. I was not convinced that I was going to win the election for Moderator on October 1, but I did know that no matter who won, the Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches would have been well served. I have the utmost appreciation and respect for Rev. A.C. Stapleton. As the 1st Vice Moderator, Rev. Stapleton led the Association in prayer for the new Moderator, when the election results were announced. What a class act! Rev. Stapleton has been one of my strongest supporters thus far since the election. Galilee Griggs is truly a Kingdom Family.

On Sunday, December 7, 3:00 p.m., at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Plano, TX, all four zones and the 32 churches that comprise the Galilee Griggs Association will meet together. We are calling this service “The Gathering: A Celebration of Unification.” At “The Gathering,” as the newly elected Moderator, I will cast a vision for the future of our Association.

At present, the primary Kingdom benefits that Galilee Griggs offers are fellowship and family. Family and fellowship is the cry, desire and need for many in America and around the world today. According to Bart Barber, who holds a PH.D. in Church History from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, when Baptist Associations were first formed in England in the late 1600’s the primary reason for forming Associations was to provide fellowship for Baptist believers and church leaders. The need for fellowship for the British Baptist was driven in part by the rejection and persecution that they sometimes experienced in the larger Anglican Church culture.

Ironically, Black Baptist Associations in America were formed for that very reason—a need for family and fellowship. They faced rejection and persecution quite often from their fellow White Baptists. Therefore, they formed their own churches and associations. The rejection and racism exhibited toward Black churches, that led to the formation of Black churches and associations in America are well documented in Paul Wayne Stripling’s Dissertation, “The Negro Excision From Baptist Churches In Texas (1861-1870).” Stripling’s dissertation was presented to the faculty of the School of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX, in May 1967.

There are pastors and churches today who still seek family and fellowship in Baptist Associations as they did in England and in America at the onset of Baptist Organizational life. The Galilee Griggs Association is standing in the gap prepared to fulfill that need today. There are pastors and churches who are inquiring about becoming a part of the Galilee Griggs Association who are looking—as I was—for family and fellowship. But many are also looking for corporate mission’s opportunities, leadership training, and discipling and mentoring in various aspects of church life and spiritual development, biblically-based Kingdom justice ministry, practical ministry enhancements, church-planting partnerships and more. Therefore, I present this introductory/promotional publication to those pastors and churches that may have an interest in joining the Galilee Griggs Family. We also present this document to those churches in our Association who ask, “Why does Galilee Griggs exist? And, what are the relevance, significance and value of Galilee Griggs to the local church.”

II. MISSION/PHILOSOPHY/THEOLOGY OF MINISTRY AND GOALS STATEMENT

The Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches exists to partner with local churches in North and Central Texas [and beyond] to advance God’s Kingdom agenda cooperatively—around the corner—and around the world.

To fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda, it is our goal to offer intensive quarterly Bible/theological studies, and fellowship periods to train leaders in things pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

To fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda, it is our goal to host an annual summer, dynamic, disciple-making event where Kingdom men, women, youth, and children are trained corporately and compartmentally.

To fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda, it is our goal to assist local churches to plant disciple-making churches locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

To fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda, it is our goal to offer summer camp experiences for children and youth designed to edify them in the faith.

To fulfill God’s Kingdom Agenda, it is our goal to plan and implement annually, a regional, national, and international mission’s trip opportunity in order to obey the Great Commission. We plan to partner with ministries who are already successful in doing so to make this a reality.

To fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda, it is our goal to seek renewal and revitalization in the life of our churches by providing mentoring and discipling to church leaders in the areas of church growth/health and development and church revitalization.

To fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda, it is our goal to provide numerous scholarships to college, seminary, and graduate school students, and to the various schools who are committed to fulfilling God’s Kingdom agenda. We exist to impact the next generation for the Kingdom of God.

To fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda, it is our goal to address biblically Kingdom justice issues as we are led by the Spirit of God.

Disciple-making is the primary agenda of God’s Kingdom. The only legitimate purpose for an Association of Churches to exist is so that we can do more together than we could separately to advance God’s Kingdom agenda.

God’s universe centers around His Kingdom. At the heart of His Kingdom is His dear Son. His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. His Kingdom is to rule over all. The Holy Spirit is the governor and guide in His Kingdom. Christ is the King and embodiment of God’s Kingdom. He is the King Incarnate. The Bible refers to believers as citizens and ambassadors of His Kingdom.

God’s Kingdom is eternal. God’s Kingdom is universal. God’s Kingdom is supernatural. God’s Kingdom is practical. God’s Kingdom is relational. The Kingdom of God is God’s total answer for man’s total needs. Seeking the Kingdom and His righteousness is our first and foremost responsibility as a Kingdom citizen. The Kingdom of God is simply the rule of God, and the reign of God, in every realm of life—individual, family, church, and society. Believers are born again into the Kingdom of God, which makes available, or accessible to us “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). The Kingdom of God is an experience of a vital relationship with Jesus Christ the King, and His Kingdom. Galilee Griggs belongs to and is grateful to be a part of Christ’s Kingdom family.

III. GALILEE GRIGGS PROPOSED DOCTRINAL CONFESSION AND STATEMENT OF COOPERATION

The Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches has never formally adopted an official Doctrinal Statement. It is assumed that we all embrace the Doctrinal Statement of the National Baptist Convention—I certainly do.

However, we need to be able to say to churches interested in joining us, as well as to those on board, what are the basic belief systems that we have. I offer a big tent belief system for inclusion, rather than a narrow rigid belief system that leads to exclusion. I am proposing the following Statement:

1. We affirm the authority, sufficiency, reliability, and consistency of God’s infallible revelation to man in both the Words of Holy Scripture and the Person of Jesus Christ.

2. We affirm that the one true God exists eternally in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that these, being one God, are equal in deity, power, and glory. We further affirm both the full humanity and deity of Jesus Christ, the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, and the eternal love of the Father for the world.

3. We affirm Christ’s virgin birth, substitutionary death for sinners, His resurrection from the dead, His second coming, and His gift of eternal life to all who are in relationship with Him by grace through faith alone.

4. We affirm that God has ordained the proclamation of the gospel message by His people in the power of the Holy Spirit, who is both the gift of God to the church and the giver of diverse spiritual gifts. We also affirm baptism as the public testimony for those who have come into covenant relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

5. We affirm that those apart from a relationship with Christ will face God’s judgment.

The sole authority for faith and practice among the Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Doctrinal confessions, including this one, are only guides to interpreting the Bible, and have no authority over the conscience. Christians have historically differed in interpretation on finer points of doctrine not essential to Christian faith. Yet, with all our differences on secondary issues, we who comprise the Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches desire to cooperate in ministry because of our love for the gospel.

Therefore, we intentionally put aside our differences on secondary issues for the sake of cooperative gospel ministry. We desire unity in the essentials, liberty in the non-essentials, but charity in all things. This statement of cooperation defines the necessary essentials which must be affirmed in order to participate in the cooperative ministries of the Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches.

We desire to send to the world and our evangelical brethren through this statement of cooperation a sure and certain message: It is the gospel that unites us, and what unites us is greater than anything that might potentially divide us. Because the Kingdom supersedes us being Baptist, we propose to cooperate and fellowship with and welcome into our membership any Bible-believing church who could affirm our doctrinal statement and statement of cooperation…but who may not carry our Baptist label. Because the Kingdom supersedes our racial origins, we must welcome churches and people of all racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds who affirm Jesus as Lord, and share our Baptist and Biblical conviction and our Kingdom identity.

IV. BRIEF HISTORY AND VISION OF THE GALILEE GRIGGS ASSOCIATION

The Galilee Griggs Association may be able to find a blueprint for her future by looking at the foundations of her past. Names matter. The meaning of names is significant. The Hebrews and Africans historically have tended to name their children with intentionality; understanding that every time you call a person’s name, in a sense you are reinforcing or pronouncing affirmation relative to the meaning of the names.

“The Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association”—which was the original official name—is the combination of two Associations. “The Griggs Memorial Baptist Association” was organized in 1929, at Hopewell Baptist Church, Denison, Texas. This Association was named in honor of Rev. A.R. Griggs, a prominent pastor and educator who served primarily in North Texas and whose lifespan covered from 1850-1922. Dr. Griggs was born into slavery. In 2004 the “Herald Democrat”—the local Denison, TX, newspaper headline reads: “Griggs looms large in church history.” His accomplishments are too numerous to list them here, but suffice it to say, that he founded the first high school to educate African Americans in Dallas. He founded the first newspaper targeting African Americans in Texas. He was the co-founder of Bishop College, Dallas; Co-founder of American Baptist Theological Seminary, Nashville—then named—The National Baptist Theological Seminary and Training School. He organized more than 50 churches, including the historic and influential Good Street Baptist Church, Dallas, TX. Dr. Griggs, who is referred to as “Bishop Griggs” in a “History of Negro Louisiana Baptists from 1804-1914” by William Hicks—was truly a pioneer. Hicks’ book was published by the National Baptist Publishing Board in 1915. “Bishop A.R. Griggs” is mentioned by Hicks as “Superintendent of Missions” and “State Evangelist” of the Texas State Convention in the early years of Black Baptist organized work in Texas.

He was born in Hancock County, GA, in 1850 and sold at auction and brought to Texas when he was 9 years old. He entered school for the first time when he was in his 30’s. He co-founded Bryan’s Orphan Home, a home for orphaned African American Children in Texas. He formed a working relationship with Dr. R.C. Buckner and Rev. L. W. Coleman, Southern Baptist Texas leaders—in the early 1900’s—to work in a cooperative mutually reciprocal beneficial way for Texas National Baptist and Southern Baptist. An eight-acre city park is named after him in Uptown Dallas, which will include a statue in memory of him. Griggs “looms large in church history.” He was Moderator of the Northwest District Association for 20 years. He died in 1922, and seven years later a District Association was birth in his honor that comprised of churches then and now that range as far North as Denison and as far South as Corsicana. Rev. Griggs was granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Kentucky State University in 1891.

Griggs was ordained a missionary in 1873. He served as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church (Dallas’ oldest Black Baptist Church) in 1875, and was among the trustees of an 1879 purchase of Freedman’s Cemetery land. Alan Griggs impacted Dallas and all of North Texas, spiritually, socially, educationally and economically in an incredible manner. It is time for his namesake, the Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association, to rekindle his vision, missions, education, and evangelism which was his heartbeat.

In keeping with the spirit of Alan R. Griggs, the Galilee Griggs Association must focus on Christian education/disciple-making, church planting, benevolence, missions, church development, revitalization and networking with other Baptist and evangelical groups across racial lines for Kingdom building purposes.

In September 1929 at the Galilee Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas, another Association was organized in a meeting called by Rev. E. A. Evans, pastor of the Galilee Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas. The Association based in Ennis was named the Galilee Baptist Association.

In 1930, Rev. U.S. Patterson, pastor of the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas, invited the two Associations—Griggs Memorial Baptist and Galilee Baptist—to meet together at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas. There, the two Associations decided to merge, and the new name for this Association would be “Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association.” The Association was later incorporated by the State of Texas and revised its name to “Galilee Griggs Memorial District Association of Baptist Churches, Inc.”

At one point at least 78 churches were regular in attendance and registration in the Galilee Griggs Association. In the most recent Association, 32 churches registered and sent delegates.

Throughout her history, Galilee Griggs has supported the mission endeavors of the National Baptist Convention, given financial support to local Dallas Ministers Training Institutes; engaged in Haiti Children Mission projects, and supported the Shoe Drive, assisting The Buckner Children’s Home. 7.35 acres of land, located in Lancaster, Texas, has been purchased for future Kingdom expansion, during the tenure of Moderator Donald Parish.

There have been 11 Moderators who have served in the history of this Association:

• Dr. S.T. Alexander 1930-1934
• Rev. R.T. Andrews 1934-1938
• Rev. W.A. Sparks 1938-1942
• Dr. B.R. Riley 1942-1963
• Dr. F.D. Davis 1964-1969
• Rev. Robert L. Parish, Sr. 1969-1988
• Rev. A.F. Thomas 1988-1933
• Rev. C.S. Trimble September 1993 – November 1993
• Rev. E.D. Ingram 1994-2005; Moderator Emeritus – 2006-Present
• Dr. Donald Parish 2005-2014
• Dr. Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. 2014-Present

I am absolutely awestruck and inspired by the life and legacy of Dr. Griggs. “He being dead, yet speaketh.” He provides not only the inspirational foundation for our past, but also, the blueprint for our future. The Great Commission was given by Jesus at Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20). The names “Galilee” and “Griggs” are significant, and their significance can only be enhanced as those names are submitted to the Kingdom of God. The Galilee Griggs Association will continue to be a Kingdom Family Fellowship of Churches doing the King’s business and impacting the next generation until the King comes.

Our VISION is to plant, revitalize, disciple and minister to churches globally and locally, where we, together, press into God’s Kingdom, in the spirit of A.R. Griggs (Luke 16:16).

Denominationalism, although a part of the Kingdom, must bow to the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God supersedes denominationalism and race. Therefore, we must consider allowing churches that ascribe to our vision, value, and belief system an opportunity to join Galilee Griggs who may not carry our Baptist label or our African Race.

V. BENEFITS OF BELONGING TO THE GALILEE GRIGGS KINGDOM FAMILY

1. The blessing of belonging to a Kingdom brotherhood and sisterhood that provides all the benefits and require the responsibilities that are a part of belonging to a family (Psalm 133:1). Associations provide fellowships for churches who desire fellowship.
2. The privilege of being able to access some meaningful, relevant, dynamic, and insightful disciple training opportunities within the context of family relationships.
3. The privilege of being able to receive and give ministry to others within a familiar relational context.
4. Engage in opportunities to participate in local, regional, national, and international missions’ projects within a familiar relational context.
5. Once we secure the group tax exemption, member churches will have the legal protection and status of all charitable gifts of the church congregation being tax deductible because of membership in Galilee Griggs.
6. Partner with Texas Baptist Men and other mission partners for disaster relief and benevolent work.
7. Upon request provide support services to churches seeking counsel while the church is searching for a pastor, in need of conflict resolution, or engaged in doctrinal disputes.
8. To be able to receive consultation on best practices in local church ministry upon request.
9. To have highly successful and seasoned senior pastors available to mentor younger and less experienced pastors upon request.
10. To receive encouragement, counsel, and potentially financial support for churches seeking support for qualified church planters.

VI. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

The Galilee Griggs Association—a Kingdom Family Fellowship of Churches will soon be forming the following ministry teams to further develop and fulfill God’s Kingdom agenda for this Association:

Galilee Griggs Memorial District of Baptist Churches Proposed Ministry Teams

1. Constitution
2. International Missions
3. Church Planting
4. Theological Education/Dialogue
5. Economic Empowerment
6. Benevolence
7. Social Justice
8. Stewardship/Financial Literacy
9. Communications
10. Executive Council
11. Women’s Ministries
12. Men’s Ministries
13. Worship Ministries
14. Leadership Training
15. Youth and Children’s Ministries

VII. CORE VALUES: GALILEE GRIGGS MEMORIAL DISTRICT ASSOCIATION OF BAPTIST CHURCHES

I. EXALTATION/WORSHIP
“As they ministered to the Lord.” (Acts 13:2)

II. EVANGELISM/MISSIONS
“Now separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them….and…..they sent them away.” (Acts 13:2, 3)

III. EDIFICATION/DISCIPLESHIP/THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE/INTENSIVE STUDY
“so it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught many people.” (Acts 11:26)

Between 252 and 380 A.D. ten church councils were held as an outgrowth of the biblical Antioch Church school of thought in the city of Antioch that widely influenced the churches of that era.

IV. CHURCH PLANTING
“those who were scattered after the persecution … traveled as far as Antioch … And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord … and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch …. he … encouraged them all with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” (Acts 11:19, 21, 22, 23)

V. BENEVOLENCE/KINGDOM JUSTICE
“Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea.” (Acts 11:29)

VI. MULTI-ETHNIC LEADERSHIP/FELLOWSHIP/PARTNERSHIPS
“Barnabas [Cyprus-European] Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, [African] Manean [Roman] … men from Cyprus and Cyrene … Hellenist [Greeks]. (Acts 13:1, 11:20)

VII. IMPACTING AND SERVING THE CURRENT GENERATION AND THE NEXT
“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;

One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. (Acts 13:36; Psalm 145:4)

Please pray with me that God breathe on Galilee Griggs and her vision. Know that GGMDA longs to provide a family and home to pastors and churches who desire a Kingdom family affiliation. Know that we long to be good stewards of your trust and gifts. Know that we are here to serve you. Your gifts will be used to fund and steward the vision. Feel free to contact us for more information. Contact either Dwight McKissic or Glorian Ford at our email addresses and church phone number listed below.

Thanks for reading this.

Humbly Submitted, For His Kingdom

Servant/Moderator

Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., dmckissic@cbcarlington.org

gford@ccbcarlington.org, Phone: 817.468.0083 ext. 205, Fax: 817.468.0309

5415 Matlock Road, Arlington, TX 76018

What Fathers and Mothers Need to Know About Ferguson

Psalm 78:5-7

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

On Saturday, August 9, about 2:15 p.m., a shooting took place in Ferguson, Missouri, that will forever be etched on the collective psyches of all Americans. Ferguson, Missouri, was not on the radar screen of most Americans until the news begin to circulate over the past several days, that yet another young African American male had been shot and killed by a police officer. Complete facts and details surrounding the young man’s death are still largely unknown. But what is known has triggered protests, looting, rioting and a police response that is reminiscent of the civil rights rallies and police responses in the 60’s. Ferguson is indeed a powder keg, and America and the world are watching.

What should fathers say to their families about Ferguson? What should pastors say to their congregations about Ferguson? What would Christ, through His preachers—Black, White, Asian and Hispanic—say to America about Ferguson?

The Bible is clear that it becomes the responsibility of fathers to interpret history for their children and to provide for them lessons that lead to hope in God.

“Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:” (Deuteronomy 32:7)

5For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children;

That the generation to come might know them,The children who would be born,

That they may arise and declare them to their children,

That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God,

But keep His commandments; (Psalm 78:5-7)

“1Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding…

When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,

He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words;

Keep my commands, and live.” (Proverbs 4:1, 3, 4)

The Bible commands fathers to instruct their children and to specifically instruct them concerning historical matters, in a manner that they “may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” What fathers need to know about Ferguson is what is it that they should teach their children as a result of what took place there.

The lesson that every child needs to learn from Ferguson is this:  I cannot control what the policeman can do toward me, but I can control how I will respond to him or her. Therefore, my response should be respectful, submissive and strategic toward protecting my best interest and Kingdom concerns.

I. Ferguson Reminds Us that We live in A Fallen World

The Bible portrays heaven as a place of total tranquility, racial inclusion, peace and harmony.

And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”  (Revelation 5:9-10)

Everybody in heaven is redeemed. Everybody on earth is not. There is no racial strife, mistrust, bickering and rioting in heaven. There is division, disunity, distrust and disfavor that often characterize race relations on earth. Men are separated from each other, because they are separated from God.

The first murder recorded in Scripture was between two brothers. Even among people of the same family and race there is confusion, disunity, and bickering, because we live in a fallen world. The first fight in the early church was among members of the same church at Jerusalem, but one group (Greeks) leveled charges of inequitable distribution against another group (Jews) in Acts 6:1-7. Because we live in a fallen world tainted by sin, we see the fall-out in our families and in the church. Consequently, we inevitably will see it in our society.

Ferguson, Missouri, is symbolic and symptomatic of the fallen nature of mankind that’s evident universally. As Black families moved into Ferguson beginning in the 70’s, Whites began to flee. In 1980 the town was 85% White and 14 % Black; by 2010 it was 29% White and 69% Black. However, the Ferguson Police Department consists of 53 officers, of which only three are Black. The largely White police force stops Black residents far out of proportion to their population, according to statistics kept by the state’s Attorney General. Blacks account for 86% of the traffic stops in the city, and 93% of the arrests after those stops. In St. Louis County there have been allegations of widespread racial profiling. Ferguson reminds us that racism is still a reality in our world in hiring practices and in police patrol—racial profiling.

The consequences of this profiling can be deadly for many. A BLACK MAN IS KILLED IN THE U.S. EVERY 28 HOURS BY POLICE is the title of an article written by Adam Houston. Houston maintains that police officers, security guards or self-appointed vigilantes extra-judicially killed at least 313 African Americans in 2012. Ferguson hosted the most recent high profile case of such killing. Ferguson reminds us that we live in a fallen world. Jesus said in this world, ye shall have trials and tribulations (John 16:33). Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of their propensity toward violence. The Black-on-Black crime in Chicago, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Detroit, Dallas, and New Orleans is equally indicative of the fact that we live in a fallen world. Cain is still slaying Abel. How unfortunate!

II.  Ferguson Reminds Us That Obeying God Is Crucial. The Redeemed Ought To Live Like The Redeemed.

The 18-year-old, 6’4”, 292 pound African American male who was headed to college but whose life abruptly ended, name was Michael Brown. The policeman who shot and killed him was named Darren Wilson. I have no knowledge of the spiritual condition of either. But what I do know is that the death of Michael Brown could have and should have been avoided.

We certainly grieve with Michael Brown’s family. The Wilson family is also in a state of befuddlement. I hope that both men were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but I simply don’t know. What I do know is that Brown’s family and the Wilson’s family lives have been radically and inalterably changed. Neither family is pleased with the state they are currently in. Both families, no doubt, point the finger at the other for causing their disruption and pain.

The truth is that there was wrong on both sides of this table. The battle is now over who shares the lion share of the blame for the killing—Brown or Wilson.

Without taking sides in this issue, while awaiting more facts to evolve, it appears to me that if news reports are accurate, that Wilson shot Brown, multiple times, from a distance of 35 feet while he was in a surrender posture, Wilson should and could have exercised restraint, inasmuch, at the time Wilson did not view Brown as a suspect. Hindsight is always 20-20. But I’m sure Wilson regrets not having exercised restraint and patience.

As for Brown, if it’s true that he was walking in the middle of the street and blocking traffic that was/is nonsensical, in addition to being against the law. Additionally, he handed his critics a stick to fight him with by robbing a store of some cheap cigars. Yes, we all have made some youthful mistakes, and perhaps committed some crimes during our tender years that we wish we could recall. Yet, unfortunately, in the minds of many, this somehow renders Brown complicit in his own death. There is no connection between the robbery and the shooting. Yet, in the court of public opinion, Brown is somehow being held liable as a result; and he has only himself to blame for that.

Because we do live in a fallen world, my mother use to tell her children, “make sure that you don’t hand the devil the stick to hit you with, because he will sure use it.” May all young men, regardless of color, learn a lesson from Brown’s failure!

If reports of Brown assaulting Wilson are true, and attempting to take his pistol, may the lesson learned be: (1) respect authority, (2) obey authority, (3) submit to authority, and (4) honor authority. (Romans 17:1). He who lives by the sword, may also die by the sword. Violence, robbery, and disrespect toward authority are surefire ways to create problems with parents, police and peers. These things should be avoided at all cost.

Justice is wrapped up in the Kingdom package (Amos 5:24; Micah 5:6). While seeking justice, I should not engage in unjust activities. I must disassociate myself from evil (Psalm 1:1-2). While combating racism, I should not practice racism (Malachi 2:10). God will bless the person who honors authority (Ephesians 6:4). God will bless the person who is meek (Matthew 5:5). God will bless the person who honors His laws (Proverb 28:7). A man that doeth violence will suffer (Acts 28:17). The key to longevity and a peaceable life are submission to authority and to run from evil (I Peter 3:10-14).

May the life of Michael Brown be redeemed by posthumously teaching lessons to parents and children that might lead to better outcomes! May the life of Darren Wilson be redeemed by teaching lessons to authority figures that a nation and an entire race of people can be put ill at ease through one act of intemperance!

Ultimately, Ferguson teaches us that true justice, equality, love, brotherhood and peace will not be found in this world but through the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 2:13-14)…for truly it is at the foot of the Cross where true brotherhood is found. If America gathers at the Cross, we can find healing, help and hope for our present predicament.

ANSWERS TO REPORTERS’ QUESTIONS REGARDING THE BALTIMORE SBC
By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.
June 2014

1. Why did you nominate Pastor Kim for SBC president?

Dr. Kim is bilingual; he has conducted 40 international mission trips; the IMB has appointed 50 missionaries from his congregation. Dr. Kim has successfully planted five multicultural churches; the church he has pastored over the past 23 years—although predominately Korean—has a healthy admixture of Hispanics, Africans, African Americans and Asians. His church represents the highest percentage CP giving of the three candidates. For these reasons we need to elect Dr. Kim, the most qualified candidate, to help us lead the Great Commission Resurgence.

2. What kind of message do you think his election would send about the SBC’s commitment to diversity?

On the heels of the Luter election, Dr. Kim’s election will say to the SBC constituency and to the entire world that the SBC has turned the corner and is willing to include people from all nations of the earth as leaders in our Convention so that we can reach all the people of the earth. As it relates to carrying out the Great Commission and increasing Cooperate Program giving, there is no better person to elect than Dr. Kim.

During the 2012 SBC Presidential election, Dr. Fred Luter stated in a post-election news conference:

“If we stop appointing African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics to leadership positions after this, we’ve failed.” (http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/11792-southern-baptist-convention-elects-first-black-national-leader)

3. What kind of message would Pastor Floyd’s election send?

Dr. Floyd is a good man and has a strong track record; However, we have a candidate who is equally qualified, who is from a region of the country we seek to reach with the Gospel, who has been effective in that region, and who represents the very diversity to which we aspire.

4. Also, do you expect a lot of discussion at the meeting about the New Heart Community Church’s decision to stop condemning homosexuality and seek a “third way” where members agree to disagree?

The focus of our message is not homosexuality. It is God revealing Himself fully and finally in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ Lordship is over every area of one’s life, including one’s sexuality; and God has spoken with abundant clarity to those issues—so when a church diverts from that clear teaching, Southern Baptists are under obligation to respond. But my hope is that our main message—even in the midst of this discussion—will continue to be focused on Jesus, who gave His life so that anyone who believes can be redeemed.

5. Are you planning to introduce any resolutions from the floor this year?

Yes, I’ve submitted three resolutions to the Resolution Committee, and they will be considered alongside many more.

 

 

WHY PASTOR DENNIS MANPOONG KIM, TH.D, NEEDS TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION

by
WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.
MAY 20, 2014

If God wanted something other than a family, He would have had us to call Him something other than Father. The first recorded words of God’s Son make it crystal clear that the Father’s business is the temple business; and the temple business is discipleship. While searching for their Son for three days, Joseph and Mary found Him in the temple being discipled and asking questions. When Jesus’ parents asked Him to give an account for His absence, His reply was: “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) At 12 years of age, Jesus understood His mission, and He also set the agenda for His church: “The Father’s Business.”

Jesus declared His relationship to His heavenly Father as preeminent over His relationship to His earthly father and mother, yet He subjected Himself to them, as an example to us (Luke 2:51). Jesus also declared His desire to please His heavenly Father was the driving passion of His life. The heartbeat of God was for His temple—the place where God and man meet. The heartbeat of God’s Son was for the business of His Father, which was the temple business; and the temple business was, and is, a discipleship business.

While seated in the temple, Jesus understood that in a few years the very building that He was seated in would be destroyed (Mark 13:1-2). He knew, ultimately, His body would have to fulfill the purpose of the temple—and that is to be a meeting place for God and man (John 2:21). Jesus also understood that man’s body would become the temple of God’s Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19).

It was of utmost importance to Jesus—being our example—that He related to God as Father. It is of utmost importance to Jesus that we relate to Him as God’s Son. It is of utmost importance to Jesus that we receive God’s Spirit in order to be born again into God’s Kingdom family. Even the Trinity operates as a family. The Father’s business is the temple business. By relating to God as Father in the temple, Jesus is making it clear that the temple business is a family business. And according to Jesus, His family consist of those who “do the will of God, the same is His brother, sister, and mother” (Mark 3:35). The temple business is a family enterprise.

God is looking for a family to conduct His Kingdom business. The Kingdom business is to build a family of disciples. He sent Jesus to earth to gather His family. He prayed for future family members, which would include the SBC (John 17:20). Jesus prayed to His Father that His Kingdom family would be “one…that the world may believe that thou has sent me” (John 17:21). According to Jesus, unless the world sees His family as “one” they may not believe in His incarnation. That’s why it’s so important that the SBC becomes a unified family, that reflect in her leadership and followship, people from “every kindred, tongue, tribe, and nation” (Revelation 5:8-9). God’s plan from the beginning of redemptive history has been global. According to Paul, God Himself preached the gospel to Abraham; and at the heart of His gospel was the seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ, and the “families of the earth” (Galatians 3:8; Genesis 12:1-3).

The Southern Baptist Convention must be about our Father’s business. The Southern Baptist Convention must represent and look like all the families of the earth. The Southern Baptist Convention must have as her leader, someone who has a passion for the Father’s business—which is the discipleship business.

Therefore, it is my intention to nominate Dr. Dennis Manpoong Kim as the next President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Kim’s heartbeat is evangelism and discipleship. He serves as the senior pastor of Global Mission Church of Greater Washington. He has been faithfully serving as the senior pastor of this church for 23 years with a great passion for evangelism, discipleship and world missions. Fulfilling the Great Commission is the all-consuming passion of his ministry. He has devoted his life in training believers as true Disciples of Christ. He has traveled to more than 40 different countries to witness the gospel, serve in various evangelistic ministries, and give lectures for local pastors and seminary students. He is fully bilingual in Korean and English with a keen understanding of multicultural world views. If elected, he will be an ambassador for the Kingdom and Southern Baptists that’s well qualified.

The Global Mission Church, under Dr. Kim’s leadership, has been faithfully partnering and collaborating with the Southern Baptist Convention in all areas of Christian ministry including cooperative program, world missions, local outreach, relief efforts, community service, and pastors’ fellowship. The Church has produced more than 50 career missionaries working for the International Mission Board. It has also planted five churches in various locations in America.

Either of the announced nominees for President, thus far, are fine men. But, our Convention will be better served if Dr. Kim wins the election. By virtue of training, experience, missions travel, Kingdom expansion, cooperation, church development and discipleship ministries, Dr. Kim is by far the most qualified, announced candidate for the Office of President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Kim’s church gave 4.5% of their church budget to the Cooperative Program last year, while engaged in local, state, national, and global missions as a church family.

Dr. Fred Luter, our current illustrious President, was quoted in a June 2012 Christianity Today article on the heels of his historic election, regarding future leadership in the SBC:

“I have no doubt you will see more change in having more ethnics in positions of authority. And eventually I have no doubt you’ll see one of us leading one of the entities.”

