Friday, June 27, 2008

Margaret Sanger: Racist or Social Engineer?

The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was in many ways person of her times. She came to prominence in the 1920s and 30s in the U.S. as an advocate of a human selective breeding system called eugenics. And if you'll recall your history, Darwinism's postulate of the "survival of the fittest" was by this time the subject of not only academic, but political and popular discussion (Scopes Monkey trial, etc.). It was an article of faith of Sanger's that if the inferiors of humanity - whoever and wherever they may be - would have fewer children, progress would be the winner and society as a whole would be a lot better off. Of course, she never for a moment thought that those "inferiors" would willingly go along with her ideas, so she made it her life's work to achieving her "eugenic dream" with or without the consent of the so-called inferiors. Thus, the American Birth Control League nee Planned Parenthood was born. Well, couple this view with the already popular view - at that time - of the innate inferiority of Black people and you can imagine the havoc that Planned Parenthood wreaked - and continues to wreak - on African-Americans and others so deemed as unfit. Even the logical and political outworking of eugenics was to come at a grave human cost, though not necessarily on American shores, but rather in Germany where the Third Reich, under Adolf Hitler, completely embraced the ideology of eugenics.

Well, today I want to submit for your perusal a chapter from Jonah Goldberg's book covering Margaret Sanger and eugenics. Goldberg traces the shared frontier of feminism, eugenics, and the Third Reich remarkably so in just three pages. The pivot point? Margaret Sanger. Secondly, here's a link to a phenomenally good book I read on the history of the eugenics movement and its subsequent makeover as human genetics and the human genome project. It's called "War Against the Weak". If you think I'm full of it, read these reviews. It's that good. Thirdly, the best Christian apologist in America, William Lane Craig, gives an excellent defense of the right to life - without once resorting to the Bible! Very impressive. And finally, here's a news article about some Black leaders who "get it" and are calling for action.

Psalm 139: 11-14:
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yes, the darkness hides not from you; but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to you. For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.

Baruch Hashem and Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Of monkey gods and men...

I suppose it was bound to happen. Barack Obama is to be presented with a monkey-god idol by some Hindu well-wishers. They say it is to be for good luck in the upcoming election. Gene Edward Veith asks a good question about how far one might go in receiving gifts of this sort as a born-again Christian. I, too, am interested. I'm wondering how Black pastors are reacting to this. A wink? A nod? Veith is charitable however.

"I do understand that Obama can’t be held responsible for what some fans of his in India ascribe to him, but surely, as the Christian he claims to be, he should draw the line at idolatry, shouldn’t he?"

Baruch Hashem and Soli Deo Gloria!

Trials, Frustrations, etc.

Turned down - again - for a job that I really wanted. To say that I'm frustrated is a monumental understatement. As has been the case lately, I'm qualified to do the job, I pass the written tests with flying colors, I interview very well, but somehow, someway, I'm just not the person they want. What to do? The Lord sends good counsel. Friends tell me to "hang in there" and "be prayerful", and remind me to be cognizant that "He has something else for you", but I really wonder how long can I hold out? Is there true virtue in enduring with patience?

I used to chuckle at the story of Abraham and Sarah and their waiting on the promised son from Yahweh. Yet trying to connect a "voca", as in calling or vocation, to an actual job has been so inexplicably difficult, I too, find myself pushing forward in rank Sarahaic unbelief to get something - anything - going.

But, alas, the Word is my counsel and the Holy Spirit my salve.

"For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."

I shall continue to bathe in prayer my requests to a wise God in this: that I may find a meeting of vocation and employment. That He may be glorified in whatever field I am called. That my heart should not waver in trusting Him to do his good pleasure for my life. And that I should not be moved by what I hear, by this report or that, but only that I should keep in step with the Spirit, pray unceasingly, cast my burdens onto Him, and rejoice - knowing that His preparation requires my patience.

There. That's better!

Baruch Hashem and Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Slave Blood...or, Let's talk Race!

Well, there's never a shortage of controversy from the Obama apologists and - mark my words - RACE TALK will be prevalent throughout his tenure as president. In not talking about RACE, or TALKING ABOUT RACE, we're going to get so fed through the nose with RACE, RACE NEWS, RACIAL GRIEVANCES, CRITICAL RACE THEORY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, and SLAVERY, it will be difficult to discuss real issues having to do with policy and governance. The media, the blogosphere, and government are going to be awash in RACE TALK 24/7. Not that this is by definition a bad thing. It will begin in good faith, but will spin off into unhelpful tangents of grievances, retelling of historical atrocities, and the highlighting of our nation's differences at the expense of what unites us. Make no mistake about it, Black America wants this long conversation as do Black nationalists and some academicians , but the rest of America is justifiably wary of opening this Pandora's box.

The Reverend Wright controversy was only the starting gun of this long Obama-inspired marathon. And go figure. Race, after all, is a purely non-scientific, social categorization. It is artificial nomenclature given the power of being from a by-gone era. Yet we talk about it as if it has ding an sich - real thing-in-itself stuff; essence. What else to preoccupy our minds whilst the national ship spirals ever-so-slowly, downward into the abyss?

Now, we have the SCLC president Charles Steele, Jr.'s remarks regarding the media's attacks of Michelle Obama. What has sparked outrage is his contention that the reason why Barack doesn't get criticized as much as Michelle by conservatives and the media is because Obama doesn't have any slave blood. Yes, that's right, not African blood - slave blood. And this is coming from the head of the SCLC - not from some barber or hairdresser in da hood. Wow. And the upshot of this is that Barack's white ancestors were slaveowners. We can expect many more race based stories in an Obama presidency. Though, incidentally, the article cautions about drawing too hasty a conclusion:

"You just can't casually throw some documents together and make a sophisticated analysis," said Tony Burroughs, author of "Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree" and a consultant on a New York Daily News project that found that relatives of former Sen. Strom Thurmond appear to have owned the ancestors of civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton."

