Resolution on “Kingdom Unity in the SBC and the Nation” Submitted to the SBC Phoenix Convention 2017

by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, we recognize that there always has been and always will be a diversity of opinions on political parties, presidential candidates, policies and positions—but we will endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, undivided by secular politics (1 Peter 2:17); and

WHEREAS, the SBC we recognize and joyfully accept our mandate to care for the “least among us”—we simultaneously allow for diversity of thought among our constituency as to what responsibility the federal government has as it relates to meeting the needs of the poor (Acts 6:1-7); and

WHEREAS, we recognize that if one believes in the fundamentals of the faith and the Lordship of Christ, believers who vote with their freedom of conscience for either party or candidate should not be viewed as spiritually suspect or be rendered ineligible from serving in the life of the SBC, based on their voting patterns, party affiliation, or ideological views that do not conflict with God’s inerrant and infallible Word. The SBC allows for diversity of thought on matters not clearly addressed by Jesus, not mandated in Scripture, or not addressed in the BF&M 2000 (Lev. 19:18); and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge, along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, historic discrimination and abuse of minorities; and therefore, we encourage law enforcement officers to demonstrate respect and equal treatment toward all persons—regardless of their background—as it relates to police practices in law enforcement (Gen. 1:27); and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge that there are citizens in our nation who view police persons with disdain and disrespect—the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention encourage all people of all backgrounds to hold police persons in high esteem and to respect and honor the necessary and life-threatening work that they do daily for the benefit of all American citizens. We condemn all police shootings by citizens as rebellious, defiant acts against the almighty God that police persons represent (Romans 13:4); and

BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the 2017 SBC, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the “bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3); and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recognize the different legitimate philosophical, ideological, political and cultural differences that exist between faithful Southern Baptists, understanding that no one has a monopoly on what is right except what is clearly set apart in God’s word; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respect each other’s differences while maintaining the oneness and unity that has made the SBC the most evangelism focused, discipleship driven, service focused, mission minded denomination in the history of the church; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we will continue to commit to bridging the differences that have plagued our society for decades, including putting an end to racial discrimination, gender inequality in the work place and any idea that one human is less desirable than another; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that in our recommitted unity, that we will encourage the faithful giving of tithes and offerings from our churches, without threat of withholding or escrow, to the Cooperative Program, that great endeavor that has aided in the fulfillment of the Gospel reaching the ends of the earth while not neglecting our own back yards and has continued to advance the Gospel by the training of young people in seminaries. May God bless us in our unity and forgive us when we are not of one mind and one heart.

Resolution on the Condemnation of the “Alt-Right” Movement and the Roots of White Supremacy” Submitted to the SBC Phoenix Convention 2017

by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that from one man God made every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, the prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when the Lord would judge between the nations and render decisions for many people (Isaiah 2:4); and

WHEREAS, the Psalmist proclaims the Kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations; and

WHEREAS, the promise of heaven includes the eternal blessings of the Tree of Life for God’s people, which includes the healing of the nations that comes from the leaves of that tree; and

WHEREAS, the supreme need of the world is the acceptance of God’s teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love; and

WHEREAS, all Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love; and

WHEREAS, just societies will order themselves as free men and women and organize at various times and for various purposes to establish political order and give consent to legitimate government; and

WHEREAS, the liberty of all nations to authorize such governments will, at times, allow for the rise of political parties and factions whose principles and ends are in irreconcilable conflict with the principles of liberty and justice for all; and

WHEREAS, there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing; and

WHEREAS, this toxic menace, self-identified among some of its chief proponents as “White Nationalism” and the “Alt-Right,” must be opposed for the totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples; and

WHEREAS, the roots of White Supremacy within a “Christian context” is based on the so-called “curse of Ham” theory once prominently taught by the SBC in the early years—echoing the belief that God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos—which provided the theological justification for slavery and segregation. The SBC officially renounces the “curse of Ham” theory in this Resolution; now be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, AZ, June 13-14, 2017, denounces every form of “nationalism” that violates the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty; and be it further

RESOLVED, that we reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called “Alt-Right” that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system; and be finally

RESOLVED, that we earnestly pray, both for those who lead and advocate this movement and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of their perverse nationalism, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people and tongue.

THE MOSS PERSPECTIVE VS. THE MCKISSIC PERSPECTIVE:

Opposite Sides of the Window Interpretations of the SWBTS Preaching Professors Gangsta Gate Twitter Photo

By: William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

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Rev. Otis Moss III, the eloquent and winsome young preacher who succeeded Rev. Jeremiah Wright as Pastor of The Trinity Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois, posted on Facebook a brutal response—tantamount to  A rebuke—of the five Preaching professors at SWBTS pictured  above, and by extension, a rebuke of the Seminary and the SBC. Moss’ intellectual and insightful mind is on full display in his “Standing on the Outside of the Window—Looking In” Interpretation of the Twitter photo.

Four years ago, I was privileged to be a table mate of Rev. Moss for three hours, during an invitation-only Phoenix gathering of high-profile Black pastors that I didn’t qualify to attend. I walked away from that table and the topic-driven table discussion impressed with Moss’ humility and quest to pursue excellence in ministry. Rev. Moss is well known and highly respected in the Black Church Community across theological camps, as the son of an iconic Civil Rights leader/pastor who was a co-laborer with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; a man with earned degrees from Morehouse, Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary. Pastor Moss made history by being the youngest person to deliver the Lyman Beecher Lecture Series at Yale Divinity School in October 2014.

Rev. Moss and Dr. Hall , Vice President of Academic Affairs at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, have engaged in a friendly dialogue about the history of racism in evangelicalism. The Moss-Hall dialogue is a much more effective way to reach across the aisle to Urban Communities addressing felt-need issues from a Kingdom perspective. An urban student would be attracted to enroll in a SBC Seminary by a substantive Kingdom dialogue, on an issue relevant to the Urban Community, between a respected SBC academician and a respected urban pastor, much more so than a gangsta rap parody/caricature picture of Preaching Professors.

Moss and Hall

This post is my second public pushback of a published Moss statement that I’ve felt compelled to give a public rebuttal. I strongly, biblically disagree with Moss’ support of “same gender loving couples”—his description of same-sex marriages, or homosexual relationships. Both Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama were frequent attenders of the Trinity Church of Christ, while pastored by Dr. Jeremiah Wright, who shared the same views on homosexuality as does Otis Moss III. Undoubtedly, the theology of the Trinity Church on homosexuality influenced Barack Obama, who later forever changed America on the subject of same-sex marriage.

Now because of the Twitter photo from SWBTS, here we go again! I will provide a “Standing on the Inside of the Window—Looking Out” Rebuttal to Moss’ Brutal, but Fair Statement Regarding the Twitter photo. What was lacking from Moss’ statement was an Insider’s perspective.

Please don’t misread or misunderstand my analogy. Anyone who knows my history with SWBTS and the SBC wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination consider me to be a “House Negro.” Inasmuch as our church was planted while I was a student at SWBTS and I’ve maintained a relationship with the SBC for over 42 years—dating back to my college days—that makes me somewhat of an insider in SBC life, compared to Moss, who has no known history with the SBC that I’m aware of, except that I’ve referenced above.

In addition to offering a gentle rebuttal and friendly, sympathetic critique regarding Rev. Moss’s positon on the Gangsta Gate Photo, I want to offer Rev. Moss’ full Facebook Post. A good friend and former adjunct Professor at SWBTS shared with me after visiting with Dr. David Allen, Dean of Preaching at SWBTS, and also pictured on the Twitter photo, that the disposition and posture of the Preaching faculty is that of “being a learner and listener” in the aftermath of the controversy. Believing Dr. Allen, Dr. Patterson, Dr. McCarty (who reached out to me in response to my previous Article on this subject), and all involved to be sincere, there’s no better outside critique, interpretation, evaluation (or whatever you want to call it) of the photo than you could get than the one following from Dr. Otis Moss III. I believe he voices the sentiments of most African Americans, who would view this photo similar to how Dr. Moss views it, without any prior relationship with the SBC or SWBTS. Dr. Moss’ Facebook statement:

“The Southern Baptist convention has had a long storied history of racialized thought and action beginning with the inception of the convention in Augusta, GA. The largest of the Protestant denominations has consistently stood on the wrong side on issues of race. I have over years made the claim evangelicals choose “whiteness” over Jesus because the real religion of Americanized Christianity is maintaining the structure of white supremacy. The rhetoric of “We are one in Christ” is used freely in evangelical circles as a veneer to cover-up the rotting flesh of a broken faith that no longer speaks for the vulnerable, but worships Eurocentric and racialized assumptions about humanity especially people of African descent. This article below is more than insensitivity, but a bold proclamation of privilege, ignorance and illegibility of black bodies. These “preaching professors” (I use this term loosely) demonstrate their clear homiletical bias not to preach Jesus, but proclaim the Gospel of George Wallace and Strom Thurmond. How devastatingly ugly for grown men to live in a sophomoric bubble where racial appropriation is not only okay, but the appropriate response for the farewell of a colleague. How cruel to preach a visual sermon that will outlast their words on the internet and injure hundreds if not thousands of women and men. These are the teachers of the new generation of leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention? Now I know why Steve Bannon, Jeff Session and Mike Flynn advise Trump maybe they were taught by professors at Southern Baptist Seminary. If these are the best minds of the Seminary America can expect graduates who colonize minds, injure spirits and mis-educated communities.

Tragic and beyond tragic”

MOSS CONNECTS THE PHOTO TO THE HISTORY OF RACISM IN THE SBC:

The SBC publicly apologized for their history of racism in ’95; yet they must recognize that America will always view the SBC as being birth in racism and continuing in that trajectory. The scars of some sins remain for a lifetime. I believe it was fair for Moss to connect the picture to the SBC’s racist history based on his—outside the window—interpretation of the picture. That’s why the SBC entities have to be mindful of perception, which is reality, to many.

As Dr. Fred Luter has so accurately and eloquently stated: “We cannot change our past—it is what it is; but we can change our future.” And Luter’s election as the first African-American President of the SBC provides a modicum of hope that the SBC may be willing to move in a different direction in her future. However, for many, the Twitter photo was reminiscent of the era when White males portrayed themselves as “Amos and Andy” complete with made-up Black faces. For those who argue that the twitter photo could reflect Vanilla Ice or Eminem—too late. There was an admission that “Notorious Biggie Small,” a Black Gangsta Rapper, was the inspiration for the “Notorious SOP” wall graffiti.

MOSS CONNECTS THE PHOTO TO HIS BELIEF THAT THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH PROPS UP WHITE SUPREMACY:

The photo lends itself to an interpretation of fostering White Supremacy. How? If you view, Gangsta Rap as having originated with and primarily associated with Blacks—as most Blacks do, and history verifies—then the picture represents five White men mocking or making fun of an aspect of Black culture. The only reason that you would do that is out of a feeling of superiority or supremacy.

The SBC has repented of their history of racism, but they’ve never repented of the White Supremacist Theology and ideology that provided and fed the racist attitudes and actions that still residually occur in various pockets throughout the SBC. I offered the SBC an opportunity to repent of their White Supremacist Theology a few years back, but they refused. (https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/three-resolutions-and-an-amendment-to-the/) Inevitably, a racial brouhaha erupts in the SBC every few years and will continue to do so, until the SBC repents of the White Supremacist Theology that yet shackles her, and reoccurs openly on occasions (https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/lessons-from-the-animal-kingdom/).

SBC Pastor Rick Patrick admits that there is a “bit” of an Alt-Right element in the SBC. The Alt-Right unashamedly promotes White Supremacy. I am considering submitting another resolution giving the SBC another opportunity to reject White Supremacy and White Supremacist Theology.

MOSS CONNECTS THE PICTURE TO A SKEWED VIEW OF THE GOSPEL:

His interpretation of the picture and the preaching professors is that “it demonstrates their clear homiletical bias not to preach Jesus, but proclaim the Gospel of George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.”

In essence, Moss is saying that it is impossible to harbor the kind of feelings or insensitivity, that would allow you to dress for and proudly take that photo, without passing on to your students a similar kind of insensitivity. Mindsets, who could take such a picture, may not be able to equip men to preach the Gospel in an urban culture from Moss’ perspective. I agree that the picture represents a huge cultural disconnect with the Black Community. Ironically, the picture was designed to appeal to the Gangsta Community that can only be reached with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

WHERE I DISAGREE WITH MOSS:

Although, I don’t disagree with Moss’ premise that racism and White Supremacy are yet present forces within evangelicalism and SBC Life, I strongly disagree with what appears to be his premise that SWBTS professors cannot homiletically properly equip Black seminarians. Yes, there is a cultural gap in training and connectivity to the Black context and Community. I get that. Usually, the difference is made up for in the local church or attending preaching seminars and conferences as the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference, H.B. Charles Preaching Conference, Tony Evans Conference, National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, etc.

The current Preaching Department at SWBTS has produced one of the featured preachers for the upcoming SBC Pastors Conference in Phoenix, Jamar Andrews, recommended by Dr. Paige Patterson, SWBTS President. Jamar has also preached in SWBTS Chapel. Dr. Bart Barber, a Southwestern Trustee, also recommended Jamar, even as a small church pastor—to preach in the Annual Pastors Conference.

Dr. Barry McCarty, Professor of Preaching and Rhetoric at SWBTS requires his students to study the preaching of the following Pastors: Dr. Robert Smith, Dr. Ralph West, H.B. Charles, Dr. Fred Luter and Dr. Tony Evans. Pastor Rick Patrick and Seth Dunn are two White Southern Baptist personalities that have labeled me a “race baiter.” Dr. McCarty, whom I’ve only met once on stage at the Annual SBC meeting in Baltimore—shook my hand and said, “I appreciate your heart for racial reconciliation.” His words have ministered to me ever since and bring healing when others falsely accuse me. Dr. McCarty will never know how those few words blessed me. I am encouraged by his exposing his students to excellent models of Black expositors.

Beloved Former Preaching Professors at SWBTS that are greatly loved and appreciated by scores of Black Seminarians would include Dr. Al Fasol, Dr. Joel Gregory, Dr. Calvin Miller and Dr. Raymond Spencer. The sermons that I preach that are considered my best, are homiletically structured following the pattern taught to me by Dr. Al Fasol.

A current SWBTS student attending the church I pastor, Larry Williamson, recently completed a class taught by The Dean of the School of Preaching at Southwestern—Dr. David Allen. Larry’s preaching has improved dramatically from two years ago—and he attributes the improvement to SWBTS. He described his interactions with Dr. Allen as affirming and positive and is appreciative of Dr. Allen encouraging him toward PH.D Studies. All the “Negrotics”—Negroes +Politics = “Negrotics”—which would include learning to fill in the cultural gaps from what SWBTS don’t know to teach—that Larry needs to know—Larry can learn from me.

The late S.M. Lockridge, the late E.K. Bailey, James Meeks, Ralph Douglas West, Ross Cullins, Fredrick Douglas Haynes, the Late Dr. Raymond Spencer, Ken Jones, Robert E. Fowler (pastor of the largest Black Baptist church in Las Vegas), Louis Rosenthal (Senior Pastor of McKinney First Baptist Church), Ronnie Goines—who pastors a fast-growing church in Arlington, TX—and most recently, Jamar Andrews are just a few of the names of great Black preachers trained at Southwestern. Interestingly, both the largest Black Baptist churches in Chicago (James Meeks) and Las Vegas are pastored by SWBTS graduates.

None of these men preached the gospel of Strom Thurmond or George Wallace.

Southwestern has also featured a cadre of Black preachers in Chapel across the years: Manuel Scott, Sr., E.V. Hill, Rick Armstrong, Tony Evans, H.B. Charles, Eric Redmond, William J. Shaw, the late Gardner C. Taylor, and a host of others. The cultural gap is in part made up for by the Chapel speakers and the Professors who require their students to study excellent Black role models in preaching. I would agree, though, none of this supplants or substitutes for a Homiletics professor who understands the African American Church experientially.

MY INTERPRETATION OF THE PICTURE VS. MOSS’ INTERPRETATION:

  • I do not believe there was an inkling of racial or racist intentionality involved in posing for and the displaying of the photo.
  • I believe the spirit and intent behind the picture of celebrating a departing colleague was sincere, but sincerely wrong; because the photo was open to multiple and misinterpretations.
  • I believe that the picture represented a sincere attempt by the Preaching professors to be relevant to the culture, connect with the times, affirm the departing Professor, and appeal to the current generation.
  • Whether one views the picture as a parody or a caricature, as insensitive, or racist—or even as innocuous—I’m baffled as to how a picture with imaging and symbolism of guns, gangs, “Benjamins”—money, “Bling-Bling”—materialism, Misogny-synomous with Gangsta Rap, coupled with, violence, alcoholism, drugs, fornication, adultery, anti-police rhetoric, etc.—is compatible with the Kingdom of God, the mission of the Seminary , and the departure of the Professor? Forget Racism. The photo is an affront to the Kingdom of God.
  • The real evidence of whether or not this picture is a real problem or just a temporary distraction, won’t be known for 15-20 years. By then we’ll know if this Preaching faculty has produced 10-15 Black preachers of distinction, who belong in the same sentence with Ralph West, S.M. Lockridge, E.K. Bailey, James Meeks, Robert Fowler, Ken Jones, Freddy Haynes and Ross Cullins.

Conclusion:  I believe all have learned from this unfortunate occurrence. I’ve labored to write this post, for the above stated reasons. Furthermore, when I was a 25-year old student at SWBTS, if something like this occurred, I would have wanted someone to help me interpret not only Moss’ post, but my SWBTS inside experience. I highly recommend SWBTS, particularly to those who share similar theological convictions and doctrinal points of views compatible with theirs. This photo should not be a disqualifier for current or prospective Black students. There are many good predominately Black Churches in the DFW area to help fill the cultural gap between the classroom and Sunday morning. Furthermore, they are working toward hiring a Black Preaching Professor.

Pray that God leads them to the right one and prepare his heart for SWBTS.

As it relates to racism in the SBC and evangelicalism as a whole? Again it’s a reality. But at some point, we are going to have to look through the front window, more so than the rear-view window. We must not interpret every incident racially. At times we must give the benefit of the doubt. This is one where I choose to be gracious. We must also count blessings that have come our way; not just perceived or real injustices. It could be that the good that has come to many of us in the SBC, has outweighed the bad.

Yes, there have been challenges and regrets along the way, but without the SBC I am not ashamed to say, our congregation, my family, and my ministry would not be where it is; and for that I’m grateful. I have an older brother who planted a church in Arkansas nine years ago. An SBC congregation just deeded their nice modern, fully functional facility to his congregation in a transitional section of town free of charge.

Yes, I could complain about a picture and several other things, but when Cornerstone needed a $3 million loan to move our ministry to the next level, an affiliate of the SBC provided it in 1995. I don’t belong in the same sentence with the great White, Black, Asian, or Hispanic Preachers Alumni from SWBTS, but without the mentorship of Dr. Al Fasol and later, Dr. Joel Gregory, I shudder to think, where I would be as a preacher. We should not let one picture—which admittedly was a bad decision—to cause us to dismiss a great Seminary and a great Convention. We need to work together to make it better.

 

THE ABSENCE OF A DIVERSE FACULTY AT SWBTS, CREATED AND ENLARGED THE CURRENT CULTURAL CHASM

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

When the suggestion was made by one of the preaching professors at SWBTS to dress in “gangsta rap garb,” while brandishing a pistol and displaying gang signs—someone on the preaching faculty should have gently pushed back. Immediately and intuitively the inherent pitfalls in that idea should have been recognized by at least one of those Professors. No matter how noble the stated reasons given for such a photo-op might have appeared on the surface, the primary reason for not posing for and publishing the photo should have been obvious: Rationalizing and defending the optics of middle age to older, White—Southern Baptists Professors—dressed in “gangsta rap,” flashing a gun—would have been impossible to defend—even by highly educated men who make a living “word-smithing.”

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As is often said in the Black Community when the obvious goes unnoticed…”Ray Charles could have seen that.”  So the question must be raised, why could one of these five preaching professors not see this? Why was there no push back from one of the five?  If those five professors couldn’t be trusted to exegete the culture correctly, why should students from minority cultures trust the professors to guide them in exegeting a text correctly? After all, we all bring biases, backgrounds, blind spots, cultural insensitivities, etc., to the text…just as we do the culture. We miss the obvious at times, when we view matters through a singular lens. Many seminarians are attracted to schools with diverse faculties, because cultural needs are often more effectively addressed and cultural sensitivities are less offended or violated, because persons are in place that know, appreciate and respect your culture.

The scandal reflected in the SWBTS Preaching Professor “Gangsta” Garb/Image may be the lack of diversity represented in addition to the unwise images depicted. The willingness to demonstrate appreciation for diversity through displaying the symbolism of “gangsta” garb/images; but, the unwillingness to demonstrate the reality of diversity by hiring a diverse faculty is the real scandal represented by this picture. Offering to bring LeCrae to address the matter is like putting a Band-Aid on a cancer. I appreciate him declining such meaningless, window-dressing offer. Offering to hire—if even in an adjunct capacity, Monday-only classes—Dr. Robert Smith, Dr. Ralph West, Dr. Claiborne Lea, Dr. Maurice Watson, Dr. Robert E. Fowler, H.B. Charles, Marcus Jerkins or any number of others, would be the proper response to this matter. Bringing in LeCrae doesn’t resolve anything. Demonstrating fruit worthy of repentance is diversifying your staff, as did the early Church when they faced charges of cultural and racial ethics issues in Acts 6: 1-6.