The election of Dr. Luter was an eye-opener, a wake-up call, that this was no longer “our daddy’s SBC.” Dr. Luter expressed faith that “ethnics” would assume positions of authority in the SBC—not just a solo African American—but “ethnics.” Dr. Kim will lead us to continue our growing ministry to a rapidly diversifying America with a strong and faithful gospel witness.

At the current time, all SBC entity heads are comprised of the majority, historic SBC ethnic group—Anglos. Thank God for the Anglos! The SBC would not be poised to be the only evangelical denomination in my judgment with the potential to become thoroughly inter-racial if it were not for the inclusiveness and Kingdom-minded hearts of Anglo SBC persons. Fred Luter certainly did not become President of the SBC with only ethnic minority votes. But, as America grows, we are becoming a more ethnically diverse nation every year. We need leadership that will help the SBC grow in that way as well. Dr. Kim will do a great job of leading us in our mission to bring the gospel to the people of America who are now from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue so that our churches will continue to look more and more like Heaven (Rev. 7:9).

Dr. Kim is, without a doubt, qualified. Dr. Kim pastors the largest SBC church in the state of Maryland, irrespective of race. The SBC will not have to compromise integrity, leadership, sound doctrine, CP support, missions/evangelism/discipleship commitment, or any expectation of an SBC President by electing Dr. Kim. His leadership among Maryland Baptists is significant in how he has grown a strong, vibrant ministry outside of the South and he is equipped and uniquely positioned to lead the Southern Baptist Convention in growing in areas and among cultures where we have not traditionally had a strong impact. We need the kind of leadership, expertise, and experience that Dr. Kim has gained from ministering outside of the South in a rapidly changing cultural situation.

Dr. Kim caught my eye at the Orlando SBC meeting, when he stood on the floor and made an appeal for ethnic minorities to be included and play a greater role in SBC Life. I resonated with his plea. I resonated with his pain. I resonated with the potential and promise that his plea represented. It is now time for the SBC to move to the next level and continue to fulfill the prayer of Jesus, that we might be one, so that the world would know that He is Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). The next step in becoming a Kingdom Family of One is to plant multicultural churches. Who better has role modeled and can cast a vision for discipleship-driven multicultural church planting than Dr. Kim?

Michael Brady was a stuntman for Universal Studios. Michael Brady’s specialty was diving from a helicopter to jump onto a moving train. On one occasion he climbed up a stairway to a train to check out what he was going to be doing. Michael Brady slipped, fell and instantly died. Michael Brady was an organ donor. Bill Wohl was hospitalized for 159 days with an artificial heart waiting on a heart transplant. Bill Wohl was 57 years old, waiting on a heart, after 159 days of living with an artificial heart. Michael Brady was 37 years old and in tip-top physical shape when he suddenly died. And Bill Wohl was blessed to receive Michael Brady’s 37-year-old heart.

Bill Wohl started exercising vigorously and running marathons. He wanted to honor the life and legacy of Michael Brady by keeping his heart in good condition. On one occasion, Bill Wohl had the opportunity to meet Michael Brady’s family. His mother, father, brother and sister were all there. Michael Brady’s father had a stethoscope with him. And he requested permission of Bill Wohl to listen to his heart, because he wanted to hear the heartbeat of his son. Bill Wohl granted Michael Brady’s dad permission. He then placed the stethoscope to Bill Wohl’s heart and listened to the heartbeat of his son.

Suppose, God the Father wanted to listen to the heartbeat of the SBC. If God placed a stethoscope on the heart of the SBC, what would He hear? Would God hear the heartbeat of His Son? Dr. Kim’s heartbeat is discipleship, just as Jesus’ heartbeat was discipleship (Matthew 28:19).

We want to continue the great legacy of the SBC with regard to missions, evangelism and discipleship. We want to continue with the Luter evolution. Will you please join me in supporting Dr. Dennis Manpoong Kim as the next President of the Southern Baptist Convention?

Here is a link to an excellent article by Shannon Baker on the nomination. It has a lot of good background information.  http://www.baptistlifeonline.org/2014/05/dwight-mckissic-nominates-korean-pastor-for-sbc-president/

RESOLUTIONS ON:

  1. The NFL Same-Sex Kiss and Their Failure to Recognize Kenny Washington;
  2. The Washington “Redskins” Racially Insensitive and Racist Mascot;
  3. Amending “Stand Your Ground Laws” In States That Have Such Laws.

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Cornerstone Baptist Church, Arlington, TX

Whereas, the God of the Bible who is “the same, yesterday, today and forever more” is omnipotent and omniscient, therefore, keenly aware and concerned about the affairs of mankind (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, Matthew 6:24-34),

Whereas, “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” is assigned the task of representing the Kingdom of God on earth and to be His voice (I Timothy 3:14, Matthew 16:18-20, Romans 10:14-17),

Whereas, the Church of the living God is to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and a city upon a hill, in order to exalt righteousness, brotherhood, justice, and redemptive history (Matthew 5:13-14),

Whereas, the Bible commands believers to prophetically address righteous, justice, and racial issues (Amos 5:24, Malachi 2:10, Matthew 28:19-20),

Whereas Jesus warned His disciples concerning the dangers of adversely impacting the lives of children (Matthew 18:6),

Be it resolved that we believe that it is inappropriate for children to be subjected to having to watch same-sex couples engage in public displays of affection while watching a sports-related event on allegedly family-friendly channels. We discourage any further televising of such events. While there is a missing airplane somewhere in the Far East, over 200 kidnapped girls from Nigeria, and high unemployment in America, we respectfully request the President of the United States to refrain from congratulating and extending well wishes to any future homosexual professional sports players, unless simultaneously he is going to make celebratory and well wishes calls to the likes of Tim Tebow, Prince Amukamara—the “Black Tim Tebow,” and AC Green, professional athletes committed to sexual purity.

Be it further resolved that whereas, the NFL has not celebrated and heralded Kenny Washington, who broke the color barrier in the modern era of the NFL (1946), the Southern Baptist Convention wishes to acknowledge and celebrate the significance of Kenny Washington for paving the way for the NFL to be a diverse and inclusive sports league for players of all colors, just as Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in professional baseball,

Be it resolved that the Southern Baptist Convention deplore and denounce racism in any form or expression by professional sports league management, as was recently expressed by Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,

Be it further resolved that the Southern Baptist Convention view the mascot of the Washington “Redskins” as racist and disrespectful in its origin and the mindset of George Preston Marshall, owner of the Boston Braves football team in 1932, which relocated the team to Washington, DC in 1937, and renamed the Boston Braves, the Washington “Redskins.”

Time Magazine reported in 1940, “Considered by West Coast fans the most brilliant player in the US last year, [Kenny] Washington cannot play major league pro football because he is a Negro.” When the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles in 1946, the commissioners of the Los Angeles Coliseum stipulated as part of the agreement that the team be integrated. Kenny Washington then signed the first NFL contract to play for the Los Angeles Rams as a Black man in the modern era. When Kenny Washington finished college at UCLA, having led the nation in the total offense, he caught the eye of legendary Bears Coach George Halas, who coached him in the College All Star Game in 1939. Halas kept Washington in Chicago for three weeks on his own dime as he tried to lobby the NFL to integrate the league, but he didn’t succeed, with Redskins owner, George Preston Marshall, the lone holdout.

George Preston Marshall, who named the “Redskins” and whose players in 1946 held Kenny Marshall down, piled on top of him and poured chalk in his eyes, was without a doubt a racist, as evidenced by him denying Kenny Washington a chance to play in the NFL until 1946, along with other NFL owners, and allowing his players to pour chalk into the eyes of an African American player without any repercussions.

Can you imagine Louis Farrakhan having owned the Dallas Cowboys in the ‘60’s, and having named them the Dallas “Whiteboys”? And having no intent to ever allow anyone who was White to play on the team? The man who named the “Redskins” did not allow a “Black-skinned” or truly “Redskin” player on his team until forced to by the Federal Government in 1962. The Washington “Redskins” were the last NFL team to integrate. Louis Farrakhan would be making a mockery of the name “Whiteboys” if he had no intent to place “Whiteboys” on his team; and this is exactly what George Preston Marshall did to the Washington “Redskins.” We plead and appeal to the current owner of the Washington team, Daniel Sayder, to change this racially insensitive and racist name.

It is racist to make reference to a racial group (Native Americans) as a mascot. It trivializes the racial group to be referenced as a mascot. Again, the man who assigned this name was a documented racist. Donald Sterling would look like Branch Rickey, compared to George Preston Marshall. The Southern Baptist Convention denounce the mascot of the Washington Redskins as racist, based on the documented racism of its owner of the time—George Preston Marshall. “Redskins” was a colloquial, not so respectful reference to Native Americans during the period in which Marshall gave his team that racially repugnant name.

Be it resolved that the Southern Baptist Convention views it as an unfit analogy that the St. Louis Rams—having recently drafted the first openly homosexual player and the Los Angeles Rams in 1946, having signed the first African American to an NFL contract in the modern era, is indicative of social progress or advancement. To compare the advent of a same-sex attraction player, to an African American player is to compare one man’s skin—to another man’s sin. The Southern Baptist Convention completely, absolutely, and unequivocally rejects the comparison. One’s racial identity is a by-product of biology. One’s sexual identity is a by-product of one’s preference or choice. Therefore, it is intellectually dishonest to compare skin color, with same-sex relational desires. It is also offensive and racist.

Finally, be it resolved that the Southern Baptist Convention encourage State Legislatures who have adopted “Stand Your Ground Laws” to revisit those laws. The Southern Baptist Convention is requesting states to consider amending such laws to reflect the notion that one cannot be the aggressor in an altercation and then plead “Stand your Ground” as a defense.

Because our God is a God of righteousness, justice and equality the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10-11, 2014, resolve the aforementioned resolutions.

“NEVER WASTE A CRISIS”

Did Donald Sterling’s Adultery Expose His Racism?

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Donald Sterling’s racism is well documented and has been appropriately redressed by Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner. But his adultery has gone largely unaddressed.  No one of stature has related the impact of his adultery to this crisis.

Wasn’t Sterling’s adultery the precursor to him receiving the death penalty, as a result of his racist rant? Wasn’t it a recorded conversation with a female friend—that his wife was suing for having interfered with her marriage—the conversation that resulted in his life-time banishment from the NBA? Would he have been punished for his racism, had his racism not been revealed by his adultery? Would we even know about his racist views, if it were not for his adultery? At the root of this racial crisis is an adulterous affair.

A practical lesson that could and should be learned from the Sterling fiasco is that not only is racism unacceptable in American Society, but adultery is also damaging, destructive, and deadly to American families, and consequently society.  Those of us who are married need to steer clear of adultery. When we fail to do so, a host of other issues often surface—that are often irreversible—as a result of our willful disobedience to the laws of God, the dishonoring of our marital vows, and the disloyalty to our spouses. Sterling’s adultery is just as evil as his racism.

The decision to commit adultery has far-reaching consequences beyond the moment in time that one makes that decision. It is not just the racism that America is reeling and rocking from, that fell from the lips of Donald Sterling; but the adultery that preceded the racist rant, is also what America is now having to collectively process in our national psyche. Their private affair has caused a public nightmare. It is time for the healing to begin.

While viewing the “Jackie Robinson” recent movie, I was awestruck by the fact that Branch Ricky fired one of his team managers—Leo Durocher—for engaging in serial adultery in the 1947 era. The Catholic Church supplied pressure on Branch Ricky to dismiss Durocher because he was viewed as a poor role model.

Why is it that we had a high tolerance for racism in ’47, but a low tolerance for adultery? And, now we have a high tolerance for adultery, but a low tolerance for overt, blatant, in-your-face racism? Could it be that while we are judging the racism in the Sterling case, God is judging the adultery? Could the plight of Sterling be the plight of America if we don’t repent before it is everlasting too late?

During the Jackie Robinson era, Donald Sterling’s racism would have been accepted without much controversy. Sterling’s racism is rightfully judged as intolerable today, by many. But his adultery is accepted, or ignored, as if it is a non-issue. America and the NBA have judged his racism and rendered a verdict. But God may be judging his unrepentant adultery, in addition to his racism. The Bible says, “Be sure that your sins will find you out.”

Sterling’s sin of adultery exposed his sin of racism. America accepts Sterling’s sin of adultery, while rejecting his sin of racism. God rejects Sterling’s sins of adultery and racism.

Richard Land, Ann Coulter, and several Fox News Commentators have argued that racism is a myth. Land later apologized for his racial remarks. Sterling should do the same.

Clearly, Donald Sterling’s remarks reveal that racism in America is not a myth. Racism is alive and well. Donald Sterling, Paula Deen, and Cliven Bundy—the infamous Nevada Rancher—have painfully reminded us of this. Paula Deen also repented of her racist remarks, for which she is to be commended.

“Never waste a crisis,” is a quote often attributed to Rahm Emanuel , who served as Chief of Staff in President Obama’s first term, and currently serves as Mayor of Chicago. There are lessons to be learned about adultery from this crisis, as well as the obvious racism. If we don’t learn lesson(s) about adultery from this crisis; and if we continue to believe that racism is a myth, this could prove to be a wasted crisis.

Sterling’s adultery is equally as reprehensible as his racism. God pulled the covers off of Sterling’s racism, because Sterling would not repent of his adultery. He flaunted his adultery, and God has now judged it.

America applauds Michael Sam’s homosexuality. America gives silent approval to Donald Sterling’s adultery. Yet, we deplore Sterling’s racism.

God stands against adultery, racism, and homosexuality. Although, we give Sterling a pass on his adultery, God does not. The Sterling Case reveals the fact that America has an increasing lower tolerance for systemic racism, but a high tolerance for sexual sin. If we are going to see a change in America for the betterment of society, we are going to have to start abhorring adultery and sexual sins as much as we do racism.

Perhaps and prayerfully, Sterling will go back home to his wife, where he belongs. Had he been there all along, we would have been spared this crisis? But, Rahn Emmanuel is right: Now that we have it, we shouldn’t waste it. Everybody involved can seek and receive forgiveness, and go their way and sin no more.

Starting with me, it would do us all well to remember the words of Proverbs 6:25, 27, 28, 32, 33:

”25Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will get,
And his reproach will not be wiped away.”

May God forgive, help, cleanse and deliver all of us who struggle and sometimes fail to live lives that are morally and mentally pure! May God help us to practice sexual restraint and to relate to and view others racially righteously and without any hint of racism!

THE KINGDOM FAMILY GATHERING, 2014; A Gathering for a New Millennium

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

Waiting in the baggage claim area at the Washington, DC, Airport, I made eye contact with a gentleman who paused, looked at me, then looked at a picture that he was holding in his hand, looked at me again, and then he continued to walk pass me. He made his way around to me again and repeated the previous actions; only this time before proceeding without speaking, he paused to ask—“Are you Rev. Dwight McKissic?” I said, “Yes!” He then said, “You don’t look like your picture.” My assistant had mailed Pastor T.L. Rogers an outdated picture. Therefore, he was having a difficult time recognizing me based on the differences between my then current look and the outdated picture.

When the world visits today’s church and pause to compare today’s church with the church in the Bible, the world could easily say, “the church today does not look like her biblical picture.” In this post I want to examine three angles of one picture of the early church and compare and contrast it with today’s church. I also want to notify and invite Kingdom citizens from throughout America to come and spend 3-4 days at the Cornerstone Church, Arlington, TX, March 13-16, 2014, for a Kingdom Family Gathering, co-hosted and co-sponsored by Jack Taylor Ministries and the Cornerstone Church, Arlington, TX. During these four days we believe that we will experience a picture of the church as she was during the day of Scripture.

Today’s church is divided denominationally. The biblical picture of the church is a church that’s unified as “one body” (Ephesian 4:3).

Today’s church is divided over the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The biblical picture of the church is a church unified by “one Spirit” (Ephesian 4:4).

Today’s church is divided into various theological camps and affinity groups. The biblical picture of the church is unified around, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:5-6).

Today’s church is divided by race. The biblical picture of the church consisted of people gathered from every nation (Acts 2:5; 13:1).

Today’s church battles and debates over the Holy Spirit. The biblical picture of the church shows people worshipping, praying, guided by, preaching, serving and giving in the Spirit (Acts 2, Acts 4:31-35, Acts 13:2).

Today’s church is often under the illusion and impression that God has ceased operating in all the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in the Bible. The biblical picture of the church shows that the Kingdom of God has come upon His church when we see the power, manifestation, and activity of God among His people (Matthew 12:27; Mark 9:1; I Corinthians 1:7, I Corinthians 12-14).

Today’s church has conferences to announce and boldly proclaim that the activity of God in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit have ceased among His people. The picture of the biblical church was to gather and pray to God on one accord, at one time and to ask God to:

29 “…grant to Your [His] servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:29-31)

Jack Taylor, an 80-year-old Spirit-filled Southern Baptist Preacher; Bill Johnson, a non-denominational Redding, CA, pastor; Dwight Mckissic, a Kingdom-centered Baptist pastor; and Wayne Chaney, a younger generation, African American, Southern Baptist who pastors a dynamic church in Southern California, are coming together to host, “The Kingdom Family Gathering” in a few days. We are praying that the auditorium with a seating capacity of 1600 to be filled with people of every kindred, tribe, tongue, and nation. We are also praying that the people will be filled with the Spirit of the Living God.

When the Kingdom Family gathers we expect a vital unity that’s empowered by God’s Spirit as it was on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). We expect the life and vitality of God in our midst to be the hallmark of this gathering.

When the Kingdom Family gathers, we expect a visual unity of God’s people. If no other miracle takes place, if we can gather for our evening services a healthy inter-racial mix and balance of Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, surely the Kingdom of God has come in our midst. We expect as was on the day of Pentecost a visual unity that’s Holy Spirit orchestrated in our midst (Acts 2:2-3).

When the Kingdom Family gathers, we expect a verbal unity that’s Holy-Spirit anointed to be manifest in our midst. We expect glorious praise, powerful preaching, words of exhortation, wisdom and knowledge and the glory of the Lord in our midst. We are believing God to show up in our midst as He promised He would, and join us in our sacrifice of praise to Him.

God called out a people, later named Israel, so that He could introduce His people to His Kingdom. The theme of the Bible is about a King, His Kingdom, and His royal offspring. God called out His Kingdom Family, in order to bestow blessings of abundant and eternal life, on His people, through the gift of His Son. God wanted a family that He might receive worship in Spirit and Truth, from all the people of the earth. God wanted a family, that’s why He told us to call Him, Father.

God is not color blind. He made the colors, because He loved them. God even made His people different colors, because He loves them, and considers all of His people beautiful. God is pleased when people of all colors come together and worship Him. There is a special dynamic in the atmosphere when worship crosses all color lines. This will be a taste of Heaven on earth.

At the beginning of the first millennium, God gathered His Family in Noah’s Ark, in order to preserve the human family, so that He might bless them.  “And God blessed Noah and his sons” (Genesis 9: 1). Genesis 9: 19, says that all mankind—regardless of color—emanated from the sons of Noah. In the loins of Noah’s sons, and their wives, was every race known to man. “And God blessed Noah and his sons.”  God blessed His family gathered. He even wanted to bless them in unity scattered.

After disembarking from the ark, God told His Kingdom family—Noah and Mrs. Noah, their sons and wives—that He wanted them to scatter, multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 9: 1, 7). They indeed multiplied, but they didn’t scatter and they did not fill the earth.

Instead they gathered at the Tower of Babel, against the will of God, and God then, sovereignly chose to scatter them (Genesis 11: 1-9). But even then, God kept the family theme intact. They gathered at the Tower as one people, speaking one language (Genesis 11: 1).

They scattered from the tower, speaking different languages, and divided into three different human families, and settling and separating themselves from each other in three different lands, based on how they  traced their family blood lines or lineage, back to one of Noah’s three sons(Genesis 10: 5, 20, 31, 32).

Rather than scattering across the world interracially,  cross culturally, cross pollinated, and fill the earth, as God had instructed them (Genesis 9), they scattered exclusively based on family blood lines traced back to Noah’s three sons. The world has been divided by race and language ever since.

Chronologically speaking, we know that the historical event in Genesis 11 (the Tower of Babel incident) occurred before the census bureau-cataloging event of Genesis 10, the Table of the Nations.

In Genesis 12, God told Abraham that He wanted to bless the families of the earth through him. The theme of Genesis 9, 10, 11, and 12 is family and family blessing.  God wanted to bless the families of the earth so that they would bless Him back, and bless His Kingdom.

After thousands of years of living scattered and separated from each other, God brought His Kingdom Family from all over the earth together again at Pentecost (Acts 2: 5). They came from every nation under the sun. They came from Africa, Asia, and Europe.

They gathered at Babel in pride; they gathered at Pentecost in humility. They gathered at Babel prayer-less; they gathered at Pentecost prayerful. They gathered at Babel and God confused their language; they gathered at Pentecost and they understood each other’s language. They scattered from Babel in disunity; they gathered at Pentecost with all on one accord, and they left on one accord (Acts 2: 1). They gathered at Babel in a building made by man’s hands,   against the will of God. They gathered at Pentecost in a building orchestrated by the hand of God.

Will you please come and join us in these days of seeking God’s face. If the world ever needed to see the church in vital unity, visual unity, and verbal unity, it is right now. Please visit www.kingdomfamilygathering.org for more information concerning registration for the conference, schedule, and speakers:

  1. BILL JOHNSON, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California.
  2. LEIF HETLAND, founder and president of Global Mission Awareness.
  3. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX.
  4. WAYNE CHANEY, the senior pastor of Antioch Church in Los Angeles, California.
  5. BOB PHILLIPS, the father to many spiritual sons and God’s Kingdom emissary to the Body of Christ
  6. PAUL YADAO, the lead pastor of Destiny Ministries International in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.
  7. DENNIS JERNIGAN, an inspiring worship leader and gifted songwriter whose focus in ministry has been to help the spiritually captive get set free.
  8. TOM DAVIS,  a gifted worship leader and founder of Amber Rose Ministries through which he produces live worship recordings and worship albums that bring healing and life.
  9. KEITH LUKER, and his wife, Sanna, are prophetic psalmist revivalists and the founders of FreeWind, a prophetic worship ministry dedicated to seeing the tabernacle of David restored in this generation.

THE FORGOTTEN “N” WORD IN THE BIBLE

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The NFL is currently discussing penalizing players who use the “N” word during a game. Two White NFL players, Riley Cooper and Incognito, have been recorded using the “N” word as a slur directed toward African American males. Black NFL players reportedly commonly use the term during games in a myriad of context, some affirmative and some pejorative. Recently, an Anglo female student at the high school in Texas where my daughter teaches—at a school-wide sanctioned event, across a microphone—made reference to all the “high yellow ‘N’s,’” in the audience. The mixed-race audience, predominately Black, screamed with laughter and approval at her remark.

The word “Christian” was originated by non-Christians, and used initially as a term of derision. However, Christians adopted the term and transformed it into a term of identification with our Lord, and as a testimony.

The “N” word had a similar transformative history. This word was originally used by White persons as a term of derision and disrespect toward Blacks. Blacks adopted the term and transformed it into a term of endearment; a term of respect; and a term of brotherhood. One of the highest compliments one Black Male can give to another Black Male is to call him a “Big N.”  The “N” word was and is also used toward Blacks as a term of derision and disrespect. Context determines meaning. It is seldom, if ever, misunderstood when talking Black to Black. But, until recently, it was always a closeted term, never used in mixed company.

The hip-hop rap generation over the past 20-25 years have radically, and perhaps, irreversibly, changed the use of the “N” word, from private use to public use. They started using the term on public air waves 25 or so years ago.  They sold records by the millions; yes, to White persons as well, where the “N” word was used prominently. The lyrics of their songs, including and featuring the “N” word were printed in the record label jackets. This, in a sense, gave permission to Whites and others to use the term. How could Whites attend the same rap concert; listen to the same rap lyrics; buy the same rap music; read the same rap lyrics; and not be allowed to say, read, sing, etc., the same “N” word? It is unfortunate that the church has not had this kind of inter-racial and inter-cultural impact on the fusion of Black and White culture as the rappers have had.

The public use and cross racial use of the “N” word has caused a generational divide in the Black community. Ray Lewis disapproves of Incognito’s use of the “N” word. I attended and spoke at a Men’s conference in Maryland last year where Lewis said, that would not have been tolerated in his locker room. Yet, Mike Pouncey, an African-American Center for the Dolphins, approves of Incognito’s use of the “N” word. The difference between how Ray Lewis and Mike Pouncey, both African Americans, view this differently has everything to do with their ages—about a 15-year difference.

I am 57 years old. There were two times you were expected to physically fight when I was a boy. (1) If someone talked about your mother. It was called for some reason—“playing the dozens.” If that took place, a fight was on. (2) If a White person called you the “N” word. If you didn’t fight in those two instances, you lost any and all respect among your peers. You may have even lost your parents respect, if you didn’t fight in this scenario. Most parents did not approve of fighting for “playing the dozen,” but, they were quietly supportive or understanding if you fought a White person for calling you the “N” word.

Fast forward to today and we have a generation that’s allowing White persons to call them by some derivative of the “N” word, or the “N” word itself. This is quite disgusting.

The changing use and acceptance of the “N” word documents the fact that the “N” word has a complex, convoluted, controversial and ever-changing history.

We will discover that because the “N” word has historically been misconstrued and mis-associated with other words that begin with the letter “N,” it has caused us to overlook, under emphasize or downright ignore another “N” word, that’s actually recorded in the Bible—the word “Niger” (Acts 13:1).

The word “Niger” has absolutely no etymological or social relationship to the “N” word that’s commonly used today. Yet, in a Bible study class that I was conducting recently, I discovered that several persons viewed the biblical Acts 13:1 “N” word, as synonymous with the controversial “N” word. They even pronounced it the same.

Therefore, I felt inspired to write this article on the “N” word in the Bible, and to clarify and distinguish between these two unrelated terms. Furthermore, I want to discuss the word “Negro,” a derivative of the word “Niger” and its non-association with the controversial “N” word. The “N” word in the Bible is a positive and affirming word that connects descendants of Africa with prominence, productivity, and a place at the welcome table in the Father’s Kingdom.

The Biblical “N” word Provides, Proof Positive that God loves persons of African Descent and He included us in His plan of redemption. Acts 13:1 reads:

“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”

“Simeon who was called Niger” was a prophet, teacher, and leader in the church at Antioch. The church at Antioch was the first Gentile congregation in history. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Luke found it necessary to place it in the inerrant, infallible, and eternal word of God that two men of African descent were leaders in the early church. “Lucius of Cyrene” was also mentioned by name and country of origin. Cyrene was located in North Africa. According to David Adamo, Ph.D. in OT, Baylor University, in his book Africa and Africans in the New Testament (P.52), “The city of Cyrene was in the area where Libya is today and was originally populated by black people in history before the advent and the domination of European people.”

“The word Niger occurs only once in the New Testament, namely in Acts 13:1. Adamo argues that Niger is a Latin word, which means ‘black.’ In the New Testament, the words Ethiopia and Niger were used as the equivalent of the Old Testament word Cush. The Hebrew word, Cush, in the Old Testament means black, and in the Septuagint it was translated Ethiopia, and that also means black. Roman literature described swarthy, or dark-skinned people as Niger among the various terms employed. The people in this category are Africans, including the Egyptians, Libyans, Moors, some Indians and certain persons of mixed parentage with black and white. In Latin, the adjective most frequently used for the Ethiopians who are of black skinned is Niger as equivalence of Ethiopia,” according to Adamo (p. 32) .

“The legendary Ethiopian king called Memnon (600 BCE) who fought in the Trojan War of Troy was referred to sometimes as Memnon aethiops, and other times as Memnon Niger” (Adamo, p. 33).

“In the New Testament, the Greek word Niger was transliterated “Niger” respectively by The King James Version. The Revised Standard Version, The American Standard Version, the New International, and Jerusalem Bible Versions also translated it “Niger.” The Good News Bible, The New American Standard Version, The Living Bible and the New Living Translation, translated it “the black person.” This is highly commendable” (Adamo, p. 33).

According to J.A. Rogers, a distinguished Black scholar, the term “Negro” is a derivative of the word “Niger,” and simply means “black.” Rogers further maintains that contrary to popular scholarly opinion, the word Niger was not originally a Latin or European term, but an African term originating from a native African language. There is a Niger River in Africa and countries called Niger and Nigeria. Adewunni Williams, a native Nigerian that I’m acquainted with reports that in his native Nigerian tongue, the word “Inago” is somewhat similar in spelling and sound to the word “Negro,” and is identical in meaning—“Black Man.” According to Rogers, there was nothing inherently negative with reference to Black people within the etymology or original usage of the words “Niger” or “Negro.” The Europeans borrowed these terms from Africans. The terms “Niger,” “Negro,” “Black,” and “African,” are etymologically the same—originating from African language and meaning “Black” or “dark.”

There is absolutely no etymological connection between the African words “Niger” and “Negro” and the English words “niggard” or “nigger.” Unfortunately, these words have been misconstrued and mis-pronounced. The Ethiopians and the Egyptians used the word “Negus” to refer to kings and royalty. The English words “niggard” and “nigger” have absolutely nothing to do with race. These words described a stingy person regardless of their race.

So what is the proper name designation for persons of African descent here in America? In the final analysis, each person must decide for him­self or herself. One must choose the term that is least offensive to his or her sensibilities. There is a context in which I proudly answer to all of these terms (African-American, Black and Negro). Psychologically and emotionally, I am extremely proud of my African descent. Nationally and culturally, I am proud to be an American. The word “Black” etymo­logically and ethnically connects me with the ancient Cushites (Ethiopi­ans), Sumerians (Blackheads) and Hamites (Egyptians), who were the prominent people of ancient history. My complexion is literally “black”, of which I’m also proud.

I also proudly answer to the term “Negro.” Why? Because I under­stand the historicity and etymology of the term. The appellation Negro (Niger) encompasses my African roots and biblical roots (Acts 13:1) and ethnologically links me with dark-skinned persons throughout the globe who do not necessarily trace their roots back to Africa. Finally, if the word Negro was good enough for Dr. WE.B. Du Bois, the first Black to graduate with a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University; and the word Negro was good enough for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who used the term often and proudly; and if the word Niger or Negro was good enough for the pages of Scripture (Acts 13:1), then the word Negro is good enough for me. Historically and ethnically, I am proud to be a Negro. However, I repeat: There is a context in which I proudly answer to all of these terms. An older Negro preacher in Arkansas was known for saying that Black is an adjective and Negro is a noun; and he would rather be a noun than an adjective.

