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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

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