A Black Preaching Professor would have no doubt persuaded his co-laborers of the single most important reason why this “gangsta rap” photo idea should have been a non-starter. He would have argued it would be impossible for the larger culture to appreciate the optics as being genuine and sincere.

Middle-age and older White Republican Evangelical males, organically, have no history of identifying with or appreciating in the least bit, the “gangsta rap” culture. Therefore, the picture would be viewed as a caricature—which it was—or an insincere attempt to celebrate a culture that you really don’t, nor should, appreciate. The picture is offensive to me in representing contradictory viewpoints to my biblical values. Make no mistake about it; there is nothing conservative, orthodox, fundamental, biblical, kingdom-minded, evangelistic, holy, righteous, or sensible regarding this picture. Who would have ever thought such a picture would have come from a Paige Patterson-led seminary?

No one would take me serious dressed in Confederate garb, waiving a Confederate Flag as a sincere tribute to a departing Paul Pressler. Neither would anyone take that picture seriously as an appeal to the “gangsta rap” culture to come learn to “rap the Word of God”—one of the two stated purposes of the ill-thought picture. The other stated purpose was to pay tribute to a departing faculty member that had a proclivity toward rap, but not “gangsta rap”—which also made it disingenuous.

What is also obviously missing from this picture is a Black Professor.

Maybe Ray Charles couldn’t see the pitfalls in the preaching professors “gangsta” garb/gate proposal, not because Ray Charles was blind, but rather, because, “Ray Charles” is not on the faculty there. Had there been a Ray Charles among the five or in the upper level administration at SWBTS, he would have pointed out again, intuitively and immediately the pitfalls of the infamous SWBTS Preaching Professors twitter picture.

The late Dr. Raymond Spencer was the first Black Professor and only Black Preaching Professor in the history of SWBTS hired by SWBTS former President, Dr. Ken Hemphill. I enrolled in a Preaching class under him in about 2002. The first day of class he made it clear that he believed in women preachers and would allow women who were also enrolled in the class to preach to the class. He expressed his affirmation of the BFM 2000, and explained why his beliefs and practices regarding women in ministry didn’t violate the BFM 2000. He further stated Dr. Hemphill was aware of and supported his viewpoints. If any of the students objected to his views on women in ministry he encouraged them to report him to the Board of Trustees at SWBTS. He indicated he’d welcome an opportunity to have the conversation with them.

I invoked Dr. Spencer’s memory for several reasons: (1) A diverse faculty brings needed diverse viewpoints to the table; (2) A diverse faculty challenges the status quo often where it needs to be challenged; (3) A diverse faculty models ministry for a diverse student body. In some ways Dr. Spencer in respectfully requesting students to report their objections to his views on women preachers to the Trustee Board was modeling the social justice ministry tradition of the Black Church and representing the oppressed; (4) A diverse faculty retains and attracts a diverse student body. The singular reason I was taking that class is because Dr. Spencer was teaching it. And I got what I needed, not only preaching training but insights and modeling related to providing pastoral leadership within a Black Church context. Dr. Hemphill and Dr. Spencer represented soft complementarianism theology, as oppose to the hyper complementarianism theology currently reigning at SWBTS that restrict women’s functionally in ministry beyond the BFM 2000 and the Bible. Dr. Karen Bullock would not be allowed to speak in Chapel at SWBTS today. The women in Dr. Spencer’s Preaching class would not be allowed to attend or preach in those classes today. Dr. Spencer would not be allowed to teach at SWBTS today unless he compromised or changed his convictions. And that’s why we must see the big scandal here as the lack of diversity represented by the picture, not just the obvious insensitivity represented by the photo. “Out of the abundance of twitter, the heart speaketh,” so says a friend of mine. What does this picture say about the heart of the Seminary, in spite their denials. What does the lack of diversity say about their heart?

I had a chance to preach at SEBTS while Dr. Patterson was there. I actually met three-four Black Professors. They were in Chapel and came to lunch with us. The only SBC seminary with a growing Minority population seems to be SEBTS. It seems as if they are intentional in this regard and have more minority professors than other SBC schools. Dr. Patterson is in part responsible for SEBTS’ growing minority population. He laid the foundation; Cast the Vision; Set the mold. I’ve been told Southern has a serious decline in minority student population; and it once was the “go to” school for Black Seminarians. Truett Seminary is now gaining that reputation and traction in the Black Church Community. Only a few years old, I’m told they have at least 50 Black students. Not sure if Southern or SWBTS have as many. All of my info is anecdotal conversation though. I’m sure someone will check out the facts. I hope to be corrected.

Three of my sons in ministry, all serving as Senior Pastor’s in DFW recently enrolled in Truett Seminary. Their attraction to Truett was their diversity is staffing and course offerings. Truett offers courses in Black Preaching and Preaching and Pastoring in the Black Church. They also have 3-4 Black Faculty members including Dr. Ralph West who teaches the course on Preaching and Pastoring in The Black Church. My guys were attracted to the theological diversity, course diversity, and faculty racial diversity represented at Truett.

There are two names in particular I’d recommend SWBTS reach out to—Marcus Jerkins and Robert Fowler. Robert Fowler pastors the largest Black Church in Las Vegas. He holds an MDIV from SWBTS and a DMIN from Tyndall. He is the greatest preacher on the planet in my opinion and needs to be invited to preach in Chapel. He would probably consider flying in to teach a Preaching class on Mondays. Marcus Jerkins is completing a PH.D at Baylor in New Testament and is a teaching assistant for Ralph West at Truett. SWBTS couldn’t go wrong with either gentleman.

I pray that a miracle comes out of this mess. I pray that diversity is birth from this debacle. I pray that God will turn this around and work it for His good.

A young man who I’d recommended to SWBTS and had actually come down from Illinois, stayed with me and visited the campus, tremendously impressed just sent me this text regarding the “gangsta” gate photo scandal: “Racism and insensitivity is so deeply rooted in the SBC and SWBTS that it is fun to them. I believe their orthopraxy fails to line up with their orthodoxy and this is the result.”

Neither Dr. Patterson, nor the five “gangsta” Preaching Professors are flaming racists. They can be, and in this instance were culturally insensitive-borderline racists-clearly out of touch-needed to have apologized-and need to be forgiven. All six have apologized, sincerely and rightfully so. I forgive them. We need to work together to heal this matter constructively and redemptively. Considerable damage to SWBTS’ image has been done by this photo as evidenced by the prospective Illinois student analysis, and the many, many negative responses recorded on social media. However, the damage can be reversed in one felt swoop if the right person is hired as a professor and course offerings that directly address Black Church Issues are offered in the future.

WHO IN THE WORLD IS “BOBBY BAPTIST”?

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Introducing Bobby and Othello Baptist

“Bobby Baptist” is a term that I recently encountered in an article written by Brad Reynolds, who serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Christian Studies at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, GA. His article is entitled “Bobby Baptist and the ERLC.” The ERLC—Ethics and Religion Liberty Commission—an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, is headed by Dr. Russell Moore who according to one news article was required to apologize to seven SBC pastors in order to retain his job. The “offense” Russell Moore allegedly committed was to criticize Donald Trump and SBC voters who supported him.

According to Reynolds, “Dr. Jerry Vines [in yester years] introduced Southern Baptists to a hypothetical character in his Sermon ‘A Baptist and his Bible.’ The character, Billy Baptist, represented the typical Baptist in Southern Baptist churches.” Reynolds now presents to us “Bobby”—Billy’s younger brother—who is “a twenty-first century hypothetical typical member of a Southern Baptist rural church.” Reynolds further reveals that Bobby Baptist “is really not concerned that leaders within the SBC are seeking unity in their differences.” Apathy with regard to unity makes Bobby an agenda-driven Baptist-believing that his agenda should TRUMP unity. Bobby Baptist is a feisty fellow when it comes to driving his agenda.

Take serious note of the fact that Reynolds describes “Bobby Baptist” as a twenty-first century, rural, “typical” Southern Baptist. Reynolds’ profile of “Bobby Baptist” gets even more interesting. Bobby does not get his news from “CNN” or “NY TIMES.” “Bobby and Bonnie” get their news from their Facebook, whereby they interact with family. It goes further: Bobby is not interested in issues addressed by the President of the ERLC:  “1) what it means to be “an evangelical;” 2) the importance of sexual immorality; and 3) racial divisiveness. Rather, what disturbed Bobby was that these concerns seemed of more importance to Dr. Moore than the murderous torture of infants and real religious liberty…”

Bobby Baptist’s objective is not to remove Russell Moore as President of the ERLC, but rather to ask Dr. Moore “to either represent ‘us’ or remove himself for ‘we’ do not desire to pay someone who doesn’t represent ‘us.’” That representation would begin by an admission that abortion, Supreme Court Justices and the judicial system is rightly our main focus.” Bobby Baptist’s final conclusion is, “we… do not shirk our responsibility to vote to protect LIFE because Ethics demands such.” Translation: Bobby Baptist wants the ERLC to encourage Southern Baptists to vote for Donald Trump—under the guise—“to vote to protect LIFE”—because “Ethics demand such.”

WOW!! Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump—who said about women—put Tic Tacs in your mouth and “grab ‘em by the crotch.” Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump who called women “pigs and slobs.” WOW! Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump who settled two lawsuits out of court for racial housing discrimination.

WOW!!! Ethics demand that you vote for Donald Trump who insisted five young Black men exonerated for rape in New York, by DNA evidence, were guilty and should be retried. Ethics demand that we vote for Donald Trump although he willfully failed to pay scores of vendors and subcontractors, is thrice married and filed bankruptcy four times. Wow! That is absolutely astounding that a Baptist professor would argue that “Ethics demand” that Southern Baptist should vote for such an unethical man, and the ERLC should push such an agenda.

Professor Reynolds identified Bobby Baptist as a “rural” Southern Baptist, and it was in the rural areas where Trump received the votes that helped him cross the finish line. Professor Reynolds serves in a rural area of Georgia. Reynolds described Bobby Baptist as “typical” Southern Baptists. It’s that description of “Bobby Baptist” that really triggered my drive to write this article. What does a “typical” Southern Baptist look like?

I’ve been affiliated with the SBC from my college days at Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, since 1974 through today—non-stop. I consider myself just as much a Southern Baptist as Bobby. Unlike Bobby, though, I’ve never lived or pastored in a rural area. I get my news from CNN, NY TIMES, Fox News and MSNBC, not just Facebook. I celebrate and appreciate Russell Moore’s critique of “what it means to be “an evangelical,” “the importance of sexual immorality,” and “racial divisiveness.” I find it interesting and disturbing that Bobby Baptist does not share my appreciation for these three concerns and emphasis of the ERLC and Russell Moore. I’m even more concerned that Bobby Baptist is not concerned about unity. The price Bobby Baptist believes that must be paid for unity is the President of the ERLC being exclusively focused on abortion and SCOTUS appointments.  I strongly stand against abortion and voted for Republican candidates for the past 42 years, with the hope that they would outlaw abortion, but they’ve failed me. I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election because she is by far a more ethical person than Trump—even with all her baggage—and certainly much more committed to racial justice and equality. Therefore, given those two choices, if my vote boils down to the more ethical of the two—hands down, I vote for Hillary, especially when I consider my twelve grandchildren and who will best protect them from the  International Association of Chiefs of Police admitted historic problem of police discrimination and brutality.

Professor Reynolds used words like “we” and “us” referring to the majority of Southern Baptists represented by Bobby as “typical.” Professor Reynolds was by and large describing Southern Baptists yesterday, which were largely rural, White, Republican, Suburban and now aging. Southern Baptists today are broad, diverse, free thinkers, independent voters, people of color, and sometimes, young, restless and reformed—not just the Bobby Baptist type. The bond that hold Southern Baptists together today is a common experience of having been “born again into the Kingdom of God,” a common belief in the BF&M 2000, and a common commitment to International Missions, Evangelism, Disciple Making and Church Planting.

Bobby Baptist’s commitment to “vote to protect LIFE” is a noble one and a commitment that I share. But my definition of “Life” is more expansive than Bobby’s. “LIFE” to me includes the three issues the ERLC addressed so ably and adequately, that Bobby has dismissed as being priority issues. Bobby reduces “LIFE” to life in the womb. Voting for Trump will not overturn abortion laws. If I were assured of that, I would have voted for Trump. Therefore, we can’t allow Bobby to be considered a “typical,” average, or representative Southern Baptist. Or else, we reduce what it means to be Southern Baptist to “rural,” White, Republicans and a single-issue voter—exclusively. And yes, Dr. Reynolds, “it is more complicated than” looking myopically at one issue—that has proven time and time again to not result in a legislative abolishment. Some of us will no longer vote exclusively on one issue. That may be what typical, average, rural Southern Baptists would do; but that’s fool hardy from my perspective giving equally as important “LIFE” issues to give consideration to regarding voting.

The Republican Party may be just using this one issue to garner evangelical votes with no real intent to ever outlaw abortions. The purpose and point of this article is to simply highlight the fact that there is no longer a typical, average, Southern Baptist. Bobby Baptist is too non-descriptive of current SBC demographic reality, to represent “typical” reality. Therefore, Dr. Reynolds, I plead with you to allow Bobby Baptist and “Othello Baptist” to dwell together in unity, bonded by a common commitment to God’s Kingdom and the BF&M 2000. Failure to do so marginalizes a multitude of Southern Baptists or reduces them to non-typical and below average and sets in place a “them” vs. “us” mentality.

Many “typical” Bobby Baptists feel exactly as the sentiments expressed by Bobby Baptist/Joe Blackmon in a “Baptist Identity” Blog—edited by Rick Patrick—regarding Baptists who vote Democrat:

“And as anyone know, good Christians don’t vote or support democrats.”

Many Bobby Baptists share Joe Blackmon’s erroneous, shallow, myopic, and unbiblical viewpoint. But may I introduce you to Othello Baptist, who may be an independent voter, or vote Republican or Democrat, depending on the candidate?

Who is “Othello Baptist”? “Othello Baptists” may support affirmative action, affordable health care, police brutality accountability, adequate safety net for the poor, racial equality and justice, equal rights and pay for women, unity and full inclusion/empowerment in the SBC for all persons. Othello wants SCOTUS justices appointed favorable to his positions on the above issues. Othello Baptist may be White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, older, younger, rural, suburban, urban, or inner city. Billy and Bobby Baptist have little to no regard for any of Othello Baptist’s issues. Bobby Baptist is concerned only about abortion and Supreme Court Justices. Othello Baptist values all people’s lives from the womb to the tomb.

Currently, Bobby does not want Othello to express his opinion about President Trump without repercussions.  Yet Bobby can rip anyone he chooses with no repercussions. Bobby and Othello need to figure out how both of them can sit at the same SBC table and both are welcomed and equal. Their different political views should not be political litmus tests for membership, leadership, or exclusion in the SBC. Bobby Baptist currently excludes Othello Baptist or forces apologies if he voices his views.

Barry Cook loves the Confederate Flag and sees it as a symbol of heritage, not hate. I deplore the Confederate Flag and see it as a symbol of treason against the United States and a celebration of White Supremacy. Nevertheless, Barry and I have genuine respect, appreciation and brotherly affirmation for each other as gospel-centered, genuine born-again believers, and fellow Southern Baptists. We will never agree on the Confederate Flag. But we do agree on the Gospel. And that’s the beauty and hope of the SBC that Barry Cook and I can belong to the same Convention, and cooperate for the advancement of the Kingdom. Barry may be Bobby Baptist, and I may be Othello Baptist, but together we are Kingdom Baptists. And that ought to be our focus, rather than Republican Politics, abortion, or Donald Trump. Let’s focus on the Kingdom. Let Russell Moore be Russell Moore. And let the ERLC carry out her mission without undue interference and distractions with baseless and unbiblical criticisms.

Bobby Baptist is typical of many Southern Baptists. He’s singularly focused on abortion with tunnel vision, but has little or no regard for providing a safety net for the poor; Affirmative Action for descendants of the slavery and the Jim Crow Era, who were economically and physically raped by the slave owners and their descendants; affordable health care for the masses; equal rights for women; and to aggressively investigate and hold accountable police persons who abuse and brutalize citizens. Bobby Baptist does not represent me; neither does he represent countless others.

 

PROPOSED RESOLUTION ON KINGDOM UNITY IN THE SBC AND THE NATION

WORKING DRAFT

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

I plan to present a “Resolution On Kingdom Unity In The SBC And The Nation” to the SBC June 2017 Phoenix Resolutions Committee that if accepted and adhered to will advance the Southern Baptist Convention toward the goal(s) of reconciliation, healing, unity, cross-cultural respect, appreciation for freedom of expression, and diversity of viewpoints; based on one’s convictions, conscious, cultural considerations, and more importantly—the Spirit of Christ. When the Southern Baptist Convention become one in the Spirit and be empowered by the Spirit—we will be the most potent Kingdom disciple-making movement in the history of the Christian Faith since the Book of Acts. I offer this resolution with the prayer that what I just declared will become reality; and this generation will see it in our lifetime.

I want this resolution to reflect the majority sentiments of all SBC messengers regardless of racial, regional, economic, educational, ideological bents, philosophical persuasions, political party orientation, or affiliations. I want the final product to be a statement of unity that all Southern Baptists can say “Amen” to. I know this seems like an impossible feat, but the SBC need healing and unity, beyond the ERLC—Prestonwood kerfuffle that hopefully has been resolved in recent days. The Graham-Moore controversy uncovered a political, philosophical, racial, and doctrinal divide that is not totally resolved by the much-needed recent reconciliation between the two of them.

If this resolution is passed, understood, believed and practiced—it could help to lead the SBC in experiencing what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the beloved community”—which is a greater sense of unity and bridging the gaps between the fault lines of all persons from all socioeconomic backgrounds. And from a biblical perspective, where there is evidence of unity, there is an increase in a greater spiritual harvest; and that’s our ultimate goal. Therefore, please offer criticism, critiques, suggested changes, etc. I thank you in advance for doing so. Here’s the proposed rough draft of the resolution. I’m also looking for co-contributors who are willing to attach their names as coauthors and/or contributors to the final draft that will be submitted.

PROPOSED RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize that convictional and demonstrable unity is essential to our mandate given by our Lord to evangelize and disciple every people group. Jesus prayed that His followers would walk in unity, so that the world would be convinced of His Incarnation (John 17:21); and

WHEREAS, we recognize in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention that our unity is centered around our Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God who is the Father of all (Ephesians 4:4-6); and

WHEREAS, we recognize in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention that our unity is not centered in any political party of any stripe; and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention recognize that there always has been and always will be a diversity of opinions on political parties, presidential candidates, policies and positions—but we will endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, undivided by secular politics; and

WHEREAS, the Bible extols the virtues, value and visual beauty and blessings of Kingdom unity (Psalm 133:1-3); and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize that a house divided against itself cannot stand; and

WHEREAS, our Lord Jesus prayed for unity among His followers (John 17:21); and

WHEREAS, God placed His stamp of approval on visual, verbal and vital unity in the Kingdom of God on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 5) by the outpouring of His Spirit and the promise to do it again in the last days (Acts 2:17); and

WHEREAS, the first Gentile congregation in the history of the faith demonstrated ethnic unity in leadership with spiritually gifted men from Africa, Asia and Europe listed as leaders in the Church at Antioch (Acts 13:1-2); and

WHEREAS, within the Kingdom of God and within the Southern Baptist Convention there is a recognition that God’s Kingdom rules over all (Psalms 103:19), and neither the Democratic nor Republican Parties represent the Kingdom of God, but the kingdoms of this world (John 18:36); and

WHEREAS, racial and ideological polarization has been increasing dramatically in America since the Carter-Reagan era—and some would argue as far back as the Kennedy-Nixon era—and continues through this present hour; and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize and joyfully accept our mandate to care for the “least among us”—we simultaneously allow for diversity of thought among our constituency as to what responsibility the federal government has as it relates to meeting the needs of the poor (II Corinthians 3:17); and

WHEREAS, within the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention there is unity in the Spirit surrounding biblical teaching regarding the common origin of the races of mankind (Acts 17:26); the equality of the races of mankind (Malachi 2:10); the fairness and favor of God toward all races of mankind (Acts 10:34); and the need to prophetically address biblical social and economic justice for all the races of mankind (Amos 5:24, Luke 4:16-21, Matthew 25:34-40, Ezekiel 16:49-50).  We believe that heaven will be comprised of people of every tribe, tongue, race and nation that have trusted the shed blood of Jesus as atonement for their sins (Revelation 5:19, 7:9); and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention there is unity in the Spirit surrounding The Biblical Command to Pray with Purity of Hearts and Hands for secular political leaders; and therefore, we gladly assume the responsibility and requirement to pray for President Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS, his family, and Cabinet; and

WHEREAS, within the Kingdom of God and within the Southern Baptist Convention there is a recognition that if one believes in the fundamentals of the faith and the Lordship of Christ, believers who vote with their freedom of conscience for either party or candidate should not be viewed as spiritually suspect or be rendered ineligible from serving in the life of the SBC, based on their voting patterns, party affiliation, or ideological views that do not conflict with God’s inerrant and infallible Word. The Southern Baptist Convention allows for diversity of thought on matters not clearly addressed by Jesus, not mandated in Scripture, or not addressed in the BF&M 2000; and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge, along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, historic discrimination and abuse of minorities; and therefore, and therefore, we encourage law enforcement officers to demonstrate respect and equal treatment toward all persons—regardless of their background—as it relates to police practices in law enforcement; and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge that there are citizens in our nation who view police persons with disdain and disrespect—the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention encourage all people of all backgrounds to hold police persons in high esteem and to respect and honor the necessary and life-threatening work that they do daily for the benefit of all American citizens. We condemn all police shootings by citizens as rebellious, defiant acts against the almighty God that police persons represent (Romans 13:4); and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention, we affirm marriage between one man and one woman; therefore we encourage President Trump and the Congress to proffer a constitutional amendment that places into law the traditional definition of marriage; and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention it is taught that God created male and female. Therefore, we commend President Trump for reversing President Obama’s Executive Order sanctioning transgender restrooms among school students; and

 WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention, we support the protection of innocent unborn life in the womb; and encourage the defunding of Planned Parenthood and commend President Donald Trump for defunding the Mexico policy; and

WHEREAS, in the Kingdom of God and the Southern Baptist Convention we recognize that the beauty of diversity within unity, often is accompanied with challenges, misunderstandings, suspicions, infighting and even sometimes temporal separation; and

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, THAT THE JUNE 2017 SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION GATHERING IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA, RESOLVE TO ENDEAVOR TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE “BOND OF PEACE” (EPHESIANS 4:3); RESPECT LEGITIMATE PHILOSOPHICAL, IDEOLOGICAL, POLITICAL PREFERENCES—CULTURAL AND “SHEEPFOLD” DIFFERENCES AMONG US—WITHOUT THOSE PREFERENCES AND DIFFERENCES BECOMING UNNECESSARILY DIVISIVE AND THE SOURCE OF THE BREAKING OF FELLOWSHIP AND REDUCING OR ESCROWING FUNDS EARMARKED FOR THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM.