The biblical “N” word provides positive proof that persons of African descent were committed to the triune God, before Mohammed and Islam had come into existence. The “N” word in history was an English term that originally had absolutely nothing to do with one’s race, but with one’s attitude and disposition—regardless of race. This word was transformed into a racial insult directed toward Black people. It is now time that all people, including, Blacks of all ages, in all context consider the disallowance and non-use of this word. Now that society is integrated in ways that it was not when this word was a popular closeted term, we must accept the fact that there cannot be a word that is off limits to one set of people, but can be used by another and they are all together at the same place. The time has come to have a funeral and bury the English “N” word while maintaining the Biblical “N” word. The pronunciation, spelling and the definition of those two words are different and should not be confused. Our young people should immediately stop affirming the abuse and misuse of the English “N” word.

WHEN SAINTS LIVE IN SODOM

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

How Should Kingdom Citizens Relate to Gay and A New Gay-Friendly America?

“My truth is that I am a gay American,” are the words that Gov. Jim McGreevey spoke as he was resigning from the governorship of New Jersey on August 13, 2004 because circumstances forced him to disclose the fact that he was a homosexual.

“I am an openly, proud gay man,” are the words of Mr. Michael Sam, who was an excellent football player at the University of Missouri this past season and is expected by some to go as high as the 3rd round in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Between the years of Gov. McGreevey’s resignation, and Mr. Sam’s pre-NFL Draft aspirations and “I am…gay” announcement, America has witnessed a major public policy and attitudinal shift in support of homosexuality.

Fifty years ago, James Brown released a song that became a great source of inspiration, pride, and self-esteem for Black Americans—“Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud.” I remember it so well. All the kids in my neighborhood sang it with great joy. It became a rallying cry. Bursting out of obscurity into the National Spotlight recently hails Michael Sam saying it loud, “I am gay and I’m proud.”

Will Michael Sam become the face of the “gay rights” movement that takes us down the road to Sodom and Gomorrah at a record setting pace? Mr. Sam has received words of affirmation from President and Mrs. Obama, Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, and a host of others, simply for announcing to the world that he prefers to engage in sexual activity with another male, rather than a female.

The world that I was born into in 1956 did not officially and affirmatively recognize a “gay” person as a sociological category that merited celebration, congratulations, affirmation, special rights in addition to civil rights, minority status, entitlements, or any of the like. Heretofore, identity and recognition as a human being, American citizen, male or female, a member of a people group, religious affiliation, or your Daddy’s name, was sufficient. Within the past decade, the U.S. military, pulpits, POTUS, SCOTUS, Halls of Congress, popular votes in certain states, the public school systems, and the NFL, have all upheld policies and affirmed same-sex relationships and homosexuality. We are all having to accept the fact that in the New America, there is a new demographic called “Gay American,” that are recognized as a legitimate, official, respected people group by all major American Institutions—including many church leaders and some (mainly liberal) denominations. The social acceptance of homosexuality has occurred in America primarily within the past ten years—from the fall of Gov. McGreevey to the rise of Mr. Michael Sam.

For all practical purposes, the decisions by the above named entities to affirm same-sex relationships and homosexuality have created a third category of human being, commonly known as a “gay American.” It is common for job applications to have an entry blank labeled “Sex: Male____ Female ____.” We now need to add a third option under this entry blank: “Gay ____.” American Society has radically and irreversibly changed as it relates to public policy approval, and public acceptance of homosexuality.

However, there is one major personality and three-dimensional system of government that has not yet signed off on the sociological people group in America—“Gay Americans.” The one major personality who has not signed off on, or endorsed Michael Sam’s admitted sexual proclivities, is the One who created him—God Almighty. The three-dimensional form of government that has not approved of same-sex relationships and homosexuality is The Trinitarian Enterprise. Until God Almighty and The Trinitarian Enterprise change their position on this issue, there is a remnant of us who refuse to change also.

We are commanded to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.” God said that His Word is forever settled in Heaven. Therefore, His Word on this subject is not going to change, neither will Kingdom-citizens.

So, how do Kingdom citizens relate to gay and a new gay-friendly America? What are saints to do now that we recognize that we live in Sodom? I’ll tell you what we must do. We must love the homosexual unconditionally, while we preach and practice grace, love, and truth uncompromisingly.

I. First, we must acknowledge that at least three Scriptures indicate, or suggest that homosexual relationships would be widely accepted and approved of before Christ returns. Jesus Himself said:

“26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30)

Jesus makes it clear here that sordid, sinful, sexual behaviors, similar to the type of sexual behaviors that were occurring during the day of Lot in Sodom would also be occurring when He is revealed (Luke 17:30). Incidentally, “sodomy” is a legal term that is commonly used today in courts of law, as a reference to anal sex. For those who argue that Jesus never addressed homosexuality; that is simply untrue. He used the same words that prosecutors, Judges, and lawyers use today to label homosexual activity, “Sodom” (Luke 17:29).

John the Apostle was given a telescopic view of end time events. God removed the panorama that separates the known from the unknown and showed John a spiritual battle taking place just before the seventh trumpet sound saying, “The Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Revelation 11:15). Just prior to the seventh angel, blowing the seventh trumpet, the sixth angel, blows the sixth trumpet, and among the many things John envisioned before the sounding of the seventh and final trumpet, signifying the end of the world as we know it today: John saw two witnesses dead bodies “lying in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt” (Revelation 11:8). The spiritual condition of our great cities of the world when the Lord return can spiritually be labeled as “Sodom” (Revelation 11:8). Today we call “Sodom,” “same-sex marriage” and homosexuality.

John and Paul indicate that the spirit of the Anti-Christ would be unleashed upon the world in the last days (I John 2:18; I Timothy 4:1). Daniel 11:37 tells two interesting, and relevant to this subject matter, characteristics regarding the Anti-Christ:

1. “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers.” In order to embrace same-sex relationships and homosexuality, one has to disregard the God of our fathers. Know that anybody who preaches that homosexuality is acceptable to God is not preaching the God of the Bible. They are disrespecting the God of the Bible and representing the anti-Christ. The notion that gay rights and civil rights are compatible is from the pit of hell. Rev. Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, deep down in her sanctified soul, she knows that her dad did not die for same-sex marriage rights. Martin Luther King did not sacrifice his life for two football players to get married. The thought of such is a desecration to his legacy.

2. Daniel also reveals that the Anti-Christ would not desire women. A male who does not desire a woman is considered suspect where I came from. I believe that Daniel was telling us that the Anti-Christ would have no desire for women, which may be a subtle way of suggesting that the Anti-Christ would be a homosexual, or certainly unmarried.

According to DL Foster, “The Daniel reference to the sexual nature of the anti-Christ as envisioned by Daniel is telling considering the world’s end time affirmation of homosexual perversion. The word ‘desire’ is drawn from the Hebrew chamad, which points to lust and desire associated with male/female sexuality. Thus, we can make a broad assumption that the anti-Christ will have no sexual desire for women.”

As the saints learn how to live in Sodom, we must take solace in the fact that the Bible accurately predicts that the spirit of Sodom would be prevalent and prominent in the end time. Jesus, John, Paul, and Daniel predicted what we are now seeing.

II. Not only are saints to accept the fact that living in Sodom is an inevitable biblical reality or prophesy coming true, we must also be like the two witnesses in Revelation and speak the truth in love to all who ask about our faith, or our belief in the Judeo-Christian concept of marriage between one man and one woman. I Peter 3:15 suggests that we must be gentle and respectful when giving answers about our faith to outsiders. We must be gracious, gentle, loving and respectful as we address these matters as a part of a now remnant faith community.

III. Finally, the best offense is a good defense. Seattle just proved that in the Super Bowl. Therefore, the remnant faith community needs to strengthen the bonds of our marriages. If people saw healthier and happier hetero-sexual marriages among the saints, it would reinforce the biblical concept of marriage as articulated by Jesus.

“ And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Model a genuine marriage, so that people will reject a counterfeit. Live a morally clean life so that we won’t contribute to the spirit of Sodom that’s overtaking the land. These are a few important things to know and do as Kingdom-citizens learn to live in the new reality of an officially accepted sociological category or people—“gay Americans.”

AN OPEN RESPONSE TO REV. AL SHARPTON’S OP-ED SUPPORTING MICHAEL SAM

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

Fighting for morality is not an easy thing to do. Fighting for the soul of a nation, a people, and a culture that’s historically been rooted in a Judeo-Christian value system, but is rapidly moving at a record breaking speed toward secularism and humanism as its core value system, is also not easy. To stand for truth, righteousness, and the wisdom of God in an age where God’s published thoughts on a subject are rejected even by His preachers, is increasingly becoming a difficult thing to do. We are living in the days that the prophet Isaiah spoke of when he said:

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

Martin Luther King, Sr., Martin Luther King, Jr., Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., nine major Black Church denominations, and more importantly, neither God the Father or God the Son would have stood side-by-side with Michael Sam on this issue. Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. wrote a paper predicting that this day would come—the open embracing of homosexuality in the Black Community—because of Black preachers like you, who compromise biblical truth.

Rev. Sharpton, we have truly arrived when we not only stand for “justice rolling down like water,” but also when we stand for “righteousness as a mighty stream.” In your pseudo attempt to stand for “justice” in the Michael Sam episode, you are trampling over biblical righteousness. Where so-called justice conflicts with righteousness, we must let righteousness triumph over, what would obviously be a misrepresentation and false view of justice. Where there is true justice, it does not conflict with righteousness. And where there is true righteousness, it does not conflict with justice. Righteousness exalts a nation. Same sex relationships destroyed a nation (Genesis 19).

Whereas, you applaud Michael Sam announcing that he is gay, I deplore the fact that you are removing the ancient landmarks that the fathers have set. Shame on you for denouncing biblical truth; Shame on you for not calling sin—sin; Shame on you for telling people what they want to hear, rather than, what thus saith the Lord; Shame on you for being an “ear-scratching prophet.”

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. “(II Timothy 4:3-4)

Rev. Sharpton, to this extent I support Michael Sam and your argument:  I do not believe that Michael Sam should be denied an opportunity to play pro football—if he otherwise qualifies—solely because he is a homosexual. Unless a “morals clause” is going to cover all sexual sin, and disqualify the eligibility of all NFL players who engage in sexual sin, I agree:  Michael Sam should not be disqualified from playing in the NFL solely based on his sexual preferences. The fact that Michael Sam is announcing his sexual preferences and practices before the NFL Draft is admirable in the sense that he is being open, honest, and courageous on this subject. I respect a person who is honest and forthright, even if I disagree with their position and practice.

But just as Rev. Sharpton stands by Michael Sam, Bible-believing Christians and custodians of the American Judeo-Christian cultural heritage must also be prepared to stand by any NFL team owner, coach, player, general manager, etc., who prefers not to have to deal with the distractions associated with an open homosexual player. The potential of having two players on the same team romantically involved with each other; or Michael Sam in romantic pursuit of Emmitt, Cam, Eric, Nate, or Larry against their objections must also be safeguarded by team management.

A straight female basketball coach in my congregation says that trying to coach a team where the players are sexually involved with each other is extremely problematic. I pity the coach who has to manage players treating each other differently on the same team due to sexual interest or involvement.

A Brooklyn Dodgers coach was fired during the Jackie Robinson Era because the Catholic Church was unified to refuse to buy season tickets to support a team where the head coach was openly and unashamedly promiscuous. Look how far we have fallen morally that a player can announce that he is gay, and a Baptist preacher comes to his side to support his gay lifestyle! I support his right to play football, but I do not support his gay lifestyle. I support the teams’ and players’ rights not to want him on their teams.

If I were on a NFL team that drafted an openly gay player, I would literally quit the team. I would be disappointed that team management expects me to share the locker room with someone attracted to the same sex. My rejection and disappointment would be toward the team management who made the decision—not Michael Sam.

Michael Sam is a man that God loves, and so do I. He is a man who has made some unwise choices—so have I. He is a man whose draft stock is falling because of his choices. I’ve also had to pay a price for some unwise choices. I would welcome Michael Sam as a member of my congregation if he confesses faith in Jesus Christ as Lord even while he works through his beliefs and practices of homosexuality. Rev. Sharpton, the lesson to be learned from this for our young people is that if you make unwise choices in life, the hour of accountability or reckoning is inevitable. And you have only yourself to blame for choices that you have made.

All Bible-believing Christians should do like the Catholic Church and simply refuse to buy tickets to a game, or support a team who drafts homosexuals. It’s a team’s right to draft them. It’s a believer’s right to boycott them. If the National and Southern Baptist churches were in unity as they should be on this issue, an NFL Team would think long and hard before making such a decision.

Rev. Sharpton, you may ask, “What about all of the fornicators and adulterous on NFL teams?” You are right: Fornicators and adulterers are equally as wrong. But in the words of the late Dr. E.V. Hill—“at least that’s natural.” We all have sinned. And I say of myself as Paul said of himself, “I am the chief of all sinners.” Yes, every NFL roster is comprised of sinners. Every church and pulpit in America is comprised of sinners. But must we go down the slippery slope and affirm those who engage in unnatural, deviant, and team dis-unifying behavior?

Rev. Sharpton, how can you call supporting homosexuality “justice,” when Dr. King called it a “problem” and one that could be overcome? Rev. Sharpton, please reconsider expending your enormous influence and communication effectiveness toward leading this nation down the path toward Sodom and Gomorrah? For the sake of our children, won’t you reconsider this?

WHERE BLACK HISTORY AND ISRAEL’S HISTORY INTERSECT:

“OH MARY DON’T YOU WEEP”

Celebrating the Commonality of Black American History and Israel’s History

The two most persecuted people-groups in the history of mankind are the Jews and Blacks. This has been a major point of identity and bonding between these two groups. Jewish Americans strongly supported the Civil Rights Movement more so than any other ethnic group. They often marched with Civil Rights Leaders to provide a shield of protection and support.

The most celebrated African-American preacher besides Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Civil-Rights Era was Aretha Franklin’s late father, Rev. C.L. Franklin. Rev. Franklin pastored the New Bethel Baptist Church, Detroit Michigan, from 1946-1979. He was also a co-laborer with Dr. King in the Civil Rights Movement and worked to end discriminatory practices against Black United Auto Workers members in Detroit. Dr. King was the premier Civil Rights leader of that Era. Rev. Franklin was the premier revivalist-evangelist in Black churches. These two men cooperated with each other for the common good of God’s people and the advancement of His Kingdom.

After attending the Baptist World Alliance in London in 1955, Rev. Franklin journeyed to Israel to visit the biblical cities and sites. In 1959 on a return trip from India, Dr. and Mrs. King stopped in Jerusalem, rented a car and took the meandering road down to Jericho, “where the walls came tumbling down.”

Did you know that iconic African American pastors now in the arms of Jesus often traveled to the Old Jerusalem, before taking the journey to the New Jerusalem? Dr. E.V.Hill, Dr. Manuel Scott, Sr., Dr. J.H. Jackson, Drs. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Jr., Dr. J.C. Wade, Dr. A. Edward Davis, Dr. Sandy Ray, C.L. Franklin, and Bishop G.E. Patterson would be listed in that number.

Many of the most prominent Black gospel singers have also toured Israel, including Mahalia Jackson, Clara Ward, James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar and Andre Crouch. They often sang and preached about the geography, the glory, the story and the God of Israel. These preachers and singers are not just satisfied having a spiritual and musical connection with Israel; they also wanted a physical connection. Thus, they made the journey.

It is my belief that Christians, particularly those of us who preach, teach and sing, ought to love Israel and make a pilgrimage to Israel. Just as Muslims love Mecca; and devout ones want to make at least one visit there, Christians ought to more so love Jerusalem. It was the story and Scriptures of the Israelites that God used to provide the salvation and inspiration for our spiritual and physical deliverance.

Think about it:  Jerusalem, Israel is the only city in the world that the Bible indicates that peace and prosperity may be granted to those who love the city of the Great King (Psalm 122:6-9; Matthew 5:35). Jerusalem is the only city on earth that can claim to be the geographical center of the world. Israel is the only nation that can claim to be the fountain of vocal and instrumental music (Ezekiel 5:5, 38:12 and Psalm 87:7).

A popular Negro spiritual of yester years is named, “I Want to Walk in Jerusalem Just like John.” Walking in Jerusalem, just like John, has become a physical and historical reality for many. African-American Christians love Jerusalem spiritually and historically. She has loved us back physically; there is a street in the modern day country of Israel named in honor of Martin Luther King. Those of us who love the Kingdom of God today ought to travel to Israel, so that we can walk in Jerusalem just like John. Where does Black History and Israel’s History intersect? My thesis is Black History and Israel’s History intersect in our songs, sermons, scripture readings, names of our churches, names of our sons and daughters, and the common legacy of slavery. Nothing illustrates this thesis better than a historical and biblical analysis of the African American gospel song, “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.”

“Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” was one of the most popular gospel songs during the Civil Rights Era. It addressed the hopes, aspirations, fears and courage of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King and Rev. Franklin understood the significance of this song to African American people. Dr. King preached a sermon called “The Death of Evil on the Seashore,” that captures the biblical message of the song. His text was Exodus 14:30, “And Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore.“ The Exodus event was the biblical basis of the song. The historical basis and inspiration for this song was worship event in a Southern church during the slavery era involving an elderly slave woman named Mary. Rev. Franklin preached about the roots and relevance of the song. Rev. Franklin explained why Mary was weeping.

“Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” was first recorded by the Fisk Jubilee Male Quartet in 1915. The original version and various revisions of this song throughout its one hundred plus year’s history, encompasses the themes of dilemma, deliverance, heritage and hope, and comfort and care.

Various versions of “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” has transcended the African American community and has been recorded by soloist and groups as diverse as Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, the Swan Silvertones, Peter Seeger, Burl Ives, Inez Andrews, the Caravans and Yolanda Adams.

It was the lead song featured on the bestselling gospel album in history, “Amazing Grace” by Aretha Franklin, recorded in 1972. This song was a guaranteed “house wrecker,” which means it simply went over extremely well with Black congregations and gospel music lovers. It remains a favorite and often requested song among older African Americans. Dr. Wallace Best, a current Princeton Religion Professor, selected this classic as one of the “Ten Best Gospel Songs” in a Huttington Post February 2012 blog.

In a biography entitled Give me This Mountain; Life History and Selected Sermons of Rev. C.L. Franklin, edited by Jeff Todd Titon, Aretha’s father provides us with the history of this simple, Scripture based, celebrated, and enduring song. While preaching from the text Psalm 137:1-4 that reveals the reluctance of Israel to sing songs of Zion in a strange land; Rev. Franklin argues the point that it is important for oppressed people to have a song to sing and the benefits thereof. Here is how the song “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” originated, according to Rev. Franklin:

“The story is told by Dr. Miles Mark Fisher about an old woman, either in the Carolinas or in Georgia, in those days when a great English preacher, the brother of John Wesley, came over to preach. Many of the Negroes wanted to see this great preacher. Frequently they could sit in the church, at least in the balcony, if the balcony was not crowded, if most of the regular members were on the main floor. But on this particular occasion the place was packed, and they stood on the outside, looking through the window, listening at this English preacher preach the gospel. And when the sermon was over and the invitation was extended, one old lady walked in the front door, and walked down the aisle, and took the seat to join the church. Pastor came up and said, “Lady, you can’t join this church.” She said, “But sir, I got ‘eligion. I’ve been converted. I felt the power of God here today while the man preached, and I want to jine the church.” He said, “But you can’t join this church. Go and join some other church, some of your own churches.” And when he insisted that she could not join, she went on down the aisle, mumbling to herself, saying, “I’m going to tell God one of these days how you treat me,” as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“It is said that those who were looking in the window began to sing a song. As the old lady’s name was Mary, they sang: ‘Oh Mary, don’t weep, don’t mourn; Pharaoh’s army got drownded; Mary, don’t weep, and then don’t mourn.’

“Think of the message that is wrapped up in that song. I think that everybody ought to have a song. I think that Israel should have sung down in Babylon.”

Although rejected for church membership and fellowship by a Southern White Pastor during slavery, Mary the slave was comforted, encouraged, and given hope by fellow slaves when they put to melody the story of Exodus 15:4-5:

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.
The depths have covered them;
They sank to the bottom like a stone.”

The Hebrew Scriptures have inspired the songs, sermons, success, salvation, and aspirations of African Americans throughout her sojourn in America. However, the relationship between Africans and the God of Israel did not start in America, but actually can be traced back to the biblical period, as we will examine in the next chapter.

Just as God used the Exodus experience to provide inspiration for physical deliverance, Israel can also inspire deliverance from spiritual bondage. The relationship between Israel and Africa should be strengthened, studied, and celebrated; so that future generations may be inspired, enlightened, and encouraged as previous generations were. The two most persecuted people groups in the history of mankind are the Jews and Blacks. This has been a major point of identity and bonding historically, between the two people groups.

The Bible commands that one generation should praise the Lord’s works to another (Psalm 145:4). The Bible commands that fathers should teach the history of Israel and the wonderful works of God to their children, so that future generations would know God’s acts in history, and “set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God” (Psalm 78:1-7). The Bible commands believers to “Remember the days of old” and what took place in previous generations, so that it might inform our current realities (Deuteronomy 32:7). The Jewish prophet Isaiah informs us that God established Israel and promised to keep her in order to be a “light” to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6). Holding the baby Jesus in His arms (Luke 2:28), Simeon declared that He would be “A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:32).

The Divine purpose of the nation of Israel is to be a “light” to the Gentiles. The purpose of the Incarnation of Christ was to be a “light to bring revelation to the Gentiles.” John said that Jesus was the “true Light which gives light to every man that come into the world” (John 1:9). Jesus came to bring us light and life.

This elderly slave woman named Mary needed light and life in her dejected, downtrodden and discouraging situation. Where did she find that light? Her fellow slaves sang to her to look to Israel for that light.

If ever there was a time in the history of America and Black America that we need a light, it is right now. Mary was weeping not only because of her condition, but the condition of her people.

We ought to be weeping today over the destruction of the family. We ought to be weeping over the divorce rate. We ought to be weeping over the teen-age pregnancy rate. We ought to be weeping over criminal acts, violent senseless acts, and the incarceration rates of our people. We ought to be weeping over the gang and gun violence racking our inner cities. We ought to be weeping over the school shootings in the suburbs. We ought to be weeping over Black on Black crime as well; not just when a White man kills a Black man. We ought to be weeping over the senseless acts of violence and death in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and Little Rock. We ought to be weeping over the high dropout rates in our high schools. We ought to be weeping over the drug and alcohol addiction and abuse that affect many of our families. We ought to be weeping over the hundreds of people lined up in the streets to legally buy recreational marijuana in Colorado. We ought to be weeping over the proliferation of strip clubs, pornography addictions, adultery, fornication, child abuse, and homosexuality that’s sweeping the land. We ought to be weeping over the approval of same-sex marriage in the United States. Modern Israel remains steadfast opposed to it. We need to ask ourselves, why is it that modern Israel is not experiencing gang violence and school shootings? We ought to be weeping over the high unemployment among our people. We ought to be weeping over the hopelessness, despair, discouragement and depression that have many of our people in a vice-grip. We ought to be weeping over motherless and fatherless children. We ought to weep over the spiritual condition of our nation.

However, because of the God of Israel, we still have hope; the same hope the slaves found effective and fruitful. “Mary, Don’t You Weep” because we serve a God that drowned Pharaoh’s army. We serve a God who gives light in the midst of darkness. We serve a God who leads us in the path of righteousness for His Name sake. We serve a mighty God who is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before His glory with exceeding great joy. God has given us the “light” of Israel and the light of Christ to guide us out of the current darkness we face.

C.L. Franklin is right: “Everybody ought to have a song.” Our problem may be that we are simply without a song. Don’t under estimate the power of a song. The Bible commands us “to be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spirituals songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18,19). A song can be a sermon put to music (Colossians 3:16). The Book of Psalms was used as a hymnbook in Solomon’s Temple.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)

This generation and future generations need to understand what God has done in previous generations to deliver His people from darkness and bring them into the light. We need to take the word of God and put it to song again.

God gave Moses a song when He delivered His people from Pharaoh’s army. It is recorded in Exodus 15. He gave Miriam and the women a dance. Whenever God sends deliverance, it’s time to dance. God gave the slaves a song, when essentially, that’s all they had. There was a time when Black people put sermons to song.

When faced with the brutal realities of slavery, and the seemingly, insurmountable, impossibility of freedom and deliverance; they sang, a sermon in a song:

“Go Down Moses, Way down in Egypt Land and Tell Old Pharaoh, to let my people go.”

They sang about the mysteries and majesty of Christ in the midst of a miserable, demeaning, and maniacal situation. They sang:

“Ezekiel saw the wheel
Way up in the middle of the air
Ezekiel saw the wheel
Way up in the middle of the air
And the little wheel run by faith
And the big wheel run by the grace of God
A wheel in a wheel
Way up in the middle of the air”

The old preacher would then say, “Jesus is a Wheel, in the middle of the wheel”! They sang a sermon in a song.

They sang, “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.” They later added another line, “Tell Martha not to moan.” Why? “Because Pharaoh’s army got drowned in the Red Sea, Oh Mary Don’t You Weep, Tell Martha,  not to moan.” They sang a sermon in a song.

They sang the songs of Zion (Israel) in a foreign land. They sang the “Samson” story in “Witness for my Lord.” They sang the drama and the deliverance in “Daniel in the Lion’s Den,” “Hebrew Children in the Fiery Furnace,” and “David and Goliath.” They sang, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.” They sang the victory when they sang: “Walk in Jerusalem Just Like John.” They sang “Joshua Fought the Battle At Jericho.” They sang “We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder.” They sang “Twelve Gates to the City.” They sang about the “New Jerusalem.” They sang a sermon in a song.

First Baptist Church Charleston, SC, a predominately White church, was the first large prominent Baptist Church in the South during the days of slavery. They were of a high church tradition—what we call a “silk stocking” church. They sang hymns. The hymn, “All Hail the Power of Jesus,” was written in 1779 during the days of slavery. No doubt the slaves at First Baptist who worshipped in the back pews (section where slaves sat) sang this great Hymn that was born in that Era. I visited this church facility a few years ago and saw where the slaves sat. This song not only exalts Jesus, but also the Israel that produced Jesus. The slaves and the slave masters sang together:

“All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall; bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all. Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel’s race, ye ransomed from the Fall, hail Him who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all. Hail Him who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every kindred, every tribe on this terrestrial ball, to Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all. To Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all. ”

The Christian slaves understood that they were grafted into the family of Abraham and they made Israel’s story, their story. How did the slaves endure, overcome, and find hope while being in physical bondage for over 200 years? I’ll tell you how!!! They learned the story of Israel having been delivered from Egyptian slavery. They heard sermons based on the story. They originated songs based on the story. The most succinct, simplest, inspiring and empowering song sang by the slaves that provided hope, encouragement, and care, in the midst of despair was the song-“Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep.” But they also sang based on the story of Israel: “Deep River,” “Didn’t It Rain Children,” “Twelve Gates to the City…”

We are no longer in the bondage of physical slavery, but we are in slavery to debt, drugs, family feuding, fatherlessness, and spiritual bondage. May the Lord continue to bless His people with a song!

There are three things that we should remember that can deliver us from our dilemmas:

  1. God gave us the Scriptures that He gave to Israel. God promised us that if we would read, study and apply the Scriptures to our lives, we would be successful (Joshua 1:8).
  2. God gives us songs inspired by His land and people, Israel. Speaking of Israel and her ability to inspire singing, the Psalmist wrote, “Both the singers and the players on instruments say, All my springs are in you.” Israel is the home, the foundation and “springs” of all true Kingdom-centered God-glorifying instrumental and vocal music (Psalm 87:7). God wants you to sing to Him a song everyday throughout the years. He said the origin of that song would “spring” from Israel.
  3. God gave us a Savior who was born in Bethlehem (Israel), hid in Egypt (Africa), raised in Nazareth, baptized in the Jordan, tempted in the wilderness, performed miracles along the roadside, raised Lazarus from the dead at Bethany, walked on the water in Galilee, brought salvation to Zaccheus house in Jericho, prayed all night long in Gethsemane, was crucified on Calvary, raised from the dead in Jerusalem, and will one day return to the Mount of Olives.

You ought to sing about Him. You ought to shout His praises. You ought to say “Blessed is He who has come in the name of the Lord.” You ought to sing “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep, Oh Mary Don’t You Weep, Pharaoh’s army got drowned in the sea. Oh Mary don’t you weep, tell Martha not to moan.”

You ought to go to Jerusalem and see the place where they crucified Him, because, “Surely He Died on Calvary.” You ought to go to Jerusalem and see the garden where He prayed. Then sing, “I Come to the Garden Alone.”  You ought to stand in the dungeon where they kept Him all night long before they crucified Him, and then sing “Were You There?”! You ought to sit in the Upper Room in Jerusalem and sing with Mahalia Jackson, “In the Upper Room.” A trip to Israel will physically connect us to what we are already spiritually connected to.

Notes:

  1. Later versions of the song inter-mix Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus into the song, without noting the distinctions within the song between Mary the African slave and Mary the sister of Lazarus. When it’s understood that Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, are added to embellish the deliverance—dilemma motif, then this song is not theologically problematic.
  2. Some have criticized and others have rejected this song, because of the seeming inaccurate participation of Mary the sister of Lazarus into the Exodus story. If the historicity of the song is properly understood, then it does not pose any doctrinal accurate questions.
  3. Dr. Martin Luther King did not reference this song in his sermon, “The Death of Evil on the Seashore.” I made mention of his sermon because it documents the popularity of the Exodus event in the Black Christian community. Secondly, the song was at its zenith of popularity during Dr. King’s lifetime. Therefore, it was inevitable that he was familiar with it.

GOD’S VISION FOR HIS KINGDOM

Revisiting the Meaning of The Gospel of The Kingdom

God established the gospel in order to establish families, in order to establish His Kingdom in every nation. The purpose of the family is to pass down a godly heritage. The family is God’s evangelism plan and small group discipleship program. The Church’s job is to disciple families so that they can continue the process at home.

God’s business is His Kingdom, and the Kingdom business is the family enterprise. God wants to bless the families of the earth. If families are not blessed, the land is cursed (Malachi 4:4-6). If the land is cursed, the Kingdom will not be enlarged. Therefore, God wants to bless families in order to advance His Kingdom. The Trinitarian enterprise represents a Kingdom Family on a forward advance. God had only one Son, and He made Him a preacher; and the only message that God gave to His Son was the gospel of the Kingdom. The Son was anointed by God’s Spirit. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit function as a family.

The theme of Jesus’ preaching was the Kingdom of God. Jesus told the crowd at Galilee, “I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent” (Luke 4:43). Mark reported, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14). It is of utmost important that we understand that Jesus didn’t just preach the gospel, He preached “the gospel of the Kingdom of God. A condition that Jesus said must be met before He returned would be that the whole church would have to preach the whole gospel to the whole world.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

I do not believe that we have any need to fear Jesus’ coming back being imminent or immediate because the church has not yet preached the gospel of the Kingdom to all nations. Christ is not going to come back until the church gets the gospel straight. The truth of the matter is we have not begun to preach the gospel of the Kingdom in America yet, let alone around the world. Jesus will not return until we get the gospel straight and preach it straight. We preach the gospel of Salvation; rarely do we preach the gospel of the Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul taught that the gospel is not a doctrine we believe, but a revelation we receive.

11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11-12)

Paul told the church at Corinth, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received “(I Cor. 15:3a). The only gospel that we are authorized to preach is the gospel that we have received “through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” We must preach the same gospel that Jesus preached. Paul testified to the Galatians,

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)

The Apostle Paul taught that the gospel is a revelation from God, not a construct of man.

We need not wrestle or struggle with the meaning of the “gospel of the Kingdom,” because according to Paul, God Himself preached the gospel to Abraham.

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” (Galatians 3:8)

Wow! That’s an eye-opener for me. God preached the gospel to Abraham. If we are to understand and rightly proclaim the gospel, we must understand and proclaim the gospel that God preached to Abraham. One thing is for certain:  If Jesus and God preached the gospel before the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:14-15; Galatians 3:8), then although the gospel does inevitably include the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the implications thereof (I Corinthians 15:3), the gospel is not limited to those facts, because that is not the entire “revelation.” We must understand and proclaim the “revelation” if we are to understand the gospel. And if we are to understand the revelation, we must understand the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached and the gospel that God preached to Abraham. They are the same gospel, and the same gospel that Paul preached. Yet, it is a gospel that is not commonly preached today. So what is the gospel that God preached to Abraham?

I. The Gospel that God Preached to Abraham was the Gospel of the Kingdom

Paul summed up the gospel that God preached to Abraham in eight words:  “In you all the nations shall be blessed” (Galatians 3:8b). God told Abraham, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3c). God Himself preached the gospel to Abraham in order to produce a Kingdom family of nations (Galatians 3:6-8; Genesis 12:1-3):

“Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country,
From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

(Genesis 12:1-3)

Whatever else the gospel includes, it cannot exclude “family,” “nations” and “blessings.” The gospel that God preached to Abraham is simply:  The good news that God the King is calling His Kingdom family, to proclaim Kingdom blessings, to the nations’ families. The Kingdom blessing is the gift of God’s Son, crucified, resurrected, reigning and ruling, giving abundant life and eternal life to all who receive and believe.

Heaven is a by-product of the gospel that God preached to Abraham. The blessing was to benefit families on earth, so that they could in turn be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2). The Kingdom enterprise is the family-blessing business. When God preached the gospel to Abraham, He promised five blessings:

Genesis 12:2b:  “I will bless you.”

Genesis 12:2c:  “And you shall be a blessing.”

Genesis 12:3a:  “I will bless those who bless you.”

Genesis 12:3b:  “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The Hebrew word for bless is “Barak.” It means to benefit you abundantly. The Hebrew word for blessing in Genesis 12:2c means, “prosperity, blessing, liberal, pool, present.”

The gospel that God preached to Abraham was a promise to bless the families to Abraham was a promise to bless the families of the earth who responded in faith and obedience to His gospel. Abundant life now, not just eternal life in the sweet bye and bye, was the gospel that God preached to Abraham.

Absolutely essential to Kingdom advancement is family advancement. So goes the family…So goes the Kingdom. God has called His church to the family-blessing business. Families are blessed when families are walking in the abundant life and have received eternal life. God created the Hebrew people and the nation of Israel in order to bless the families of the earth. That’s why it is so vitally important that we fight for the preservation and development of our families.

II. The Gospel that Jesus Preached and Modeled Was the Gospel of the Kingdom

The first recorded Word from the lips of Jesus was a word to His family about priorities. Jesus said to His mother and father after He’d been missing for three days:

“And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)

“I must be about my Father’s business” reminds us that God is King, and His Kingdom rules over all the earth; and His Kingdom business is a family enterprise. The business of the Father is to build and bless the family. After Jesus spoke these words, Luke records:

“Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51)

Jesus modeled the Kingdom family concept by functioning in submission to His parents and to His Father.

The book ends of the Old and New Testaments make it clear that at the center of God’s agenda is the family. The genealogies that are scattered throughout the Old and New Testaments indicate the family roots, shoots, and relationships are vitally important to God.

In Genesis 1, we read about the creation of the family (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:18-25). In Malachi 4:5-6, we read about the significance and centrality of fathers to family life. In Matthew 1 we read about the family tree of Jesus. In Revelation 1:6, 9, we read about Christ’s Kingdom family. In Revelation 22:16, 20 among the last recorded words of Jesus, He expresses His family lineage to King David and the promise of His return for His family—the families of the earth who have received Him (Revelation 5:9; 7:9). Jesus took the time to entrust the care of His mother to John before He cried out, “It is Finished” (John 19:25, 27, 30). Jesus declared that family is defined by faith connections more so than physical or blood connections (Mark 3:31-34). The book ends of the Bible addresses the family, because families are the object of the gospel.

If God wanted something other than a family, He would have commanded us to call Him something other than a “Father” (Matthew 6:9-11). God relates to His people based on a Father-family concept, constructor model. Jesus makes it clear that in order to become a part of God’s family, one must be born-again into God’s Kingdom (John 3:3, 5). In a way that my head can’t explain it, but my heart believes it, “the blessing of Abraham…comes upon Gentiles in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:14). Abraham becomes the father of us all when we submit to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, by the conviction and conversion of God’s Spirit. The Gentile who is a born-again believer can also claim Abraham as his father (Romans 4:1, 16-18). God has us to call Him Father; He also has us to call Abraham father, for one simple reason:  God wants a family. Yet, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I Am.”

Satan works overtime in an effort to destroy the family. Satan recognizes that if he can destroy the family, he literally can destroy the Kingdom of God. Why do you think that Satan is unleashing a confused definition of the family on earth at this hour?

God did not preserve pre-flood nations or select individuals; He only preserved one family—Noah’s. And the one family consisted of four couples. Why did God preserve families as opposed to select individuals? He preserved the family because families are extremely important to the Kingdom enterprise and the spreading of the gospel. God has sovereignly chosen to construct His Kingdom in the concept of family. Satan has chosen to construct his kingdom on the concept of destroying the family. At the heart of the gospel is “fathers,” “family” “nations” and “blessings” (Genesis 12:3). The gospel that Jesus preached was about the Father and “fathers,” “family,” “nations” and “blessings.”

III. The Apostle Paul Preached and Modeled the Gospel of the Kingdom

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’” (Acts 14:21-22)

“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8)

“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.” (Acts 20:25)

“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” (Acts 28:23)

30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30-31)

“So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” (Acts 16:31-32)

“Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” (Romans 16:13)

God’s vision for His Kingdom is simply that every person in every nation would belong to a kingdom family.

“In you all the nations shall be blessed” (Galatians 3:8b).

“In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3c).

31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.”

“33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)

The gospel of the Kingdom is the good news that God, The King, is calling His Kingdom family to proclaim Kingdom blessings, to the nations’ families. The Kingdom blessing is the gift of God’s Son, crucified, resurrected, reigning, and ruling in our family affairs. The disciples preached—“there is another King—Jesus” (Acts 17:7).

The gospel of the Kingdom focuses on the present reality, rule, reign, and realm of authority of Christ, particularly in the family—not just the hereafter or future hope and rule of Christ. Jesus told His disciples, “And as you go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7), Go and preach the Kingdom of God. God preached and modeled Kingdom family life. Jesus preached and modeled Kingdom family life. Paul preached and modeled Kingdom family life. What are you preaching and modeling? God’s business is His Kingdom, and the Kingdom business is family enterprise.

The gospel is the good news that the families of the earth can enter into God’s Kingdom through the blessing of God’s Son, and receive abundant life and eternal life, now, by the power of God’s Spirit.

THE WONDER OF ISRAEL AND HER RELATIONSHIP TO AFRICA

THE AFRICAN-ISRAELI CONNECTION

“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things.” (Psalm 72:18)

“To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever;” (Psalm 136:4)

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

“From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, The daughter of My dispersed ones, Shall bring My offering.” (Zephaniah 3:10)

Israel is a wonder of God’s creation. Jerusalem is the only city, and Israel is the only country that God said He created for the sake of His Name. Jerusalem is called “the city of our God,” “the joy of the whole earth,” and “the city of the great king” (Psalm 48:1-2). Israel is the place God sovereignly chose to house His Scripture, His Synagogue, His Son, and the first congregation of His saints. Jerusalem is the place where God’s Spirit first manifests Himself on planet earth. God called Israel “the glory of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:6, 15). The spiritual and physical appeal of the land of Israel makes it glorious. The name of God is associated with Israel more so than any other land or nation on the face of the earth.

Jerusalem is the capitol city of Israel and the central city of the whole earth (Ezekiel 5:5). There is no city on the face of the earth more precious to citizens of the Kingdom of God than Jerusalem.

The Psalmist valued Jerusalem above his skill, occupation, and life. He said:

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.” (Psalm 137:5-6, NKJV)

Daniel even prayed facing Jerusalem:

“And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:10b)

Why was Jerusalem so precious and prominent to Daniel and David? Because it was the place where God chose to dwell, it is the place where God chose to meet His people. The ancient Hebrews considered Jerusalem the throne room of God, the place where God rested.

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
14 “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.” (Psalm 132:13, 14)

The Jews in Babylonian exile mourned the isolation from Jerusalem (Psalm 137:1-4). Three times a year all Hebrew males were expected to “appear before the Lord your God in the place where the Lord chooses” (Deuteronomy 16:16). The place that the Lord chose was Jerusalem:  “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place.” This is why Jerusalem and Israel was and is a special place for the people of God.

Israel is the only place on the face of the earth where documented miracles occurred for many, many years of various and sundry kind. May I say one more time: Israel is a wonder of God’s creation? God planted Israel in the center of the world to be a witness to His kingdom to all nations.

In the sovereignty of God He afforded the blessing to be a neighbor to Israel to the continent of Africa. God planted Africa as a neighbor to Israel in order for Africa to be a witness and participant in her story, and to worship His glory. Israel’s story is about Christ and His Kingdom. Africa’s story was to “Go tell it on the mountains, over the fields and everywhere, go tell it on the mountains, that Jesus Christ is born.”

Although born in Bethlehem, Jesus was hid in Africa (Egypt), because of her proximity to Israel. What A blessing to have the honor of hosting the Savior, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father, preparing to host men of “every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation” (Revelation 5:8-9; 7:9)!

The purpose of the following chapters is to highlight the relationship between Israel and Africa in the Bible and to point out the significance and relevance of understanding their shared stories. My thesis is:  God sovereignly connected Israel and Africa and their descendants from the beginning of time for their mutual benefit and His praise. Israel shared geographic, geological, historical, physical, and spiritual connectedness with Africa and Africans that was providentially arranged and orchestrated.

The magnitude, depth, and uniqueness of this relationship have not been given the attention that it deserves in the Academy, or in pulpits. There are various reasons why the relationship between Israel and Africa has been ignored, and why the presence and contributions of Africa and Africans in the Bible has largely been ignored in the Academy. However, it is high time that we highlight the meaningful and significant relationships between these two biblical people groups.

The Kingdom of God is on a forceful advance on the African Continent. Among the distribution of the world’s Christian population, the ten countries with the largest number of Christians include three African Countries: Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia. Approximately one in every four Christians lives in Sub-Saharan Africa (24%). Perhaps we are seeing the fulfillment of the Davidic prophecy: “Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.” (Psalm 68:31b).

Ethiopia is mentioned significantly in the Bible and is geographically located only 1557 miles from Israel. The distance from Dallas, TX, to New York, NY, is 1546 miles. Ethiopia is a strong Christian nation today, in part, because of her proximity to Israel. The roots of the biblical faith of Ethiopians can be traced back to Bible days. The word “Rome” and its derivations are mentioned only twenty times in the Bible and not once in the Old Testament. The word “Greece” and its derivations are mentioned only twenty-six times in the Bible and four times in the Old Testament. Ethiopia is mentioned over fifty times, and there are more than one thousand references to Hamitic cities, countries, or people in Scripture. Historically, Africa has been referred to as the Land of Ham.

Dr. J. Daniel Hays laments and documents the fact that the presence and significant contributions of Africans in the Bible has been largely ignored. Dr. Hays is Chair of the Department of Biblical Studies and Theology at Ouachita Baptist University, Arkansas. He also happens to be an Anglo American. The name of his book is From Every People and Nation, A Biblical Theology of Race, published by Intervarsity Press. Dr. Hays speaks persuasively, powerfully, prophetically and from the perspective of a professor, as he addresses the issue of race and the Bible. Allow me to quote him liberally in support of my thesis:

“…clear portrayals of Black Africans in the Bible are all but ignored. This marginalization of Black African presence is perpetrated, consciously or subconsciously, not only by the popularizers of Christianity, but also by serious scholars. ‘Cultural pre-understanding’ apparently influences many of us in the academic guild even though we often piously claim to be historically objective. (Hays, Page 26)

“A good example of this subtle—and probably subconscious—bias can be found in scholarly discussions about the people of the biblical world. For example, the kingdom of Cush, discussed below was a Black African kingdom along the Nile River just south of Egypt. The terms Cush or Cushite appear 54 times in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, indicating that the Cushites, an African people, played a fairly significant role in the Old Testament story.” (Hays, Page 26)

“Many European and American scholars of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were blatantly racist. This is particularly true concerning early European Egyptologists, who attempted to appropriate Egyptian culture as ‘Western’ and to distance the Egyptian cultural advances as far as possible from any African connections…” (Hays, Page 26)

“Therefore the perception conveyed to the Church, both through the popular media and through serious scholarly work, is that there was a significant Caucasian involvement in the biblical story but no Black African involvement. This perception is erroneous, and it has fostered disastrous theology within today’s White Church that has contributed to the continued, almost total division of the North American Church into Black and White.” (Hays, Page 27)

Dr. Hays argues that translating the Hebrew word “kus” by three different terms—Ethiopia, Cush, and Nubia, it minimizes the significance that the Cushites play in the Scriptures:

“Likewise the use of several different English terms to translate the one Hebrew term “kus” tends to diffuse the significance that the Cushites play in the Scriptures. This phenomenon may also reflect an attitude of indifference on the part of the White translation editors toward the significance of this term.

“Of course the terminology is not the critical issue. What is critical is to recognize that these different terms refer to the same continuous civilization: a civilization that stood as one of the major powers in the Ancient Near East for over 2,000 years; a civilization that appears again and again in the biblical text.

“The Cushites are particularly important to this study because they were clearly Black African people with classic ‘Negroid’ features.” (Hays, Page 36)

Dr. Hay’s insight documents that Ethiopians were prominent in the biblical era:

“The Cushite warriors are not merely dark-skinned or tanned; they are clearly black.” (Hays, Page 37)

Hays also noted that:

“…most books on Egyptian art reveal portrayals of people, usually Cushites, who have very black skin color…a good picture of a sculptured granite sphinx with the head of Taharqa, the Cushite king who ruled Egypt as Pharaoh during the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. Taharqa is not depicted in the same art style as Egyptian pharaohs, for his features are Negroid—thick lips, broad nose, and tight curly hair…” (Hays, Page 37)

“The colour of the Cushites’ skin even became proverbial: in Jerusalem Jeremiah wrote, ‘Can the Cushite change his skin?’ (Jer. 13:23). The Greeks and Romans used a similar proverb: `to wash an Ethiopian white’ became a common expression used to convey the futility of trying to change nature…” (Hays, Page 39)

Dr. Hays does not make the Egyptians White as some scholars have done, nor does he make them pure Black as others have done. He suggests that they were African and Asiatic:

“However, a fairly strong consensus is emerging among scholars today that the early Egyptians were probably a mixture of both Black African elements and Asiatic elements… (Hays, Page 40)

“The people in the Old Testament reflected a wide range of ethnic diversity. However, contrary to popular perceptions, few of these characters, if any, looked like modern northern Europeans or mid-western Americans…”

“…Also playing a role in the Old Testament are the Cushites (Black Africans), the Egyptians (probably a mix of Asiatic and Black Africans), and the Indo-Europeans (Philistines and Hittites). Thus the Old Testament world was completely multi-ethnic.” (Hays, Page 45)

Israeli and African roots and relationships run all the way back to Genesis and the history of these two people-groups often intertwines.

Geographically, the continent of Africa and the nation of Israel share a common border—the Gaza Strip (Acts 8:26-27). Gaza was the last settlement before the desert wasteland stretching to Egypt. This was the road most travelers took to Africa.

Geologically, Israel and Africa share a contiguous connection with the Great Rift Valley that runs from Israel through Kenya littering the landscape in both regions with beauty, fruits, vegetables, flowers, rivers, streams and other natural resources.

Physiologically, Israel was birth in the Middle East, but she bred in Egypt, in Africa—the land of Ham (Psalm 105:23, 27; 106:22, Amos 9:7). Israel departed Egypt a mixed multitude (Exodus 12:38).

Historically, the Hebrew Bible contains the earliest recorded history of Africa and her involvement with Israel. The Bible places the Garden of Eden somewhere near Ethiopia, which is in Africa (Genesis 2:13); which suggest, according to one scholar, that the country of Ethiopia existed before the flood and after the flood. To Ethiopians, the Blue Nile river is the Gihon of Genesis 2:13 (“The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that goes around the whole land of Cush [Ethiopia]”). To this day the Nile Springs are called Giyon, Ethiopic for Gihon.

Diodorus of Sicily wrote:

“The Ethiopians call themselves the first of all men and cite proofs they consider evident. It is generally agreed that, born in a country and not having come from elsewhere, they must be judged indig­enous. It is likely that located directly under the course of the sun, they sprang from the earth before other men. For if the heat of the sun, combining with the humidity of the soil, produces life, those sites nearest the Equator must have produced living beings earlier than others… ” (Salvatore Cherubini, La Nubie, Passage from Diodorus of Sicily, Collection l’Univers, Paris, 1847, pp. 2-3, quoted by Cheikh Anta Diop, The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality. Translated from French by Mercer Cook, Lawrence Hill & Company, Westport, pp. 281-282.)

The prophet Isaiah said concerning Ethiopia in Isaiah 18:1-2:

“Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:

That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!”

The Revised Standard Version declares this African Nation to be “a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering…” (Isaiah 18:2). The Holman Study Bible refers to this “Cushite” nation as “a powerful nation with a strange language.” The New King James refers to “Ethiopia” as a nation “terrible” from their beginning onward. The Hebrew word for “terrible” is “yare”; it means to fear, to revere, and to dread. The prophet painted a picture of the biblical Cushite/Ethiopians as a nation that was great from their beginning and highly respected by Israel. At one point in biblical history the Ethiopians had an army of a million men and three hundred chariots (II Chronicles 14:9). Psalm 87:4 indicates that Ethiopia was a nation with a sizeable Jewish population. Isaiah 11:11 also reference a Jewish population in Cush. This may explain the origin of the Ethiopian Falasha Jews who have migrated to Jerusalem over the past twenty years.

The theme of the Bible is the story about a King, His Kingdom and His royal offspring (I Peter 2:9). The first time the word “kingdom” is mentioned in the bible it is in association with a descendant of Cush named Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10). Nimrod was the world’s first king. In modern day Iraq, a city is named in his honor, “Nimrud, Calah” (“that is the principal city” (Genesis 10:12). Nimrod was a Cushite and grandson of Noah’s son, Ham. Because his name appears in the Hebrew Bible, there is a church named “Nimrod Baptist Church” in Cisco, Texas, which is a predominately Anglo church. According to Scripture, Nimrod was a king, a warrior, a hunter and a builder (Gen. 10:8-12). He protected all of the people on the face of the earth, at a time when the people spoke one language, and traveled as one people (Genesis 11:1, 2). There is a historical site in the Golan Heights part of Israel called “Nimrod’s Fortress” named in his honor.

The name “Israel” means—“he will rule as God.” Isra means—“he will rule.” El means God. Clearly, the destiny and purpose of the nation of Israel is indicated in her name. Israel is a miracle nation. Jerusalem is the city of God, the city of the great king (Psalm 48:1-2; Matthew 5:35). Israel was ordained of God to be the launching pad for God’s Kingdom, and Jerusalem was to be its capitol.

There was a unique relationship between Israel and Ethiopia. Israeli men were not forbidden from marrying Ethiopian-Cushite women (Exodus 34:11, 16). Consequently, Moses married an Ethiopian-Cushite woman (Numbers 12:1). They bore two sons that were truly Israeli/African whose names were Gershom and Eleazar (Exodus 18:2-3). Eleazar bore a son named Phineas by one of the daughters of Putiel. The daughters of Putiel are believed to have descended from Ham’s son Put (Genesis 10:6). The son Eleazar had by “one of the daughters of Putiel” named Phineas is quite revealing regarding an African admixture among the Jewish people.

The late Martin Bernal, a White Jewish scholar, in his book, Black Anthena, Vol. II, published by Rutgers University Press reveals an interesting insight about Phineas and the meaning of his name:

“The name Pinhas [Phinehas] also cast an interesting light on the racial make-up of this population [Exodus population] with its indication that there were people with pigmentation darker than the Mediterranean norm, but that this feature was uncommon enough to be remarkable.

The name Phinehas means “the Nubian” or “the Negro” according to the International Standard Bible encyclopedia. William F. Albright wrote, “The name Phineas…is interesting as providing an independent (and absolutely reliable) confirmation of the tradition that there was a Nubian element in the family of Moses” (Num. 12:1). As a matter of fact Moses himself testifies concerning the ethnicity of the people who departed Egypt on the Exodus journey to Canaan land: “And a mixed multitude went up also with them.” (Ex. 12:38). This “mixed multitude” would include native born Egyptians from the land of Ham and descendants of 400 years of miscegenation between the Egyptians and Israelites.

Psalm 72:18 says, “Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things!” Psalm 136:4 says, “To Him who alone does Great wonders.” The Hebrew word for wonder, wondrous, or wonderful is “pala” pronounced paw-law. This word means “separate.” In order to be wonderful, you have to separate yourself from the pack. One of the wonders mentioned by the Psalmist is the nation of Israel (Psalm 136:10-24). The other two wonders mentioned was creation (Psalm 136:4-9) and food (Psalm 136:25).

Israel is a wonder. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a nation in the history of the world who is separate and distinct from all other nations, as Israel. Who could argue against the fact that Israel is unique among the nations of the earth? Who could argue that the nation of Israel is identified with God in a manner that is incomparable to any other nation? What other country on earth can open the Bible and see God’s name associated with their nation? The Psalmist called the Lord, the God of Israel. What other nation can boast that God called their nation His “treasure,” His “holy nation,” His “peculiar people,” His “chosen seed,” and the “apple of His eye”? What other nation can say that the biblical narratives actually occurred on their land? What other nation can say that God birth His Scriptures, His Son, His Sanctuary and His Kingdom on their land? What other nation can say that the Messiah was born there? What other nation can say that the Messiah promised to return there? What other nation can say that God birth their nation to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth? (Genesis 12:3). What other nation can make the legitimate claim that their nation is the geographical and theological center of the world?  The Psalmist identified the nation of Israel with the name of God because of their unique and undeniable historic and continuing relationship.

The histories of Israel and Africa correlate at certain points in the Bible and modern history. This is worthy of celebrating, communicating, and educating descendants of Africa and Israel concerning the truth and facts regarding our shared histories.

There are three things that I want you to remember about Israel and her relationship to Africa:

1.  God birth Israel to spread His Name and Fame to the ends of the earth. God Himself preached the gospel to Abraham, because He needed to establish a nation by which all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Galatians 3:8). The nation that He established as the anchor nation from which He would bless other nations was Israel. The Queen of Sheba who is believed to have been African, and ruled over southern Arabia and East Africa declared after visiting Jerusalem and seeing the wonder of Israel, and the wisdom of Solomon—“blessed be the Lord your God…Because your God has loved Israel to establish them forever” (II Chronicles 9:8). Solomon said to the assembly at the dedication of the Temple,

“And he said: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’”

God sovereignly chose Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Israel for the sake of His Name. The praise, preservation, and proclamations of the Lord’s Name are why Israel, Jerusalem and Bethlehem still exist (II Chronicles 6:4-7).

a. Bethlehem means “house of bread” and it would only be befitting that the “Bread of Life” would be born in the “house of bread.”

b. Jerusalem – Jeru-Foundation/Salem-Peace. It would only be befitting that the Prince of Peace would rule in the city of the great King, and the message of “peace on earth” would emanate from Jerusalem.

c. “Israel” – “He will rule as God “There would only be one nation that God could launch His kingdom on earth from and that would be the nation of Israel – “He will rule as God.

2.  God sovereignly and strategically placed Africa next door to Israel ultimately for the worship of His name (Zephaniah 3:10). God called the Ethiopians “My Worshippers” (Zephaniah 3:10). Zephaniah who is also a descendant of Cushi (Zephaniah 1:1), reveals the fact that God sings (Zephaniah 3:17). Psalm 68:31 says, “Ethiopia will soon stretch out her hand to God.” The last time we read about an Ethiopian by name in the Scripture, the Bible tells us that this man “had come to Jerusalem to worship” (Acts 8:27).

Apollos, an Egyptian-African renown for oratorical preaching was named as an outstanding leader in the early church (Acts 18:24; I Cor. 1:12). The last time we read about an African by name, “Simeon called Niger,” he is serving as a leader in a church that is engaged in worship (Acts 13:1-3). Proselytes Jews from Africa worshipped the Lord at Pentecost (Acts 2:9-11).

3. Israel was wonderful in her birth (Galatians 3:6-8). Israel was wonderful in her rebirth in 1948 (Isaiah 11:11, 66:8, Ezekiel 11:17). Israel was wonderful in her relationship to Africa (Amos 9:7).

Both the Africans and Israeli’s are fond of demonstrative praise and worship. The Israeli and the Africans are fond of singing. The Israelis and the Africans are fond of worship. “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.” (Psalm 117:1-2). God gave the African a love for singing, dancing, and worshipping. Israel gave the African the Scripture, the Son, and the synagogue (a prototype of the church), so that we could bless the God of Israel in song. Much of the Christian music that we enjoy today has been a result of the combination of the singing talent of African descendants and the business acumen of Jews who provided the treasure, record labels and radio stations for Christian music to reach urban communities. May the God of Israel be praised!

While listening to and enjoying Black gospel over the radio or on a CD, we seldom pause to consider that Jewish-owned radio stations and record labels have made it possible for us to enjoy this music. Salem Broadcasting and Savoy records are classic examples.

God strategically placed Africa next door to the nation that He chose as the headquarters of His Kingdom on earth, in order to bring Him worship and an offering (Zephaniah 3:10, Psalm 72:10, 15).  May Ethiopians and her descendants give wonderful worship and praise to the God of Israel!

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).

HOW TO HANDLE A TRAYVON-ZIMMERMAN MOMENT

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

No one disputes that George Zimmerman initiated the communication with Trayvon Martin. No one disputes that Neighborhood Watch Volunteers are trained not to carry a weapon. No one disputes that Neighborhood Watch Volunteers are trained not to personally intervene if they observe a suspicious person or activity, but rather notify law enforcement. No one disputes that the 911 dispatcher counseled Zimmerman not to pursue Trayvon. No one disputes that Trayvon had just as much right to be on those premises in Samford, Florida, as Zimmerman. Yet, Trayvon was the one viewed with suspicion and being pursued by Zimmerman. No one disputes that Zimmerman was the aggressor in the encounter.

The truth of the matter is young people, and not so young people, will inevitably face a Trayvon-Zimmerman-like encounter. A sudden, unanticipated, confrontational situation—with the potential to escalate to a violent encounter—could happen to any one of us—even in close proximity to our homes.

Someone can deem you as suspicious. Someone can approach you without identifying themselves and ask you questions that you deem are inappropriate. Someone can engage you with the wrong attitude. Someone can encroach upon your personal space and cross your comfort zone. Someone can form wrong and premature conclusions about you. Someone can report you to authority figures based on their false assumptions. Someone can approach and address you with a superior, judgmental, authoritarian and condescending attitude and disposition. This is what Trayvon Martin encountered at the hands of George Zimmerman on that dreadful evening in Samford, Florida.

Without the benefit of any prior knowledge, Zimmerman concluded that Trayvon Martin was an “a …hole, suspicious, and a f…ing punk.” He also categorized him as belonging to a group called “they” who always get away. Either Zimmerman had a mysterious, inexplicable discernment regarding Trayvon, or he profiled him. Those are serious and sordid assessments to make upon sight regarding a total stranger.

How do you reach such strong conclusions about a person that you’ve never met? It is impossible to harbor those kinds of feelings toward a person and it not be reflected in your actions, attitude, body language and speech when you approach and address that person.

People sense when these are your feelings toward them. Trayvon sensed Zimmerman’s unjustifiable disposition and attitude toward him. Zimmerman’s profile of Trayvon was based solely on externals and perception. Trayvon’s externals were:  race, clothes, age, gender, skittles, tea, and a cell phone. Armed with only that knowledge, Zimmerman concluded that Trayvon is again, an a…hole, f…ing punk, suspicious and a member of a group called “they.”

It is my belief that we all engage in selective racial profiling at times. I certainly am no exception and neither was Zimmerman. To that extent I can identify with Zimmerman. The problem, however, is when we act on our “suspicions” or profiling. That is totally unacceptable and can easily ignite a dispute, fight and racial unrest—that can escalate to a national crisis—as we now all see.

Let me be clear. Had I been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have found him, guilty. If Zimmerman had been a 34-year old Black Man behaving in this manner toward a 17-year old White, Asian, or Hispanic child, I would also have voted—guilty.

President Obama is correct in stating the outcome would have been different if Trayvon had been the one left standing. We all know that if Trayvon would have been the one remaining alive that night, he would have been immediately arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. And that is why the vast majority of Black America are enraged by the verdict. Not having an African American on the jury exacerbates the outrage. The racial composition of the jury and the verdict reminded African Americans of an era that we’d hoped was past and gone.