A HILL ON WHICH [“NOT”] TO DIE

Biographical Reflections and Ruminations on the SBC

And

Responses to the Graham-Moore Controversy

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

At the conclusion of a recent Chapel service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on March 8th, I stood in line to shake Judge Paul Pressler’s hand—an iconic and venerated figure in Southern Baptist Convention life. Judge Pressler greeted me warmly, as he always does. I immediately noticed that he was visibly and emotionally shaken at my presence; and I soon discovered in our friendly, but brief, conversation the reason why. My presence reminded him of a not-so-pleasant experience for him that took place at the Annual Southern Baptist Convention that met in St. Louis this past June.

Let me explain. I was not present in St. Louis, but a resolution that I submitted regarding the Confederate Flag generated much discussion and diverse opinions. Thankfully, the resolution overwhelmingly passed, and that action documented and evidenced a major turning point and quantum step forward regarding race relations and biblical righteousness in the SBC. It brought hope and encouragement to many American Americans in the SBC and unity to the entire Convention. However, due to parliamentary procedures and convention-established protocol, Judge Pressler was not permitted to address the Confederate Flag Resolution; and that decision may impact his desire to attend future SBC Annual Meetings. Not being allowed to address the Confederate Flag Resolution on the floor of the Annual Convention inflicted a deep wound or was received as one—on Judge Pressler that remains. Not being allowed to speak on the floor was the roots and fruit of Judge Pressler’s lingering rage and contemplation of never returning to a SBC Annual gathering. It was not the fact that I submitted the resolution that caused the rage. Our relationship and friendship remains intact. Not being able to speak on the floor of the Convention caused the rage.

I left our conversation with heartfelt identification with Judge Pressler’s pain, over feeling rejected because of a sense that my (our) freedom to speak was censured—rightly or wrongly—in different contexts—by an SBC official—on a SBC platform. We both felt entitled in our perspective forums to say what we wanted to say and what I did have an opportunity to say; but we were both publically censured, and we both felt rejected. Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, censured a sermon that I preached in Chapel in August 2006, that appealed to the SBC to not restrict the private prayers of IMB missionaries. Dr. Patterson favored the restriction of the private prayers of IMB missionaries. Dr. Patterson and I enjoy a relationship today not impacted by his decision to remove my message from the Seminary Library and release a statement that essentially denounced my Chapel sermon. I will go down in history as the only Chapel speaker in SWBTS history whose sermon was publically denounced. Yet, we have a mutually respectful and friendly relationship because of our shared Great Commission goals.

Therefore, I could feel Judge Pressler’s pain as I left his presence, weeping with him. I obviously disagree with his position on the issue. However, I’ve always loved, admired and appreciated Judge Pressler. Our personalities, convictions, and willingness to fight for what we believe to the bitter end, are similar. Nevertheless, the resolution passed without Judge Pressler being allowed to speak to it. I deeply regret that a decorated Southern Baptist patriarch, Christian soldier and aged sage was wounded in the process. Again, I share his pain, in spite of our different positions on the issue.

The passing of the Confederate Flag Resolution stands second only to the election of Dr. Fred Luter as President of the SBC, as the pinnacle signature moment in SBC history, regarding a statement on racial unity, healing and reconciliation. Judge Pressler’s legacy may have suffered damage had he spoken his sincere, valid and innocuous reasons for opposing the resolution. His speaking would have also resulted in generating huge, negative publicity for the SBC, based on the content of his speech and his emotional outrage toward the resolution.  A SBC church planter that my church sponsored was seated on the floor of the Convention and sent me a text while Judge Pressler was standing on the floor waiting to speak, describing “a guy screaming because he is upset about it” [The Confederate Flag Resolution]. This young church planter didn’t recognize Judge Paul Pressler’s face; but I was watching on live stream and immediately knew who this was “screaming” because he was upset about the Flag resolution and/or not being able to speak. For that reason I’m grateful that circumstances didn’t allow him to speak. But my heart bleeds that the Southern Baptist Convention is filled with tension, wounds, division, uncertainty and distrust over a plethora of issues—that include, but not limited to: the ever simmering Traditionalist/Calvinist debate; the Cooperative Program/Prestonwood/ERLC/Trump debate; the residual divisions over the IMB baptismal/tongues policies; and the Confederate Flag Resolution debate.

Our Convention needs healing and a baptism of unity. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I pray that Judge Pressler’s heart is healed and love for attending the SBC Annual Meeting will return soon. We don’t need to leave any Southern Baptists behind—especially one with Judge Pressler’s illustrious history, as the father and architect of the much needed Conservative Resurgence in the SBC. Because of his historic role in restoring, systematizing, and mainstreaming the theological foundation of biblical inerrancy throughout SBC life, Judge Pressler is a celebrated figure among those of us who appreciate the Conservative Resurgence. Biblical Inerrancy was/is “A Hill on Which to Die” (which is the title of the book written by Judge Pressler detailing the inerrancy battle in the SBC).  The Confederate Flag Resolution was/is not “A Hill on Which to Die.”

Neither is an alignment with and official sanctioning of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party “A Hill on Which to Die.” I join with my President, Pastor Byron Day, of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention in appealing for unity in the life of our Convention. Although I’m unsure of whom the target audience might have been, but I concur with a recent tweet by my friend Bob Roberts: “mixing the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of man always leads to a fake kingdom.” The SBC will morph into a “fake kingdom” if they continue this horrid love affair and identification with the Republican Party, particularly while Donald Trump is President.

Tony Evans is renowned for saying, “God is not riding the backs of donkeys or elephants. He doesn’t take sides, He takes over.” God is neither Republican nor Democrat. It would be a travesty for our Convention to make a decision that would be widely and rightfully interpreted as aligning us with the Republican Party. It would be equally unwise and unholy to align the SBC with the Democratic Party. We must always, at all times, on all matters adopt biblical positions on issues that align us with the Kingdom of God and not political parties of this world (John 18:36). The SBC should hammer out a biblical position on all issues; but never should we be branded or identified with either party. We must speak prophetically to both.

We must find a way to come together under one tent at one time, in spite of our various and sundry views on a multitude of issues. We must gather under the banner of Jesus, the Christ and affirm our unity and belief in One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Hope, One Calling and One God, who is the Father of All.

I am hopeful for the SBC. The following statement will sound arrogant and prideful, but I believe it. The SBC is the only denomination because of its current racial diversity and theological orthodoxy that I believe is primed and pumped to be a conduit that God will use to bring revival to our nation again. But there are a few rough edges, yet, for God to knock off in the SBC before He can use our denomination to the fullest extent.

Somehow the SBC has to figure out a way for  a patriarchal and yet-needed figure, as Judge Pressler, who opposed the Confederate Flag Resolution—to work side-by-side in harmony and mutual respect and love with Kyle J. Howard—a young African-American Church Planter and Southern Seminary graduate who is excited about the Confederate Flag Resolution passing, yet troubled and baffled by the SBC love affair and duplicity related to President Donald Trump; as are many African-American SBC constituents.

Kyle J. Howard: “…As an African American church planter in the SBC, I wept and rejoiced at last year’s convention as the denomination denounced the confederate flag. Within a year, it went from denouncing racism to embracing a white nationalist who is also clearly a racist to anyone with ears to hear. I am disappointed in the SBC but also not surprised. I am a year out or so from planting, I will most likely not plant with NAMB at this point.” (Kyle Howard’s reply on Brent Hobb’s comment on a Facebook post; https://www.facebook.com/brent.hobbs)

The simple point and purpose of this article is to plead for unity in our Convention and to make sure that the SBC understand that alignment with the Republican Party is not “A Hill On Which To Die.” My prayer for Frank Page is that God will give him the grace to orchestrate these diverse views and opposing factions toward a common good. Each person must give up their right to be right and bury the hatchet for the advancement of the Kingdom. The beauty of the SBC is that a Judge Pressler and Kyle Howard belong to the same Convention. The challenge of the SBC is that both men are quite wounded at the moment for obviously different reasons. It is not easy to administrate diversity in the most diverse evangelical denomination on the planet. Again, Frank Page needs our prayers.

How can a Judge Pressler and a Kyle Howard love each other and—in spite of their different positions on The Confederate Flag and work together in harmony in the same Baptist Convention? How can a Paige Patterson and Dwight McKissic love each other and—in spite of our differences over the biblical legitimacy of praying in tongues in private, and the freedom that should be allowed IMB missionaries to pray in private as led and gifted by the Spirit—and yet work together in harmony in the same Baptist Convention to advance the Kingdom of God? I tell you how: by focusing on the Kingdom of God and prioritizing His Kingdom over our political and theological differences. If our unity is centered in the Kingdom of God and not our culture, politics and secondary and tertiary theology outside of the BF&M 2000—we will learn to live with our differences and love each other through them. The Parable of the Dragnet (Matthew 13:47-50) recognizes that there will be diversity in God’s Kingdom. How can Frank Page, President Steve Gaines, the Executive Committee of the SBC, or anyone else for that matter—manage the diversity in the Southern Baptist Convention? The answer to that question may be found in a seldom taught Parable of The Kingdom:

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

The point of the parable is to allow diversity that does not contradict the Scripture—to coexist in harmony until “the end of the age” and then “the angels will come forth and do the separating.” Until then we must allow for diversity within our unity, while we all remain committed to God’s Kingdom. Our commitment to World Evangelism and Discipleship requires that we remain committed in spite of our differences.

In the SBC, there are “gathered some of every kind.” We must learn to live together in harmony to advance God’s Kingdom in spite of our differences. Jesus told us His Kingdom would constitute diversity—“gathered some of every kind.” That could be the SBC’s greatest asset. Diversity and differences organically breed discontent and frustration. And that’s what we are currently experiencing. To remain committed to the SBC, you have to learn to endure and overcome the adversity that often accompanies diversity. But that’s a part of life in the Kingdom.

I understand Judge Pressler’s and Kyle Howard’s frustrations. I resigned from the Trustee Board at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary overwhelmed with my frustrations. But I remained committed to “the Southern Baptist Kingdom” and will continue to do so, as long as they remain committed to the King of Kings and not the Republican Party.

I shall forever be grateful to Frank Page, because when I felt wounded and rejected by the SBC for daring to take literally I Corinthians 14:2, and believe that the same God that Paul prayed to in a language that God understood, but not men—was yet moving in the Body of Christ—among men and sovereignly bestowing gifts to His body as He wills; it was Dr. Frank Page who publically addressed the issue in a redemptive, unifying manner:

“Page cited 1 Corinthians 14 as a passage which may be interpreted to permit a private prayer language, while noting that he does not personally have a private prayer language.” (Frank Page discusses SBC theological issues by James A. Smith Sr./Florida Baptist Witness)

“Churches must deal with charismatic issues and theology as a part of their own autonomous structure. I think that many charismatics function well within traditional Southern Baptist churches. In fact, we have several in our church. Some are more vocal and sometimes disruptive. Churches must deal with those kinds of attitudes on a case by case basis. Trustee bodies must do the same.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwight_McKissic#Position_on_speaking_in_tongues)

I was blessed by his statements and felt there was room in the SBC for a Baptist with my beliefs, based on Page’s words. Therefore, I remained in the SBC, and I’m glad I did. It was courageous and risky for Dr. Page to make the above statements at the time he made them, because they were viewed as supportive or sympathetic toward me and my position on the issue. Frank Page’s comments were in support of the principle of upholding unity in the midst of our diversity. His goal was not so much to support me personally. But I received his words as affirmation, because I was so deeply wounded. His words were like a balm in Gilead. A part from my relationship with God, it was Frank Page’s words that gave me the strength and identification to remain Southern Baptist. However, the ill treatment of Russell Moore has caused many African American Southern Baptists to ask the question: Should we remain Southern Baptists?

In 2015, Dr. David Platt led the IMB to change their policies that directly contradicted I Corinthians 14:2, and I greatly rejoice to see the SBC return to the pre-2005 policies that were aligned with the Word of God. I’m hopeful that under the leadership of Dr. Page unity can be restored to the SBC. Cessationism was/is not “A Hill on which to Die” in the SBC, and I’m grateful that Frank Page and David Platt would not let the SBC die on such a molehill. I was encouraged listening to David Platt preach a recorded sermon affirming all of the spiritual gifts and interpreting I Corinthians 14, similar, if not identical to how I interpret it. When Platt led the policy change at IMB, it was consistent with sermons he’d preached from his pulpit before ever being elected President of the IMB. Matt Chandler, an increasingly popular SBC pastor, is also on record affirming all the gifts of the Spirit, and an interpretation and application of the controversial tongues passages similar to the way I interpret them. Thank God that the SBC now allows diversity on the praying in tongues in private issue. Again, that was/is not “A Hill On Which [the SBC] Should Die.” The IMB 2015 policy reversal decision, inadvertently affirmed my August 2006 Chapel sermon at SWBTS that pleaded for freedom regarding the missionaries’ private prayers.

Judge Pressler feels wounded by the SBC just as I felt when the sermon I preached during Chapel at Southwestern was censured, simply because I echoed the theology of Jack McGorman, Matt Chandler, Jack Gray, Jack Taylor, David Platt and Joyce Rogers, Dr. Adrian Rogers’ widow (all Southern Baptists) on spiritual gifts and praying in tongues in private that the IMB later affirmed. Yet, I’ve had to—long time ago—let go of my wounded feelings for Kingdom unity. I pray Judge Pressler can do the same. When you’re right, time has a way of vindicating you. In the meantime, in the Kingdom, you often have to learn to live with diverse views and people, who sometimes think and believe different from you on non-essential matters.

Oxtails are a delicacy in most African American homes in the South. Many White Southerners have never heard of or eaten oxtails. While serving as a guest speaker in my pulpit a few years ago, I invited Frank Page and several SBC Anglo and African-American Pastors to my home for dinner. We had a great time of fellowship. Mostly all attendees ate oxtails that night, except Frank Page. I forgive him for not eating oxtails with the Gentiles that night. J But what a joy it has been to watch his ability to serve as President of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, in the midst of as much division and disunity over various issues more so than I’ve ever seen in my almost 40-year history with the SBC, including during the days of the inerrancy battle. Dr. Page has a tough job. He needs our prayers.

WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITH DIVERSITY IN THE SBC, OR SHE WILL DIE A SLOW DEATH. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” We must all pray for Frank Page because somewhere in his job description, he’s required to bring all of those warring factions together. Wouldn’t it be great if one night in the Phoenix 2017 Annual Meeting be declared “Unity Night,” and all opposing factions drop their swords and come together to seek God’s face, crying out for unity.

Ironically, Russell Moore and I debated the biblical legitimacy of praying in tongues in private at the SBC Annual Meeting in June 2007. Moore argued cessationist theology. I argued continuationist theology. But, I believe that was the day we formed a certain level of friendship. While engaged in independent study at Southern Seminary, many months later following our debate, Russell Moore learned I was on campus in the library; he sought me out, extended a hearty welcome, ordered library staff to make all reference resources available to me, although I was not a Southern Student, and genuinely affirmed brotherhood and love toward me, although we hold diametrically opposing views on spiritual gifts. He allowed a spirit of love and unity to triumph over our theological differences. Russell Moore treated me as a brother in Christ and a fellow Southern Baptist, rather than with a John MacArthur spirit that says I represent “Strange Fire” and should be disfellowshipped. Thank God that Southern Baptists have rejected the MacArthur “Strange Fire” cessationist theology as a ruling policy theology position in SBC life. We need more of Russell Moore’s and Frank Page’s unity spirit (Ephesians 4:3) in the SBC, and our divisions would soon be healed.

I had no million dollars to threaten withholding from the SBC. Frank Page’s support for me was based on the principle of Christian unity and respect for the “Baptist Faith and Message 2000,” that I did not violate in my sermon that was censured at SWBTS in 2006. In many ways I’ve been marginalized in SBC life since then. But I remain committed for Kingdom purposes.

Republicanism, Cessationism, Confederate Flag Resolutions and Calvinism are not “Hills On Which to Die.” Biblical inerrancy, The Person, The Work, and Deity of Jesus Christ and the equality, dignity, and mutual respect of all races of mankind are “hills on which Baptists must be willing to die.” Frank Page and Russell Moore have proven to be Southern Baptists who are willing to die on those hills, and therein lay my hope for the future of the SBC.

My hope for the SBC can be summed up in the words of the great hymn:

“My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;

I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, [Southern Baptists should] stand;

All other ground is sinking sand; All other ground is sinking sand.”

It is in this Hope—Christ—that ultimately the lions and the lambs will one day lie down together. Certainly Russell Moore and Jack Graham—because of their common hope in Christ—ought to be able to peacefully resolve this matter.

Finally, I close with lengthy and various quotes gleaned from three to four comment streams that truly reveal and provide hope and encouragement, and yes, also some disappointments with the current debate in the SBC. Frank Page and Russell Moore are so desperately needed in the SBC, because they represent the future as opposed to the past. If the SBC—in spite of our many differences—continue to refuse to die on either of these mole hills that currently confront us—our future is bright and prosperous. We must continue to find a way to let unity and love triumph over our differences. I’m believing God that the Graham-Moore debate will soon heal. It is certainly not a hill on which to die.

Quote by Chad Edgington:

Chad Edgington says

March 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

“The ‘referendum’ on Dr. Moore is really a choice between the past and the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. No doubt there are wonderful things about our collective past, but it’s also full of shameful, hurtful things. In Dr. Moore’s leadership we see the fruit of corporate repentance, but in his opposition we see a hanging-on to old attitudes that aren’t helpful.”

Additional significant quotes follow:

Louie Thinktank Gibbs Dr. Russell Moore‘s comments expose the deep rooted bigotry and comfortably arrogant position of many SBC pastors and members. To hear both the under and overtones of his critics is not only disheartening and sad, but spits in the face and laughs at those of us within the sometimes one sided denom, hopeless. I already have a tough time reconciling much of what I see, but now even more. God be with us!” (Comment from https://www.facebook.com/brent.hobbs)

arvan campbell says: (http://joinnoba.com/moore/);

December 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

“Perhaps the greatest weakness of the SBC is its inability to respect those who they do not agree with. That lack of respect also meant not working with someone even when you agree on many other things. The SBC seem to have a [mine] way or the highway attitude. Over the last 20 years, the SBC while down in attendance, baptisms, and the lack of diversity in their Agencies, has increased each year in the political arena. The SBC emphasizes its Great Commission status. Less so, is the SBC talking about the Great Commandment which emphasizes love for our brothers and sisters. Most of the “world” is made up of brown people. The SBC needs more Dr. Moores not less if we are going to win the “world” for Christ.” (“Hard-Pressed But Not Beaten: A Word of Support for Dr. Russell Moore and the ERLC”)

Jason Gray says (http://sbcvoices.com/important-statements-of-support-for-russell-moore/#comments)

March 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm

“I have known Dr. Moore personally for about 15 years, and I cannot think of a person more fit for the position he currently holds.

The task of ERLC President means that he will at time take positions and voice concerns that will be at odds with some segments of the SBC populace. In fact, at some point, he may offend and be at odds with everyone in the SBC. I do not always agree with the positions he takes, but I am always challenged to re-evaluate why I believe what I do. IMO, that is precisely what he is supposed to do.

That is why I support Dr. Moore.

The fact that people are mad that he isn’t just an echo chamber of their beliefs is both extremely arrogant and a denial of the task he was called to do at the ERLC. If you want to disagree with him, do so. If you want to publicly respond to his comments, do so. But to try and leverage political power and money in the way we are seeing is shameful, if not sinful.

I encourage SBC leaders and pastors to recognize differences and to not try and force a monolithic approach to politics on the SBC. The attempt to do so will trade our future and growing diversity in exchange for a meager amount of money in the present. That would be disastrous. May we not leverage our future as a convention and our Gospel witness over a politician and policy disagreement.”