As painful, disappointing and unjust as the Zimmerman verdict was, I found a sense of hope and healing from a surprising source—the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC—Dr. Russell Moore. Reading what Dr. Moore said on this matter in the Washington Post produced a therapeutic and euphoric moment for me. Moore’s words represent the fact that the SBC may truly be on the verge of systemic and substantive change with regard to race. The fact that Moore is Anglo makes his words in this instance more impactful and helpful toward healing the wounds Blacks have felt over Trayvon’s tragic death. In our mid-week service last Wednesday, we put Moore’s quote on the stage screen and read his quote verbatim. These words were like apples of gold on plates of silver:

“Regardless of what Trayvon Martin was doing or not doing that night, you have someone who was taking upon himself some sort of vigilante justice, even by getting out of the car. Regardless of what the legal verdict was, this was wrong,” said Russell Moore…”

“And when you add this to the larger context of racial profiling and a legal system that does seem to have systemic injustices as it relates to African-Americans with arrests and sentencing, I think that makes for a huge crisis.”

“Most white evangelicals, white Americans, are seeing [the Martin case] microscopically, in terms of this verdict, and most African-Americans are seeing it macroscopically. It’s Trayvon Martin, it’s Emmitt Till, it’s Medger Evers, it’s my son, my neighbor’s son, my situation that I had,” Moore said. “Most white Americans say we don’t know what happened that night and they are missing the point.”

For a White Southern Baptists to truly understand the depth of our pain and to be willing to articulate and identify with our perspective without needlessly trampling on Trayvon’s grave is truly extraordinary.

When faced with a Trayvon-Zimmerman moment, there are only three possible responses one can make.  Jesus in Scripture was also profiled based on His background. Therefore, He could identify with Trayvon. Jesus faced unwarranted and unanticipated opposition, as did Trayvon on the night of the Zimmerman encounter. By example and teaching, Jesus shows believers how to handle a Trayvon-Zimmerman encounter.

All believers of all colors will inevitably face an adversarial person that could be any race or color. Before we encounter that person(s) we need to make sure that we are armed and equipped with the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5). Lessons from Jesus and Trayvon’s legacy can guide believers through an unanticipated moment of potential conflict.

The three options available when faced with a Trayvon-Zimmerman moment are to (1) fight; (2) finesse; or (3) flee. Jesus addressed all three.

1.  The option to fight should only be employed when there is absolutely no other possible way to remedy the situation. And even then one can take the option of not fighting back and hoping that the aggressor will relent. Jesus taught that you should turn the other cheek. I know that sounds archaic and unrealistic in today’s culture; but this was the method employed by Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a matter of fact, Jesus told Peter to put up his sword, because he who lives by the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52). Jesus taught that responding to aggression with aggression is not wise. Trayvon responded to aggression with aggression, and that proved to be fatal and tragic for him. We all need to learn a lesson from that. The option to fight, according to Jesus, is not the best option to take.

2.  The option to finesse when faced with a Trayvon Martin situation is also available. By finesse I mean to respond with conciliatory, constructive, non-threating dialogue. Jesus said in Matthew 5:25:

“Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.”

To finesse when faced with a Trayvon-Zimmerman encounter, simply means to seek common ground in the dialogue—not battle ground. Jesus makes it clear that the consequences are weighty if the two parties don’t find—common ground. Jesus also makes it clear that the right kind of dialogue can lead to a peaceful resolution.

3.  The third option available when faced with a Trayvon-Zimmerman encounter is to flee. This is probably the best option. Especially in the kind of situation Trayvon faced on that dreadful night.

Jesus said if peace don‘t abide, flee (Matthew 10:14). Jesus fled when he faced an aggressive group that was prejudiced against Him for false reasons. If Jesus fled in this situation, you and I can flee (John 10:39).

My mother warned her children that we would face a Zimmerman encounter in life. And again, we all have. Her advice was “It is better to be a live coward, than a dead hero.” And I believe mother was right and so was Jesus.

There comes a time, when you don’t allow someone else to take your life. By fleeing and finessing, you freely lay your life down.

You are to fight only if this is the only option that you believe is available to you.

Zimmerman was wrong. But to respond to the jury verdict with violence would be equally wrong. Two wrongs will never make a right. Innocent Hispanics and Whites who have been verbally and violently assaulted in the aftermath of the Zimmerman verdict—have been racially profiled, and we need to cry out against that kind of senseless violence as well. The media should publicize the names of the victims and perpetrators in these instances as they have done Trayvon and Zimmerman.

Ironically, the SBC may be the only ecclesiastical body that can bring our nation together for prayer and dialogue surrounding this issue across racial lines. The SBC sanctioned the segregation of American society from her inception through the first century of her existence. Perhaps, now the SBC can lead the way to the healing of racism and racial distrust in American society in the 21st Century. Zimmerman may have gotten by, but he is not going to get away. Remember O.J.? Maybe out of Trayvon’s death will evolve a resurrection of constructive racial dialogue and healing that could lead to the prevention of unnecessary racially motivated deaths in the future.

A BIBLICAL BASIS FOR SPEAKING IN TONGUES IN PRIVATE

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

The primary purpose for addressing this topic is to answer the question: Is there a biblical basis for a Kingdom citizen to pray in tongues in private?

The late Dr. Manuel L. Scott, Sr., said, “There is an orthodoxy within him that would not permit the sermonic broadcasting of an idea that the Bible would not back.” Not only do I share Dr. Scott’s orthodoxy regarding sermons, but I believe that this orthodoxy extends to worship practices—including tongues—publicly or privately. If the Bible does not back the practice of speaking in tongues, then no believer—period—should speak in tongues at any place or at any time.

It is not my purpose, desire, or place to attempt to persuade all Baptists or all believers to speak in tongues. I do not believe that it is God’s will based on His Word for all believers to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30). Although it is debated among those of us who speak in tongues, neither do I believe that every believer is capable of speaking in tongues—even if they desire to. God sovereignly determines which believer gets which gifts (1 Cor. 12:7-12).

There are those who would argue strongly against my viewpoint that all believers are not capable of speaking in tongues. Again, God sovereignly bestows and distributes spiritual gifts according to His will. And there is no one gift that is given to every believer. When Paul raised the rhetorical question, “Do all speak with tongues?” (1 Cor. 12:30), it is obvious that the answer is, No! The implication is that it is not the will or intent of God for all believers to speak in tongues.

A few years ago I read in Newsweek Magazine that 20% of all Christians worldwide speak in tongues. If my memory serves me correctly that was based on a Pew Poll. Furthermore, only 50% of the persons who are faithful attendees and members of Pentecostal/Charismatic churches speak in tongues. They all are open, desirous, and believe in speaking in tongues, yet only 50% or less have experienced speaking in tongues. Those figures are consistent to me with what the Bible teaches—all do not speak in tongues.

Please don’t misconstrue anything that I say here as meaning that I am on a campaign to get Southern Baptists to affirm, embrace, and practice—speaking in tongues. That is not my goal or intent. Nor is it my calling. If I am on a campaign it would be to simply, respectfully and humbly ask the IMB trustees to simply return to the pre-2005 policy on tongues; that would resolve this issue. Because the SBC in session has not addressed this issue, I believe that IMB, NAMB, and SWBTS have usurped the will of the convention.  It is only because the aforementioned entities have established these anti-tongues policies, without one iota of SBC sanctioning, that I have also asked the SBC in session to weigh-in on these matters. I would be very pleased if the SBC policy was one of neutrality, which had served the SBC well prior to the adoption of the cessationist policies.

I want to address the question regarding the biblical basis for praying in tongues in private from a biblical and biographical perspective.

I.  Jesus affirmed speaking in tongues. He told the eleven that they could expect as one of the signs that would be visible or audible among those who believe is that  “they will speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17). No matter how one etymologically and theologically parses this statement by Jesus, they would have to conclude that Jesus’ statement here is an affirmation of speaking in tongues. He did not elaborate, give details, qualify his statement, define tongues, or distinguish between public or private tongues here. He did not say if it would be a one-time occurrence among certain people groups or an ongoing experience among certain believers. But what He did say is this:  Counted among those who name His name should be those who speak with “new tongues.”

I will leave it to those much smarter than I am to figure out exactly what Jesus meant by this statement. I simply take His Word at face value.

It is disheartening to me that so many otherwise wonderful and Spirit-filled SBC institutions and individuals would discount and devalue here the words of Jesus.

To categorically deny IMB missionaries the freedom to receive and experience what Jesus said here is to trample on the words of Jesus or to define and qualify Jesus’ words here in a way that He chose not to define and qualify His words. That is a bold, presumptive move, from my perspective, for the IMB to take.

Based on the context of Jesus’ statement, coupled with Paul’s statement on the subject (1 Cor. 12:30), Jesus clearly did not teach that all believers everywhere, would speak in tongues—but He certainly was saying some believers, somewhere would speak in tongues. How can the IMB disqualify, what Jesus qualified? And that is speaking in tongues. Neither did Jesus preclude or promote the notion that his reference to “new tongues” would be limited to public forums—to the exclusion of private worship and devotion. What is clear, again, is that our Savior, Lord and King of His Kingdom affirmed speaking in tongues.

II.  The eleven disciples (Acts 1:13) and presumably the 120 (Acts 1:15) all spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 4).  The content of their tongues speaking, or what was heard by the Jews assembled from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:5) was—“the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:11).

If what the devout Jews from different language groups heard on the day of Pentecost, when the 120 spoke in tongues was “the wonderful works of God,” it does not seem unreasonable to me that in a time of private devotional prayer and praise one could also speak—“the wonderful works of God” to God, about God.

You may ask, why would God allow this? God requested, allowed and required many things in scripture from our perspective that does not compute to the modern rational mind—nevertheless, He’s done so. Neither did He ask our permission to do so, nor is He interested in our opinion about what He’s done. The point here is simply this:  If the early believers could speak in tongues “the wonderful works of God,” it is not a stretch from my perspective they could also speak in prayer to God these same “wonderful works.” Why? The answer is:  For God’s own sovereign purposes.

Having experienced tongues as they did on the day of Pentecost, I can assure you that their speaking in tongues was not limited to that occasion only. Those of us who speak in tongues often during times of intense worship, devotion, prayer, and praise spontaneously often speak in tongues as the Sprit gives utterance (Acts 2:4). It is my opinion, but, I don’t believe their tongues speaking was limited to Pentecost only. I believe it carried over to their private devotions.

It is not an insignificant factor here that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 involved exclusively Jews and Jewish proselytes (Acts 2:5, 10).

In Acts 8 we see where another people group was introduced to Christ and received the Holy Spirit—the Samaritans (Acts 8:4-8; 14-17). Some scholars have referred to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Samaritans as—the Samaritan Pentecost—although there is no mention of tongues specifically being heard at Samaria.

Likewise, scholars have referred to the conversion the Ethiopian Eunuch as the Ethiopian Pentecost (Acts 8:26-39). There is no mention of tongues in the Ethiopian Eunuch narrative, but clearly the Holy Spirit was at work in his conversion. God used a Greek-speaking man—Phillip—to share the gospel with an African man—who was reading from a Jewish Bible while riding in a Roman Province. Truly the Holy Spirit was at work.

There is no record of the Ethiopian Eunuch, Phillip, or the Samaritans speaking in tongues. In Acts 2:4, the 120 were filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues. In Acts 4:31 the 3000 that were converted on the day of Pentecost were “all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.” There is no indication or record here of the 3000 speaking in tongues, although they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

One of the errors of Pentecostalism—or at least among many of them—has been to insist that all who are filled with the Holy Spirit are to also speak in tongues. That was not true in the Book of Acts, neither is it true today. I am convinced though that the private devotional lives of the Samaritans who were filled with joy (Acts 8:5), Phillip and the Ethiopian were all invigorated by the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus prophesied that tongues speaking would be an occurrence among His followers. Indeed His disciples spoke in tongues declaring the wonderful works of God.

III.  Paul affirmed speaking in tongues as an act of private devotion.  We find the strongest support for praying in tongues in private in Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 14.

“Different kinds of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:10) are mentioned as being manifest by the Holy Spirit and “given to each one for the profit of all” 1 Cor. 12:7). Paul then lists several gifts (12:8-10) and includes “different kinds of tongues.”

In Chapter 14 Paul admonishes the church at Corinth to, “pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” Although Paul does spend the remainder of the Chapter contrasting the gift of prophecy with the gift of tongues, Paul does not forbid speaking in tongues—publically or privately (1 Cor. 14:39). He does place guidelines around its use in public worship.

In 1 Cor. 14:2 I believe Paul addresses the primary way tongues was practiced by Christians at Corinth; this is also the primary practice of those who speak in tongues today.

In Acts 2, although they were speaking the “wonderful works of God,” men heard it and were pricked in their hearts. In 1 Corinthians 14:2, Paul is clear and specific in spite of scholars and commentators desperate attempts to explain this verse away.

“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.”

No one would read that verse without the aid of any other explanation and conclude that speaking in tongues as practiced among believers at Corinth included—“not speaking to men but to God.” Speaking to God is the most basic, simple definition of prayer. Paul further explains while the believer’s speaking to God—not man—in prayer—“no one understands him.” The reason that no one understands him Paul explains is because, “In the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

The prayer that Paul described in 1 Cor. 14:2 had to be done privately because he later forbids this type of prayer without interpretation in a public assembly (1 Cor. 14:27-28).

Paul taught that one who speaks in tongues in the 1 Cor. 14:2 manner “edifies himself.” The fact that he “edifies himself” is another indication that the 1 Cor. 14:2 type of praying in tongues was private. Prophecy by its nature is public or at least directed to one other person. Prayer as in 1 Cor. 14:2 by its nature is private and is directed to God. The nature of private prayer is self-edification, that results in God’s glorification, and spirit-filled ministry to God’s people.

Jude taught that when believers “pray in the Spirit” that they build themselves up (Jude 20). No one views that verse as a negative. It amazes me that when Paul says that when one prays in a 1 Cor. 14:2 manner that they “edifies himself”—then it is viewed by some Southern Baptists as negative. That defies all logic, rationale and consistency.

When a believer builds himself up praying in a 1 Cor. 14:2 manner, or Jude 20 manner, they are then better equipped to “fight the good fight of faith” and “earnestly contend for the faith.” Built-up believers can then go, strengthen and encourage other believers to be a better witness to the world. Private prayer, be it I Cor. 14:2 or Jude 20, builds up the believer. And a built-up believer is better suited for Kingdom work. A built-up believer can build up the church.

“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. 14:18-19)

Here Paul makes it clear that he speaks in tongues more so than anyone reading his letter (1 Cor. 14:18). He follows his admission of being the #1 tongues speaker with a contrast statement: “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” (1 Cor. 14:19).

Question: If Paul preferred understood language in the church, where was he speaking the language not understood (1 Cor. 14:2)? The implication is that this was being done in private, where he was building himself up, but it was not being heard in the presence of those who didn’t understand. To those whom it might matter, Dr. Jimmy Draper also in his book, The Church Christ Approves, interpreted these verses as Paul expressing a preference for private devotion tongues speaking, and publicly spoken understood speech.

“But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” (1 Cor. 14:28)

Those of us who speak in tongues can certainly relate to this verse. It is not uncommon for unintelligible speech to flow to your mouth if you are in a time of praise, prayer or even preaching in a public worship service. Although it flows to your mouth, according to Paul, and I know from experience that you have control over it until it comes out of your mouth. If no interpreter is present, Paul said—don’t cease praising, praying or giving thanks—simply do it within—“speaking to himself and to God.” This is another indication that a believer so gifted by the Holy Spirit to pray, praise, and give thanks in tongues can also pray even in tongues under his breath, or in a manner where it is not publicly heard, but yet it is occurring. Surely if one can do that while at church, they certainly could do it while not in the presence of others. These verses affirm praying in tongues in private.

I begin by quoting the words of Jesus: “they shall speak with new tongues.” I want to close by looking at the example of Jesus.

In Hebrews 5:7 we get an unusual glimpse into the prayer room of Jesus. Jesus is often depicted by the gospel writers as going away to pray alone. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus placed some distance between Himself and His disciples as He prayed. Commenting on the prayer life of Jesus, the Hebrew writer says,

“who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him, who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear.”

I am in no wise suggesting that Jesus prayed in tongues. I am suggesting that this verse probably describes His prayers in the Garden, perhaps at the cross and at other times when the disciples were not with Him. We learn at least three things about Jesus’ prayers in this verse:

  1. They were high volume [“vehement cries”].
  2. They were tear-filled.
  3. They were emotional.

My point is that private prayers often take on a different style and nature then public prayers. Jesus told us to go and pray in our secret closets.  And in that closet, prayers are often prayed with words understood, words not understood and even without words.

REFLECTIONS AND RUMINATIONS ON THE SBC AND HER FUTURE

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

PART II (PART I)

WHAT THE SBC IS DOING RIGHT AND HER SINGLE GREATEST NEED?

Nathan Finn referred to the vital statistics health decline of the SBC as a “Free-fall.” Because Dr. Finn is not just a casual observer, but a critical thinker, historian, and seminary professor regarding SBC life and history—I found his description, “Free-fall,” fascinating. When I prodded him to give an analysis and antidote of the “free-fall,” he gently pushed back and said that the critique and construct relative to the free-fall from him would come at a later time.

I have been a casual observer of SBC life, and a participant—at varying levels of intensity and engagement—for at least forty years. By the grace of God, I successfully planted a SBC church, thirty years ago that I am privileged to currently serve as Pastor. The SBC has invested a lot in my ministry; and until recent years, our church invested a lot in the SBC. While anxiously awaiting the scholarly and critical analysis and antidotes of the free-fall that Dr. Finn will eventually give, in the interim, I feel burdened to share reviews and remedies for the free-fall from my neck of the woods.

It has been reported that Ed Stetzer will also address the SBC statistical concerns in the not-to-distant future. The Stetzer analysis needs to be read widely and carefully and taken very seriously. I’m convinced that he has his hand on the pulse beat of American Evangelicalism. Our convention would be wise to pay careful attention to what Finn and Stetzer will have to say on this subject.

In the name of full disclosure, much of what I say here was inspired by a message that was recently preached by a guest preacher at our church, Dr. Julius Malone of Milwaukee, WI. He is an independent evangelical. He was not addressing the SBC and her issues in the slightest way. He was teaching an adult VBS class when he gave these remarks. But certainly they were applicable to our church and to the SBC.

The truth of the matter is that the SBC is in decline because many, if not most, of our churches are in decline. The church that I pastor is no exception to this decline. Pastor Malone’s message was very encouraging to our church; and I trust that what the Lord has laid on my heart here will be encouraging to the SBC.

I.                    WHAT THE SBC IS DOING RIGHT

  • I give God praise that there are still thousands of souls being won to Christ through SBC churches, even if we aren’t reaching as many as we once did. SBC churches minister the word of salvation to God’s people faithfully and consistently, year after year (I Cor. 1:2; 6:9-11). KFC often advertise, “We do chicken right.” The SBC could as easily say, “We do salvation right.” There will be multiple thousands of saints from throughout the world in heaven—some already there—because the SBC has ministered the gospel of salvation all over the globe.
  • I give God praise for the multiple thousands of souls that have been water baptized through the ministries of SBC churches (1 Cor. 1:13-16). The Great Commission specifies that those who receive the gospel ought to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Multiple thousands are still being baptized in SBC churches, although we are not baptizing nearly as many as we once did. But praise God for those who were won to Christ and baptized just this past year. Cornerstone has baptized about 2500 souls in our thirty-year history. But until 30 souls (primarily children and a few adults) recently came for salvation and baptism at our VBS, it was appearing to become the lowest baptismal year in the history of our church.
  • The SBC does Spirit Baptism well (I Cor. 12:13). One of the reasons that the Lord continue to bless the SBC and her churches is because we make it clear that “by one Spirit, have we all been baptized into one body.” We believe that there is, “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” (Ephesians 4:6). And we believe that “one baptism” occurs simultaneously with salvation. The SBC believes that there is one baptism in the Holy Spirit—again, that occurs at salvation—but many fillings. Multiple thousands have been baptized by one Spirit into the Body of Christ, and have united with SBC churches. For that, we give God praise.
  • Multiple thousands in SBC churches have discovered at least one gift given to them by the Holy Spirit. It can be said of the SBC as Paul said of the church at Corinth, “…you come short in no gift” (1 Cor. 1:7; 12-14). The SBC is second to none when it comes to gifted persons in our congregations. I believe that the apostolic gift is a missionary gift (Eph. 4:12). I believe that our Disaster Relief Program is an example of the “helps” gift on display (Mt. 5:16). Every spiritual gift that’s listed in Scripture, we find in large measure in SBC churches. Even to the dismay of some, most SBC churches have members and some leaders who regularly pray, praise and give thanks in their private devotions in tongues (I Cor. 14). The IMB was led by a person who openly acknowledged his practice and belief regarding tongues. Current and past IMB missionaries regularly exercise the gift of tongues in their private devotions. There is not one gift listed that we don’t have represented in most SBC churches. For that, I give God praise.
  • The indwelling of the Holy Spirit means when I have Christ, I have all of Him. The filling of the Holy Spirit means that, he has all of me. The SBC is comprised of multiple thousands who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, some are even filled with the Holy Spirit (II Tim. 1:16, Rom. 8:9).
  • Good preaching, sound doctrine, and exposition of Scripture are what SBC preachers are known for (I Cor. 1:11-12; 3:21-22). The decline in the SBC is not because of a lack of good, solid, scriptural preaching.

The church at Corinth had every characteristic that I’ve mentioned thus far. Like the SBC, they were saved, baptized in water, Spirit baptized, spiritually gifted, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and they had good preachers—Paul, Peter and Apollos (I Cor. 1:11-12).

So what was missing from the church at Corinth? The answer to that question may identify the problem and the solution that our convention and many of our churches are missing.

II.                  THE REASON(S) AND REMEDY FOR OUR DECLINE

The main missing element from the church at Corinth is addressed in that great love Chapter, I Corinthians 13. The reason love (agape) was missing from the church at Corinth is because the filing of the Spirit was missing. We know that the filling was missing because the fruit was missing. The filling of the Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit; and the first fruit is love—agape (Gal. 5:2). The fruit of the Spirit was missing from the church at Corinth because the filling was missing. The key to everything is the Spirit-filled life; and the key to the Spirit-filled life is obedience.

Although there are many biblical, positive, spiritual and wonderful things going on in the SBC, what is missing across the length and breadth of our convention—and I certainly include myself and congregation in this—is the filling of the Holy Spirit. That’s it. We can dissect, dialogue, or deploy a research team to determine our malady. We can organize, administrate, mobilize and pontificate until the cows come home. But, until we become desperate for God and seek a moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, filling of the Holy Spirit—and then start over every new year—walking in the Spirit and walking in obedience, we will not be filled; and we will continue the decline.

When the filling is missing, we become known for something else other than for our love for Christ and His Kingdom. Jesus said, by your fruit you shall know them. Jesus said, by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, by your love.

The SBC is not known by her fruit or her love. She is known for many things that has caused her branding to need a rebranding—a Kingdom branding.

The SBC is known for battling over the Bible. As important as this battle was and is, it is not the battle that the Lord told us to be known for. We are to be known for our fruit and the filling of the Holy Spirit. The SBC is known for neither.

We are known to have been formed for the propagation of the gospel and slavery. The SBC still has not overcome this branding. Until at least one African American, Asian, and Hispanic occupy entity head positions in SBC life—as exemplified in Acts 13:1-2—then we will not be known by outsiders for what the church at Antioch was known for:  “Christians,“ Christ-like behavior consistently. We are known for our racial animus. Significant progress has been made. Ken Weathersby and the EC, Gary Frost at the NAMB, and Dr. Fred Luter, our illustrious President—represent quantum steps in the right direction. But we still fall short of the Kingdom inclusion at all levels—particularly at the entity head level.

We are known for hyper-complementarianism. We should be known for holy complementarianism. We are known for telling women what they can’t do. When will we be known for telling women what they can do? God promised to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17). God promised to equip and empower sons and daughters. When will the SBC equip and empower a Lydia to play a key role in church planting. Lydia was the first person to plant a church on European soil. When will we empower a Phoebe to serve in a highly visible capacity under the leadership and authority of God’s Word and God’s male servant (Roman 16:2)? When will we empower a woman to prophesy with her head covered as Paul did in I Corinthians 11? When will the SBC become known for releasing women, not restricting women?

We are known for “spiritual gift(s) profiling”—singling out certain gifts of the Spirit to enact an emotional prejudice against. This defies all logic, rationality and the plain simple reading and understanding of Scripture. When will we appreciate and affirm all the gifts of the Spirit?

The SBC brand is suffering greatly from many years of battling over these issues. We are bruised and battle-scarred. We abandoned the bold mission thrust for the inerrancy battle. Now that this battle is over, can we return to the bold mission thrust and become known for what Jesus said we would do when we are filled: “Be witnesses” (Acts 1:8)? We are still fighting battles and causing our brand to be tarnished. We need to focus on spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom.

The key to the renewal of the SBC is one thing and one thing only:  And that is, the filling of the Holy Spirit. Every pulpit, every choir member, every Sunday School teacher, every state member, every deacon, every elder, every usher, committee member—we all need to understand the Spirit-filled life and daily seek and surrender to His filling. And that my friend is the reason(s) and the remedy for the SBC decline.

A moment by moment filling of the Holy Spirit is the key to spiritual victory in the believers’ life, congregational life and the SBC. That, my friend, is the only hope for our declining churches and convention. If the SBC can answer the question, “How to be filled and keep on being filled?” our setback was only a set-up for a great spiritual comeback—that will take us to heights that we’ve not known before. May it come to pass, Lord, according to your will, way and your Word! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT:  DEEP CALLING UNTO DEEP

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

The multiple posts and comment threads on the continuationism vs. cessationism discussions here at SBC voices have been primarily academic and didactic in nature.  However, there is a devotional and inspirational component to this discussion that we have allowed to get lost in the weeds along the roadside.

While we are volleying our divergent views across the median at each other; while we are all claiming biblical authority for our point of view and practice—or lack thereof; we are also overlooking or under emphasizing a major point of agreement between the cessationists and the continuationists.

The place of agreement between all Baptists and evangelicals on the subject of the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the realm of prayer is this:

All believers, in all places, at all times, with all prayer, and all perseverance, for all the saints, are to always—pray in the Spirit.

In Ephesians 6:18a, Paul admonished believers to practice:

 “praying always with all prayer and supplications in the Spirit” [emphasis mine].

Praying in the Spirit for the believer is not up for debate, dispute or indecision. It is absolutely essential for the edification of every believer, of every race, of every denomination; of every theological camp, of every political persuasion. Cessationists and continuationists must take seriously the biblical command to “pray in the Spirit.”

Jude taught that if believers were to be edified, it was essential that they pray in the Spirit.

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,” [emphasis mine] (Jude 1:20).

Believers will either pray in the flesh, or in the Spirit. The only prayer that God will hear will be a prayer that’s prayed in the Spirit of the living God.

Interestingly, it is somewhat uncommon to hear among Baptists—preaching and teaching that encourages and instructs believers to pray in the Spirit of God. Yet, all Baptist would say that praying in the Spirit is a biblical mandate, and it is absolutely necessary for effective praying.

I.                    “Deep Calling Unto Deep”: Defining Praying in the Spirit.

There are three spirits that exists in the world. And they are:

  1. The Holy Spirit
  2. The human spirit
  3. The unholy spirit or the demonic spirit.

It is important for us to understand that there is a battle for the control of our minds by each of these three spirits. Depending on which one of these three spirits controls our minds, that spirit will also control our prayer life.

Praying with our human spirit (or mind) will only say to God what the flesh wants said, and it will only result in what the mind can achieve. James 4:2 indicates that we can pray in the flesh.

The unholy or demonic spirit will work overtime to distract, detour, disinterest and to defeat the believer from spending time in prayer with God. The demonic spirit has even been known to interfere with the believers prayer and to actually resists the believers prayer (Daniel 10:12-14). The human mind or spirit and the unholy or demonic spirits constantly seek to control the prayer life of a believer—the cessationists and the continuationists.

In order to pray in the Spirit we have to overcome the temptations, resistance, and unholy influences of our human spirit (mind), and the unholy spirits (demons). At the point that our prayers are not influenced or controlled by our human spirit, or unholy spirit(s), then we are ready to pray in the Spirit.

TOWARD A DEFINITION

What, then, is praying in the Spirit? Praying in the Spirit is when my human spirit is submitted to and controlled by God’s Holy Spirit, who then comes along beside me to help me commune and communicate with God the Father, spirit to Spirit, and enables me to resist the unholy spirit, by the power that’s working in me—which is the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:20).

Praying in the Spirit allows us to communicate with God at a deeper level than my mind could be capable of communicating with Him, apart from His Spirit. Praying in the Spirit allows us to communicate with God in a spiritual dimension that transcends the type of conversation with a mere human being. Praying in the Spirit allows us to communicate with God at a spiritual depth that triumphs over the distractions, resistance, delays, defeat and deception that the unholy and demonic spirits—seek to sabotage our prayer lives with.

In Psalm 42:1-2; 6-11 we read the prayer of a desperate, despondent, discouraged and depressed soul, who was thirsty for God. He said,

“As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2a)

“O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,” (Psalm 42:6)

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” (Psalm 42:7)

In this passage of Scripture, we hear the prayer of a man who was desperate for God. He longed for God. He recognized that, as the life of a deer depends upon water, so our lives depend upon God.

In an effort to define “praying in the Spirit,” I want to borrow a phrase the Psalmist used in this passage that described the depth of his search for God, and I believe it described his prayers, in the midst of his desperation and despondency. The Psalmist said, “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls” (Psalm 42:7).

I love the language he used:  “Deep calls unto deep.” I believe that is the essence of “praying in the Spirit”—“Deep calling unto deep.” When from the depth of my human spirit, I am communing and crying out to the depth of God’s Holy Spirit—then I am praying in the Spirit. When my human spirit is connected to and submitted to the rule of God’s Holy Spirit, I can then communicate with God—spirit to Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is communicating with God spirit to Spirit as opposed to flesh to Spirit. When the depth of my spirit connects and communicates with the depth of His Spirit, I am then praying in the Spirit—“Deep calling unto deep.”

Praying in the Spirit is effective and fervent praying, from the heart of a man who has right standing before God. Perhaps the greatest need of Southern Baptists is that we all in one accord begin to pray in the Spirit and watch God change things. We would all agree that we cannot pray in the Spirit, unless we are in the Spirit (I Cor. 2:9-15).

Praying in the Spirit occurs when we and the Spirit of God are participating, taking both sides of the prayer banner and lifting it up together. It is praying in the Holy Spirit rather than praying on our own. I’ve prayed on my own and in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is far better. Praying in the Spirit is a delight. Praying in the flesh is a duty.

Michael Green defines praying in the Spirit thusly:

“It is a deep, free, intensive time of prayer, when the Spirit takes over and controls and leads the prayers…It means allowing the Spirit of Christ to pray in us…The Spirit grasps the situation for us and with us. He frames the petition on our lips; and he prays within us to the Father, with signs too deep for words.”

Praying in the Spirit is “Deep calling unto deep.” (Psalm 42:7).

II.                  “Praying Always with All Prayer”: The Deployment of Praying In the Spirit.

We understand the command to pray in the Spirit. But how do we actually do it? Continuationist and cessationist are in agreement that we can pray in the Spirit in three ways:

  1. With words understood
  2. With words not understood
  3. Without words

PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT WITH WORDS UNDERSTOOD

 In I Corinthians 14:15a Paul raises the question:

“What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding.”

As we are open to the Spirit of God, and not the flesh, God will flood our minds with thoughts of His nature and presence, and with our normal speech we will begin to speak back to Him.

There are many prayers recorded in Scriptures that was spoken in the native tongue of the prayer. I disagree with the Pentecostal teachings that the way (or only way) to pray in the Spirit, is to pray in tongues. If that were the case the wonderful prayers in Scripture that we find recorded, simply would not be there. We have all heard, received, or offered prayers to God in our native English language that have moved us to adoration, thanksgiving, lifted hands and hearts, mountain moving faith, a sense of call, a change of heart or direction, discernment of the will of God, etc. Who would dare argue that these prayers were not prayed in the Spirit—although they were prayed in the native language of the hearer? One of the ways to pray in the Spirit with words understood, is to pray the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 5:17)

 PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT WITH WORDS NOT UNDERSTOOD 

Before you tune me out at this point, here me out. When I say that we can pray in the Spirit with words not understood, I am first looking at the prayer life of Jesus.

In Mark 7:31-37, when Jesus healed the deaf-mute, it says he “looked up to heaven…and with a deep sigh” (Mark 7:34). The Holy Spirit, the author of Scripture, found it necessary to leave us a record that Jesus—while looking up to heaven (a form of prayer)—“sighed.” Sighing is a form of communication. It denotes intensity, burden, release, emoting and expression of current disposition and attitude. Jesus sighed. A “sigh” is an expression that cannot be translated to another language; but nevertheless, it is a communication expression that transcends all languages. It certainly is not speaking in tongues. But it is communicated to the Father without words. Yet, I am certain that God felt and understood the sigh of Jesus.

Which one of us has not sighed in prayer, as we brought a weighty matter before the Lord? Which one of us have not been moved by the sigh of a spouse, parent, child, or close friend? Which one of us would argue against the notion that some form of communication was taking place even during the sigh? Surely, the cessationists and the continuationists would agree that if it was permissible for Jesus to sigh in prayer, and He is our example, we too can sigh in prayer under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus not only sighed in relationship to prayer, but He groaned. John 11:33 said, speaking of Jesus, “He groaned in the Spirit.” John 11:38 says, “again groaning in Himself.” If anyone modeled praying without ceasing, it was Jesus. If anyone modeled an unbroken and unfettered fellowship and communion with the Father, it was Jesus. If Jesus “groaned in the spirit,” communicating without words understood, but nevertheless communicating, can’t the believer follow the example of our Lord? Who would argue that Jesus “groaning in the Spirit” was not in the will of God? Who would argue that because of Jesus’ constant fellowship with God, his “groaning in the spirit” was not a form of prayer with words not understood? Jesus “groaning in the spirit” is an example of “Deep calling unto deep.”

Once reason that we as believers sometimes sigh, moan and groan in prayer is because, “we often don’t know how to pray as we ought” (Romans 8:26b). In these moments, Paul said that the “Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Certainly, if it is permissible for Jesus and the Holy Spirit to groan in the ministry of prayer, so can I. Again, sighing and groaning are not words understood, but certainly we see in Scripture where they were unintelligible sounds that communicated to the Father. God understood the sighs and groans of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also understands our sighs, moans and groans—although, we ourselves don’t understand them.

Quite simply, we sometimes just don’t have the words, or know the words, or how to frame the words that will convey to God the sentiments of our hearts. That’s why the Holy Spirit is our prayer partner, and He comes to help us in this process.  And that is a part of what it means to pray in the Spirit. We are talking to a Spirit being (John 4:23-24). And the only way to communicate with Him is through spiritual language; words and sounds understood and not understood. This can, should be and often is done without speaking in tongues.

The cessationist and the continuationist disagree that under the influence of the Holy Spirit that for God’s own sovereign purposes, He enables some believers to pray to Him with words not understood by man, but by God (I Cor. 14:2). It is clear to me that Paul testified that he prayed with words understood and words not understood.

Nevertheless, even without tongues being spoken, we are in agreement that we can pray in the Spirit with words or sounds not understood. The Bible is clear that all believers are not gifted to pray in tongues (I Cor. 12:30). If praying in tongues were required to pray in the Spirit, God would contradict Himself. He commanded all believers to pray in the Spirit, but He did not command all believers to speak in tongues.

When my four children were small babies, it would amaze me that my wife could listen to their sighs, moans, groans and cries and almost with one hundred percent accuracy; she could interpret their unintelligible speech. She could distinguish a hunger cry from a pick-me-up cry. She could distinguish a change-my-diaper cry from an I’m-hurting or sick cry. She could distinguish between an I’m-thirsty cry and I-want-my-daddy-to-hold-me cry. If an earthly mother can discern and distinguish the cry, moans, groans and sighs of her children, I am convinced that the heavenly Father can understand the cries, moans, groans and sighs of His children.

PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT WITHOUT WORDS

The Psalmist said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Prayer in the Spirit is not only the words of my mouth under the influence of the Holy Spirit, it is also the meditation of my heart. Even without words, the believer can pray in the Spirit as he or she meditates and worships in the presence of God. Paul is clear that believers can pray without words or sounds being heard (I Cor. 14:27, 28). Certainly, the cessationist and continuationist can pray in the Spirit with words understood, words not understood, and even without words.

Finally, when my kids were quite young, I wrote a book that enjoyed about 5-7 years of popularity that resulted in me having a demanding travel/speaking schedule. When I would return from trips, the four of them would run to the door and jump up and down, screaming and hollering—“Daddy’s home,” “Daddy’s home.” I didn’t say—“get away from me, you little charismatics.” I was simply happy that they wanted to celebrate their daddy returning home. After the initial greeting, my kids would then sit in Daddy’s arms and lap and “ooooh,” “aaah” and giggle. I enjoyed every second of it.

I am not as sure that God is as meticulous and put aside about our manner of praying as we are with each other. He simply wants us to pray in the Spirit; and no matter how we do it, I believe that we please the Father. 

God wants us to pray to Him in the Spirit with words understood, with words not understood, and even without words—whether or not we are cessationist or continuationist.

REFLECTIONS AND RUIMINATIONS ON THE SBC AND HER FUTURE

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

PART I

Revisiting the IMB Tongues Policies: A Response to a Reasonable and Respectful Request

The SBC is a branch of the Kingdom of God that He has used mightily in days past and gone, and is still using, to advance His Kingdom and to bring Him glory. It is quite apparent though, to anyone remotely observing, that the SBC light is not shining quite as bright as it once did. If the SBC is to return to her former glory and surpass it, there must be some major shifts and adjustments made, and commitments to follow through on initiatives already in progress.

There are three SBC related issues that I will address in three separate posts under the above topic:

PART I:      Revisiting the IMB Tongues Policies: A Response to a Reasonable and Respectful Request.

PART II:     Reasons and Remedies Regarding the SBC “Free-Fall.”

PART III:    Race and the Return of the SBC to Her Former Glory.

My thesis is, if the SBC remains a predominately Southern, Anglo, Republican, “conservative” and a cessationist-oriented institution—nothing substantially will change, and the free-fall decline will continue. But if the SBC becomes a Kingdom-focused, multi-ethnic, biblio-centric, Spirit-empowered and “orthodox,” as opposed to “conservative,” expression of the Kingdom of God—the SBC’s future light will shine greater than ever before.

My purpose for addressing these issues is toward the end that the Lord might sovereignly choose to lay His hands upon what’s written here, and touch the hearts and minds of those who read this. Necessary tweaks and adjustments need to be made to aright the SBC ship toward kingdom advancement. It is my prayer that these three posts will offer some value to the conversations regarding renewal in the SBC.

I.                    A Reasonable Request From Jerry Corbaley

Jerry Corbaley—a former IMB Trustee who served during the development and deployment of the “policy on tongues and prayer language” (link) at the IMB—made the following request to me in the comment thread at SBC Voices:

“Dear Brother Dwight,

It is my opinion that you are an influential Christian brother who is more committed to Christian integrity than the American cultural rationalization of “spinning the truth” to win political decisions.

Several times in the last month or so you have referred to IMB Policies as “cessationist”. I would request that you personally get a copy of the policies you refer to and review them. Your assertion that the policies are cessationist has potential for “spin” but little accuracy.

SBC Voices is influential among Southern Baptists. What is repeated often here can be accepted as fact.

I am glad that you write and comment here. I look forward to learning more from you.”

It is in response to Jerry’s request that I offer the following comments:

  • When persons disagree, or want to challenge an opposing viewpoint in the blogosphere, it is sometimes done in a less than civil and respectful tone. I must first applaud and express appreciation to Jerry for registering his objection and stating his request in a fair, reasonable and Christian manner. The Apostle Peter commanded believers to approach others with gentleness when a addressing matters of the faith (I Peter 3:15). Jerry has certainly modeled this in his approach.
  • Is it accurate, honest, reasonable, or fair to refer to the IMB “policy on tongues and prayer language as a ‘cessationist policy’”? This is the essence of Jerry’s question.
  • Let me first of all thank Jerry for asking the question. It forced me to review the IMB Tongues Policy and to read for the first time the “Position Paper concerning the IMB Policy on Glossolalia” that appears on the IMB website. I want to respond to Jerry’s question and to interact with the IMB policy and position paper on “Glossolalia.” I want to be as courteous, cordial, fair, and respectful to Jerry and the IMB trustees as he was to me in asking the question.
  • Jerry, I will stipulate that the IMB policy never references the word “cessationism” or any derivative of that term.
  • I will also stipulate that there is not one line, phrase, sentence, paragraph or word in the policy that I could honestly summarize or characterize as “cessationist,” in the technical sense of the term.
  • I will also stipulate that the IMB Position Paper acknowledges that “not all of the trustees who voted for this policy are strict cessationists.” However, that statement seems to me to also be a tacit admission that some of the trustees who voted for the policy were “strict cessationist.” Therefore, cessationism influenced this policy, just as continuationism influenced me and a minority of trustees who opposed this policy.
  • The IMB Position Paper defines cessationism as “(those who believe the revelation producing gifts ended with the death of the Apostles.)”
  • The IMB Position Paper explicitly state, “We would not forbid to speak in ‘languages” in a supernatural fashion (I Cor. 14:39). If such is permitted, then the experience must match all the guidelines in the passages. Thus, we included an exception statement for any possible use that can be clearly understood as being in harmony with Paul’s guidelines, as stated above.”
  • Jerry, based on the above bullet points, and a technical definition of cessationism, you are correct:  It is probably inaccurate and unfair to characterize or summarize the IMB policies as cessationist—if by cessationism you are using the term in a technical sense.

Dr. Bart Barber coined the term “a Posteriori Cessationism” and gives it this definition:

“An a posteriori cessationist (which I am) I am defining as someone who, if he were to encounter something resembling the biblical gift of tongues, would acknowledge it as such, but who sees no evidence of that gift in operation in present-day Christianity. “

Barber summarizes or characterizes his position by saying to believers who speak in tongues today:

“There may be a gift of tongues in operation today, but you certainly aren’t exercising it.”

Barber and the IMB trustees hold to identical positions, definitions and explanations of speaking in tongues. Barber is honest and forthcoming enough to label his position “a Posteriori Cessationism,” because practically and functionally, he ends up at the same position as the cessationist. He simply takes a different route to get there.

What is the difference between classical cessationism and “a Posteriori Cessationism”? Barber answers the question. Jerry, it can be said of the IMB policy as it relates to cessationism, as Bart Barber said of his “a Posteriori Cessationism” position:

“The difference between myself and standard cessationists lies not, as far as I can tell, in where we wind up, but in how we get there.”

Paul Chitwood of Kentucky who served as Mission Personnel Committee chairman during the adoption of the IMB tongues policy admitted that:

“…ad hoc committees found that field-related data and consultation with regional leaders have ‘not indicated a systemic problem with charismatic practices among field personnel.’”

According to Chitwood this policy was not developed because of abuses or violations of speaking in tongues by missionaries on the field in public or private. Chitwood added that this possibly was adopted because of:

“the rapid spread of neo-Pentecostalism and its pressure exacted on new churches in various regions of the world warrants a concern for the clear Baptist identity of our missionary candidates.”

Jerry, I will admit that the IMB tongues guidelines do not reflect classical cessationism. But based on Chitwood’s stated reasons for adopting the IMB tongues policy, you must admit he confessed to “charisphobic cessationism.”

Charisphobic cessationism is a term I coined based on two polar opposite terms on the subject that I learned from the late SWBTS Missions Professor, Dr. Jack Gray. Dr. Gray admonished his students to avoid two extremes as it relates to the charismatic gifts: “Charismania and Charisphobia.” The IMB has opted, by their own admission, for Charisphobia.

SWBTS has adopted, by their own admission, Charisphobic Cessationism. In response to my admission that I pray in tongues in private, SWBTS released a statement saying that my message was “harmful to the churches.” While at the same time Dr. Patterson maintains that he is not a cessationist; I agree; he is not a classical cessationist, but a charisphobic cessationist, or to use Barber’s term, “a Posteriori  Cessationist.”

Therefore, what Barber calls “a Posteriori Cessationism and what I call “Charisphobic Cessationism,” I admit is not classic cessationism. Nevertheless, functionally and practically, —as does Bart Barber—I see no difference between the two. Thus, respectfully, I will continue to refer to these policies as cessationist, or if you prefer as, “a Posteriori cessationism,” or charisphobic cessationism—as opposed to classic cessationism.

II.                  Points of Respectful Disagreement with the IMB Policy, Position Paper and “a Posteriori” Cessationism

In response to specific statements contained in the IMB Policy, Position Paper and the Barber “a Posteriori Cessationism” Post, I offer the following responses:

  • Baptists don’t build doctrines on assumptions, assertions, arguments, majority opinion or phobias. Baptists build doctrine on the authority of the inerrant and infallible Word of God. The IMB Policy, Position Paper and “a Posteriori” cessationism fails at this point.
  • The IMB Tongues Policy states:

“The New Testament speaks of a gift of glossolalia that generally is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group “(IMB Policy on tongues and prayer language) 3/6/2006.

Where does the Bible say that tongues is “generally considered to be a legitimate language of some people group”? The Bible is clear in I Corinthians 12:7, 10 that the Holy Spirit gives to certain believers based on His sovereign will (I Corinthians 12:11) “different kinds of tongues” (I Corinthians 12:10d). Clearly among the “different kinds of tongues” that Paul referenced—all did not meet the IMB standard of being a “legitimate language of some people group,” based on Paul’s teaching on the subject.

Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.” If Paul described one of the “different kinds of tongues” as “the tongues of men and of angels,” how can the IMB announce so boldly that glossolalia is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group when Paul refers to “different kinds of tongues” and “tongues of angels”?

What verse says that tongues are always a language that existed on earth? The Bible does not restrict or limit tongues to “a legitimate language of some people group.” Paul is very clear in recognizing human languages or angelic languages (I Corinthians 13:1). No one at the IMB could interpret or translate the Apostle Paul when he spoke with the “tongues of angels” (I Corinthians 13:1). Angelic language may sound like ecstatic utterance or gibberish if you are not an angel. Any language of any people group in the world can sound like gibberish or ecstatic utterance if you don’t know that language. Who knows the language of the angels?

The late Dr. L. Jack Gray, in his booklet, Studies of the Holy Spirit, on Page 16, provided this definition of “tongues” that is totally and absolutely opposite from the IMB trustees’ and Barber’s definition:

“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.”

Dr. Gray, a former professor at SWBTS, unfortunately would not be allowed to teach his students this definition in today’s SBC. How tragic!

  • The Apostle Paul stated in I Corinthians 14:2:

“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.”

It almost appears that Paul wrote that verse in anticipation of the IMB tongues policy. Again, how can the IMB assert that “glossolalia is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group” exclusively when Paul emphatically states when one speaks in tongue they are not speaking “to men but to God, for no one understands him.” If “no one understands him” how could tongues always in every instance in the Bible have been a “legitimate language of some people group”? The word “mystery” in the original language means “a hidden or secret thing not obvious to the understanding.” The meaning of the word mystery here contradicts the “legitimate language of some people group” based on which the IMB policy is founded. Paul said “…in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” Paul referred to tongues here as a spiritual language—not a human language—as the IMB and Barber asserts.

Not all tongues require interpretation (I Cor. 14:2). If the IMB policy is true, it directly contradicts the Apostle Paul. I’d rather trust Paul and place a greater stake in what he says, rather than what the IMB says. Tongues as spoken in private devotions are cognitive content spoken to God and understood by god, but not understood by man. This is the clear teaching of I Cor. 14:2 that the IMB trustees reject.

The IMB statement(s) and Bart Barber’s “a Posteriori Cessationist” statement makes no distinction between the tongues of Acts and the tongues of I Corinthians. However, Dr. Jimmy Draper see’s great distinction between the two. His writing certainly contradicts the IMB position that the general assumption is that all tongues recorded in Scripture is a “legitimate language of some people group.” Certainly in some instances, they were, but not all, as Dr. Draper so ably points out.

  • In his book, The Church Christ Approves in Chapter 5, entitled “Tongues, Yes or No?,” Dr. Draper addresses pertinent issues on this subject that interface with the IMB and a Posteriori Cessationism. Draper’s book was published in 1974, so clearly he was not speaking regarding the IMB policy, but the subject matter in general. Dr. Draper strikes the right balance and biblical accuracy on this subject because he approached it with no agenda or “preconceived ideas.”

In the introduction of his “Tongues” Chapter (5), Draper writes:

“I come to you with only the Word of God for my basis. I am confident that this Word is sufficient because it is the inerrant, infallible revelation of God to man. I have endeavored to approach this subject objectively with no preconceived ideas. I have not spoken in tongues, but I do not have to condemn those who say they have in order to justify myself.”

I endorse, embrace and agree with almost every single word that Dr. Draper wrote in his “tongues” Chapter with a few minor exceptions. In fact, I could have written the chapter myself. The only major difference would have been this: He says that he has not spoken in tongues, and I have. Other than that, if the IMB had adopted Draper’s position on tongues as recorded in his book, we would have avoided the entire IMB “tongues” fiasco, that I believe resulted in our inability to fund six hundred IMB missionaries. How tragic!!! What a price to pay for the adoption of “a Posteriori Cessationism”!

The following quotes are from Draper’s book that clearly contradicts the IMB’s and Barber’s position on this subject:

“There is…a great difference in the tongues on the day of Pentecost…and those at Corinth. At Pentecost all the believers spoke in tongues (Acts 2:4). Not everyone spoke in tongues at Corinth (I Corinthians 12:30). The languages spoken at Pentecost were understood by all (Acts 2:11). At Corinth they were understood by none (I Cor. 14:2). At Pentecost they spoke to men (Acts 2:11). At Corinth they spoke to God (I Cor. 14:2). No interpreter was needed at Pentecost (Acts 2:7, 8). Tongues were forbidden at Corinth if no interpreter was present (I 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 (I Cor. 14:23). There was perfect harmony at Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 42-46). Corinth was filled with contention, division and confusion (I 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 (I 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.” [Emphasis mine] This is exactly what the IMB and Barber have done.

“Tongues in both Acts 2 and 10 meant languages understood by men…Apparently these people spoke in unlearned languages at 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. [Emphasis mine] It was basically an ecstatic utterance directed to God and not man.”

“Here at Corinth the gift of tongues was a private and personal gift which edified the individual.”

“The point here is the difference between the “languages” of Acts and Corinth. Do not build a system of theology that equates the two.”

Draper affirms the Apostle Paul and modern day believers who speak in tongues in private:

“The restrictions on the public use of this gift are such that the primary use has to be private. Paul said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (I Cor. 14:18-19). He apparently spoke in tongues in private, but in public he preferred to speak his natural language.”

“Tongues were now primarily valuable as, a private and personal gift for devotions.”

Draper affirmatively quotes, Luther B. Dyer who wrote a book entitled Tongues. On Page 145 of Dyer’s book, Draper lifts the following quote:

“As a doctrine, then, tongue speaking without interpretation is strictly confined to the Christian’s private devotion before God. When the Christian engages in this activity before God alone, he knows the source of the gift, there is no temptation to impress his fellow-man, and he is not liable to fall into sin. Neither is he likely to try and make converts among other Christians since he cannot very well share his experience and promote a following without breaking God’s command. Perhaps this is why Paul, though a tongue speaker himself (1 Cor. 14:18), never featured it in any of the churches.”

I found it necessary to quote Draper extensively because so much of what he says, again, is in direct contradiction to the IMB Policy that they claim reflects general Southern Baptist thought. The IMB trustees are far out of line with the SBC man and woman in the pew and the majority of Southern Baptists in pulpits with regard to restricting people from praying in tongues in their private devotions.

  • The IMB Position Paper (in the section, “The Historic Baptist Understanding”) states the following:

“The policy purposely stays within the historical practice of Southern Baptist churches.”

Southern Baptist roots can be traced back to Sandy Creek Baptists who were also known as Separate Baptists.

Dr. H. Leon McBeth in his book The Baptist Heritage describes the Separate Baptists most distinctive feature was their emotional style preaching and worship. Outcries, epilepsies, and ecstasies attended their meetings. [Emphasis mine] Shouting, weeping, and falling down in a faint were not uncommon. They often danced in the spirit during worship. The historian Walter B. Shurden referred to the Sandy Creek worshippers as “semi-Pentecostal.”

Furthermore, many Anglo Southern Baptist pastors have told me that they have members of their churches, even among their leadership who speak in tongues in private. The above quoted statement from the IMB is simply not true. Nor does it reflect the Lifeway Poll that documented fifty-one percent of Southern Baptists believe in the legitimacy of speaking in tongues in private as a valid gift of the Holy Spirit. And a percentage of those who believe in speaking in tongues in private is a valid gift, actually practice it on a regular basis. The official SBC policy on “tongues” is neutrality, not “a posteriori cessationism.” The IMB statement quoted above is misleading and inaccurate at best. It is functionally and practically a false statement, based on the Lifeway Poll.

  • Another IMB Position Paper statement that I take exception to is:

“The modern practice of speaking in tongues began with Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas, and the so-called [emphasis mine] Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, CA, in 1901 and 1906. Prior to this, the subject raised little concern among Christians.”

It would require a separate post to point how false and historically inaccurate this statement is. This statement represents shoddy scholarship. There is an unbroken historical stream of believers speaking in tongues from Bible days through the present hour. Prior to 1906 there are accounts of believers in America speaking in tongues among all evangelical groups. The Azusa Street Revival certainly flamed the fire, and perhaps popularized the thinking that “tongues” is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence; but that is not where it began.

The IMB Position Statement’s reference to the Azusa Revival as “so-called” is at best, an expression of emotional prejudice toward Pentecostals. At worst, it is a statement of racial prejudice toward William J. Seymour, the Black preacher who was the catalyst for the Azusa Revival. I am going to opt for emotional prejudice being the best way to understand the “so-called” statement; and I certainly will forgive the IMB for making this statement, without them asking. The “so-called” statement delegitimizes the entire Pentecostal movement and church. Does IMB really want to be known for this position?

Prior to Azusa, how do you explain the emotional worship—including the “ecstasies” spoken by Sandy Creek Baptists? The basis, on which the IMB Position Paper refers to the Azusa Revival as a “so-called” revival, could also be stated about the Sandy Creek Revival. Descriptions of both revivals by historians are almost identical with regard to emotional expressions including “ecstasies.”

  • IMB Position statement:

“Because of the divisiveness of the practice of tongues, the vast majority of Southern Baptist churches do not endorse speaking in tongues, especially in its ministry leaders.”

Where is the evidence to support this statement? Broadman Press published at least 3-4 books affirming the validity of praying in tongues in private—including Draper’s book. The Lifeway Poll certainly does not support that statement. Where is the proof?

  • “This policy was not retroactive to missionaries on the field or to stateside staff.”

Jerry, if this policy is biblical, why wouldn’t it be retroactive? Why would the IMB tolerate unbiblical practices within their organization?

  • “We would not forbid to speak in ‘languages’ in a supernatural fashion (I Cor. 14:39).

Jerry, the IMB has adopted a very narrow and unusual interpretation of “languages” in I Corinthians that is not supported by the Bible (I Cor. 14:2), Jimmy Draper’s book, or common sense. Why would you first ask this invasive question of a missionary? And exactly what would the process be to determine the “legitimacy” of their private tongues?

I find the IMB Policy and Practice on this matter most offensive and egregious. Churches are being asked to fund these far out theological conclusions of the IMB. This is tragic. I certainly understand churches that with a good conscience cannot support these policies. The previous policy was working fine. It not only did not contradict Scripture, it didn’t cause a controversy. Why not go back to the prior policy, inasmuch as the trustees admit that there were no personnel violations that triggered the current policy? The tragedy of the IMB Policy is that all Southern Baptists are subjected to the interpretation of a minority of Southern Baptists. The adoption of these cessationist policies, I know for certain, is partly responsible for declining enrollment in some of our seminaries and the reduced funding and lethargic attitude that some SBC churches hold toward the Convention.

III.                A Response to Bart Barber’s “A Posteriori Cessationism” Post

Perhaps the only statement that I agree with Dr. Barber is this:

“Although I do see a New Testament statement that tongues will cease (1 Corinthians 13:8), I tie this event with the occasion when we no longer ‘see through a mirror darkly, but then face to face.’ I connect it with that time when ‘I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.’ In other words, I think that this prophecy is connected to our eternity in heaven. I remain unconvinced by a prioriarguments in favor of cessationism, although I love and respect greatly many who seem to hold this view.”

I don’t know Jerry Corbaley personally. I do know Bart Barber. And I can say concerning him as he said of the “a priori cessationist,” “I love and respect greatly” Dr. Bart Barber. If he ever runs for President of the SBC, I would be inclined to vote for him as I supported his election as 1st Vice President.

I fully understand why Jerry Corbaley objects to the labeling of the IMB policy as a “cessationist” policy, given the fact that Barber, Corbaley and I would probably all agree with Bart’s statement quoted above. The three of us are not classical cessationists.

I deeply appreciate Barber labeling his position as “a posteriori cessationist” that he, again, defines as “someone who, if he were to encounter something resembling the biblical gift of tongues, would acknowledge it as such, but who sees no evidence of that gift in operation in present-day Christianity.” As best I can tell, this is Corbaley’s and the IMB’s position on speaking in tongues, which again, is technically not a classical or a “priori cessationist” position, but it is as Barber admits, but not Corbaley “a posteriori cessationist” position.

The basic assumption of “a posteriori cessationism” is that any exercise of speaking in tongues today is to be evaluated or tested to determine whether or not it is authentic or a language spoken somewhere on the face of the earth.

I give Barber credit for arguing his position from a biblical perspective. In my opinion, Barber articulates the IMB position far better than the IMB articulated their position. The biblical basis that Barber gives for requiring an evaluation or test to determine the genuineness of tongues spoken-even in private—today are proof texts found in I John 4:1, “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” and I Corinthians 14:32, where Paul instructs the Corinthian congregation to apply a test to the highest gift. Therefore, Barber concludes, “I think it is safe to say that we are authorized to apply it to all of the gifts.” Barber presents much more of a challenging scriptural and almost convincing argument than the IMB.

Barber argues that “the basic assumption of “a posteriori cessationism” is that such evaluations can and ought to be performed. Barber’s “assumptions” and “evaluations” and “tests” regarding the legitimacy or authenticity of tongues are based on three premises:

“First, tongues-speaking in the bible involved communication. A tongue is a language, not the utterance of random sounds. Somebody somewhere will understand it.”

“Second, all genuine tongues-speaking in the bible was capable of interpretation. …It assumes that the sounds given are coherent, but further assumes that there is such a thing as the gift of interpretation.

“Third, in every sanctioned glossolalia event in the New Testament, somebody did indeed understand or interpret what was said.”

Barber then raises the question, “…do the modern cases that people claim for speaking in tongues measure up to the biblical definition?”

The problem with Barber’s question is that he has not given us the biblical definition, but rather Bart’s definition of tongues. His definition certainly contradicts the explanation of tongues presented by Dr. Draper and Dr. Jack Gray. Bart further argues that, “as the bible clearly demonstrates speaking in tongues (in the genuine spiritual gift) is linguistic and capable of being interpreted.” If Bart’s three premises are correct, then his conclusions are correct. I will demonstrate later why his premises contradict Scripture.

Three more phenomenal quotes form Barber and I will respond:

“Every sanctioned occasion of speaking in tongues in the New Testament had a human audience present.”

“Biblical speaking in tongues, whether in proclamation or in prayer, requires a human audience in order to be effectual, to accomplish the stated goals given for this phenomenon in the New Testament.”

WOW!!! These are startling claims by Bart. But unlike the IMB, I’m grateful that he didn’t label his position the historical Baptists understanding, or what Southern Baptists generally believe. Dr. Malcolm Yarnell in his position paper on “Tongues” mentioned in the introduction, “This essay is written in an effort to set out what this Southern Baptist believes is the orthodox doctrine of Scripture regarding glossolalia, or speaking in tongues.” [Emphasis mine] I deeply appreciate Barber and Yarnell—who holds similar views—for not purporting to speak for all Southern Baptists, as the IMB Position purports to do repeatedly.

Billy Graham, Ken Hemphill, Jimmy Draper, Jack Taylor, Joyce Rodgers, David Rodgers, Jack Gray, Dr. Jack McGorman and other Southern Baptists all have published writings or made statements that are in contradiction to what Barber and the IMB have published on the subject of tongues. Barber is a man of great conviction. He made this startling statement which communicates how confident he is in “A Posteriori Cessationism”:

“Listen to me, I do not make that claim lightly. If the present-day practice of speaking in tongues were a genuine occurance of the biblical gift, then I would be guilty of a serious offront against the Holy Spirit to decry it as false. Yet knowing the stakes here I am willing to make the claim anyway. That is how strong the evidence is, in my opinion.”