Craig Eastman says:

March 7, 2017 at 10:35 am

I am white, but love biblical social justice for the poor and minorities, because they are God’s positions and commandments. I am licensed and ordained to preach by a large Southern Baptist Church, and have been active in jail and juvenile detention ministries for 18 years. Sadly, I have found white conservative evangelicals in the pews (on average as a whole) to actually hate the poor and minorities, based on their ubiquitous ugly Facebook memes and comments in response to my social justice posts, and their own posts on their own Facebook pages, even well before the recent election cycle. I am about done with it. If even one major black church finds it necessary to leave the SBC over this or any other issue connected to different paradigms on race matters, I will have no choice but to also withdraw from the convention. God’s word is clear about racial justice issues, and about how we are to work for racial justice (Isaiah 10:1-3, Isaiah 1:17, Proverbs 31:8-9, Micah 6:8, and on and on), and about our attitudes toward, and our treatment of the poor. But many Southern Baptist preachers (e.g., Dr. Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, and others) are twisting the scriptures to justify unbiblical and covetous paradigms in the pews toward the poor (e.g., falsely teaching that government has no biblical role in fighting poverty). God is not at all pleased with the very unholy marriage between the white conservative ‘evangelical’ church and the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Theologians and imminent preachers like Reinhold Niebuhr, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Rev. Billy Graham have been warning against that for a century now. The attitudes and actions in the white conservative evangelical church have forsaken our Great Commission, and are causing the world to flee from Christians. Christ, and from the church. They have set the cause of Christ back at least 100 years. The world knows a hate group and a voting block weaponized against the poor and minorities when it sees one. I pray rhea SBC will repent, but fear that it won’t, especially if strong exhortation towards racial justice is silenced from the pulpits (not that there is more than a scintilla of it emanating therefrom in the first place). The church should be in the forefront of the fight against racially disparate mass-incarceration, minority voter suppression, and our nation’s 44,000 “Second Prison Laws,” but instead, we aren’t even a taillight, but have chosen to not speak up or lift a finger. And 81% voted for the Party that is actively working to suppress the minority vote. That’s all big-time sin, and God will hold the white Southern Baptist Church and its members and voters accountable for their oppression of the poor and minorities He loves so dearly.”

Scott Gordon says:

March 6, 2017 at 8:29 am

Brent,

I read Dwight’s post when I saw it on Facebook and had the same thought you did…we all need to read this thoughtfully trying to put ourselves in Dwight’s shoes. Over the past couple of years, my eyes have been opened to just how skewed my political thinking had been the point of advocating a “to be a good Christian, Southern Baptist you better be a card-carrying Republican.” I now see that is the antithesis of Kingdom-minded thinking.

Dwight,

Thank you for posting your thoughts on this. I appreciate your candor and conviction. You are a great brother in Christ.”

Matt Gregory says:

March 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Pastor Dwight McKissic, I agree wholeheartedly with your thorough assessment and conclusions. I am a white pastor who was relieved to hear Dr. Moore speak out and challenge the unholy alliance the SBC has often had with the Republican Party. Such an alliance has hurt our credibility and diverted our focus and commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus. If this “investigation” concludes without an affirmation of Dr. Moore, there will be a brutally chilling effect throughout SBC churches – black and white. I am standing with you!

Various comments from https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com:

Berrien Sutton Says:
March 4, 2017 at 2:38 pm e

History will show that Russell Moore and his surrogates are liberal activists
in the fast lane of political correctness . Moore uses his position to advance his elitist agenda. Moore would be better suited for an academic position in a liberal university where he would be amongst his friends who believe the little people in the SBC are “deplorables” and weak minded. We don’t need Moore to tell us who to vote for or what to believe.

Velma Brooks Says:

March 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Black churches need to get out of this organization. Please! Immediately. Jesus has set us free from oppression. Why would you place your congregation under the thumb of this organization?

Facebook Comment Stream – https://www.facebook.com/william.mckissic.1/posts;

Gerald Britt

Gerald Britt Dr. McKissic, I’m sure you have your reasons for affiliating with the SBC. Let me just say, I read halfway through and stopped. It’s just ONE of the reasons I never have wanted to be identified as a ‘Southern Baptist’…GOOD GRIEF! (March 4 at 7:39pm)

Richard Wingfield

Richard Wingfield IN other words, Dr. McKissic, nothing has really changed. (March 4 at 7:41pm)

Bob Cleveland

Bob Cleveland If the EC examines and criticizes Dr. Moore, I could easily consider leaving the SBC. They would really have become a group with which I would not want to be identified. I also note that I also quit the Rotary Club some years ago, for a similarly moral reason. (March 4,7:47pm)

Bob Cleveland And lest I be negligent in the obvious, yours is an excellent dissertation on the facts of the situation. (March 4 at 8:15pm)

Crystal Mullins

Crystal Mullins Jack Graham lost all credibility with me when he so quickly attached himself and the endorsement of the church to Trump’s candidacy. At the very least, he has and continues to display an egregious conflict of interest. The withholding of funds in this scenario only lends evidentiary support to same. (March 4 at 7:55pm)

Michael Linton

Michael Linton Know that as an SBC pastor, and newly elected member of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board, I will do all I can to end this ridiculous ‘investigation’ of the ERLC and Russell Moore by the LBC. I voted against it when it came up at the annual meeting in November, and I will fight it in the board meetings. (March 4 at 8:03pm)

Michael Linton I also did not vote for Trump, was very vocal about it, decried the SBC sleeping with the Republican Party, and thought Moore’s comments were spot-on. I am also EXTREMELY conservative, have voted Republican in every election in which I’ve voted, and could not vote for either the Democrat or the Republican in this presidential race.

(March 4 at 8:07pm)

Michael Linton Please allow me to BEG minority churches to continue to join and partner with the SBC. A reformation within the Convention is critical to our health, and it is more easily achieved from within than without. We need a strong, multi-ethnic, multiracial voice from WITHIN to work and cry and pray for the change that is necessary. From without, we’re merely throwing stones from a glass house, but from within, we can overhaul and remodel the very structure of the organization.
I face a similar situation in my church now. I have young people that want dramatic change, but are frustrated enough with the snail-like pace that is necessary right now that they want to leave. I understand the frustration. But I need those young people beside me as tangible and vocal evidence of the need for change. I need them to help lead the charge.
Those of us who want to see the needed change in our Convention happen need those beside us who benefit most from the change and are living, breathing examples of why change MUST happen.
Please, join us; don’t leave us. We need you in so many ways.

March 5, 3:37pm

Michael Linton 1. The body of Christ needs each member
2. The Southern Baptist Convention is stronger with diversity
3. Each of us has much we can learn from the other
4. A diversity of voices creates a more robust and effective ministry
5. The evil of racism is best fought by a unity of diversity
6. Unity in diversity, especially in crisis, is a powerful agent of change in stubborn or reluctant hearts
I could come up with more, but our evening service is about to start. I hope this will suffice for now. March 5 at 5:45pm

John L. Byrd Sounds like a Southern Baptist Convention discussion held in 1845, March 5 at 8:45am

Wilson Laura Green William Dwight McKissic Sr., I 100% fully agree. I was in the “never Trump” camp because of his past immorality. Al Mohler and Russell Moore championed this thought. As you clearly stated our membership in the kingdom supersedes any earthly, temporal affiliation. I support only democrats or republicans based on their closeness to Biblical principles. Thank you for your articulate response. God bless you brother.

March 5 at 10:31am

Jennifer Hardy Lusher Why does there need to be a “solution?”
What exactly has been done to that needs to solve?
Specifically and most directly considering Scripture. What has Russell Moore done that conflicts or rejects biblical standards?
I would like to show my cards and say I can’t find one thing he’s done…
If nothing then can’t we just call a spade a spade? March 6 at 6:18pm

Gerry West The presence and opinions of black evangelicals needs to be a part of all large and influential organizations such as the SBC but not just to affiliate with the culture and beliefs but we should be there to serve as a redemptive agent in shaping the application of biblical doctrine and kingdom minded theology. March 5 at 3:44am

Patricia Gray SBC sounds like the arm of the RNC. March 5 at 10:41am

Matt Brady Dwight, The issues with Dr. Moore’s leadership go far beyond the latest presidential election. Not all of Dr. Moore’s detractors were Trump supporters, neither are all, or probably any, of those detractors racists. Some were dissatisfied with Dr. Moore’s leadership long before the Presidential race ever began, and their dissatisfaction has nothing to do with racial issues. Further, I read the comment stream that you quote in your post. I wish I could find that conversation and link to it, because I believe you misrepresented the conversation and your comment that Scot was responding to concerning leaving the SBC. If you want to link back to it, that would be great. Perhaps you can refresh my memory, but my recollection of that conversation is very different. March 5 at 1:50am

Patricia A. Ashley Thank you Dr. McKissic for the courage to speak the truth. The church is late on addressing this subject in an honest manner. I was also blessed by many of the comments to your article. It has always been my belief that racism exist to the degree that it does because of the church.
We (the church) are the solution but if we are ignorant, or indifferent then we are impotent. I am glad to see now that there is real dialogue. I pray that hearts will hear the voice of the biblical Jesus and not the religious SBC Jesus. March 5 at 3:46am

Laurence Robinson Withholding funds from someone or a group that is not in agreement with another is the new way Satan is using to cause division or have someone sellout on their beliefs. The Federal Government and corporate entities like the NFL does it against the states, and unfortunately so does large financial contributors influence what is preached in a lot of churches. Because the preacher is afraid to lose financial contributions. It is time for the people of God to practice what God commands in Amos 5:23-24. March 5 at 12:22am

Barry Lyons Why are Black pastors even IN the SBC again???

March 4 at 11:32pm

Lee Kessee Dr. Mckissic,
I have just read your piece on what’s being contemplated by your SBC constituency. It seems to me that instead of raising the bar to one more level…i.e. whether Moore is investigated or not…to decide whether you should pack your bags and leave, you have cited several reasons already for doing so. When people show you who they really are, believe them. And…my friend, read through what you wrote again and see all of the ways you listed that the SBC shows you who they are. March 4 at 11:57pm

Barry Cook I said, Bro. McKissic, when the ban was placed on the Confederate Flag was issued, the alienation would begin, and political correctness would be the result. We are not racist, and grow weary of the inferences. How can one deny the effect Mike Pence, Dr. Carson, Scott Pruitt, Jeff Sessions and other openly evangelical Christians will have. That, at this point, is more than enough to have supported Trump and to support him now. March 4 at 10:10pm

Warren H. Stewart Sr. William Dwight McKissic Sr., Stand on the wall, prophet!
I worked with Land when I was Chair of the National Immigration Forum in DC. Found him to be a breath of fresh air on immigration.
I believe Moore worked with the Forum also with its “Bibles, Badges and Business” endeavor.
Without a doubt, 81% White Evangelicals voting for Trump spoke loudly and clearly to African-American Evangelicals like us. And the message is deafening that “Make America Great Again” really means “Make America White Again”. Moreover, the WEs set aside the Bible and all the family morals they claim to advocate and voted for a megomaniacal, profane, arrogant, narcissistic, dangerous man who is an insult to the Christian faith and who in less than two months is leading our nation down dark, decadent path of self-destruction.
Lastly, on my birthday last December, I registered as an Independent because neither Democrats or Republicans advocate the holistic Biblical values by which I leave. No longer will I be taken for granted by Democrats and ignored by Republicans.
Enough said. Keep the faith and be encouraged!

Jay Camp Dr. McKissic –
I do not travel in SBC circles and had never heard of you until today. That being said, let me lend whatever aid and comfort I can to your article as it was posted. The SBC MUST rid itself of its marriage to the GOP if it intends to communicate the Gospel and to model Christian theology and practice to a world that is in need.
Grace and Peace to you, sir!

Ryan Rice Sr.

Ryan Rice Sr. Thankful for this post pastor William Dwight McKissic Sr. I think this is a part of the issue that is not being discussed. The surge of many minorities in SBC life has come from church planting as well. Sad to say that the attitude of pack your bags and leave is now invading the kingdom of God.

Tim Ahlen

Tim Ahlen Simply on the basis of Russell Moore’s stance on religious liberty for all Americans, he’s got my support. His statements about certain SBC leaders sleeping with Trump and the Republican Party serve to cement my support. They are a disgrace to the Kingdom for selling their birthright for a mess of political pottage. And I also am a conservative who did not vote for either Trump or Clinton.

THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION’S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE RUSSELL MOORE HAS HUGE IMPLICATIONS FOR BLACK SBC CHURCHES

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The Prestonwood Baptist Church of Plano, TX, (a Dallas suburb) led by Dr. Jack Graham, a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, has determined to escrow funds totaling $1 million, that were previously designated for the Cooperative Program—the premier funding mechanism of the Southern Baptist Convention’s agencies— because of positions and policies taken by Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Other predominantly White Southern Baptist Churches are also threatening to withhold Cooperative Program funds surrounding public positions taken by Russell Moore and the ERLC.

Consequently, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has decided to investigate and explore the depths of why some churches aren’t giving and the best way to address the whole matter. They want to keep churches giving to the Cooperative Program while seeking a peaceful solution to the reactions to Russell Moore’s policies and position. Because of the Executive Committee’s approach to resolving this matter comprehensively, inevitably, the investigation will require determining the compatibility of Moore’s statements with the values, beliefs, and convictions of Southern Baptists.

Additionally, the Louisiana Baptist Convention has called for an investigation specifically targeting Dr. Moore. They are hostile toward Dr. Moore and would like to see him gone. Dr. Fred Luter, the first African-American President of the Southern Baptist Convention, who pastors the largest Southern Baptist Convention church in Louisiana, and Pastor David Crosby of First Baptist New Orleans have signed a statement vigorously dissenting to the Louisiana Convention’s call for an investigation of Dr. Moore.

The outcome of this investigation will speak volumes to Black Southern Baptist Convention Churches as to whether or not any church leader or entity head who publically, critically evaluate President Donald Trump will be welcome in the Southern Baptist Convention and eligible to serve in any and all levels of denominational life.

If Russell Moore cannot give a candid evaluation of Donald Trump without being publically humiliated and without White Churches withdrawing and threatening to withdraw funds, and the Southern Baptist Convention and a state affiliate, launching an investigation, I pity the Black SBC officeholder who would dare whisper a word of disagreement on a Trump statement or action.

Before increasing Cooperative Program gifts or affiliating with the Southern Baptist Convention, Black Baptist Churches may want to consider awaiting the Executive Committee’s investigation results regarding Russell Moore. Why am I singling out Black Churches to take a cautionary attitude toward supporting the Cooperative Program pending the outcome of this investigation? Why am I encouraging Black Baptist Churches who are considering affiliating with the Southern Baptist Convention to take a probative and aggressive approach to understanding the dynamics, roots, results and implications of the investigation before affiliating?

Estimates are over 80 percent of White evangelicals supported presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Russell Moore did not support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump for President. In keeping with his responsibilities as the designated prophetic voice to Southern Baptists and the nation on ethics issues, Moore gave critical, ethical evaluations of both candidates. However, it was his critique of Trump that has caused a tremendous backlash that appears to be potentially as divisive as the “inerrancy battle” in SBC life that birth the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and consequently tremendously weakened the numerical, financial, and more importantly, the missionary strength of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The implications of such an investigation are clear, and the outcome will speak volumes to Black Southern Baptist Churches, and the Convention as a whole. History has proven that God often places prophetic voices in a community to lovingly and authoritatively challenge the powers-that-be on controversial moral, ethical, spiritual and political concerns.

Why such huge implications for Blacks in the Southern Baptist Convention? It is because the vast majority of Black Southern Baptist Convention Church leaders and pastors and future potential entity heads are not Trump-leaning, blindly loyal Republican voters. The majority of Black Baptist Church leaders would agree with Moore’s assessment of Trump, wholeheartedly. Therein lies the potential for the outcome of this investigation to be tremendously and racially polarizing.

There has never been a minority entity head in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention. Until the advent of Frank Page in recent years as President of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the highest ranking Black person working on staff at the seven-story Southern Baptist Convention Executive Building in Nashville, TN, was the head custodian.

If the Executive Committee’s investigation results in reprimanding, marginalizing, or firing Russell Moore—the message being sent is strict adherence to Republican Party loyalty is absolutely necessary to be elected as an entity head and to maintain one’s position in SBC organizational life. The implications of the Executive Committee’s investigative report is staggering and could be tantamount to an earthquake in the Convention. If Moore is marginalized or fired, 80-90 percent of Southern Baptist Black Churches who share Moore’s views on President Trump, would also simultaneously feel as if their political convictions regarding the current President of the United States would also be officially reprimanded, rejected and rebuked by the Southern Baptist Convention. Unintended consequences as a result of this shortsighted investigative decision should be weighed by the Executive Committee before they render a verdict. The attempt to mute a respected voice amongst us is plainly a step in the wrong direction.

The investigation was triggered because Prestonwood Church in Dallas announced on February 16 that it was escrowing $1 million in Cooperative Program funds. Mike Buster, Executive Pastor for Prestonwood, explained why:

“various significant positions taken by the leadership of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission that do not reflect the beliefs and values of many in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

A Southern Baptist layman and attorney in private practice, sums up the roots of the Moore controversy in a comment stream at SBC Voices (http://sbcvoices.com/prestonwood-and-the-erlc-the-ec-responds/) (He blogs using the name “Louis”):

“This goes beyond last year’s election. It also involves ERLC initiatives on things such as immigration and race. Sometimes, as on immigration, there are real differences of opinion. The ERLC has gone on record as having a very convictional view of the immigration issue. I suspect that position and the policy prescription advocated by the ERLC is very different than most common folks in the SBC. On that issue, and others, I suspect the ERLC is going to have to pull back.”

“I believe that Dr. Moore and the ERLC may handle racial issues differently from some Southern Baptist churches. I believe that is a matter of strategy and emphasis. I do not believe that all SBC churches might agree on the strategy. And that would include things such as which groups to meet with, what policy prescriptions to support, how to balance concerns about race with law enforcement concerns etc.”

“On issues like race, there is not really a substantive disagreement, but a question of tone and cobelligerance. Most in the SBC are very comfortable with our good brothers like Fred Luter and Dwight McKissic, but they are not comfortable with groups like Black Lives Matter. I believe the ERLC is more comfortable with affiliating with some groups than the SBC base.”

There has been no contact at all between Russell Moore and “Black Lives Matter.” But the association between the two is often mentioned to rile the SBC base against him without any supporting evidence. Louis’ comment does not specifically state that the ERLC works with “Black Lives Matter.”

Louis is a friend of mine. He is not in favor of Dr. Russell Moore being fired, and my interactions with him have been mutually appreciative and respectful. I totally agree with Louis’ assessment of the roots and reasons of the Moore controversy. Moore’s “tone” is a Kingdom “tone” seldom heard in SBC life on matters of race and justice. This newness of his “tone” in SBC life is what his critics are responding to. Moore speaks with a prophetic mantle that is more common to African American Baptist church tradition than historic Southern Baptist tradition. Many of us find his “tone” refreshing and biblical. It’s the same Kingdom “tone” that Southern Baptists sound on abortion and homosexuality; but for some reason, Southern Baptists are uncomfortable with this same tone being sounded on race and justice.

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee is largely White, Republican and Trump-supporting. Immigration, tone and emphasis on race relations and positions taken on race and law enforcement are the root causes of the Moore controversy. On each of the positions, Moore tended to voice the pain, fears, hopes and dreams of the majority of the minorities in the SBC. Trying to find a SBC minority person, who would object to Moore’s published statements on the above three items, would be like attempting to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. Minorities in the SBC are ecstatic about Moore and his leadership.

What is it about the “tone” of Moore on race that is problematic for White Southern Baptist Churches?

When Prestonwood questions Moore’s “beliefs and values” not reflecting the Southern Baptist Convention, just who are they referring to?

When David Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, said to the Wall Street Journal: “The question before Southern Baptists now is, ‘Does the ERLC share our convictions and thus deserve our financial support’?” Whose “convictions” are Mr. Hankins referring to? In both instances they are referring to the White Republican constituency of the SBC.

Russell Moore’s “tone” is offensive to the base constituency of the SBC, but his text is a breath of fresh air for those of us who have longed for the SBC to address matters of race and justice. He is an anomaly in the SBC on race, and therefore he has to suffer for his “tone” while many of us celebrate his text.

One of the attractive features of the Southern Baptist Convention is its multi-ethnic inclusion and cooperation. However, most of the minorities in the Convention do not march in lock step with the Republican Party. The Executive Committee, by even launching this investigation, has moved dangerously close to consummating the obvious alliance between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Republican Party. If the alliance is consummated as a result of this unwarranted investigation, the message sent to all non-Republicans and to Black SBC churches is: “Pack your bags and leave.” This is the message that was recently spoken to me by Scott Young  in a Facebook comment section of The Baptist Message, “SBC Executive Committee creates two panels to investigate SBC entities,” February 25, 2017, by Will Hall, Message Editor.

In response to my position that Black Churches may want to voice our displeasure of the investigation by reducing funds to the Cooperative Program; and Black Baptist Churches contemplating joining the SBC may want to await the outcome of the investigation before making a decision: “If that is truly your view, then pack your bags and leave the convention!” Scott Young was bold, unfiltered and brazen enough to say what I suspect the 80% Trump voters in the SBC want to say to Russell Moore and those of us who couldn’t get on the “Trump train” for ethical, convictional and racial reasons. Will the Executive Committee, based on their decision, in essence say to those not on the Trump train: “Pack your bags and leave”? It is profane to the Kingdom of God to intertwine ecclesiology and secular politics in a manner that is foundational to the concerns and complaints regarding Russell Moore.

All four issues Russell Moore is being investigated over have a race-based component: immigration, race relations, police brutality denouncement and his Trump critique. Moore has attempted to provide a Kingdom perspective to these issues. His critics are responding to the political and racial overtones of his message, while missing the Kingdom perspective.