  • Bart insists that tongue speaking in the Bible was always a language that somebody somewhere will understand. Paul specifically stated that there is a legitimate tongue spoken that “no one understands” (I Corinthians 14:2). He further stated that if one is speaking in tongues in a public assembly where there is no interpretation, they were simply to do it within as opposed to cease doing it at all. Those of us who speak in tongues certainly understand Paul’s instruction here. “But if there is no interpreter let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and God” (I Cor. 14:28). [Emphasis mine] The IMB Policy does not allow the gifted believer to “speak to himself and God” in tongues within.
  • Bart argues that all genuine tongues speaking in the Bible was capable of interpretation. Again, that statement is a direct contradiction of I Corinthians 14:2. Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 14:2 that the tongues spoken in prayer to God is a “mystery” understood by no one but God. Again, this verse specifically and clearly refutes Bart’s assertions. There was no audience present in I Corinthians 14:2 as Bart asserts. It was a conversation in prayer between God and the believer. When Paul prayed in tongues in private, there was not human audience present (beyond Paul). Why Bart insists that it is biblically necessary to have an audience present is beyond me, if he takes I Cor. 14:2 at face value, and Paul’s testimony of his own private prayers.
  • It is interesting that the IMB and Bart limit their “a posteriori cessationist” theory to the gift of tongues. If tongues could be disqualified based on these spurious claims, you could also as easily concoct spurious reasons to disqualify the other gifts—which we know that some have done.

Paul never instructed persons praying in tongues in private as in I Corinthians 14:2, to submit or subject their private prayer lives to the scrutiny, evaluation, or testing of other believers, to weigh the authenticity of their private prayers. Paul gave instructions as Bart points out, to certainly subject prophecy to a test. If Paul found it necessary or valuable to subject private tongues to an evaluation or tests, it appears that the guidelines he thought were necessary related to private tongues and the gifts, he delineated them clearly and understandably. Paul would have instructed the Corinthian Church to evaluate or test private speaking in tongues if he thought that was necessary as Bart, Corbaley, and the IMB thinks. Why the IMB and Bart would impose an evaluation, examination, or test on believers’ private prayers that Paul did not insist on, is a mystery to me.

Again, I trust Paul as a greater authority on this subject than Barber or the IMB. Either we have to trust the way Bart and the IMB connect the dots, or trust what Paul said. I’d rather trust Paul.

If Bart’s and the IMB’s assertion is true, that tongues in every instance spoken in Scripture, is a legitimate language of a people group spoken, then, I don’t know that I would disagree with Bart or the IMB policy. The Bible never states that tongues is always a legitimate language of a people group. Why then would we build a doctrine and alienate believers over an assertion, argument, or assumption that cannot be backed by Scripture? If Barber’s assertions are true, many other Southern Baptists are flat wrong. But why build a doctrine or policy on an issue where we as a Convention lack a unity of understanding and practice?

  • I agree with Bart on another statement. The “a Posteriori Cessationism” position is borderline blasphemy. I also believe that we are seeing and experiencing the displeasures of God with these policies with the inability to fund missionaries. It is almost unfathomable that the SBC would have qualified missionaries ready to go on the mission field, but cannot go because of a lack of funds. Prior to the adoption of the IMB Policy, I never heard tell of the SBC laying off missionaries and not funding others, due to a lack of funds.

The IMB brand of cessationism is a blatant act of discrimination against those SBC believers who desire to be missionaries but who are gifted by the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues in private. Thank God, it is not a discrimination based on skin color; it is based on charismata—“charis”- grace, “mata”- gifts. This discrimination is based on gifts of grace. The SBC requires no other gift to stand up to this type of test and scrutiny. Why tongues?

It reminds me of the poll tax, literacy tests and questionnaires that many of American Citizens were subjected to for the privilege of voting.

Why does the SBC engage in this kind of discrimination toward persons who speak in tongues? If the SBC took church planters through these kinds of evaluations or tests to see if they were gifted evangelist, the church planters’ failure rate would not be so unusually high.

The SBC reserves this level of test and evaluation only for people who pray in tongues in private on the basis of I Cor. 14:2. God cannot be pleased with this.

  • Bart’s argument that prophecy requires testing and evaluation is scriptural. Bart’s argument for testing and evaluation of tongues is not scriptural.

Prophecy was done publicly, and it could have a binding effect on the lives of fellow believers and the Church. Praying in tongues in private is not public nor does anything said in private prayer hold a binding effect on others or the Church. Therefore, you cannot compare the two with regard to test and evaluation. This is simply a case of emotional prejudice toward tongues that is now IMB Policy.

  • Finally, Jerry, Bart, and/or whoever cares to answer:  Men who are highly regarded and loved in evangelicalism have openly admitted to speaking in tongues. Men such as Jack Taylor, Peter Lord, Jim Cymbala, Jack Hayford, Sam Storms, Ken Ulmer, Jerry Rankin, E.V. Hill, Jr. (who followed his father as pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in LA) and multiple thousands of believers.  Do you believe that these men should submit themselves to the assumptions, evaluations, and test that are required by your brand of cessationism? And, what do you attribute their tongues speaking to:  (1) The Holy Spirit, (2) Their natural mind, (3) The Devil, (4) or some other source.

Thanks again Jerry, for asking the question. I hope that I answered you adequately and respectfully. My bottom line is this:  Either we believe the assumptions, arguments, and assertions of the IMB Position Paper and Bart Barber, or we are going to trust the Word of God. I choose to trust God’s Word.

Image

Is There A Nathan In The Land?

Are We Going To Allow One Man To Redefine The Family For Black America?

A Response To President Obama’s Speech At Morehouse College

By

William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

May 21, 2013

President Obama spoke with heartfelt identification regarding the plight, promise and responsibilities of young educated Black men; at the all-male Morehouse College 2013 graduation ceremony. He challenged them to:

  • Utilize their training and talents to serve underserved communities and people.
  • Not just be concerned about the good they can buy, but the good they can do.
  • Follow the examples and be inspired by the legacies of other great Morehouse men who worked for the betterment of all of society – not just African Americans.

He hailed Martin Luther King, Jr. as an example of a Morehouse Man who was mentored, equipped, and challenged to serve humanity with excellence while a student at Morehouse.

The overall speech was a masterpiece. It was motivational and memorable. Highlighting historical figures was a most effective and heart tugging aspect of his speech.

Barack Obama’s life story embodies and exemplifies the very words he used to challenge and encourage the graduates. That’s what made the speech so compelling and effective.

There were two startling statements in an otherwise masterful speech, perhaps his best ever – that were probably unprecedented in a college graduation speech. His written speech, which was presented to the media in advance, differed from the oral presentation at a critical point.

(1). In encouraging the male graduates to be responsible family men, he

challenged them in his prepared text to,

                  “Be the best husband to your wife, or boyfriend to your partner, or father to your children that you can be.”

In the actual oral presentation he told them,

                  “Be the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner.”

The way the audience responded to this statement makes it clear that they were surprised by this comment, and interpreted it for what he meant: an affirmation of same-sex relationships.

Affirming homosexuality in a public setting to a predominately Black audience is virtually unprecedented. If the President had been White, I believe there would have been a huge backlash behind his gay friendly remarks. Many of the parents would have objected.

Encouraging young Black males to “be the best husband…to your boyfriend, or your partner” is a very serious matter. Here we have the first African-American President of the United States, encouraging young Black men to be homosexuals. Who would have ever imagined this would happen?

President Obama was given the opportunity by the media to clarify the difference between his prepared statement and actual words that came out of his mouth and he refused to do so.

President Obama’s statements supporting homosexuality at Morehouse was a moral injustice and an assault on the biblical model of the family as taught by Jesus (Matthew 19:4-6). Furthermore, it was an assault on Christian values and convictions held by the vast majority of Black Christians.

Just as President Clinton’s widely publicized engagement in oral sex with a nineteen year old intern unleashed an epidemic of similar behavior on the youth of our nation; President Obama’s repeated promotion and affirmation of homosexuality will likely have an exponential influential impact on homosexuality in the Nation at large, and even more so on the Black Community. What a travesty!!!

I’m grateful that Morehouse’s best known alumnus, Dr. Martin Luther King, left a written document opposed to the notion of same-sex relationships. Hopefully, as they were admonished to do, on this subject matter the graduates should take their advice from Dr. King, not President Obama.

(2) Later in this speech, President Obama stated,

                        “Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love they share.”

I’m also grateful that Oprah Winfrey is on record disputing that two people of the same-sex can successfully raise a male child. In addressing the subject and the negative impact of fatherlessness and the land, Oprah said,

                          “Your mother can’t be your father” – Oprah Winfrey: OWN Network – May 5, 2013

The converse would also be true,

                          “Your father can’t be your mother” ~ Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Yet our President encouraged these unbiblical views of family life.

President Obama was encouraging Morehouse men to partner together and parent children. This should have set off an earthquake or avalanche in the Black Christian community. According to Oprah, this cannot be effectively done.

Mr. President, plainly and simply put; YOU ARE WRONG. WE LOVE YOU. The polls indicate the vast majority of America even likes you. Black America absolutely loves, admire, appreciate and deeply respect you, even as you trample on one of our core values.

Mr. President, in your heart of hearts you know you would not have been elected in 2008, if you had told America this is where you were headed.

Please honor the official positions of the nine major Black denominations, whose memberships largely supported you. All nine strongly support the biblical view of the family and hold that homosexuality is a sin. Please Mr. President! Stop this campaign. Do you really want your legacy to be, “America’s First Gay President” as you were labeled by Newsweek Magazine?

Nathan was the Prophet in Scripture who went to another political leader, King David, and rebuked him for his sexual sins. May our beloved President receive a visit from a Nathan, so that our sons and daughters might be delivered from his promotion of what the Black church historically has viewed as sinful and shameful. Are we going to sit idly by and allow this one man to redefine homosexuality for the entire Black race?

The Bible commands us to honor you (I Peter 2:17). But Mr. President, please, for the sake of our families, our children, the future of this great nation, and in memory of the very father that you often speak of not having in your life, please reconsider your public position and statements.

Mr. President, STOP THE ADVOCACY. STOP THIS PUBLIC CAMPAIGN TO REDEFINE FAMILIES AND TO TAKE FATHERS AWAY FROM THEIR SONS TO PURSUE RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER MEN. PLEASE STOP IT.

Lord, please raise up a Nathan who can touch the heart of our President, so that our families and nation will not be destroyed as you destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Touch our President’s heart. Turn his heart toward You. Please Lord, move on the President to honor the Christ and the Bible that he says he believes in. We thank You for withholding your judgment and holding us with your mercy. Please God, send us a Nathan who can touch the heart and mind of our President with truth and love, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

JACKIE ROBINSON, JASON COLLINS AND JESUS: LEGACY LESSONS

A JOURNEY THROUGH A JUNGLE

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

Life is filled with twist and turns, choices and consequences, difficulties and sometimes even demonic opposition. For many, life is like a journey in a jungle, where there is danger and darkness lurking around the corner; the unknown and unimaginable; temptation and potential torment. Test, temptations, obstacles, hurdles, demons, distractions, disappointment and difficulties will inevitably cross our path.

Jason Collins is not alone in terms of struggling with inner conflict or living with a secret. Our secret may not be his secret. But many of us deal daily with “many a conflict, many doubts.” Battles within and fears without. Bursting on the scene of world history last week was a relatively obscure professional basketball player, unknown to the public at large. He is now internationally famous and will forever be recorded in history as the first professional male athlete of a major sport to step up to the plate and say:  “I am gay.”

We now know Jason’s secret and struggle based on his own admission from his teenage years through today. We now know how Jason dealt with his secret.

Let me ask you two questions:  (1) What is the secret, challenge, test or demonic opposition that you face?  (2) How will you ultimately resolve or make peace with the challenge and test that’s in your path? How you deal with your demon will determine your destiny. It will also impact the destiny of others. Our ability to defeat our demons and to conquer our distractions will result in our legacy.

Jackie Robinson, Jason Collins and Jesus each faced demonic opposition and responded in different ways. We can learn lessons from each of them. Again, how you handle your demon will determine your destiny. Let’s examine these men; the demons they faced, and the legacies they left. What lessons can we learn from their demonic encounters?

I. THE DIFFICULTY AND DEMON THAT JACKIE ROBINSON FACED WAS RACISM.

The Bible is clear that God gives every man ever born gifts and talents. Jackie Robinson was a product of a broken home. His dad abandoned the family at an early age. Yet, he did not let that become a distraction and a detour from him developing and maximizing his athletic gifts.  Robinson was graced with tremendous athletic talents. He earned an athletic scholarship to UCLA after having a two-year successful stint at Pasadena Junior College. Robinson became the first athlete at UCLA to win varsity letters in four sports:  Baseball, basketball, football and track.

However, while at Pasadena Junior College, he was arrested for vocally disputing the detention of a Black friend by the police. He faced the demon of racism in the military. He served in a segregated Army in 1942 and was initially denied admission to Officers Candidate School in spite of a race-neutral policy change for the school adopted in July 1941.  On July 6, 1944 Robinson was ordered to the back of the bus on an Army-commissioned unsegregated bus line. He refused. He was then charged with public drunkenness (although he did not drink) and was court martialed. He was later exonerated. He faced repeated acts of racism throughout his major league baseball career.

How did he overcome this demon? John the writer reported that brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God (Revelation 1:9) can overcome demonic assaults by “the blood of the Lamb…by the word of their testimony…and by not loving “their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).

Jackie Robinson was a man who had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jackie Robinson was a man who often used his weekends in the military to visit Rev. Karl Downs, President of Sam Huston College—now Huston-Tillotson University—in Austin, TX, while stationed in Ft. Hood in Killeen, TX. Jackie read his Bible and would allow the Bible to read him. The “word of their testimony” means to apply Scripture to the demon you are facing. “The Blood of the Lamb” means to plead the blood, praise God for the blood and to declare victory over a situation because of the blood. Jackie attended church regularly and participated in the Lord’s Supper service. That is one way to defeat demons that are attacking you. Jackie sang the great hymns of the church about the blood of Jesus. That is another way to go on offense against the demons that are out to destroy you. Jackie based his salvation and his right standing with God on the blood of Jesus.

If you want power over the enemy and to defeat demons that seek to destroy you, I dare you to plead the blood, praise God for the blood, sing about the blood, and apply the blood over your heart, home and health by faith. The Bible says that you can overcome by the blood. Throughout his career Jackie had to restrain himself from not responding to racism with racism; and he was able to do so, because of the character of Christ in his life, because of his faith in the blood. I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Robinson had a reputation at Pasadena Junior College and the military for combativeness in the face of racial antagonism. By the time he got to the Brooklyn dodgers, though tempted, he’d learned to defeat this demon by not fighting back and trusting the Lord for victory.

Jackie met Rev. Karl Downs when his family moved to Pasadena. Rev. Downs was serving as pastor at the Scott United Methodist Church. Rev. Downs served as a life-long mentor to Jackie Robinson. Jackie’s father was not at his wedding, but Rev. Downs was there. Jackie overcame the demon of racism and developed into manhood and maturity by looking to Jesus as an example and receiving mentorship from Rev. Downs. Rev. Downs and—to a lesser extent—Branch Rickey, perhaps, are two unsung heroes of the Jackie Robinson story.

The legacy of Jackie Robinson teaches us how to combat the demon of racism by looking to Jesus as our example and exercising our gifts with excellence.

II. THE DIFFICULTY AND DEMON THAT JASON COLLINS FACE(D) IS HOMOSEXUALITY.

Jason Collins is a man I respect for being a law-abiding citizen, a great son to his parents and brother to his twin. Collins has been an excellent role model as a citizen, student and athlete. Earning a degree from Stanford is no small feat. I sincerely celebrate and appreciate his life successes. Jason has been blessed to play 12 consecutive years in the NBA. Collins says he is a Christian; he grew up in a Christian home and taught Sunday School alongside his parents. I believe a person can be a Christian and struggle with the sin of homosexuality. Completely yielding to it and accepting homosexuality as a lifestyle is another question, though.

I want to address Jason directly for a second. Jason, God loves you. We love you. We admire your family. But Jason, you are no Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson fought and conquered the demon that tried to overtake him. You have succumbed or surrendered to the demon that was after you. Jackie Robinson didn’t wait until he was 34 to tell us that he was Black. Jason, you waited until you were 34 to tell us that you are gay. There is no biblical, biological or scientific evidence to support that anyone is born gay. Romans 1:26-27 clearly indicates that homosexuality is a choice.

The real hero of the Jason Collins story is Chris Broussard. The following is what he had to say about this matter, and that sums it up:

“When asked if he believes that Jason Collins is a Christian, he said this: ‘Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be — not just homosexuality, [but] adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be — I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

Just like Satan filled Ananias’ heart to lie, although he was saved (Acts 5:3), and Ananias yielded his heart to Satan, I believe that Jason has yielded his heart to Satan and the temptation of homosexuality. If he comes to the point of repentance, he can be forgiven and restored, and I pray that he does. Because the blood of Jesus covers all sin, including homosexuality.

The heart of the problem as it relates to homosexuality and other sexual sins—is the problem of the heart. When our love for God is stronger than our lust for sin, we will be able to conquer our flesh.  Yielding to our flesh and not fighting back is a cop out.

The legacy of Jason Collins is to teach Christians how not to deal with the demon of homosexuality by yielding to it and openly accepting and affirming it.  There is nothing Christian about yielding to homosexuality and affirming it.

III. THE DEMONS THAT JESUS FACED WERE DEMONS OF DISTRACTION. MOST OF US FACE DEMONS OF DISTRACTION.

Satan was constantly trying to get Jesus off His game. In the wilderness the devil tempted Jesus while on a forty day fast with the lust of the flesh (bread), the pride of life (athletic prowess) (Matthew 4:6-7), and the lust of the eyes (Matthew 4:8-11). Satan used Peter to try and distract Jesus from the cross (Matthew 16:21-23). Jesus overcame the distractions of the enemy by focusing on prayer (Matthew 26:36-46). We too can conquer the demons that we face through the Word of God, the Blood of the Lamb, self-denial, and the power of prayer. Jesus faced demons attempting to distract him from the will of God and dying on the cross.

The legacy of Jesus teaches us how to maintain our focus on the will of God and not to be distracted or detoured from God’s plan for our lives. Jackie, Jason and Jesus all faced demons. Their responses determined their destinies.

WHY BORN-AGAIN BELIEVERS SHOULD BOYCOTT THE JAMIE FOXX MOVIE “DJANGO UNCHAINED”

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

November 27, 2012

While watching the Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day, I was excited to see the advertisement of the Christmas Day release of a movie featuring Jamie Foxx entitled, “Django Unchained.”

I am not a movie-goer. I am a man in love with my wife, and she loves to go to movies. Therefore, from three to six times a year, we make our way to the movies together.  One of our favorite times to go together is during the Christmas Holidays. This Christmas, I decided on Thanksgiving Day, that we were going to see “Django Unchained,” because I was so impressed with the trailer.

Family movies, historical documentaries, biographies and Black oriented movies are usually my preference in movie selections if I must go. The internet descriptions of “DJANGO UNCHAINED” captured all of my motivations for going to see a movie. Django was a freed slave in the 1850’s who set out to reclaim his family that he’d been separated from.

My wife and I plan to go to New York in February to see the Broadway Play entitled, “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson.” Against the backdrop of William Joseph Seymour (May 2, 1870 – September 28, 1922)—the Patriarch of the Azusa Street Revival and the Pentecostal church emerges Aimee Semple McPherson.  Her play is a biographical church history documentary that, again, captures most of my motivation for seeing a movie or play.

However, as of today, I’ve decided to personally boycott the “Django Unchained” movie for one reason, and one reason only:  THE BLASPHEMOUS REMARKS OF JAMIE FOXX referring to President Barack Obama as “our Lord and Savior.”

During the Soul Train Music Awards this past Sunday evening, Jamie Foxx made the following comment:

“It’s like church over here. It’s like church over here. First of all, giving honor to God and our Lord and Savior Barack Obama.”

It’s highly possible that Foxx, being a comedian, was simply joking by his paraphrasing of a highly familiar greeting or preface statement often spoken in many African-American churches where the words “Barack Obama” appear in the above quote, the greeting would normally say, Jesus Christ.

But that begs the questions: Is this acceptable comedy to those of us who believe that Jesus is simply off limits to joke about in this manner? Is the Foxx comment a violation of the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7)? Is the Foxx comment an example of what Jesus meant when He said, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh…every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:34b, 36b)? Was Foxx attributing praise and descriptions to President Obama that biblically only can be said of Jesus, thereby committing some form of blasphemy (Matthew 12:24, 31, 32; 1 Timothy 1:12, 13)? Jesus’ comments about blasphemy were in response to the Pharisees attributing to the power of the devil, the credit for what should have been attributes to the power of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:28). Did Foxx, by invoking the name Barack Obama in a place where only the name the Lord Jesus Christ belongs, commit a violation similar to what the Pharisees committed in Matthew 12:24?

I don’t watch Jamie Foxx often, but the few times I’ve caught him on TV, I immediately recognized that he has an affinity to and an intimate knowledge of the Black church. The reason his audience laughed immediately at his “joke,” was because they also readily picked up that this was a familiar expression in the Black church. Therefore, I am going to give Jamie Foxx the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was joking.

Nevertheless, I will personally boycott “Django Unchained”; and I believe all believers should as well, so that we can send a message to Hollywood that using our Lord’s name in vain, and—in a serious or comical blasphemous manner—is simply unacceptable.

If Foxx was joking, it was a very bad and inappropriate joke; if he was not joking it is an assault on the Christian faith. At either rate, unless Foxx repents, those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ—including President Obama—ought to boycott “Django Unchained”; and the President should correct and repudiate Foxx’s blasphemous comments.  There is one Lord, and his name is not Barack Obama! His Name is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; and He shall reign forever and ever. There is none like Him; not even the highly beloved, respected, appreciated and iconic historical figure, President Barack Obama!

AN OPEN APOLOGY TO DR. LAND FOR UNINTENTIONALLY MISREPRESENTING HIS VIEWS ON MORMONISM

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

OCTOBER 25, 2012

I offer the following email exchange that will clarify Dr. Richard Land’s views on Mormonism and my response:

First message from Sam Dahl:

Dr. McKissic, just wanted to send you a quick FYI about Dr. Land’s position on Mormonism. Here are a few quotes from the article linked below that he wrote for The Christian Post that might give some clarity.

When the theologically uninitiated hear this answer (that Mormonism is a cult) they immediately think “Branch Davidians” or “Jim Jones,” and there is a cognitive disconnect. When most people hear Mormonism described as a “cult” they think, “No, that can’t be right. A Mormon is president of my Rotary Club or coaches my children’s soccer teams.”

The problem is that while Mormonism may technically be a cult theologically, in that it has moved well beyond the parameters of orthodox, apostle’s creed Trinitarian Christianity, it does not behave as a cult culturally or socially.

For nearly two millennia the basic Trinitarian formulation of the Christian faith has been accepted by Catholics and Protestants alike and it is not open to self-definition or reformulation. Christianity has objective, theologically defined parameters which Mormonism has clearly moved well beyond.

Mormons, Christianity and Presidential Elections

This quote from another Christian Post article, Mormonism Debate: What Is a Cult?, may also shed further light on his position.

Due to the misunderstanding that could result from the two different definitions of cult, Land explained, he does not use the word “cult” to describe the LDS Church, “even though it’s theologically accurate.””

Please let us know if we can serve you in the future.

Thanks,

Sam Dahl

Office of the President

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

615-782-8405

sdahl@erlc.com

My response:

Bro. Dahl,

Thanks for the “Richard Land on Mormonism” email. This is a more complete expression of Dr. Land’s stand on Mormonism.

While I believe that the timing is inappropriate to come forth with the distinctions on Mormonism (leaves one open to the charge of pushing a political agenda) and the designation of Mormonism as a “fourth great Abrahamic faith” is historically, theologically and biblically inaccurate, I do see now where, clearly, Dr. Land views Mormonism as a cult, but simply prefers not to use the term for the reasons stated in the email.

To the extent that my comments on this matter at SBC Voices and my blog have misrepresented Dr. Land (not being heretofore apprised of the information contained in the aforementioned email), I sincerely offer an apology for stating emphatically that Dr. Land was denying that Mormonism is a cult.

Finally, I would like to post this email I’m sending you and the one you sent to me on my blog and submit it to SBC Voices (both unedited) requesting they publish it also. Without your approval, I will not post it. But with or without approval, again, please accept my apology.

Dwight McKissic

Final Response from Sam Dahl:

Dr. McKissic, thank you for your email; Dr. Land appreciates your response and apology. You certainly have his and my permission to publish those emails in the aforementioned places. As another FYI, when it comes to the question of timing, the first time we can ascertain that Dr. Land suggested that perhaps the most charitable way to view Mormonism is as the 4th Abrahamic religion was at the end of 2007 when he was interviewed on December 26 for a documentary titled Article VI that was released in 2008.  We appreciate your gracious humility and certainly have no hard feelings or ill will toward you. As always, we stand ready to serve you if there is any way we can. Thanks,

Sam Dahl

Office of the President

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

615-782-8405

sdahl@erlc.com

CLARIFYING THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN STETZER AND LAND ON MORMONISM

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

OCTOBER 22, 2012

I recently published a Blog Post that inaccurately and unfairly conflated the published positions of Ed Stetzer and Richard Land as it relates to how these Southern Baptist Convention leading figures view Mormonism. The purpose of this writing is to briefly and accurately make the distinction between their beliefs crystal clear and to publically apologize to Ed for having done so.

Here is my quote unfairly conflating and equating Stetzer’s and Lands’ positions on Mormonism:

“Even Ed Stetzer and Richard Land have taken a softer view on labeling Mormonism as a cult. Why? Stetzer and Land want to label Mormonism a fourth great world religion. Why? Unbelievable! Are Southern Baptists that desperate to elect Mitt Romney?”

Now to set the record straight, Stetzer makes it undeniably clear that he maintains that Mormonism is a cult, although he makes a case for distinguishing between Mormons being viewed as a theological cult as opposed to a sociological cult. Stetzer then goes on to argue for Mormonism to be viewed as another world religion without denying that Mormonism is a cult. Here are Stetzer’s exact unedited words as they appeared in a Christianity Today article:

“Mormonism fits the traditional evangelical definition of a ‘theological cult,’ but that is not what most Americans think of when they think of a cult; they think of a compound in Waco. I think it is more helpful to call it a different religion, like Islam and Judaism, and to share the gospel of Jesus with them accordingly.”
Ed Stetzer, president, LifeWay Research

Based on the above quote, I labeled Stetzer’s position as taking a “softer view on labeling Mormonism as a cult.” He objects to that characterization of his position, and I agree with him. He does think it is “helpful to call it [Mormonism] a different religion, like Islam and Judaism, and to share the gospel of Jesus with them accordingly.” I hope this clarifies Stetzer’s position and underscores the point that he never denied that Mormonism is a cult.

Richard Land unequivocally refers to Mormonism as a “fourth Abrahamic faith,” without labeling Mormonism a cult. Here are Land’s exact words unedited from http://apprising.org/2010/08/31/sbcs-richard-land-says-mormonism-fourth-abrahamic-faith:

“I think perhaps the most charitable way for an evangelical Christian to look at Mormonism is to look at Mormonism as the fourth Abrahamic faith.” …“Not a Christian faith.”

By referring Mormonism as “the fourth Abrahamic faith” and not labeling it a cult, it appears that Land is trying to dignify and legitimize Mormonism to make it more palatable to the SBC and the masses. Land’s view of Mormonism is equally as damaging to me as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s view. They have essentially adopted the same position. I hope this clarifies this matter.

THE JEFFRESS-GRAHAM SWITCH AND THE BLACK VOTE

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

October 20, 2012

While touring the Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit recently, at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with President Paige Patterson, Governor Rick Perry, and twenty other Dallas-Ft. Worth pastors and Christian leaders, I was privileged to meet for the first time the pastor of the First Baptist Church, Dallas, TX, Pastor Robert Jeffress. Recognizing who he was from television appearances and public photos—upon seeing Dr. Jeffress, I immediately extended my hand and said to him, without introducing myself, “I appreciate your voice of righteousness to our nation.” He also recognized me upon sight and almost simultaneously said to me, “Pastor McKissic, I’ve quoted you across this country, ‘Don’t equate my skin with your sin.’” I then told Pastor Jeffress, I’d heard he was using my quote, and I was thankful that he confirmed that. That’s basically the sum total of our brief chance meeting.

Dr. Jeffress was indeed a voice for righteousness when he described Governor Romney’s Mormon faith as a “cult.” In October 2011, while endorsing Governor Perry for President, Jeffress told reporters, “Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian.” Jeffress referred to Romney then as a “conservative out of convenience” who “does not have a consistent track record on the subject of marriage, on the sanctity of life.” He further stated, “I just do not believe that we as conservative Christians can expect him to stand strong for the issues that are important to us.”

Fast forward to today and Dr. Jeffress is still a voice of righteousness believing that Mormonism is still a cult, and that civil rights and gay rights are not proper parallels.

However, Jeffress has made a major switch regarding his initial theology/politics, inasmuch as he now embraces Romney for President-even as a “non-Christian” member of a “cult” over President Barack Obama who is a Christian, but does not hold a biblical worldview with regard to same-sex marriage and abortion. Perhaps, therein lays Jeffress dilemma—an ultimate decision to support Romney.

I can appreciate Pastor Jeffress not compromising his conviction—and one that I share—that Mormonism is a cult. However, my conscience and conviction will not allow me to vote for an individual who on more than one occasion has expressed a certain antipathy toward the poor and who, when given an opportunity to distance himself from the racist history and teaching in Mormon documents in a 2008 Tim Russert interview, Governor Romney refused to do so. Mormon “sacred text” refers to “dark skinned” people as “cursed,” “unattractive,” “filthy,” “despised” and “loathsome.” Voting for Mitt Romney given these viewpoints, expressed in his “Bible,” is a switch and compromise that I simply cannot make. I would rather fight than switch.

I applaud and appreciate Dr. Jeffress being a voice of righteousness on pro-life issues, gay-marriage issues and the civil rights vs. gay rights issue. However, I would be less than honest if I didn’t acknowledge that Pastor Jeffress’ switch is seen by many in the Black Community as inconsistent at best.

Evangelist Billy Graham historically has been a highly respected figure in the Black Community. Long before it was popular, he insisted on his meetings being racially inclusive, befriended Black preachers (including Dr. King) and singers and publically disagreed with Dr. W.A. Criswell’s segregation views, prior to his “open door” conversion. Billy Graham was highly regarded in the home I grew up in and viewed as a man whose heart was in the right place regarding issues of race.