President George W. Bush, whom I proudly voted for twice, because of his commitment to protect traditional marriage, stated concerning President Trump’s racial views:

“’I don’t like the racism and I don’t like the name-calling and I don’t like the people feeling alienated,’ Bush told People magazine in an interview…”

While not plainly labeled, President Trump is viewed as a racist by a Republican President. Yet, the Southern Baptist Convention is now investigating the Chief Ethics Officer for speaking a truth that a secular President can say, but not a Kingdom representative, assigned to ethics issues? Something is wrong with that picture.

Dr. Russell Moore is essentially under investigation by the Southern Baptist Convention for his accurate, biblical, prophetic and outspoken views regarding race in America. Prestonwood, Louisiana Baptists, Abilene Baptist in Augusta, GA, did not challenge or withhold funds or threaten to withhold funds when former ERLC President Richard Land made controversial racial remarks:

“In The Tennessean article, dated April 14, 2012, Travis Loller reports:  

Land, who is white, said in an interview that he has no regrets. And he defended the idea that people are justified in seeing young black men as threatening: A black man is ‘statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man.’”

Land referred to racism as a “central myth” in response to charges of racism relative to the Trayvon Martin shooting. Land dug in his heels and publically claimed that he’d received overwhelming email support from the Southern Baptist Convention people and leaders in support of his views. Yet, no large SBC church pastor withheld funds or criticized Richard Land. Russell Moore has only spoken the truth about race and four race-based issues, and they now condemn him. This is painful to watch. Thank God that Richard Land—after many weeks of stalling—apologized. I believe he was sincere, and I accepted his apology. Russell Moore has apologized for crimes he did not commit. Yet, the Convention wants to proceed with an investigation? Is the SBC troubled by Russell Moore because he does not view racism as a “central myth” as his predecessor once claimed?

I’m grateful and proud to be a Southern Baptist. I also hold dual membership in the National Baptist Convention, USA, because it is important to me to be a part of a Convention where entity heads include people who resemble me. The National Baptist Convention, USA, membership, contrary to the SBC, primarily has members who support the Democratic Party. The two most celebrated National Baptist preachers in the past 40 years are the late Dr. J.H. Jackson and the late Dr. E.V. Hill. Both were proud Republicans, and both were accepted and beloved in the National Baptist Convention. Admittedly though, there were times when there was strong opposition expressed in the National Baptist Convention regarding their political affiliations. Neither was investigated or threatened to be booted from office because of their politics. Dr. J.H. Jackson publically endorsed Richard Nixon for POTUS during his annual address as President of the National Baptist Convention back in 1972. His endorsement was met with loud, boisterous, boos from the massive audience. Yet he served as President of the Convention for 29 years and was elected annually following his Nixon endorsement until 1982. Although not affecting Jackson in his capacity as leader, Dr. Hill’s political leanings possibly did. Dr. E.V. Hill served as Vice President for many years under Dr. Jackson; but when Dr. Hill ran for President of the Convention, he lost to lesser-known, Dr. William Shaw. Many would say Hill’s defeat was in part due to his Republican affiliation. The Southern Baptist Convention and the National Baptist Convention tend to blindly follow the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectively, regardless of the candidate. The Kingdom of God cannot be pleased with either Convention, relative to this partisan blind loyalty.

However, in SBC life, it is all but political suicide to admit that you vote Democratic. This becomes a huge problem for the SBC as it relates to minority outreach. I once read in a SBC blog comment stream that Fred Luter was the first SBC President that the Convention did not know how he voted for POTUS. Neither do I know; but what I do know is, if he voted Democrat and let it be known, the Southern Baptist Convention would have rejected him; and that would have been tragic, sinful and shameful.

Why is it that we know for sure that every previous President of the Southern Baptist Convention since the Reagan era voted for Republicans, but we don’t know how Dr. Fred Luter, the only Black President in SBC history voted? It’s because if Luter even hinted at supporting anyone other than the Republican Presidential Candidate, he likely would have been booed at the Southern Baptist Convention just as J.H. Jackson was booed at the National Baptist Convention. Our loyalty to the Kingdom must supersede our loyalty to political alignments and the breaking of fellowship if one gets out of line.

If Russell Moore is reprimanded or rejected, it would be difficult for me to be able to continue to say, I’m proud and grateful to be a Southern Baptist.  I am not sure how a reprimand will affect many like-minded Black Baptists who are members of the SBC. For sure, it would be disheartening and disappointing. Therefore, this question must be raised: Should minority churches in SBC life financially increase or maintain their level of giving to a Convention that appears poised to respond punitively to an entity head, who would dare speak honestly and ethically—regarding a Republican Presidential candidate and race matters? Each minority SBC church will have to reach its own conclusion regarding this matter, pending the outcome of the investigation

Just as Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated by his generation, yet celebrated by the next generation; just as C.H. Spurgeon was vilified by his generation for preaching against slavery in Alabama, but he was lionized for preaching against slavery “out of season” by subsequent generations; and just as Jesus came unto his own, and “his own received Him not”; Dr. Russell Moore has brought a prophetic word to “his own” and “his own” receives him not. I predict in the next generation, Dr. Russell Moore will be celebrated as the Southern Baptists who had the greatest impact on race relations in her history and policies and positions that are objectionable to some Southern Baptists today, will be representative of the vast majority of Southern Baptists of all races in the next generation. The late Dr. T.B. Matson, former Ethics Professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, may be the only other Southern Baptist that would belong in the same sentence as Russell Moore in Southern Baptist history with regard to impacting race relations systemically and globally; thus, improving the image of Southern Baptists regarding racial issues, which is important to our Great Commission objectives.

History will vindicate Russell Moore. Now we will wait and see if the Executive Committee will.

Will The Church Die On The Streets of Sodom?

Four Distinct Last Days’ Church Positions On Sodomy (Homosexuality) Rev. 11:8

Here is the link to the message I presented Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Arlington, TX.

http://www.lifestream.tv/m/cbca/video.php?f=t5nq649p

 

WILL THE CHURCH DIE ON THE STREETS OF SODOM?

FOUR DISTINCT LAST DAYS’ CHURCH POSITIONS ON SODOMY (HOMOSEXUALITY)

“…the great city which spiritually is called Sodom…” (Revelation 11:8 NKJV)

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

A firestorm of controversy erupted surrounding a message preached by gospel singer, Kim Burrell, recently, because of biblical values and views she expressed regarding homosexual activity. I will address Sis. Burrell’s remarks later in this message.

Interestingly though, according to the Bible, the very last two witnesses in the history of the Christian Church are slain in the streets; and the issue that the fight is surrounding may be the spirit of sodomy. The very last two witnesses of the church—before Christ returns—will lay dead in the streets of a city called Sodom. The history of the Christian Church will come to a fatal end in a great city which is spiritually called Sodom.

NOTE: The text says, “the great city which is spiritually called Sodom.” The spirit of Sodom had taken over the city where the two witnesses were slain. These two witnesses were slain in a city that was ruled by a spirit of sodomy. Even those who didn’t practice sodomy accepted it, applauded it or approved of it. The spirit of Sodom will be dominant in the world and in many churches at the end of the age.

The city is called Sodom for a reason. The name indicates the dominate sin of the city and the dominate sin of the church in the era in which her witness will die. The church will cease when Sodomy is pervasive on planet earth. Why was this city named Sodom where the witness of the church ceased? What was the sin of the city of Sodom in the Bible? I’m glad you asked. In Jude 7, the brother of our Lord reveals the dominant sin of the city of Sodom:

“as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)

The Greek word for “strange” means “different” from the norm, outside of the normal.

To be sure, sexual immorality was not the only sin of Sodom. Ezekiel 16:49-50 list other sins of Sodom:

49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”

Jesus indicated that when He returned, the world would be reminiscent of the period in biblical history in the days of Noah and Lot, specifically as it related to marriage and the sins of Sodom (Luke 17:27-29).

America is on a bullet speed train ride to that “great city which spiritually is called Sodom” (Rev. 11:8).

Jesus said, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: (Luke 17:26).” “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot…but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:28-29 NASB). John, in Revelation 11:8, and Jesus, in Luke 17:29, clearly prophesied that sodomy and issues related to marriage—would be prominent and prevalent practices and issues before Christ returns. The spiritual state of the world could be summed up in one word: Sodom. Sodomy was a crime in the state of Texas and most of the South until about twenty years ago. What both Jesus and John are saying is, when we begin to see the acceptance and approval of sodomy, know that the end is near. This is the first generation in world history that is witnessing the approval of homosexuality in every sector of society including the church.

The Church of The Lord Jesus Christ must interact with individuals inclined toward homosexuality with compassion, yet without compromise. MY THESIS IS CONSENSUAL—HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY IS A SIN—PERIOD. Just as adultery, fornication, drunkenness, gluttony, pride, laziness, racism, sexism, ingratitude and a host of other vices are also sin. By sin, I mean missing the mark; or falling short of the Glory of God; thinking or behavior displeasing to God. Yet, God loves homosexuals as He loves all sinners. God loves us while we are yet sinners, but He loves us too much to allow us to remain in our sins. He has called us to maturity, growth and holiness.

Just as the historic Black Church has stood strongly against the legalizing, normalizing and institutionalizing the immorality and insanity of racism, we must do likewise with homosexuality and with the same intensity and tenacity. Many have said that this is a battle that the church will lose or has already lost. And I must admit, viewing this subject through the eyes of prophecy, I’m not overly optimistic myself. But even if we lose the battle, there are some battles you fight simply as a matter of principle. We are living in an age where some men would rather switch than fight. With regard to this subject matter, I’d rather fight than switch. In the movie, Glory, a regiment of soldiers strategically decided in order for the Union to win the war, they would likely lose their lives in a strategic battle. Yet, they determined, if we go down, we’re going down standing up! I’m not convinced that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ will even convince all of the Church, let alone the world, that homosexuality and homosexual marriage is displeasing to God. But if we lose this battle, we go down standing up. Standing for righteousness; standing up for holiness; standing up for truth; standing up for Jesus. And eventually, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Amen!

We will see four distinct models of church in the last days on the position of sodomy or homosexuality.

I.  THE END TIMES APOSTATE CHURCH MODEL (1 TIMOTHY 4:1)

 flunder-and-miller

If you want to see where the Black Church may be in 40 years—if we don’t hit the brakes on this now—is to simply look at Yvette Flunder and Shirley Miller. They are legally married and pastor a gay church in the Bay area of Northern California. Yvette Flunder is the voice on Walter Hawkins “Love Alive IV” singing “Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done for Me.” Shirley Miller is the voice on Edwin Hawkins, “Oh Happy Day.”

While speaking at the American Baptist College in Nashville, TN, a National Baptist institution, in 2014, Yvette Flunder made a statement on the nature of Scripture:

“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 in 30 years.”

And, of course, Flunder released a statement in opposition to Burrell’s statement:

“I will not reciprocate and attack or seek to diminish you, but you must know the injury of your words…” (http://blackchristiannews.com/2017/01/homosexual-clergy-members-are-coming-after-kim-burrell-for-her-sermon-condemning-homosexuality/)

swearingen-and-sarratt

Pictures of White Lesbian pastors: Maria Swearingen and Sally Sarratt: (historic Baptist Church (Calvary Baptist Church) (https://baptistnews.com/article/same-sex-married-couple-to-lead-historic-baptist-church/#.WJp8v1MrKM9)

dc-gay-pastors

DC Gay Black Church Celebrates 4th Anniversary with Gay Pastor (https://bossip.com/927303/jesus-approves-dc-black-church-celebrates-4th-anniversary-with-gay-pastor-his-first-gentleman/)

cincinnati-gay-pastors

Black Gay Church Opening in Cincinnati; Black Gay Church Opening In Cincinnati-Pastor Mike Heard And First Gentleman Leigh Set To Start The Good Life Church! (https://obnoxioustelevision.com/2012/10/15/black-gay-church-opening-in-cincinnati-pastor-mike-heard-and-first-gentleman-leigh-set-to-start-the-good-life-church/)

Their justification is that they say they were born that way. But science disagrees with them.

No Scientific Evidence That People Are Born Gay or Transgender, Johns Hopkins Researchers Say (http://www.christianpost.com/news/no-scientific-evidence-that-people-are-born-gay-or-transgender-johns-hopkins-researchers-say-168263/)

Another justification they use is that Jesus never spoke against homosexuality. Wrong again! When Jesus affirmatively addressed the judgment of Sodom in Luke 17:29, He addressed homosexuality.

“ but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”

Jesus taught that homosexuality is sin.

Mark 7:21, 23: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders…All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Where is homosexuality mentioned in this verse? The word “fornications” in Mark 7:21 is the Greek word “porneia” from which we get the English word “pornography.” The word “porneia” means illicit, various acts of various kinds. “Fornication” or “porneia,” here, means “of every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.” This includes homosexuality. Jesus placed “homosexuality” under the broad category of “fornications.”

II. THE LIBERAL END TIMES CHURCH MODEL

reginald-sharpe-jr-blog

Any Pastor that affirms same-sex marriage is a liberal pastor—at least on the subject of homosexuality. A liberal church may adopt an “evangelical” or theological conservative doctrinal statement that I could embrace as opposed to the apostate church. But the liberal pastor would “liberally” interpret texts of Scripture that addresses homosexuality and respond with great opposition to Kim Burrell’s traditional, conservative position on this subject matter.

A brilliant, gifted, scholarly young preacher pastor (Vanderbilt Divinity School graduate), bursting on the national scene—Reginald Sharpe, who affirmed same-sex relationships in a chapel message at Morehouse ITC recently, responded to Kim Burrell’s traditional message on homosexuality with these words:

“And let me say a word to all of you secret supporters of Kim Burrell’s comments. You are a part of the reason the church is trouble! It was the secret supporters of Donald Trump that put a megalomaniac in office. She may be a wonderful person but what she said DID NOT represent the Jesus, the God, or the Holy Spirit I have come to know. God is love. Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror and find a way to heal our country with more love and wisdom. Hatred and ignorance has never helped heal anyone.”

Reginald Sharpe Jr. appears to embrace an extreme liberal view of homosexuality that would not declare homosexual activity as sin. He’s a generation younger than his Pastor, and my concern is that if the current patriarchs of the Black Church don’t sound the alarm, when we go in our graves—Reginald Sharpe’s theology will be the ruling theology of the Black Church on homosexuality. It will also spell the death of the Black Church as we know it today. To label Burrell’s views as “hatred” and “ignorance” is to deny the Bible and to deny her the respect and love that he’s anxious to give to gays. Sharpe’s pastor, Dr. Smith, was careful not to do that, and I appreciate him for that. If what Burrell spoke was hateful and ignorant, then what the Bible teaches is hateful and ignorant. Sharpe’s published statement reflects liberal theology and a denial of biblical truth on this topic.

III.  THE BIBLICAL BRIDGE-BUILDING END TIMES CHURCH

dr-smith

  • THE TRIANGULATION END TIMES CHURCH

dr-forrest-harris

Building bridges with the LGBTQI Community in order to establish grounds for friendship evangelism and to communicate and interact compassion, respect, dignity and respect is a strategy that Jesus employed in reaching persons outside the sheepfold (Luke 15:1-2; John 4). Liberal and Conservative churches find common ground in the deployment of a Bridge-Building Strategy to reach the homosexual community. My personal practice and by extension—our congregation—is taught to build bridges of respect and friendship with all people groups with the hope of winning some to authentic faith in Christ and citizenship in God’s Kingdom. E. Dewey Smith is a great example of a biblical bridge builder to this community, while affirming the biblical view of marriage between a man and woman, exclusively.

Many who adopt a Bridge-Building Strategy sometimes also attempt to engage in a Triangulation View of Homosexuality also as a matter of church policy. In other words—Liberal, Moderate and Conservative theological viewpoints regarding homosexuality are all given some level of respect; and neither view is declared the official position of the church. This seems to be the position taken by Dr. Forrest Harris and American Baptist College. For two consecutive years, Dr. Harris invited Bishop Flunder to American Baptist College. However, the official position of the National Baptist Convention is marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman.  Dr. Harris’ statement:

“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] http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2015/03/10/pastors-oppose-lesbian-bishop-at-baptist-college/24727465/

IV. THE BIBLICAL MODEL OF THE END TIMES CHURCH

kim-burrell-blog

Kim Burrell’s Biblical, Historic, Traditional Views on Homosexuality:

One could quiver with the tenor and tone of Kim Burrell’s speech; but the text of what she had to say is in line with Scripture and the traditional theology of the Black church on the subject. Burrell represented “The Old Landmark.” She spoke in graphic and no uncertain terms; but she captured the simplicity and summation of what the Bible teaches believers regarding engaging in homosexual activity.

“I came to tell you about sin. That sin nature. That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women, and it’s caused a stain on the body of Christ…

You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted, and you cannot tell me ‘thus sayeth the Lord.’ You’re perverted. You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted.”  (http://www.dailywire.com/news/12057/gospel-singer-attacked-expressing-christian-views-frank-camp)

As I close, you ask what about those two witnesses lying dead in the streets of Sodom.

“Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet…And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.” (Revelations 11:11-12)

In the end, the Church is going to win. Just like it appeared that the Super Bowl game was over, but in the end the best team won. I need to tell you that with all of the Church’s faults, she’s still the mother of the best in society. And in the end, we are going to win. Those of us who hold to biblical standards may be rejected and ridiculed; but hang in there, because on the third day, God is going to raise us up. In the end, we are going to win. He’s going to say “Come up here.”  Churches that maintain biblical fidelity on homosexuality may experience verbal, physical and legal abuse, rejection and ridicule from the world and liberal churches; but if we are faithful to God’s Word, on the third day He will raise us up and restore us to new life. Therefore, I shall not be moved.

“I SHALL NOT, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED”

“I AM GOING WHERE THE WICKED SHALL CEASE FROM TROUBLING AND THE WEARY SHALL BE AT REST AND ALL OF THE SAINTS OF THE AGES ARE GOING TO SIT AT HIS FEET AND BE BLESSED!”

FOUR EMERGING/COMPETING VIEWS OF THE BLACK CHURCH ON HOMOSEXUALITY

REPRESENTED BY:

KIM BURRELL, E. DEWEY SMITH, REGINALD SHARPE JR. AND YVETTE FLUNDER

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

   e-dewey-smith600yvette-flunder

Are Kim Burrell, E. Dewey Smith, Reginald Sharpe Jr. and Yvette Flunder representative of the evolution and competing views of the contemporary Black Church on Homosexuality?

A Sunday morning sermon at the close of 2016 preached by noted gospel singer Kim Burrell in her Houston pulpit has erupted into a national controversy/discussion in the Black Church regarding various views that Black pastors and gospel singers hold on the topic of Homosexuality; and calling into question: What does this generation’s Black Church believe on the subject of homosexuality? Does the Black Church of today still hold a monolithic position regarding homosexuality?

No one would seriously dispute or debate that the absolute historic universal position of the Black Church regarding homosexuality has been and officially remains: Consensual Homosexual Sexual Activity Is A Sin—Period. Just as adultery, fornication, drunkenness, gluttony, pride, laziness, racism, sexism, pride, ingratitude and a host of other vices are also sin. By sin, I mean missing the mark; or falling short of the Glory of God; thinking or behavior displeasing to God. Yet, God loves homosexuals as He loves all sinners. God loves us while we are yet sinners, but He loves us too much to allow us to remain in our sins. He’s called us to maturity, growth and holiness.

However, in recent years—particularly since the declaration by the nation’s first African American President in 2012 affirming same-sex marriage and homosexuality—we have seen some cracks in the dam from high profile Black pastors and preachers who openly affirm homosexual marriage and by extension, homosexuality. The question before us is: Will the cracks in the dam become an avalanche and in short order crumble and crash the fortress of protection that has kept the act and lifestyle of homosexuality from being viewed as acceptable, normal, and approved as God-ordained behavior in the hearts and minds of most Black people in and outside of the Church? Historically, the Black Church has resisted homosexuality equally as strong as we have racism. With the bold affirmation of President Obama, we have lessened our resistance to homosexuality.

If the Black Church had not fought racism in America on her knees, in her pulpits and in the streets, the battle would have been lost. If the Black Church does not address homosexuality as a matter of spiritual warfare, demonstrating love and kindness, evangelizing and disciple-making—the battle will be lost.  My thesis is, just as the historic Black Church has stood strongly against the legalizing, normalizing and institutionalizing the immorality and insanity of racism, we must do likewise with homosexuality and with the same intensity and tenacity. Failure to do so may result in us seeing homosexuality mainstreamed in our lifetime.

Homosexuality is knocking hard, fast and furious at the door of the Black Church. And this generation appears to be the one that is attempting to pry the door open with all the strength they can muster in an attempt to radically alter the Black Church’s historic opposition to homosexuality. If homosexuality continues to infiltrate the Black Church, it will destroy it from within rendering it impotent and unable to fulfill her mission to exalt the Savior, evangelize sinners, edify saints and elevate society. Neither will the Black Church be able to combat racism if she’s destroyed from within because of homosexuality. Have we forgotten the lessons from Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19; Ezekiel 16:49-50). It is time for the patriarchs, matriarchs and gate keepers of the Black community to step up to the plate with the Word of God in our hand and the Holy Spirit as our guide and lovingly shut the door on allowing homosexuality to become unofficially and officially accepted, mainstreamed, and affirmed in our churches, communities and families.

By and large, we have been very effective as a church in fighting racism. God has used the Black Church and her leaders to bring about wonderful changes on the racial front in America. Will we allow God to use us to now fight and thwart the onslaught of homosexuality that seeks to ravish our churches, families and community? Do we have the character and courage to tackle homosexuality as we have tackled racism? Do we see homosexuality as a sin equally as evil as racism? Are we willing to fight it with the passion and reckless abandon as we have done with racism? It’s time for the Spiritual Adults in the Hood to come to the forefront and prophetically and lovingly address this issue. We need our denominational leaders to weigh in and take a stand on the Kim Burrell controversy.