However, Billy Graham’s recent departure from his lifelong practice of not engaging in partisan politics, and his removing the Mormon Religion from his website as a cult has generated a lot of discussion among Black pastors. The impression Graham’s decision leaves is that for the sake of electing Mitt Romney as President, he is willing to declassify Mormonism as a cult and engage in partisan politics for the first time in 94 years of living.

The question many are asking is, “why”? And, why now? If nominal Southern Baptists as Bill Clinton and Al Gore occupied the White House at the current moment, the question is would Billy Graham have made the same decision? Even Ed Stetzer and Richard Land have taken a softer view on labeling Mormonism as a cult. Why? Stetzer and Land want to label Mormonism a fourth great world religion. Why? Unbelievable! Are Southern Baptists that desperate to elect Mitt Romney?

The Southern Baptist Convention unanimously approved a resolution condemning President Obama’s position on gay marriage and his view of equating gay rights with civil rights—but refused to even bring to the floor for a vote a resolution condemning racism in Mormon documents. The question is why would Southern Baptists approve of one, while rejecting the other? Could it be that on both sides of the racial divide, that our theology is driven more by race, culture and economics than it is by theology, righteousness and the common good? The SBC’s refusal to condemn Mormon racist text aligns itself with the BGEA declassification of Mormonism being a cult. Both decisions were driven by placing partisan politics above theological integrity and accuracy.

This election will leave the country and Christians racially polarized and divided even more so than the 2008 Election. The tacit evangelical endorsement of Mormonism will pay long term negative consequences on evangelicalism and politics. The Graham announcements affirm Black Christians, who vote for President Obama because it demonstrates that political, cultural and economic expediency, sometimes trumps theological and moral considerations in voting decisions. We see this on both sides of the racial divide.

I’ve been asked the question several times, why is it that Black Christians vote for Democratic candidates overwhelmingly in light of the Democrats position on gay rights and abortion? Black Christians tend to prioritize social and economic justice issues (which are also life issues) and they consider those moral issues as well. Black Christians tend to compromise their faith on pro-life and gay rights issues in order to vote for the party that they perceive will best deliver social and economic justice. The White evangelical church in this election is willing to compromise their beliefs on Mormonism and racial and gender accountability in order to support Mitt Romney. Black and White Christians vote for the party and the president that they perceive will best empower them. They simply view empowerment and priorities differently.

For those who ask, how can President Obama be a Christian and hold non-Christian views on abortion and gay marriage?: The answer is the same way Anglo Baptists/Evangelical slaveholders were Christians but wrong about slavery and denying women the right to vote. Make no mistake about it:  President Obama and the Democrats are wrong on the issues of gay marriage and abortion. But just as Billy Graham is willing to declassify Mormonism as a cult in order to promote Romney, Blacks have prioritized economic and justice issues in order to elevate poor and historically oppressed people. I have burdens in my bosom concerning both parties. Therefore, I will be content to cast a write-in vote for Jesus Christ, and live with the results of who God sovereignly allows to become the next President.

If President Obama wins, I will take solace in the fact that Republicans will not be rewarded for their blatant disrespect of President Obama. Such as shouting “you lie” to him from the hall of Congress; the Governor of Arizona shaking her finger in his face; Laura Ingram referring to the President as, “you fool”; and I could cite many more disrespectful and racial attitudes and actions displayed toward President Obama, including declassifying Mormonism as a cult.

If Mitt Romney wins, I would hope that he would honor his commitment (though his history does not give me full hope) to stop same-sex marriage in its tracks and actually lead the Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. If that happens, I will be eternally grateful and give God praise that my grandchildren will not grow up in a world where same-sex marriage is considered legal, sane and normal.

Although I’m not a Calvinist, I am perfectly content to trust the sovereignty of God in this election and praise His Name regardless to the outcome. I simply pray as a nation and as a church that we can come together in unity when the election is over.

 Bart Barber, Dave Miller and Howell Scott need to be taken seriously regarding this matter of sounding a clarion call concerning the declassification of Mormonism as a cult sooner, rather than later. Is a cult only a cult until one of its members wins a major party presidential nomination and their opponent is a Black Christian who believes in gay marriage and abortion?

Pastor Jeffress and Evangelist Graham have a right to endorse and vote for Mitt Romney for President, just as Pastor Otis Moss and Pastor Frederick Haynes have a right to support President Obama for reelection.

What Billy Graham does not have the right to do is to declassify Mormonism as a cult without the larger evangelical community throwing the “red flag.” If evangelicalism does not throw the “red flag” before the election, that is even a greater sign of our political and racial divide. We ought to be able to come together in unity and make it clear that Mormonism is a cult even if Black Christians and White Christians vote for different candidates. The unity of the faith is at stake here (John 17:21)!

THE MOSS “EPISTLE” vs. THE TREASURE BOX

EQUIPPING BLACK CHRISTIANS TO RESPOND TO PRO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE PASTORS

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

October 4, 2012

In the aftermath of President Obama’s public affirmation of same-sex marriage, a high profile Black pastor not only supported the President’s position, but also gave a robust defense of the government sanctioning of same-sex marriage. Pastor Otis Moss III serves as Senior Pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, formerly pastored by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Pastor Moss is making a mark and stamp on the social order, contemporary culture and the Black church at large as did his predecessor and his beloved father, Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a retired Baptist pastor and iconic Civil Rights leader during the King era.

Pastor Moss is affable, articulate, and academically credentialed, and has a winsome personality. His position on same-sex marriage and his rationale for supporting the President’s position is gaining traction in some Black pulpits and churches. There are Black pastors being swayed by Moss’ rhetoric and reasoning, and some congregants are giving a hearty Amen, to what heretofore would have been blasphemous in most Black pulpits and churches; the approval of same-sex relationships. Indeed, Moss was one of eleven Black pastors who recently held a press conference in Washington, D.C., encouraging Blacks to approve of legalizing same-sex marriages in an upcoming Maryland election, and again providing a rationale for his position that’s beginning to catch fire in the Black Community. That press conference was a sight that I thought I’d never see in my lifetime—Black pastors endorsing homosexuality.

Bob Ray Sanders, a highly respected Fort Worth Star Telegram news columnist refers to Moss’ published statement in support of same-sex marriage as, “Chicago black preacher’s epistle on gay marriage is a must-read.” Sanders appreciatively applauds Moss’ position.

I may be the lonely voice of one, crying in the wilderness; but I feel compelled by the Spirit of God and the Word of God to say to Black Christians that the Moss “Epistle” is diametrically opposed to and contradicts: The Bible; Jesus’ teaching on marriage; Martin Luther King’s published viewpoint on homosexuality; the landmarks of the fathers; the official position of the nine major Black denominations; and the early church fathers, neither is his view supported by the Constitution of the United States. Therefore, while respecting and loving our President and Pastor Moss, we must love our God and our Bible—more.

When the President or a Pastor makes bold declarations contrary to the Word of God, Christians must demonstrate love, loyalty and allegiance to their faith, above their race, and above what any man might say, “…let God be true but every man a liar… (Romans 3:4)” The church should not be moved by Moss’ Bible-less and baseless rhetoric from the “landmarks”—the Bible, prominent Black historical figures and the current Black denominations have set. I want to leave a record for future generations that the “Moss epistle” was way outside of mainstream thinking and theology in the Black church community. What does the Moss “epistle” actually say about this subject matter?

PASTOR MOSS’ “EPISTLE” REGARDING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

  1. Moss supports the notion that same-sex marriage should become the law of the land based on his belief that it is somehow permitted in the Constitution. Moss believes that same-sex marriage is a civil right. He and President Obama refer to marriage between two people of the same sex as marriage equality. Moss believes that to deny “same gender loving couples” the right to marry is comparable to denying the slaves freedom.
  2. Moss believes that since President Obama is the President of the United States and not the pastor or “Bishop of the Christ Holiness Sanctified Church,” he is President of all the people—including homosexuals who want to marry. Therefore, the President is not bound by the church’s beliefs regarding homosexuality. He is bound by the Constitution to provide equal protection and equal/civil rights to all persons, regardless of sexual preferences; thus, the term used by proponents of same-sex marriage—“marriage equality.”
  3. Moss believes that rights governing marriage in secular society and civil government don’t have to comply with or march in lockstep with rites for marriage in the church. In all fairness to Moss, neither does he believe that the government should force the church to perform same-sex marriages.
  4. Pastor Frederick Haynes provides logic and arguments similar to Pastor Moss, but adds Jesus never addressed homosexuality. The implication being, if Christ never mentioned homosexuality why should Black preachers be as up-in-arms about it. Moss and Haynes refer to homosexuals as “same gender loving couples.”

This summarizes the “epistle on gay marriage” by Pastor Moss. Some of the language and logic articulated by Pastor Moss are things “new and old” (Matthew 13:52). Many of the arguments he and Pastor Haynes espouses are something “new” to the Black church. Some of their arguments are old.

THE “TREASURE’ BOX ANSWERS THE MOSS “EPISTLE”

“Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)

Thank God that the story on “same-gender loving couples and marriage equality” does not begin nor end with the Moss “epistle.”

Jesus referenced the knowledge that’s retained by students (disciples) in the Kingdom of God as a “treasure.” Jesus identified his disciples as “scribes,” “disciples,” or students of the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:52). And as a disciple (student) of the Kingdom of heaven, one becomes a “householder” possessing a “treasure.” The “treasure” is knowledge, and according to Jesus the treasure contains “things new and old.” The knowledge of the Kingdom will never be outdated.

When persons raise new questions or present new arguments that contradict the Bible and our faith, Jesus taught that we could find the answers to those who raise the opposing questions and present opposing arguments, in the “treasure” that’s in our household. The “treasure” contains His words, the Word, and a timely word—“things new and old.” I want to respond to the Moss “epistle” by reaching in the “treasure” box and seeing if there are answers to the Moss “epistle.” After all, he raised new issues to support “same-gender loving couples” and referenced old issues—slavery and the civil rights struggle in America.

The “treasure” box that Jesus referred to and Moss’ “epistle” are in total disagreement with each other.

I.  In response to Moss’ belief that the same-sex marriage is a civil and constitutional right, in the “treasure” box that Jesus said would be in my house, I’ve found the following answers:

A.  Even if the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage is authorized by the Constitution and is a civil right that must be granted, the “treasure” is clear; when man’s law contradicts God’s law the citizens of the Kingdom of heaven (Philippians 3:20) are to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).

B.  The request for two persons of the same sex to marry is asking for a special right, not a civil right.

C.  If any two people who “love” each other are authorized by the Constitution to marry, that opens the door for a man to marry his sister; his daughter; his mother or grandmother; his fifteen year old stepdaughter; or two wives. Why not, if the issues is simply “marrying who you love” or “marriage equality”? I’m curious if Moss would approve of a man marrying his sister, or his biological or step daughter in the name of “marriage equality” and civil and constitutional rights? And if not, why not? Wouldn’t we be denying those people “marriage equality” and their civil rights?

II.  In Response to those who compare civil rights to gay rights, I’ve found the following answer in the “treasure” box in my house:

 A.     CIVIL RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN MORAL AUTHORITY; GAY RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN A LACK OF MORAL RESTRAINT.

Moral authority was on the side of the abolitionists and slaves.  Moral authority was on the side of women and those who supported the suffrage movement.  Gay rights are not rooted in moral authority.  Gay rights are rooted in what the Bible calls the “lust of the flesh” (I John 2:16). 

Clarence James, a Temple University professor who has written books about the Black church and homosexuality stated, “The homosexual movement has nothing to do with civil rights.  The civil rights movement was about positive freedom, which is freedom to rise to the highest levels of capabilities.  The homosexual movement is part of the sexual revolution.  It is about negative freedom and the freedom from moral restraint.”

I’ve often read and heard homosexuals say that they discovered that they were homosexual at 18 years of age, 25, 33, etc.  I don’t know of any Black people who didn’t discover their Blackness until they were 25.

I’ve met former homosexuals.  I’ve never met a former Black.  You cannot compare civil rights with gay rights because my Blackness is a result of my birth.  Homosexuality is a result of wrong decisions.  My Blackness is a skin issue; homosexuality is a sin issue.  Therefore, you cannot compare to two.

If I could be a homosexual by nature, I could also be a polygamist, adulterer, or pedophile by nature.  Should we pass laws to approve of these behaviors?  Again, at the roots of the Civil Rights movement is skin; at the roots of the gay rights movement is sin–Big Difference!

B.      CIVIL RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY; GAY RIGHTS ARE ROOTED IN CIVIL ANARCHY, LIBERAL COURT DECISIONS AND RENEGADE CIVIL AUTHORITIES THAT DEFY THE LAW.

The goal of the Massachusetts court (the first court to approve same-sex marriage) decision in their own language was to limit the influence of historical, cultural, and religious reasons for preserving traditional marriage. This was a judicial fiat.

The 14th and 15th Amendments secured citizens’ rights for people of all shades of skin, including the right to vote.  There are no constitutional guarantees to people based on their unnatural, unwise, unhealthy, unholy and unbiblical desire to marry people of the same sex.

The civil rights movement was birthed in the church.  The gay rights movement was birthed in the closet.  At the root of the civil rights movement is constitutional authority.  At the root of the gay rights movement is constitutional anarchy and carnal antinomianism—lawlessness.

 C.      THE SUFFERING OF THE HOMOSEXUAL DOES NOT COMPARE TO THE SUFFERING OF THE BLACK MAN IN AMERICA.

When homosexuals have spent 200 years in slavery, then we can begin discussion of parallels.  When homosexuals have been legally defined as 3/5 human, then we can begin the discussion of parallels.  When homosexuals have been denied the right to vote and own property because they are homosexuals then we’ll begin the discussions of parallels.  No White lesbian has ever been murdered for whistling at another White girl.  Black men have been murdered for perceived interest in White women.  Ask members of the family of Emmet Till. The comparison of civil rights to gay rights is extremely offensive because of the disproportionate suffering issue, and the comparison of race to sexual preference.

D.     THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT WAS BIRTHED IN THE CLOSET; THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WAS BIRTH BY THE HOLY SPIRIT (II Cor. 3:7).

The Apostle Paul stated in Romans 1:27, 32, “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful …”  In Romans 1:32, Continuing to speak of these men who engage in these same shameful homosexual acts the Apostle concludes that these men, “who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”  God’s Word not only disapproves of homosexuality, His Word also disapproves of those who approve of homosexuality.

III.  Self-identified homosexuals are American citizens and should be entitled to all the rights, privileges and protections of any American citizen. Their constitutional and civil rights are based on their citizenship, not their sexuality. President Obama is President of all the people. But when he and Moss emphasize that he is the President of “same-gender” loving people that is an attempt to dignify, legitimize and affirm homosexuality, in a way that it has never been affirmed historically in America. Homosexuals are to be valued and respected as human beings and citizens. There is no legal, moral, historical or constitutional basis to respect them on the basis of their bedroom antics. 

Martin Luther King led a march on Washington to demand that the United States make good on a check-guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing civil rights for all her citizens. Dr. King said the American check for equality and justice issued to her Negro citizens had come back marked “insufficient funds.” The homosexual community is trying to cash check on the constitution that has never been written to them. Their account was never constitutionally opened.

For Moss to argue that President Obama is President of everyone—including homosexuals—is a true statement; but the statement in and of itself does not grant legal status to homosexuals. The President is also the criminals’ (child molesters, murderers, thieves, bigamists) President. This statement about the President being the President and not Bishop of the Sanctified Church is a nonsensical, meaningless, empty statement. That statement by Moss only appeal to the most gullible, and non-critical thinkers.

At the root of Moss’ statement and the President’s, as both being professing Christians, is the notion that homosexuality is not a sin.  It is no small matter that a high profile pastor and a President who professes to be a Christian—and I don’t question or doubt Moss’ or President Obama’s Christianity—but I do question whether or not they believe—and the eleven pastors at the D.C. Press conference—whether or not a homosexual act between “same-gender loving persons” is a sin. I wish Pastor Moss would answer that question. I wish President Obama would answer that question. I wish the pastors at the press conference would answer that question:  Is a sexual act between a “same-gender loving couple” a sin?

IV.  I agree with Pastor Moss that the government can’t and shouldn’t dictate to the church that they must perform same-sex marriages. However, I disagree with Pastor Moss that Christians should not vote their values, views and convictions regarding this matter. To not vote your convictions regarding this matter is like not voting your convictions on civil rights. Everywhere where there has been a state constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, Black people have voted overwhelmingly in favor of disapproving of same-sex marriage. Romans 1:32 is clear that believers should not approve of homosexuality or give approval to those who approve of homosexuality.

W.E.B. Dubois makes it very clear that moral matters can and should affect voting matters and decisions. As a matter of fact, Dubois chose to not vote in the 1956 presidential election because of both parties being morally corrupt. However, I am advocating that people vote in the election—vote their conscious and vote their conviction, even if that means having to vote for a third party candidate or write in a candidate. Vote for President Obama if that’s your choice. Vote for Mitt Romney if that’s your choice. Vote for a third party candidate if that’s your choice. Write in a vote if you must, but by all means–vote!

I essentially agree with Pastor Moss’ distinction between “rights” and “rites” when it comes to the marriage law. There is a difference between an ecclesiastical ceremony and a secular ceremony. The marriage “right” is secular and granted by law, but there is no Federal law at this point authorizing this “rite.” There is no federal law that supports a “sacred” or “secular” “rite” or “right” same-sex marriage. Therefore, it is illegitimate.

 V.  To pastors who say that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, I have found the following answers in my “treasure” box:  Jesus addressed homosexual marriage when He addressed authentic marriage in Matthew 19:4-6. There He makes it clear marriage is between one man and one woman. Jesus also pointed out that when He returns, marriage will be an issue, (Luke 17:27) “they were given in marriage,” and He specifically mentioned, “As it was also in the day of Lot” (Luke 17:28)…on the day that Lot went out of Sodom” (Luke 17:29). We all know that homosexuality was an issue at Sodom. Indeed, the root word of sodomy is Sodom, which is a legal reference to homosexuality, derived directly from the Bible. Revelation 11:8 is clear that the spirit of Sodom would be prevalent just before Christ declares the consummation of the Kingdom of God (Revelation 11:15). When Jesus sanctioned the Old Testament when He often said, “It is written,” that would also be an affirmation of OT passages disapproving of homosexuality. In Mark 7:21, Jesus mentions “fornication” as a derivative of “evil thoughts” out of the heart of men. The Greek word translated fornication would include all types of sexual sins including homosexuality. Therefore, it is simply not true to say that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality. This is a desperate attempt to give approval to what Jesus clearly disapprove of. Jesus never mentioned pirates or pedophiles; shall we then approve of those behaviors?

THE VOICES OF THE DEAD SPEAK OUT OF THE “TREASURE” BOX

 1.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was not supportive of homosexual relationships. In response to a boy who wrote Dr. King admitting to having an attraction to other boys, just as he also was attracted to girls; Dr. King had this to say:

 “Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was writing an advice column in 1958 for Ebony Magazine when he received an unusual letter.  ‘I am a boy,’ an anonymous writer told King. ‘But I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don’t want my parents to know about me. What can I do?’ In calm, pastoral tones, King told the boy that his problem wasn’t uncommon, but required ‘careful attention.’  ‘The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired,’ King wrote. ‘You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it.’”  (religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/16/what-did-mlk-think-about-gay-people) (Emphasis mine).

2.  George Washington Carver was a strong Bible-believing Christian in addition to being an agricultural and science professor at Tuskegee Institute. He taught Sunday school weekly on the campus of Tuskegee Institute. 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)

3.  In September 1929 Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., published a series of sermons on sexual perversion, (as per an article written by John McWhorter entitled, “What the Harlem Renaissance Teaches about Gay Rights”). Powell stated that homosexuality was one of the powers that debased a race of people and could destroy the Black family.

“Powell considered this ‘perversion’ to be ‘one of the most horrible, debasing, alarming and damning vices of present-day civilization.’ He decried ‘contact and association’ with gay people, considered them a threat to the ‘Negro family.’ He hated homosexuality for ‘causing men to leave their wives for other men, wives to leave their husbands for other women and girls to mate with girls instead of marrying.’”(http://www.theroot.com/views/what-harlem-renaissance-teaches-us-about-gay-rights

4.  Augustine  said:

“Those shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way (Confessions 3:8:15 [A.D.400]).” (http://www.gcmwatch.com/97/an-unbroken-witness-against-sexual-sin)

I give God thanks for Pastor Moss and his gifts and leadership. However, on this issue he has chosen to stand on the wrong side of the Bible, the wrong side of history—the fathers, and the wrong side of God’s will for future generations. May the Lord use this writing to speak to future generations His will regarding same-sex relationships (Psalm 145:4)!

Pastor Moss is attempting to remove the “ancient landmarks” that the fathers have set. This could prove to be very dangerous and dastardly to the Black community and a death blow to the Black family. I hope that he will reconsider his position.

“Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28)

PASTOR DID NOT SAY, DON’T VOTE

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

September 20, 2012

Under the caption, “Preachers telling Blacks not to vote is sinful,” Bob Ray Sanders published an article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, September 18, 2012, that led persons who could identify me by description—not by name—to  believe that I instructed my congregation not to vote. That is absolutely and unequivocally not true. I’ve never and will never tell my congregation, how to vote or not to vote. As a matter of fact, for the upcoming election, I have encouraged the congregation to study the issues and vote their conviction.

To vote for President Obama in the upcoming election will advance the same-sex marriage agenda and affirm the Democratic Party Platform endorsing the same. To vote for Governor Mitt Romney is to not hold him accountable for the racist teachings in the Mormon “Bible” that “black skinned” people are “cursed,” “loathsome,” “unattractive,” “despised” and “filthy.”

When faced with the choice of two evils, my philosophy is to choose neither. Same-sex marriage is evil, and as it did with Rome, it will lead to the destruction of this great nation. Racism, and even more so, religious racism, is evil. I cannot with a clear conscience vote for a man, when given an opportunity by Tim Russert in a 2008 interview, to distance himself from the racist history and teaching of the Mormon Church—not only refused to do so, but stated, he stands by the faith of his fathers.

I cannot stand by President Obama and his beliefs on same-sex marriage. I cannot stand by Mitt Romney and his refusal to repudiate the racist text and history of Mormonism. Therefore, I choose to vote for neither. I am seriously considering writing in the Name, “Jesus Christ,” as my candidate.

Bob Ray Sanders ‘article was based on an erroneous story by the Associated Press that stated African American Pastors are encouraging their congregants not to vote. As Mr. Sanders accurately pointed out, no one was quoted with that viewpoint because none of us hold that viewpoint.

My statement to the Associated Press was that I would be voting in the early election down line, but would not be casting a vote for the Office of President. On Election Day, I plan to go fishing. That line was spun into, African American pastors suggesting to parishioners not to vote. Recently my oldest sister informed me that my parents paid a $2.00 poll tax for the right to vote; therefore, for me, not voting is not an option.

Finally, it is not my goal to help or hurt either candidate. It is my goal to advance the Kingdom of God. When one chooses the lesser of two evils, they still choose evil. “God help me. Here I stand.”

A RIGHT TO VOTE IS NOT A REQUIREMENT TO VOTE

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

September 17, 2012

“The Lord has established His throne in Heaven and His kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19

The good news is, on November 7, 2012, God will still be God and His kingdom will still rule over all.  The bad news is…come November 7, this country will have either reelected a man and in effect endorsed a platform that affirms same-sex marriage or will have elected a President who for the first time in American history ascribes to a “Bible” that teaches that “blackness of skin” is a curse. Consequently, I find both candidates totally unacceptable. Whoever wins on November 6, I will accept as the appointment of the Sovereign God, pray for that individual, hold in high regard the office that they hold and consequently deeply respect the man in the office—no matter which candidate it is (Romans 13:1).

To set the record straight, I have never told the congregation, that I’m privileged to pastor, not to vote. I never reported that to Rachel Zoll, the Associated Press reporter, who interviewed me on this subject. I did say to Rachel Zoll (Associated Press) that I do not plan to vote for the Office of the President. I will vote down line. But I cannot with a clear conscience cast a ballot for President Obama or Governor Romney given their beliefs that are diametrically in opposition to the inerrant and infallible Word of God. I will vote down line in the early voting and literally plan to go fishing on Election Day. I told the Cornerstone congregation that I would respect whatever decision they made regarding voting. But as for me and my house, to vote in favor of President Obama is to violate Romans 1:32, that declares you cannot approve of those who approve of homosexuality. In my personal opinion, to vote for Mitt Romney, given the unrepentant, unapologetic racist views of the Mormon “Bibles”—as a Black man—would be like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders. Therefore, I choose to vote for neither. But if either publically changed their minds before November 6, I will change my mind and vote for one of them.

There will be those who will consider me a one-issue voter to which I will plead guilty. Major decisions are often made on major matters based on one-issue. People are hired and fired sometimes based on one-issue. People have surgeries based on one-issue. People marry and divorce over one-issue. People were enslaved based on one-issue.

President Obama has endorsed changing five-thousand years of marital history in every civilized country of the world based on—one issue:  “Marriage equality” as he labels it. Same-sex marriage is not marriage equality, it is moral insanity. Governor Mitt Romney was given an opportunity by Tim Russert in 2008 to distance himself from the history and teaching of the Mormon Church over one issue:  The Mormon “Bible” verses that teach Black people are “loathsome,” “despised” and “cursed.” The Mormon Church would not allow my sister to enter into certain parts of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, several years ago, while allowing her Anglo colleagues to enter part of the Tabernacle she was forbidden to enter, over one issue:  Her “Black” skin color. Pleeeze, don’t tell me I cannot vote over—one issue. The Mormons have never recanted of the racist teachings in their Bibles—“The Pearl of Great Price,” The Book of Mormons, Doctrines and Covenants.

At the end of the day my hope is not in Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus Name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

America went to war with Afghanistan over one issue. Appellant judges have overturned lower court judges over—one issue. To vote for Romney, I would have to violate my race and my right mind. To vote for Obama, I would have to violate my conscience, convictions and faith. I can do neither. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To violate conscience is neither right nor safe. “God help me, here I stand.” Thus said Martin Luther, and I agree.

A RESPONSE TO DENNY BURK’S POST ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPLEMENTARIANISM TO THE GOSPEL

BY

WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

AUGUST 30, 2012

Denny Burk recently posted an interesting and provocative piece regarding the relationship and importance of complementarianism and inerrancy to the Gospel.

I have two responses to Denny Burk’s post which is summed up in the following quote:

“The gymnastics required to get from ‘I do not allow a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man,’ in the Bible, to ‘I do allow a woman to teach and to exercise authority over a man’ in the actual practice of the local church, are devastating to the functional authority of the Scripture in the life of the people of God.”

1.  To practically equate complementarianism—as The Gospel Coalition defines it—with an accurate definition of the Gospel and inerrancy, I find to be borderline idolatry and heresy, and a position that cannot be defended or argued from Scripture. This argument coming from the same people who will not equate social and economic justice with a wholistic definition of the Gospel (and certainly not inerrancy) simply proves that much of what we call biblical Christianity is simply cultural Christianity, and the passing on of someone’s biases, prejudices and preferences, in the name of or under the ruse of—orthodoxy.

By the way, I am a complementarian, if believing that the Bible teaches that a female cannot be a senior pastor because of God’s design, makes one a complementarian. I fully believe what the 2000 BFM states, and it does not preclude a woman from teaching a man in a public setting. If that’s what it teaches, certainly FBC Dallas under Dr. Criswell was in violation each week with his wife regularly teaching men.

2.  How do you get from, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all, for to one is given…different kinds of tongues…And God has appointed these in the church…varieties of tongues…For he who speaks in tongue does not speak to men but to God…in the spirit he speaks mysteries…He who speaks in tongues edifies himself…I wish you all spoke in tongues…for if I pray in tongue, my spirit prays…I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than you all…If anyone speaks in tongue [and there is no interpreter]…let him speak to himself and to God…do not forbid to speak in tongues (I Cor. 12:7, 10, 28; 14:2, 4, 5, 14, 18, 27, 39)—to—“I forbid you to speak in tongues privately or publicly, with or without interpretation, and if you do so, you can’t serve as an IMB missionary, and you have psychological, emotional or demonic issues and influences effecting your private devotions”? I don’t know for certain, but it would not surprise me if Burk and Duncan can do the “gymnastics” required to get there. And if they can get there and consider themselves inerrantists, so can the egalitarian get from I Timothy 2:12 to egalitarianism and yet be an inerrantist and hold a proper view of the Gospel.

The way we got there is by employing the same thinking, hermeneutic, rationale and personal and cultural preferences and biases on the text as Lig Duncan has done here, and Burk affirmatively quotes him here.

If evangelicals can ignore the clear teaching of Scripture and arbitrarily decide to “forbid speaking in tongues,” why can’t the egalitarian do the same thing with the 1 Timothy 2:12 passage? I know you would say, “Not so”! Evangelicals arrived at their position on forbidding tongues based on careful and critical exegesis. “This is what my egalitarian friends say as well. I’m sure you are aware that those who conclude that same-sex marriage and monogamous homosexual relationships are not sinful also claim they reached those conclusions through careful and critical exegesis.

Therefore, I conclude where I started: To equate complementarianism and inerrancy (of which I wholeheartedly believe in) with an accurate understanding or definition of the Gospel is idolizing the doctrines of inerrancy and complementarianism to a height that the Bible does not elevate their doctrines and consequently distorts the true Gospel. It further removes our focus on the Gospel from where Jesus placed it; and that is on the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14, 15). An accurate view of gender roles in Scripture is not a “gospel” essential, nor does it threaten one’s belief regarding inerrancy. That is a cultural Christian perspective, not a biblical Christian perspective.

I have no problem with Burk and Duncan advocating a robust complementarianism as it relates to the office of the Senior Pastor. My disagreement with them lies in the fact that they appear to argue that their positions are inextricably combined with the Gospel. Not only do I find this position without biblical merit, but an unjustified indictment against all of the churches that I’m aware of (predominately African American) that at a very minimum allow a female annually on Sunday morning to address the congregation at the regular preaching hour on “Women’s Day” and many who allow women to speak/preach intermittingly throughout the year. What Burk and Duncan are advocating is robust Fundamentalism masquerading as the Gospel.

If I understand Burk and Duncan correctly, those of us who allow this do not have a proper understanding of the Gospel, and we threaten belief in inerrancy. Pleeeeeezze! These are the very reasons we allow these practices, because we believe they are biblical.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 54 other followers