The evolving and competing views of the Black Church can be illustrated with the published views of Kim Burrell, E. Dewey Smith, Reginald Sharpe and Yvette Flunder. They represent four distinct views:

I.  Kim Burrell’s Biblical, Historic, Traditional Views on Homosexuality:

One could quiver with the tenor and tone of Kim Burrell’s speech; but the text of what she had to say is in line with Scripture and the traditional theology of the Black church on the subject. Burrell represented “The Old Landmark.” She spoke in graphic and no uncertain terms; but she captured the simplicity and summation of what the Bible teaches believers regarding engaging in homosexual activity.

“I came to tell you about sin. That sin nature. That perverted homosexual spirit, and the spirit of delusion and confusion, it has deceived many men and women, and it’s caused a stain on the body of Christ…

You as a man, you open your mouth and take a man’s penis in your face, you are perverted, and you cannot tell me ‘thus sayeth the Lord.’ You’re perverted. You are a woman and will shake your face in another woman’s breast, you are perverted.”  (http://www.dailywire.com/news/12057/gospel-singer-attacked-expressing-christian-views-frank-camp)

Who would argue that what she spoke is essentially what the Bible teaches in the following Scriptures?

Galatians 6:16-20; I Cor. 6:9-10; I Tim. 1:8-10; Jude 5-7; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:18-32; Leviticus 18:22.

II. Dewey Smith’s Biblical-Bridge Building—Triangulation View of Homosexuality

One of the more interesting responses to the Kim Burrell’s message came from Atlanta pastor, Dr. E. Dewey Smith. Dr. Smith has made it clear in a previous message in July 2015 that he affirms marriage is between a man and a woman. Tiga Finn, Executive Assistant to Smith, released a statement saying, “by no means is Smith now, nor has he ever been a proponent of same-sex marriage. Smith has always believed and taught that marriage is only designed for a man and woman.” I have no reason to believe that Pastor Smith has changed his view at all on biblical marriage. The Negro Baptist Preacher Table Talk report that during his tenure as a pastor in Macon, before he became, internationally known as he is today, he preached a sermon against homosexuality and repeated the tag line—“Get the Punks Out of the Church.” Dr. Smith has clearly moderated his tone since then and seeks to build bridges and lines of communication with the LGBT Community by speaking of them with compassion, understanding, and respect. So-much-so, he has been mistaken to now be affirming their lifestyle.

In response to Burrell, Smith gave five points:

#1: Smith raises the question: “Do we believe that 60% of African American women have been given the gift of ‘celibacy’ and will live their entire lives without any sexual relations or intimacy, based on what their churches teach?” Atlanta has a high Black single population, as does the rest of America. Smith is correct—these are practical questions our churches must address. But we must also make it clear that statistics and sociology does not drive our theology; our theology dictates our sociological beliefs and practices. The Word of God does not bow to contemporary culture. Contemporary culture must bow to the Word of God.

#2: Smith affirmed Burrell’s right to share her message without stating agreement or disagreement with her message. He affirmed Ellen Degeneres’ right to cancel Burrell’s appearance without expressing agreement or disagreement with Ellen’s decision.

#3: Smith referenced biblical passages that address homosexuality such as Genesis 19, Leviticus, Romans 1:26-27, and briefly highlights how opponents and proponents of homosexuality interpret those passages differently; and he does not give the readers his interpretation of those passages.

#4: Smith makes a case for peaceful coexistence with opponents and proponents of Burrell’s theology. I don’t find his emphasis here disagreeable, but I do find it interesting. No one argues for peaceful coexistence with proponents of adultery or “swingers”—not quite understanding why there’s a need to argue for peaceful coexistence with proponents of homosexuality—particularly within the Bible-believing churches.

#5: Smith asked eight questions that are critical and necessary in light of today’s changing views on homosexuality.

As I read E. Dewey Smith’s statement, it reminds me of Bill Clinton’s political philosophy which was “triangulation.” Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy; his “Three Strikes You’re Out” Policy; and his “Welfare” Policy all represent “triangulation”—where he combined conservative, liberal and moderate views on the issues in one policy. E. Dewey Smith has mastered “triangulation” as it relates to homosexuality in the Black Church. I find more in agreement with Smith than I find disagreement. Particularly, I support his non-negotiable view on marriage strictly being between a man and woman. I also agree that our tone and tenor in addressing these matters as the Bible says must be “truth spoken in love.” My concern in Smith’s approach, though, is that the truth that homosexuality is sin may get smothered in his effort not to offend. You cannot preach against sin without offending. Jesus, Himself, is a Rock of offense.

III. Reginald Sharpe’s Liberal, Bible-Denying View of Homosexuality

Whereas, E. Dewey Smith did not take a definitive position on Kim Burrell’s statement, his satellite pastor at his Macon location of House of Hope headquartered in Atlanta, GA, did.

Reginald Sharpe Jr. had this to say in response to Kim Burrell’s message:

“And let me say a word to all of you secret supporters of Kim Burrell’s comments. You are a part of the reason the church is trouble! It was the secret supporters of Donald Trump that put a megalomaniac in office. She may be a wonderful person but what she said DID NOT represent the Jesus, the God, or the Holy Spirit I have come to know. God is love. Let’s look at ourselves in the mirror and find a way to heal our country with more love and wisdom. Hatred and ignorance has never helped heal anyone.”

Reginald Sharpe Jr. appears to embrace an extreme liberal view of homosexuality that would not declare homosexual activity as sin. He’s a generation younger than his Pastor, and my concern is that if the current patriarchs of the Black Church don’t sound the alarm, when we go in our graves—Reginald Sharpe’s theology will be the ruling theology of the Black Church on homosexuality. It will also spell the death of the Black Church as we know it today. To label Burrell’s views as “hatred” and “ignorance” is to deny the Bible and to deny her the respect and love that he’s anxious to give to gays. Sharpe’s pastor, Dr. Smith, was careful not to do that, and I appreciate him for that. If what Burrell spoke was hateful and ignorant, then what the Bible teaches is hateful and ignorant. Sharpe’s published statement reflects liberal theology and a denial of biblical truth on this topic.

IV. Yvette Flunder’s “Third New Testament” View on Homosexuality

If you want to see where the Black Church may be in 40 years—if we don’t hit the brakes on this now—is to simply look at Yvette Flunder and Shirley Miller. They are legally married and pastor a gay church in the Bay area of Northern California. Yvette Flunder is the voice on Walter Hawkins “Love Alive IV” singing “Thank You Lord for All You’ve Done for Me.” Shirley Miller is the voice on Edwin Hawkins, “Oh Happy Day.”

While speaking at the American Baptist College in Nashville, TN, a National Baptist institution, in 2014, Yvette Flunder made a statement on the nature of Scripture:

“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 in 30 years.”

And, of course, Flunder released a statement in opposition to Burrell’s statement:

“I will not reciprocate and attack or seek to diminish you, but you must know the injury of your words…” (http://blackchristiannews.com/2017/01/homosexual-clergy-members-are-coming-after-kim-burrell-for-her-sermon-condemning-homosexuality/)

Kim Burrell’s words were only injurious if they were false or contradicted Scripture. And, they did not.

By 2040, I predict if the Black Church does not act with the same urgency and intensity by which she did with the Civil Right Movement, we will see open/ practicing homosexuals occupying our pulpits, serving on our ministry teams and in leadership in our churches. Flunder and Miller will be the norm.

The time is now. The crisis is apparent. Shirley Caesar is correct:  Someone should have spoken up in 2012 when President Obama came out in support of homosexuality. Nevertheless, the future of our families and churches hang in the balance. Will The Church of Jesus Christ Stand Up? And just for the record, my view is somewhere between Burrell’s and Smith’s; but I lean closer to Burrell’s view.

Anybody who does not believe that homosexual activity is sin is on the wrong side of the Bible. I’d rather be on the wrong side of history, than the wrong side of the Bible.

IF RUSSELL MOORE IS FIRED, “UNTO US” A TRUMP BAPTIST CONVENTION IS BORN

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

The first cabinet member that soon-to-be President Donald Trump will fire, may not be in his White House Cabinet. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics, and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC–a cabinet level entity head position within the SBC org chart–will be the first person fired by the direct influence of Donald Trump and his influential supporters within SBC circles, if they are successful in their unprecedented public attempts, to discredit and dismiss from office the most compelling and effective spokesman ever to hold that office in the history of the SBC. The lynch mob in SBC life who is going after Moore are taking their cues from Donald Trump who was among the first to attack Moore with one of his infamous tweets during the primary season:

“Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!”

What has Russell Moore done to generate such vitriol and hatred from Trump and his supporters and sycophants in SBC life? Moore dared asked the SBC if it is in keeping with their values to support a person for POTUS who mocks the disabled; engages in race baiting; owns strip joints and casinos; admits to sexual predatory behaviors; wants to create a Muslim registry, which violates the religious freedom beliefs of the SBC; and speaks of unlawfully targeting non-combatant in war acts. One would think that a person assigned to address the SBC regarding ethical issues is fulfilling their assignment in addressing these matters.

Future Supreme Court Judges and Reversing Gay Marriage were believed to have a better chance of lining up with SBC values under a Trump Administration. Therefore, many SBC personalities argued in spite of Trump’s misgivings and failures in the aforementioned areas, he’s still worthy of support because of who he might appoint to the Supreme Court who would reverse Roe vs Wade and Gay Marriage. To which Russell Moore responded, how can we count on Donald Trump to keep his word on these matters any more than anyone named Mrs. Trump could depend on him to keep his word to them? This was a brilliant and prophetic response.

Shortly after he was elected, Trump announced that Gay Marriage was settled law, and he would not revisit that matter. Ironically, Pastor Robert Jeffress at FBC, Dallas agreed with Trump on this. Go figure? He has already gone back on his word even before he took office, and many SBC persons voted for him under the delusion that Trump would somehow reverse or, at least, redress gay marriage. With a majority Republican House, Senate, soon to be Supreme Court—and of course occupying the White House–there is absolutely no reason why gay marriage can’t and shouldn’t be reversed; other than Trump doesn’t want to reverse it. Now, a prominent SBC leader is backing Trump in this bait and switch campaign tactic. Rather than holding Trump accountable for his pre-election position supporting traditional marriage, they’d rather spend their time attacking Moore. Again, Moore warned us that Trump’s history did not lend itself to counting on him to keep his word. You would think he would be given credit for his insight. Instead, they’re crushing him. If President Elect Trump—not candidate Trump—view is that gay marriage is settled law, why is it not his view that Roe vs Wade is settled law, using the same logic? Already Moore has proven to be 50% accurate in the lack of trust worthiness of Donald Trump on an issue important to Evangelicals—gay marriage. If and when Donald Trump says the same thing about Roe vs Wade, Moore will be 100% correct in saying that Donald Trump was not a trustworthy candidate in addressing matters important to Southern Baptists. On what grounds then are the ones calling for Moore’s dismissal upset?

Make no mistake about it. The union between the SBC and the Republican Convention is an unhealthy and unholy one, particularly with Trump as President. But that would be equally as true with anyone else as President and equally as true if such a union existed with the SBC and The Democratic Party. It is detrimental to our witness, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, race relations and the identity of our seminaries. This is a malignancy that must be excised from our Convention.

To fire Russell Moore though, cements and consummate the relationship between the SBC and The Republican Party. We shouldn’t give Trump that kind of influence over our Convention. We shouldn’t by default say to the public we value loyalty to the Republican brand over a critical evaluation of a Republican nominee for President.

It’s not enough to say that Russell Moore was speaking against the majority of the SBC and those who pay his salary, as a reason to silence his voice. The Bible is inerrant and infallible, the SBC is not. What’s been missing from SBC history to often was a Russell Moore.

When the majority of the SBC embraced the diabolical institution of slavery, we needed a Russell Moore, even if he was being paid by the SBC. When the majority of the SBC denied women the right to vote as messengers within the SBC annual meetings, and supported laws forbidding women the right to vote in the secular realm, we needed a Russell Moore. When the majority of the SBC voted to support Jim Crow laws and would not support Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, we needed a Russell Moore. When the majority of the messengers in the ‘mid ’70’s voted in a SBC annual meeting to support abortion, we needed a Russell Moore. When the IMB created unbiblical landmark baptismal policies and unbiblical policies restricting missionaries’ private worship in 2005, God raised up a Wade Burleson to prophetically address these matters; and he was publicly maligned and marginalized, and now the same attempt is being made toward Russell Moore.  In 2015, everything Wade Burleson was asking the IMB to do, they did: Return to the pre-2005 private prayer policies, and the prior baptismal policies. Now that they have done so, Wade Burleson is owed an apology, because their actions now prove he was right from the beginning.

SBC, are we going to now make the same mistake with Russell Moore as we did with all of the aforementioned matters that we later reversed policies on? Are we really going to place that much stock in Trump and choose Trump over Moore?

Honestly, a convention that would even consider this is a severely spiritually sick convention. If it were not for a great health insurance plan that I appreciate (connected to GuideStone), and a small life insurance and small retirement account that may be useful at some point, I’d seriously consider whether I could actually belong to a convention that’s so invested and identified in every way with the Republican Party and Donald Trump. To fire Russell Moore will have far-reaching consequences than most persons realize. It defines being SBC as also being Republican, or at least not publicly criticizing a Republican candidate. Minorities tend not to be Republican because they view Democrats as being more sensitive to social and economic justice, equality and fairness issues. They also view these matters as life issues and equally as important as abortion and gay marriage issues. Russell Moore is one of the few Southern Baptists that really have a heartfelt identification and understanding of social justice issues from a minority perspective. There are those who think that this backlash against him is rooted in his outspokenness on race issues and police brutality issues. Russell Moore really feels our pain. In many ways he is being treated as a racial minority by the Convention in this situation. So to fire Russell Moore is to say to minorities, you are only welcome in the SBC if you remain silent regarding your political views. Seriously? Is that what you really want? If so, continue with this lynch party and proposed firing. And Congratulations!!! You will have just birth THE TRUMP BAPTIST CONVENTION.

Russell Moore has spoken as a prophet. The late Professor Jack Gray defined the spiritual gift of prophecy as the ability to communicate a particular truth, to a particular people, at a particular time. This is what Moore has done. To fire Russell Moore is in effect to make the statement that the gift of prophecy is unwelcome among Southern Baptists if it conflicts with our politics. Russell Moore would have gotten the same kind of treatment in SBC life had he spoken prophetically against slavery in 1845-1863 as he is getting now. Southern Baptists can and should do better than this. I pray that we drop this vendetta against Russell Moore. He has asked for an apology if he was misunderstood or crossed over a line. Let’s forgive him and move on. Threatening to withhold funds over a critique of Donald Trump is too small of an issue for us to divide over. During this yuletide season, let’s practice our faith and seek peace on earth and in the SBC and good will toward all men. Brethren, let’s drop our swords and be The Southern Baptist Great Commission Convention and not the Trump Baptist Convention.

ONE BLACK EVANGELICAL METAMORPHOSIS ON THE 2016 ELECTION

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Like most Americans, I’m not enamored with either of the major parties’ presidential nominees. Furthermore, I have burdens in my bosom about both parties’ platforms and actions.

The Democrats have totally abandoned God’s definition of marriage and the protection of life in the womb. The Republicans have abandoned President George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism and Daddy Bush’s 1000 points of light philosophies.

President George H.W. Bush spoke out against the unwarranted beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department. President H. W. Bush traveled to Los Angeles and met with Pastor E.V. Hill and other Black pastors in order to identify with the pain Blacks were feeling over the Rodney King verdict. Today’s Republicans primarily remain silent or supportive of unarmed Black men being shot in the streets by policeman. The life of the people being mistreated by policeman—regardless of the color of the police or the victim—is just as much a quality of life issue as abortion. The Republican Party should not be silent while Black men and women are being killed by policemen—unarmed, with hands in the air, while serving autistic persons; college students being told to get their license, and being shot in the process of doing so; unarmed man in the middle of the street with car trouble being killed while threatening no one; Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Eric Garner and Sandra Bland are all unjustified police killings, in my opinion. Any one of them could easily have been one of my four children or grandchildren. I cannot reconcile my Christian Faith with the silence, seemingly consent, or justifications/defense given by Republicans for these and other unjustifiable cases of police brutality. Where is the Daddy Bush of the Republican Party?

I’ve identified in the past and voted in my early adult years, as a Democrat. While yet a young (but older) adult, I also converted and identified as a Republican. When once asked by a news reporter if I was a Ronald Reagan Republican; I answered No!!!  I am a Jesse Jackson Republican.  Why? Because I so strongly disagreed with a strong pro-gay rights message—and strong “women’s reproductive rights” message—that Jackson delivered to the Democratic National Convention in 1984, it forced me to evaluate and rethink my relationship to the Democratic Party. Later I read their platform and discovered the Democrats strongly supported gay rights, “gay families” and abortion. I found it impossible to reconcile the Democratic platform positions with my Christian Faith.

I hold strong views regarding Pro-Life, Natural Marriage, Social Justice, Providing an economic Safety Net for the least among us, Strong Defense, School Choice, Pro-Affordable Healthcare, Fiscal Responsibility, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and government-funded abortions, and smaller government. As you can tell, my values don’t so easily fit into a Democratic or Republican box. Consequently, I now consider myself a political independent.

Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic Presidential Candidate that I voted for. I have consistently voted for Republican presidential candidates since then for the aforementioned reasons. The only one I didn’t vote for was Mitt Romney, because he would not distance himself from beliefs in his Mormon Bible(s) that teaches that dark-skinned people are inferior to Whites and other derogatory remarks regarding dark-skinned people recorded there. I voted down line that year but did not cast a vote for President.

While voting Republican to try and protect traditional marriage since the ’80’s, we’ve witnessed gay marriage become the law of the land. While voting to try and reverse the abortion laws back to a pre-Roe V. Wade posture, we’ve watched the expansion of abortion to a great degree. Abortion is legal in all 50 states. Republican presidents, congressmen, senators and judges have failed to protect America from same-sex marriage and the expansion of abortion. One has to stop and ask himself/herself: Is it wise to continue to vote for these ideals and principles, and the Republican Party if they are not delivering on your vote; and settled law has ruled in favor of gay marriage and abortion?

Many people are quick to make clear and take pride in the fact that they are not one-issue voters. I am quick to make clear and take pride in the fact that I can be and often am a one-issue voter. Some issues are just that important to me. Life as it relates to abortion is one of those issues. Redefining the definition of marriage in this Country is one of those issues that I proudly would be and have been a one-issue voter on. If I had any reason to believe that casting a vote for Trump would reverse the same-sex marriage laws or abortion laws within the next four to eight to twelve years, Trump would have my vote in a heartbeat. If I had any reason to believe that Trump held deeply rooted convictional values regarding same-sex marriage and abortion that he was willing to fight for to change—he’d have my vote in a heartbeat.

However, I must accept the dark, grim, stark, cold, and cruel reality this year, that…Republicans have absolutely no chance of making any headway toward reversing Roe V. Wade, defunding abortions or Planned Parenthood, reversing gay marriage, or reversing transgender public school bathroom issues with Donald Trump in the White House. I am not convinced that Donald Trump holds any convictions regarding any of these positions that he’s willing to really fight for. I’m not convinced that Donald Trump will appoint SCOTUS Justices that will make the right decisions regarding these issues. Donald Trump has been all over the map on these issues. When asked if he’d ever financed an abortion, he wouldn’t answer the question. If Gov. Huckabee, Gov. Jeb Bush, or Dr. Ben Carson were the Republican Presidential nominees waving the flag to lead the charge to address these issues, I would be on board. Donald J. Trump? Never in a million years.

There is simply no track record to justify the confidence the Party has placed in Trump. I’m amazed at the confidence that certain evangelical leaders have placed in Trump to champion these aforementioned righteous causes, while he currently owns a strip club and casinos. The delusion these evangelical leaders are under staggers the imagination. They have forfeited all moral authority in the future to ever attack a Democratic candidate on the basis of morality. Furthermore, I should never have to answer another question about how Black Christians could vote for Democrats, if White evangelicals find Trump vote worthy. Unfortunately, the issues we all agree upon aren’t on the ballots. It’s the candidates’ names on the ballots. Therefore, the argument that you are not voting for a person but a platform or principles—does not resonate with Trump as the face of the platform and principles.

Given my propensity to be a one-issue voter; and given the fact that the one-two issues that have primarily driven my voting the past 30 years seem to be at this point settled issues; and given my complete lack of confidence in the character and competence of Donald Trump to serve as POTUS; I watched the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with great interest and intensity.

Prior to watching the debate, it was my intent to vote for a write-in or third party candidate. When the debate moderator asked both candidates a question regarding “racial healing” in America, my listening antenna rose to an all-time high.

As I listened to two radically different answers the two gave to questions regarding racial healing and police brutality issues, I begin to think about how one of these two persons will shape the world that my 12 grandchildren grow up in over the next 4-8 years, and beyond considering the Supreme Court appointments.

The priority voting issue for me has always been LIFE and quality of life. Donald Trump’s answer to the question of “Racial Healing” was “Law and Order” and “Stop and Frisk.” I thought to myself: you’ve got to be kidding me. That spoke volumes to me. He saw Black people as criminals. In order to heal the racial divide, his solution would be to stop and frisk my 12 grandchildren and, upon sight, see them as in need of law and order supervision. His answer was horrifying to me. And how his administration would address these issues are very much as important as life issues in the womb from my vantage point. Listen to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump answer the question “So how do you heal the [racial] divides?” in their own words: (Reported in The Washington Post)

“HOLT: Well, we’re well behind schedule, so I want to move to our next segment. We move into our next segment talking about America’s direction. And let’s start by talking about race.

The share of Americans who say race relations are bad in this country is the highest it’s been in decades, much of it amplified by shootings of African-Americans by police, as we’ve seen recently in Charlotte and Tulsa. Race has been a big issue in this campaign, and one of you is going to have to bridge a very wide and bitter gap.

So how do you heal the divide? Secretary Clinton, you get two minutes on this.

CLINTON: Well, you’re right. Race remains a significant challenge in our country. Unfortunately, race still determines too much, often determines where people live, determines what kind of education in their public schools they can get, and, yes, it determines how they’re treated in the criminal justice system. We’ve just seen those two tragic examples in both Tulsa and Charlotte.

And we’ve got to do several things at the same time. We have to restore trust between communities and the police. We have to work to make sure that our police are using the best training, the best techniques, that they’re well prepared to use force only when necessary. Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.

CLINTON: Right now, that’s not the case in a lot of our neighborhoods. So I have, ever since the first day of my campaign, called for criminal justice reform. I’ve laid out a platform that I think would begin to remedy some of the problems we have in the criminal justice system.

But we also have to recognize, in addition to the challenges that we face with policing, there are so many good, brave police officers who equally want reform. So we have to bring communities together in order to begin working on that as a mutual goal. And we’ve got to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

The gun epidemic is the leading cause of death of young African- American men, more than the next nine causes put together. So we have to do two things, as I said. We have to restore trust. We have to work with the police. We have to make sure they respect the communities and the communities respect them. And we have to tackle the plague of gun violence, which is a big contributor to a lot of the problems that we’re seeing today.

HOLT: All right, Mr. Trump, you have two minutes. How do you heal the divide?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, Secretary Clinton doesn’t want to use a couple of words, and that’s law and order. And we need law and order. If we don’t have it, we’re not going to have a country.

And when I look at what’s going on in Charlotte, a city I love, a city where I have investments, when I look at what’s going on throughout various parts of our country, whether it’s — I mean, I can just keep naming them all day long — we need law and order in our country.

I just got today the, as you know, the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, we just — just came in. We have endorsements from, I think, almost every police group, very — I mean, a large percentage of them in the United States.

We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African- Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.

In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1st. Thousands of shootings. And I’m saying, where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing? And we have to stop the violence. We have to bring back law and order. In a place like Chicago, where thousands of people have been killed, thousands over the last number of years, in fact, almost 4,000 have been killed since Barack Obama became president, over — almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed. We have to bring back law and order.

Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it.

We have gangs roaming the street. And in many cases, they’re illegally here, illegal immigrants. And they have guns. And they shoot people. And we have to be very strong. And we have to be very vigilant.

We have to be — we have to know what we’re doing. Right now, our police, in many cases, are afraid to do anything. We have to protect our inner cities, because African-American communities are being decimated by crime, decimated.

HOLT: Your two — your two minutes expired, but I do want to follow up. Stop-and-frisk was ruled unconstitutional in New York, because it largely singled out black and Hispanic young men.

TRUMP: No, you’re wrong. It went before a judge, who was a very against-police judge. It was taken away from her. And our mayor, our new mayor, refused to go forward with the case. They would have won an appeal. If you look at it, throughout the country, there are many places where it’s allowed.

HOLT: The argument is that it’s a form of racial profiling.

TRUMP: No, the argument is that we have to take the guns away from these people that have them and they are bad people that shouldn’t have them.

These are felons. These are people that are bad people that shouldn’t be — when you have 3,000 shootings in Chicago from January 1st, when you have 4,000 people killed in Chicago by guns, from the beginning of the presidency of Barack Obama, his hometown, you have to have stop-and-frisk.

You need more police. You need a better community, you know, relation. You don’t have good community relations in Chicago. It’s terrible. I have property there. It’s terrible what’s going on in Chicago.

But when you look — and Chicago’s not the only — you go to Ferguson; you go to so many different places. You need better relationships. I agree with Secretary Clinton on this.

TRUMP: You need better relationships between the communities and the police, because in some cases, it’s not good.

But you look at Dallas, where the relationships were really studied, the relationships were really a beautiful thing, and then five police officers were killed one night very violently. So there’s some bad things going on. Some really bad things.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton…

TRUMP: But we need — Lester, we need law and order. And we need law and order in the inner cities, because the people that are most affected by what’s happening are African-American and Hispanic people. And it’s very unfair to them what our politicians are allowing to happen.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I’ve heard — I’ve heard Donald say this at his rallies, and it’s really unfortunate that he paints such a dire negative picture of black communities in our country.

TRUMP: Ugh.

CLINTON: You know, the vibrancy of the black church, the black businesses that employ so many people, the opportunities that so many families are working to provide for their kids.There’s a lot that we should be proud of and we should be supporting and lifting up.

But we do always have to make sure we keep people safe. There are the right ways of doing it, and then there are ways that are ineffective. Stop-and-frisk was found to be unconstitutional and, in part, because it was ineffective. It did not do what it needed to do.

Now, I believe in community policing. And, in fact, violent crime is one-half of what it was in 1991. Property crime is down 40 percent. We just don’t want to see it creep back up. We’ve had 25 years of very good cooperation.

But there were some problems, some unintended consequences. Too many young African-American and Latino men ended up in jail for nonviolent offenses. And it’s just a fact that if you’re a young African-American man and you do the same thing as a young white man, you are more likely to be arrested, charged, convicted, and incarcerated. So we’ve got to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system. We cannot just say law and order. We have to say — we have to come forward with a plan that is going to divert people from the criminal justice system, deal with mandatory minimum sentences, which have put too many people away for too long for doing too little.

We need to have more second chance programs. I’m glad that we’re ending private prisons in the federal system; I want to see them ended in the state system. You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans. So there are some positive ways we can work on this.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/26/the-first-trump-clinton-presidential-debate-transcript-annotated/)

Police brutality is one of the most pressing, unresolved social issues of our time. It certainly is a life and quality of life matter. It will certainly impact the environment my grandchildren are raised in. Therefore, I must ask myself which candidate will do a better job and be more objective and fair in making sure the citizens and the police are being treated fairly? Who best understands and empathize with both sides of this issue? Whose justice system and attorney general’s office would I rather see be involved in these matters? Whose answers to Lester Holt’s questions will set the trajectory for a better quality of life for my 12 grandchildren growing up in a climate where the criminal justice system and police brutality discriminate against them based on color?

So after much soul searching, I have reached the conclusion that the Life issues that I’m voting to protect this year will be my grandchildren. The racial healing atmosphere and the level of accountability that police know that will be expected from a Clinton administration, suggests to me that police persons will be slightly more cautious in pulling the trigger in the future than they have been in the past.

Blacks comprise 15% of the population; but we are involved in 29% of the police shootings. Certainly there are police shootings that are justifiable. Conversely, there would be some unjustifiable. To resolve or reduce the number of police shootings, the one being shot must take responsibility and try not to put him/her in this position. The one doing the shooting must exercise restraint and use a Taser, patience, wait for backup, or whatever it takes. Hillary Clinton mentioned establishing National Standards to help guide and govern these issues.

These matters will happen with more frequency and with less accountability under a Trump administration and justice system. Just as attorney General John F. Kennedy intervened and delivered Martin Luther King from racist injustice systems in the South in the ‘60’s, Hillary Clinton will make sure that these matters are handled objectively. Facts and truth will prevail wherever they fall in favor of the police or the citizens under Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s history on race is atrocious. He was raised by a man who was arrested for marching with the KKK and who refused to rent to Black people. Trump was sued by the Federal government for refusing to rent to Black people in the ’70’s and settled out of court. One, of his employees reported that he never wanted a Black man to count his money. Trump thought an American judge of Mexican heritage should be disqualified from a case involving him because of his Mexican heritage. Trump refused to apologize for lying on the first Black President in America’s history regarding his birthplace. After five young Black men were exonerated for a rape crime they did not commit in New York, Donald Trump placed an ad in a New York newspaper decrying the overturning of their conviction and asking for the return of the death penalty. Given the offensive comments Donald Trump has made regarding Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans, and women, I’m thoroughly convinced, the quality of life for all persons, will be better under Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. I’m voting for the highest quality of life for all Americans.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SBC REGARDING THE CONFEDERATE FLAG

From “Hearty Support” 1863 to “Discontinue the Display” 2016

BY WM. DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

At the near beginning of the 21st Century, The Southern Baptist Convention recently made the decision to address a heretofore unaddressed aspect of her history, and that is the SBC’s historic identity and complicity with the Confederacy. A vote was taken to ask Christians to discontinue the public use of the Confederate Flag (CF), in order to show solidarity with other Christians, including African Americans.

Perhaps this was one of the most heart wrenching and gut checking decisions ever made by the SBC. Why? Because the SBC and the Confederacy were connected at the hip historically, emotionally, psychologically, philosophically, geographically, politically, and even genetically. This connection is deep, intertwined, and multi-layered. Many in the SBC literally have the blood of Confederate Soldiers running through their veins.  That made it a thorny and testy issue. This, inevitably, had to be a tough decision for the SBC to make. It was a seminal moment in the life of our Convention, having taken 253 years to arrive at the point of radically departing from and denouncing, a heretofore proud symbol of Southern heritage.

The emotional response exhibited on the Convention floor, to the passing of the CF resolution, is indicative and evidence of the emotional upheaval some would experience in processing and coming to grips with the decision to renounce the CF.

The greatest influence in the outcome of the vote was the blood of the Charleston Nine. Their pictures and brief bio’s had been presented to the convention earlier that day. Dylann Roof’s intent was to start a race war when he murdered the Charleston Nine. The irony is, his actions have led to a greater unity of the races within the SBC and the Charleston community.  Roof’s actions led to the SBC repudiating the Confederate Flag. It was the spirit of the Confederate Flag that demonically drove Dylann Roof to murder nine Kingdom-citizens. What Roof meant for evil, God through the SBC is turning it around and using it for good (Romans 8: 28).

The SBC was not being asked to vote on this resolution to prove that they were not racist. They were being asked to vote on this resolution to identify with the pain of those grieving the murders of the Charleston Nine, to help heal the hurt, and to honor The Charleston Nine, by renouncing the CF. In the process of addressing this issue and making the right decision, the SBC would be cleansing and clearing her own conscience.

The messengers cast a vote looking futuristically, rather than to affirm seeds of division and White Supremacy sown by their forefathers.

The messengers’ affirmative vote, in effect, confessed and rebuked the sins of their forefathers.

The messengers’ courageous vote brought healing, hope, forgiveness, restoration, and wholeness to the Convention.

The messengers exonerated an ugly stain on the legacy of the SBC. From a legacy and spiritual perspective, they removed the guilty stain, by disavowing The Confederate Flag.

Now, we no longer have to look at our Baptist forefathers with contempt. The vote of the messengers reconnected and reconciled some of us to their significant spiritual heritage and contributions. Their wrongs were philosophically corrected by their descendants.

The messengers voted to cleanse and clear the collective conscience of the SBC by voting to discontinue the display of the Confederate Flag. In one felt-swoop, the messengers’ vote reduced the CF from a symbol of pride, to a symbol of scorn and shame.

Allegations that the SBC would be moving down a slippery slope by renouncing the CF are totally baseless. The vote to denounce the CF also, by extension, addressed and negated the earlier resolution of support of the Confederacy. This vote also, by extension, renounced and rebuked all Southern Baptist churches and personalities who were complicit with The Confederacy in any manner.

It serves no good purpose to go down the trail of singling out historical figures for rebuke. I read somewhere, “Never pick a fight with a dead man; you’ll lose every time.” The vote, itself, rebuked and philosophically corrected their errors as it relates to support of the Confederacy and slavery.

God be praised! The SBC connection to the Confederacy was officially severed on Wednesday, June 15, 2016, in St. Louis, Mo. at approximately 4pm. The SBC made the statement in that meeting to choose Kingdom over Culture. They chose Hope over Heritage. They chose Righteousness over Race. The SBC and the resolutions committee should be commended for this.

As stated so eloquently by Dr. James Merritt, “All the confederate flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race.” And whenever God’s people seek His Kingdom first, addition of some kind takes place (Matthew 6: 33). I have never in my life been more thrilled to be a part of the SBC as I am today.

The resounding, joyful, and celebratory response to the decision made to affirm the amended version of the resolution was powerful. It indicated the healing of the hearts of the messengers and the hope of a positive racial future. The only other time that I’ve experienced that kind of exuberant joy, clapping, verbal praise, and a strong sense of God’s presence in a SBC gathering, was when Dr. Fred Luter was elected President of the SBC in New Orleans.

As Dr. Floyd stated, “The church can’t call the nation to repent ’till the church repents.” As the SBC continues to flesh out the will of God and obey it, racially, it has the potential of changing the nation. Thanks to Dr. Floyd, the ’95 apology, the election of Fred Luter, and the renouncing of the CF; the SBC is beginning to gain the credibility to address the nation regarding race.

Because of previous commitments and a scheduling conflict, I was not able to attend the meeting; but, I watched some of the events via live stream.

The response to James Merritt’s amendment and commentary will forever be etched in the memory of the SBC.  The power of that moment transcended the screen. It could be felt by observers who were live-streaming the Convention. Truly the presence of The Lord was in that place. The impact that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech had on the nation, James Merritt’s amendment speech had on the outcome of the vote and, consequently, the redemption of the SBC. The SBC is beginning to gain the credibility to address the nation regarding race.

In a way, that vote and the response to it were like a new start, or rebooting of the convention, from a racial perspective. We have to be in unity, before we can reach our nation and world. The Lord blessed the SBC with a baptism of unity on June 15, 2016, almost in an unprecedented manner from my observations.

I shed the same tears Russell Moore was shedding for the same reasons as I watched the proceedings on the Convention floor through the live stream. God is healing our Convention and correcting the only previous statement made by the SBC concerning the Confederacy, and that was to proclaim the SBC’s “hearty support.” The SBC entered into that auditorium on Flag Day—and coincidentally, my birthday—officially in support of the Confederacy—and by extension—the CF. But they departed the auditorium, having decided to “discontinue the display” of the CF. What a mighty God we serve!!!

The beauty of the passing of this resolution is that it was not a victory for any one person or group. The major leaders and entity heads in the SBC supported this resolution, even the stronger amended version. The resolutions committee, who obviously had a tough job, brought to the floor a great proposed resolution, although I obviously preferred one much stronger, similar to what The Merritt Amendment proposed. The fact that no one on the resolutions committee opposed the Merritt amendment indicates to me that they too were in favor of a stronger resolution, but, for peace and unity sake, had no doubt crafted a resolution that they’d hoped would please the multitude. I thought the resolution committee performed exceptionally well, especially given the controversial and multifaceted layers to the CF resolution. But this was not a victory for The Resolutions Committee, the entity heads, James Merritt, or certainly not for William Dwight McKissic, Sr. This was not even a victory for the messengers. This was a victory for The Kingdom of God and The SBC’s vision to reflect the Kingdom of God in all aspects.

By voting to renounce the CF, the messengers laid the axe at the root of the tree. I use to think it was necessary for the SBC to formally repent of the “curse of Ham” theory, once prominently taught in the SBC, to provide a biblical/theological covering or rationale for slavery, the Confederacy, segregation, and systemic, institutionalized racism. However, because of the decision to renounce the CF, and by extension the Confederate States of America (CSA), the SBC also denounced in St. Louis the false theology that undergirded the CSA/CF—the formation of the SBC—and the noted leaders in the SBC who were also slaveholders and CSA sympathizers/supporters.

The dialogue between the SBC and NBC is also groundbreaking and incredibly important. The St. Louis decision gives the SBC more credibility. I’m already hearing how respect for the SBC has gone way up in many, many circles. The reality is, everyone on both sides of this resolution is in agreement, we are surprised that the Merritt Amendment passed at all, and with over 90% of the vote. That had to be God.

Finally, it’s important that the construct of the resolution represented a collaborative effort of the Resolutions Committee, Merritt, me, and others who Merritt and I consulted with in preparing our content. Merritt and I had absolutely no discussion with each other about this matter prior to the vote. The Holy Spirit orchestrated all things relative to the passing of this resolution. The beauty of this resolution is that it represents the collaborative efforts of Blacks and Whites working together. No one can legitimately call the outcome pandering to a certain constituency, or to an attempt to be politically correct. This was a move of the Holy Spirit. And to make it anything other than that, may border on blasphemy.

Arguably, the strongest statement ever made by a SBC personality on the subject of race, was made by Dr. Ronnie Floyd:

“I believe the issue of racism is from Satan and his demonic forces of hell. Why do I believe this? Racism is an assault on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the essence of the Gospel is spiritual adoption that releases us from our prior state, anything contradicting that must be a lie about Christ and subversive of His finished work on the cross. Racism is completely opposite of the message of Christ. Racism is completely opposite of the message of love. Racism is completely opposite of the message of reconciliation. While our nation is being divided across racial lines, uniting His people across racial lines best reveals God’s heart for all the nations.

In this desperate time in our nation when the racial tension is building rapidly, our Southern Baptists churches must rise together as one and decry this atrocity and lead through it in the gospel way. Southern Baptists, silent denominations die and their message dies with them. Let’s be clear and not be silent.

We are not black churches. We are not white churches. We are not Latino churches. We are not Asian churches. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. We are members of the same body. The hope for all racism to end in America is in Jesus Christ and in His triumphant church. This is why we are having in this morning’s session, A National Conversation on Racial Unity in America. Let the church rise. The stakes couldn’t be higher!” (Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/ronnie-floyd-2016-presidential-address-sbc-southern-baptist-annual-meeting-165260/#mxK3LvMuvmEFTuJf.99)

These are exciting times that the quest for racial inclusion and empowerment is being championed by White leaders. God can’t help but to bless that! May our land, our churches, our families, and each of us experience revival! And may the Lord use the SBC as a catalyst! Our hearts and hands are now clean. God is preparing us for something special. I’m glad I’m on board the ship for this ride.

THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION AND THE CONFEDERATE FLAG

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

I love the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC has had a direct or indirect impact upon me, all of my life. What was then called The Baptist Student Union on college campuses—particularly in the South—greatly impacted my older siblings, providing discipling, ministry and mission opportunities. In Arkansas, Camp Paron (SBC affiliated) always had a week set aside for the National Baptist Churches’ young people to attend. Dr. Robert Ferguson, who led the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, National Baptist work (SBC affiliated) made sure Black Seminarians and college students at SBC affiliated schools, received scholarships. Two members of my family were blessed to have their college and seminary training subsidized with Cooperative Program (SBC) dollars. In my formative years we would occasionally hold joint services with SBC churches. There were at least two gatherings comprised of Southern and National Baptists held at War Memorial Park, Little Rock, and at Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock. Those are fond memories. There was a special dynamic present in those joint services that was radically different and unique. God would kiss those services with His presence.

When I planted the church that I continue to serve as pastor, it was a SBC congregation, Tate Springs Baptist Church of Arlington that sponsored our plant. Over a course of a three-year period, CP dollars and TSBC dollars combined, provided our church plant with approximately $200,000 to help us get started. Additionally, TSBC (SBC affiliated church) co-signed for a $330,000 building loan to finance our first church building. When we outgrew that facility, after 14 years, the Baptist Church Loan Corporation (SBTC/BGCT affiliated) provided my congregation with a $3 million loan, enabling us to relocate and to more than triple our membership. Oh yes, I forgot to tell you that the first 10 months of our church’s existence, we met rent-free in the Chapel of the Tate Springs Baptist Church, Arlington. We were ill-equipped to handle our own Sunday School at the outset; so they provided the Sunday School to our children and youth. Without the SBC and her affiliates, including predominately White churches, Cornerstone Church, where I pastor, simply would not be where we are today. I would be an ingrate, to not honor and give God praise, and express appreciation to the SBC in my heart and to anyone who would listen. I thank God for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Even when the SBC has disappointed me, I’ve watch them make course corrections. In the ‘70’s, the SBC adopted—by way of resolution—a liberal view of abortion. But, God be praised! A few short years later, they reversed their course. In 2005, the SBC/IMB adopted Landmark-like baptism policies, and exegetically indefensible cessationist/praying in tongues in private policies. However, in 2015, under the able and affable leadership of Dr. David Platt, the SBC made a course correction and reversed those indefensible policies that simply could not stand in a Convention that prides itself on doctrinal truth/orthodoxy, and the inerrancy of Scripture. William Cullen Bryant was right:  “Truth crushed to the ground will rise again.” Those controversial policies at the IMB had to eventually fail, because as the late Rev. John H. Nolen would say, “The universe was built on truth…therefore, a lie ultimately cannot stand.”

Our church increased our CP giving when these baptismal/tongues policies at the IMB were changed to line-up with the Scripture, as opposed to lining up with a certain ilk of Baptist traditions. When the SBC employs Blacks or other minorities as an entity head, our church will increase our CP giving again, because at that point the SBC will actually model the racial inclusion and empowerment that they preach. This brings me to the elephant in the room whenever the SBC meets—and that’s racial division and disparity.

Tremendous progress has been made on the racial front in SBC life, perhaps more so than any other mainline denomination in America. I applaud and appreciate the progress made in SBC life when it comes to racial matters. The SBC is probably better poised for revival to come to our denomination, more so than any other, because of the widespread racial and ethnic diversity that exists among SBC affiliate churches.

What we have not seen historically or currently in SBC life is the Convention entity heads and elected leadership reflecting consistently, the racial and ethnic diversity of the SBC membership. Could it be that the SBC is having a difficult time escaping the racial and racist vice-grip in which she was birth?

In Savannah, Georgia, 1861, the SBC adopted a resolution that stated, “RESOLVED, That a committee be appointed to recommend such vital changes in the Constitution and Minutes as may be necessary, growing out of the recent formation of the Southern Confederacy., “

In Augusta, Georgia, 1863, almost two years before the Civil War ended, the SBC passed a resolution declaring “hearty support to the Confederate Government in all constitutional measures to secure our independence.” This resolution also “acknowledge[d] the hand of God in the preservation of our government [Confederate Government] against the power and rage of our enemies…we confidently anticipate ultimate success…we justify ourselves in this conflict with our enemies.”

Clearly, the SBC supported the Confederacy and was emotionally and philosophically attached to the Confederacy. The SBC, to this day, has never corporately repented for her allegiance to the Confederacy. The Dylan Root love affair with The Confederate Flag (CF) and his murdering of nine innocent Black Kingdom-citizens (Christians) has brought this matter back to the forefront. The SBC has an opportunity to get it right this time. Blanket apologies, and broad, generic repudiation of racism does not suffice for specific declarations of support for the Confederacy (racism) unrepentant of. Especially, when there is an element in SBC life that yet justifies and supports the CF, as they did in 1861 and 1863.

Billy Bearden Stated:

June 2, 2016 at 12:24 am

“As a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, part of my obligations and duty is to place Confederate flags on graves of Confederate soldiers every April. If this resolution is passed, SBC churches whose cemeteries include Confederate graves will forbid this sacred honor to American Veterans.”

Edward H. Sebesta, in a letter to Dr. Ronnie Floyd (dated October 27, 2014), stated:

“Dear Dr. Floyd:

I regret to report that the Ashley River Baptist Church, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, hosted an event for the 2014 National Reunion of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). It is reported in the July 30, 2014 issue of the Times Examiner.  I enclose a copy, and the article can be read online athttp://www.timesexaminer.com/historical/1914-2014-national-reunion-of-sons-of-confederate-veterans.

“I did not write any organizations of Southern Baptists in South Carolina since I thought Southern Baptists wouldn’t do such a thing. The Southern Baptist church had seemed to be moving forward on the issue of race with such notable actions as the 1995 apology for slavery. It had seemed that the Southern Baptists comprehended that Christianity was a global effort with no one race or nation privileged over another. Yet this doesn’t seem to be the situation.

“The Southern Baptists may have apologized over slavery in 1995 but in 2014 it is aiding and abetting an organization that is promoting pro-slavery theology and a neo-Confederate ideology that condemns the Southern Baptist Convention.”

The spirit of the Confederacy is not dead in the SBC. Alexander Stephens delivered his “Cornerstone Speech” which would be the Confederate States of America equivalent of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” This speech was delivered by Stephens in Savannah, Georgia, in March 1861. Stephens served in the cabinet of the Confederate government:

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side, complete throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.”

You would think repudiating the blatant racist’s ideology and symbolism of the CF would be a “no brainer.” Yet, some in the SBC, yet support the unrestricted usage of the CF. Others proudly display the CF. Whoever reads Alexander Stephens’ quote above and still maintains that the Civil War was not about slavery, and the Confederacy was not organically racist, that person is a very dishonest person. And a Convention who denies it is also very dishonest. So how then can the CF be innocent?

The blood of the Charleston Nine, are crying out for racial healing and unity. The survivors, in the Spirit of Christ, readily forgave their transgressor. The least that we can do is to repudiate the symbolism (the CF) of the spirit that drove his diabolical actions. I’m confident that the majority of the SBC messengers will side on the right side of history, truth and the Bible. But, just as the SBC has made wrong decisions before (previously mentioned) they are capable of making a wrong decision again. It’s my prayer though, that just as the SBC is on record supporting the Confederacy, and they will now go on record disavowing the CF. What a great honor that would be for the Charleston Nine!!!

Regardless to the outcome though, I’m encouraged. Russell Moore has been a jewel of a champion in taking stands on the right side of racial issues during his tenure at the ERLC. I have much respect and appreciation for him. Dr. Fred Luter addressed the Trayvon Martin tragedy with compassion, balance, and prophetic truth in a way that I thought I’d never live to see an SBC President speak to a racial issue in the manner Dr. Luter did. Much love, much respect, much appreciation for Dr. Luter. Dr. Ronnie Floyd is charting new and needed ground in the dialogue he has opened up with the National Baptist Convention and her President, Dr. Jerry Young. I’m thrilled and excited about the racial progress I see in the SBC. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. I am praying for Dr. Floyd, Dr. Young and the SBC as they have the courage and character to tackle this issue head on. May God bless the SBC!

The way Ronnie Floyd, Russell Moore and Fred Luter have addressed the race issue, makes me proud to be SBC. May their tribe increase! The way Dr. Platt led the IMB to move toward adopting a biblical position on those IMB policies makes me proud to be a Southern Baptist. To not repudiate the CF, though, would be extremely difficult for many Americans to comprehend.

As a proud son of the South, I agree, there are many, many great values, virtues, and customs embedded and inherent in Southern culture that I too celebrate and appreciate.

For some, the Confederate Flag (CF) is a symbol of Southern culture that affirms and applauds a strong work ethic, personal responsibility, fierce independence, state rights, faith, family, the right to bear arms, hospitality, congeniality, sharing, and a Bible-belt, church-going assumption. However, honesty also demands that Southerners admit that the CF—at least in part—represents “a slave society and a society bent on keeping Blacks living in the Jim Crow style.”

The above quote came from a member of an SBC church who requested that I consider withdrawing or modifying the Resolution that I proposed to the SBC eliminating the CF from public life. (https://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/resolution-on-the-elimination-of-the-confederate-flag-from-public-life/).  I appreciate the honesty and transparency of those who admit that the CF is complicit with racism, even while parsing out the positive aspects of Southern culture, that they maintain that the CF also represents. I feel and sense their pain and consternation, and I understand why they want to throw out the bathwater—the racist aspects of Southern culture—and keep the baby—the positive aspects of Southern culture. There are those who fly the CF high while repudiating the racist aspects of Southern culture, and simultaneously celebrating the positive aspects. My heart bleeds for those who compartmentalize in this manner and are sincere in doing so.

However, here is why the compartmentalization approach will not work. All will not agree with the illustration that I’m going to use to make my point, but it graphically explains my position. Rat poison is comprised of 90% corn meal and 10% strychnine. The corn meal is certainly not the problem. It is the strychnine that taints or poisons the whole bottle, once mixed.

To the extent that the current banner wavers of the CF intend to symbolize or celebrate the non-racist and positive aspects of Southern culture—I suggest to you that because of the racial animus also historically and currently associated with the CF, it is disqualified to fly as a symbol of Southern pride. You cannot separate the strychnine from the corn meal once mixed. At this point, you cannot separate the White Supremacy/Black Oppression values/views from the CF. It was birth in that atmosphere and to perpetuate racist causes.

Therefore, I cannot modify or withdraw my resolution. The move to remove the CF from public life is not a move toward political correctness. It is a move toward biblical righteousness (Acts 10:34, 17:26; Malachi 2:10; Revelation 5:8-9). Southern Baptists need to be viewed as continuously moving toward biblical righteousness and racial healing. This would be another—and in my judgment the most significant—step in the right direction on the subject of race.

Why Christians and African Americans Should Boycott Target

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

To compare the plight of a transgender-person (one who chooses a gender identity different from the one on their birth certificate)—to the plight of the African American Civil Rights struggle of the 60’s is not only illogical, but is also racist.

It is illogical because you are comparing a matter of choice (transgender-ism) with a matter of consequence (racial identity). Racial Identity is not a matter of choice or feeling, but rather a matter of consequence. One cannot change the race; their race is not a matter of feelings, it’s an innate characteristic. Transgender persons choose to identify with a gender other than their birth gender; it’s a matter of choice.

The transgender person is telling God that He (God) made a mistake; therefore, I’m going to choose to be something other than what you made me to be. The African American is telling God no such thing.

Therefore, to compare the African American struggle with the transgender issue is racist because it connects the skin of the African American person with the sinful choice to be a transgender person. That is a slap in the face to African Americans and a grossly unfair comparison.

I personally believe African Americans and Christians should boycott Target until they change the wrong-headed and racist policy. I have not shopped at Target and do not plan unless they change their morally wrong policy.

I am humbly asking Target CEO, Mr. Brian Cornell, to publicly apologize to African Americans for making a gender identity confusion issue comparable with a legitimate racial discrimination issue. Again, to do so is racist, offensive, insulting, demeaning, illogical and wrong.

Resolution on The Elimination of The Confederate Flag from Public Life
Submitted to the Resolutions Committee of the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention
By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr., Cornerstone Baptist Church, Arlington, TX

WHEREAS, SBC President Ronnie Floyd has rallied Southern Baptists to “rise up and cry out against the racism that still exists in our nation and our churches,” recognizing we are in a “desperate hour” that calls us to “replace these evils with the beauty of grace and love;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has repudiated “historic acts of evil such as slavery” and committed “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has repented “of any past bigotry” while bearing “witness to the devastating impact of racism;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has affirmed that “the race problem is a moral and spiritual problem as well as a social problem” and committed “to do all that we can to improve race relations among all races as a positive demonstration of the power of Christian love;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has gone on record as “strongly opposing” racist organizations that attempt to recruit members and promote “racial terrorism;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has urged “the members of the churches of the convention to refrain from association with all groups that exist for the purpose of fomenting strife and division within the nation on the basis of differences of race;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has called on “all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more;” and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has expressed continued grief “over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation;” and

WHEREAS, racial tensions and ongoing bigotries are inflamed by the continued use of the Confederate Battle Flag, also known as “The Southern Cross” or the “Battle Flag,” by groups that have been perennially repudiated and denounced by the Southern Baptist Convention; and

WHEREAS, the Confederate Battle Flag is utilized as a symbol of racial, ethnic, and religious hatred, oppression, and murder which offends untold millions of people; and

WHEREAS, on June 17, 2015, nine of our brothers and sisters in Christ were murdered at a mid-week Bible study and prayer meeting at the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, by a young man often pictured draped in a Confederate Battle Flag; and

WHEREAS, the State of South Carolina, under the leadership of Governor Nikki Haley and the South Carolina State Legislature – in response to the hatred and racial terrorism demonstrated in Charleston and often associated with the Confederate Battle Flag – permanently removed said flag from the South Carolina State Capitol; and

WHEREAS, the Confederate Battle Flag had flown over the State Capitol since 1962 as an act of protest over desegregation; and

WHEREAS, Oklahoma Baptist University President, Dr. David Whitlock, announced in February 2015 that the university would remove an image of the Confederate Battle Flag from the campus chapel; and

WHEREAS, these redemptive actions by elected officials in the State of South Carolina and the Oklahoma Baptist University deserve commendation; and

WHEREAS, the nine fellow believers murdered in Charleston are true martyrs of the faith and thus deserve commemoration; and

WHEREAS, while the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from public display is not going to solve the most severe racial tensions that plague our churches or our nation, it does symbolize another development in ongoing efforts to eliminate systemic racism that has divided our people for too long; now

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 14-15 in St. Louis, MO, acknowledges the controversial and necessarily divisive symbol of racism conveyed by the ongoing public display of the Confederate Battle Flag; and be it further

RESOLVED that we grieve over the ongoing racial tensions in the St. Louis area, specifically the pain and anguish that have afflicted the city of Ferguson, MO; and be it

FINALLY RESOLVED that we call on all persons, along with public, governmental, and religious institutions to discontinue the display of the Confederate Battle Flag and work diligently to remove vestigial symbols of racism from public life as evidence of the fruits of repentance that we have made for our past bigotries and as a step in good faith toward racial healing in America, to the end that we truly become – in word and deed – “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

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JERRY JONES, GREG HARDY AND THE AFFIRMATION OF DOMESTIC PHYSICAL ABUSE

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Bill Clinton’s license to practice law was taken away from him by the Arkansas Bar Association because there was a zero tolerance policy in effect for lawyers who came before Arkansas Courts and deliberately lie, as he did.

LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, has been eternally banned from ownership or involvement with a NBA basketball team because there is in effect a zero tolerance policy for a NBA Executive who is a blatant racist.

Bernie Madoff could never be appointed to lead the Federal Reserve Bank, because there is in effect a zero tolerance policy for persons who have demonstrated untrustworthiness with money; serving in a position of trust over public and private money and monetary policy.

Former Congressman, William Jefferson, could never be elected as POTUS because there is in effect a zero tolerance policy for a person who has been convicted of high crimes and misdemeanors serving in the highest office in the land.

You get the picture. There are some offenses that so violate the trust of the American public, that once found guilty, a zero tolerance policy sets in motion, to disallow that individual from ever occupying certain high profile positions of trust ever again. Why?

Because to allow Bill Clinton to practice law in Arkansas again is to say in effect, it’s permissible to swear to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth—and then tell a big fat lie.

To allow Donald Sterling to continue in ownership and operation of a NBA franchise is to say in effect that an open racist owning a NBA franchise is permissible.

To allow Bernie Madoff to be in charge of the Federal Reserve Bank is to give permission to a thief to impact and influence America’s economic policies.

To allow William Jefferson to serve as POTUS would cause us to lay to rest the old adage “Crime Doesn’t Pay.” None of the aforementioned persons could continue to serve in the capacities mentioned because they would stigmatize and poison the brand of the entities they represented.

This brings us to the primary reason why Jerry Jones should immediately cut Greg Hardy from the Cowboys’ roster. If the bruises and wounds that Hardy inflicted upon Nicole Holder had been inflicted upon his dog, he would have been arrested and found guilty of animal endangerment and abuse. The pictures of the dog’s wounds would have been enough to convict him.

Michael Vick inflicted wounds upon a dog. Some will disagree with me; but because it was a dog, I believe a zero tolerance policy should not apply to Michael Vick.

Greg Hardy inflicted wounds upon his girlfriend. Rather than being the protector, he became the predator. There ought to be a greater punishment of wounding a domestic partner than for wounding a Doberman.

If Greg Hardy had inflicted that level of pain on Jerry Jones’ daughter, he would not have on a Cowboys uniform today. God is no respecter of persons, nor should Jones be.

Rather than take responsibility for his evil actions, Hardy is hiding behind double standards, racism and public misinformation. He adds to the physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse with his not-so-artful denials and obfuscation of the truth. If Jerry Jones allow Greg Hardy to remain on the team, he is endorsing the evil practice of domestic violence.

Jerry Jones is sending the signal to every existing and aspiring NFL player that if you physically abuse a woman, and your skill sets are at a superior level, it’s all right; we’ll make room for you. It may be all right with Jerry Jones to place money over morality, but that’s not the Jesus way. As of this writing, the Cowboys have not won one game with Hardy in uniform.

Finally, the University of Missouri football team and head coach exhibited a great deal of courage and character by making clear that they would not tolerate or passively cooperate with a lackadaisical response toward racist allegations. On Mizzou’s campus they agreed to not practice or play until their concerns were addressed.

It is time for someone in the Cowboys organization/team—Jason Garrett or Jerry Jones—to step up to the plate and follow the Mizzou Model. Some Cowboys players who would not want their mother, sister, or daughter treated like Hardy treated his former girlfriend—and be celebrated and heralded by Jerry Jones as if domestic abuse is permissible—needs to come forth and declare—“I will not participate in a Cowboy event unless and until Hardy has been dismissed for stigmatizing the Cowboys brand and sending the wrong signal to future Cowboys.” Every high school and college football player needs to understand, to strike a woman is a death blow in the NFL. The Cowboys have a great opportunity to make this statement, which so desperately needs to be made.

Domestic abuse is equally as evil as racism. Which Cowboy will pony up and make this statement?

If the Cowboys won’t take responsibility to signify the value of women in relationships, then the fans need to take responsibility and boycott the Cowboys if Greg Hardy is re-signed by Jerry Jones. I am already hearing of persons who will not attend or watch a Cowboys game until Hardy has been released. At the end of the day, it’s not Greg Hardy’s fault that he is allowed to play as a known domestic relationship abuser. Jerry Jones must take ownership and responsibility for presenting a “wife beater” to the nation each week. At this point, only Jerry Jones can correct this error. This is a matter worthy of fasting and prayer.

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION:

“ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?”

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

“Are you a Christian?” was the question that the gunman in the recent Oregon community college shooting asked many of his victims. The individuals who answered “Yes,” were shot in the head. The ones who did not answer, or answered “No” were shot in the legs. Why did the gunman deliberately target “Christians” for the severest punishment? The Bible indicates that the world would be hostile toward people whose faith is centered in Christ in the last days.

Paul, Peter and Jesus did not write or speak prescriptively, but rather descriptively, concerning the end times. They had been shown by Divine insight and foresight what would happen futuristically. Amazingly and accurately they described, what’s unfolding before our very eyes. In 1 Timothy 4:1-2, the Apostle Paul stated:

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,” [underline and bold print mine]

The Oregon gunman, the Charleston shooter (Dylan Root), the Roanoke, VA, shooter and the ISIS beheaders, all had their “conscience seared with a hot iron.” You cannot commit the heinous crimes that they committed unless you have a seared conscience. While writing this post, eleven followers of Christ were beheaded in Syria because of their faith.

Jesus described a world that would be hostile toward His followers in the last days.

“But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11).

The Apostle Peter wrote, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7)

In light of the fact that the end time is near, my thesis is:

Believers are to be devoted to prayer and depend on the Holy Spirit to inspire answers to end- time persecution.

Jesus said that He “was hated without a cause” (John 15:25). Jesus taught that the world hated Him before they hated His followers (John 15:18). Jesus declared that His followers would be hated by the world (John 17:14). In Luke 21:17, Jesus said one of the signs of His coming would be “And you will be hated by all for my name sake.” “…and they will put some of you to death” (Luke 21:16b).

In Charleston, in Oregon, the beheading of the Coptic Christians in the Middle East, the church burnings and in the arrest of Kim Davis, we are seeing these Scriptures fulfilled concerning the persecution of believers in the last days.

Kim Davis exhibited the courage, character and biblical values of Rosa Parks and Bree Newsome. Newsome took down the racist Confederate flag in South Carolina. All three ladies paid a sacrifice for standing up for the values and faith of the Lord Jesus. Kim Davis is being asked to deny her faith in order to maintain her job. No one in America should be asked to do that. I applaud and appreciate Kim Davis with every fiber of my being. Indeed, her stand is analogous to Rosa Parks’ stand.

In Oregon, the shooter asked, “Are you a Christian?” Is “Christian” the correct word to label Christ’s followers? The word “Christian” is found only three times in Scripture: Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16.

In Acts 11:26c, “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” [Underlines mine]. The disciples were “called” Christians by the people who lived in Antioch. Antioch was largely a Gentile city. One of the meanings of the world “Gentile” is “people without God.” The disciples were called Christians by people without God in Antioch.

In Acts 26:28, Luke records, “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’” Who was Agrippa? He was a Gentile king and a non-believer. Paul said to Agrippa, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become…such as I am, except for these chains” (Acts 26:29). Paul did not call himself a “Christian” here. It was a pagan king who invoked the term “Christian.”

In 1 Peter 4:16, Peter recorded, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.’’ The language used in official indictments against believers, referenced the believer as a “Christian.” Peter lifted this term (“Christian”) from the indictment papers. Peter referred to believers as a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…the people of God…” (1 Peter 2:9-10). The word “Christian” originated with pagans, who used that term as a term of derision and disdain toward authentic followers of Christ.

What words were used to describe Christ’s followers in the Bible? The primary word used to describe Christ’s followers was “disciple”: Isaiah 8:16, Matthew 13:51-52, Matthew 28:19-20. Believers were also called “saints” (Romans 1:7). Christ’s followers were also known as:

  • “members of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10)
  • “fellow citizens with the saints” (Ephesians 2:19)
  • “members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19)
  • “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3:20)
  • “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • “brother in the kingdom of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9)
  • “people of the way” (Acts 9:1-2)

Major Point: neither Jesus nor the biblical writers called Christ’s followers—“Christians.” Jesus did not say “go make Christians.” He said “go make disciples.” Disciples are referenced over 200 times in Scripture; “Christians” only three times. Even if one views the 1 Peter 4:16 reference as affirming the word “Christian,” the preponderance of evidence still weighs heavier toward our identity being that of a disciple. The Oregon gunman may have shot no matter how one answered the question; so that is not my point here. My point is, the Bible does not teach that followers of Christ were to be labeled “Christian”; so, why should one feel obligated to answer a demon-filled maniac who ask you to identify yourself in a way the Bible never affirms such a moniker for believers.

How should a believer or follower of Christ have responded to the Oregon shooter?

  1. There was no biblical obligation to answer his question.
  2. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will direct you in that hour as to what to say. One would have to trust the Holy Spirit to give him or her exactly what to say at that hour.
  3. From a biblical point of view, a believer could have responded with any of the above biblical answers if you so choose.
  4. In no way, shape, form or fashion would I have denied Christ.
  5. If I chose to answer the Oregon gunman, I might have answered, “I am a disciple of the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 13:51-52). “I am a disciple of Christ”; “I am a brother in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

I would not have answered, “I am a Christian,” because I really don’t know how the gunman defined “Christian.” Mormons, Ku Klux Klan and Louis Farrakhan all call themselves “Christians.” I certainly share none of their belief systems or Christology. Again, not knowing what the Oregon gunman meant by “Are you a Christian,” I would have had to rely totally on the Holy Spirit to know whether or not to answer or what answer to give. After all, Jesus said the Spirit would provide us with the answer in the hour that we need it (Mark 13:11).

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.
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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!!!!