Let us redeem the time for the days are evil.

Baruch Hashem and Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, June 23, 2008

To the Unknown God...

I have taught Western Civilization for over five years at homeschools and Christian academies. And when teaching, as often as possible I try to focus on the events, ideas, and issues that have left an indelible mark on Western Civilization and on the United States. The Great Plague of Athens is one topic that I'll cover in say roughly fifteen minutes under the topic of Athenian culture and events. The plague was an impactful, distinct, and quite socially disruptive period in Greek history. Well, I have just had my Michelangelo moment. As he would put it: "Etiam ego sum eruditio!" (Still I am learning!) Well, check this out from my devotions:

Acts 17:22-23 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

Several hundred years before Jesus was born, a plague broke out in Athens, Greece. In an effort to stop the plague and appease the 'gods', the Athenians sought counsel from a wise man named Epimenides from the island of Crete.When Epimenides arrived in Athens, he was amazed at the number of statues of gods the Athenians had erected, to which he stated, "Gods must be easier to find here then men!"The elders of Athens eagerly gathered on Mars Hill the following day to hear the wisdom of Epimendies and his recommendation for dealing with the plague. So the wise man instructed the Athenians to gather at Mars Hill, bringing with them a flock of sheep, a band of stonemasons and a large supply of stones and mortar. He also commanded that the sheep be prevented from grazing the entire night, so that when they arrived the following morning they would be hungry.The following morning, Epimenides stated, "Learned elders, you have already expended great effort in offering sacrifice to numerous gods, yet all has proved futile. I am now about to sacrifice based upon three assumptions rather different than yours.""The first assumption is that there is still another god concerned in this matter of the plague—a god whose name is unknown to us, and who is therefore not represented by any idol in your country. Secondly, I am going to assume also that this god is great enough—and good enough—to do something about the plague, if only we invoke his help. Thirdly, that any god great enough and good enough to do something about this plague is probably also great and good enough to smile upon us in our ignorance—if we acknowledge our ignorance and call upon him!"Next, Epimenides ordered the sheep to be released, and he prayed, "O thou unknown god! Behold the plague afflicting this city! And if indeed you feel compassion to forgive and help us, behold this flock of sheep! Reveal your willingness to respond, I plead, by causing any sheep that pleases you to lie down upon the grass instead of grazing. Choose white if white pleases, black if black delights. And those you choose we sacrifice to you—acknowledging our pitiful ignorance of your name!"As the sheep were released, the people were shocked when the sheep started lying down instead of grazing! Wherever they lay, an altar was erected and a sacrifice was made to the "unknown god!" The Athenians were freed from their plague, and the legend of their deliverance at the hands of the "unknown god" continued unto the time of Paul when he entered into Athens.This amazing event became Paul's point of departure for reaching the Athenians with the gospel of Jesus. God had laid an historical foundation to prepare their hearts for seeking and believing in a legendary "unknown god"; a god who had already demonstrated his saving power among them, but one whom the apostle had now come to identify.... and fully reveal to them!

God continues even now, preparing souls in mysterious ways, throughout the world! He is looking for laborers to go into the harvest fields! And no matter where you are, there's a harvest field right outside your door…so go forth! There's so much work to be done!

I found this one of the most plausible and fascinating stories I had never read before! Baruch Hashem and Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Global Warming Alarm: Truth or Consequences?

I, like a lot of others, have not been persuaded by the screeching rhetoric of the "global warming" crowd. Perhaps it is because of my politics, perhaps it is because I am mistrustful of those who seek "global action" of any kind - in the name of Big Environment. Besides, the doom and gloom tone and the dark foreboding of an Earth destroyed by humanity runs counter to my worldview. Of course, the way I read the Bible affects my view on this. The initial clause of the Noahic Covenant:

"While the Earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22

One could take this passage in three or four different directions, but what is clear that we have the Lord Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth, making an explicit promise to Noah and his seed - that is, to all of us, that His creation will function for the purposes of providing seasons, food, and the normal cycles required to sustain human, animal, and plant life. From a biblical worldview, the global disaster alarmism ought to be stopped right there. But it hasn't. We'll get to why in a moment.

But you might say, ah, brother Fred - it says, while the Earth remains. Doesn't that suggest that the Earth could be destroyed by human beings? Well, taken without a single contextual strand of scriptural support, it could. But neither is there isn't anything in the passage to suggest that the control of the Earth belongs to anybody but God. Thus, the "while the Earth remains" passage isn't as problematic as some might suggest. The conditional tone of the clause posits two things: a) the Earth isn't a "forever" kind of creation (c.f., Rev. 21:1 and Matt. 24:29-30) and b) Sustenance. The Creator's point is this: as long as the Earth is around, it will do what it was designed and built to do - to provide it's natural supplies in life sustaining cycles for you. All you must do is be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the Earth. You have the Creator God's word on it!

But this is not to say that environmentalism, per se, is off the mark. Why not? Because God's imperative to replenish the Earth - an imperative given to Adam and Noah and their seed - is as much concerned about the ecological care of the Earth, too. So, yes, we may build bridges and canals, clear swamps, harvest from forests, etc., but we must also replant seedlings, rotate crops, create fisheries, provide rest for farmlands, and clean up our oil spills. Individual and corporations together must practice responsible stewardship of the Earth.

But, alas, from whence cometh the global warming alarm bells? Well, the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, - the only statesman who has challenged Al Gore to a debate on the subject - thinks he knows where all of this is headed. And it is not good. His thesis is that the global warming movement is about obtaining power and control of every human life on Earth. My instinct (and my eschatology) tells me he's onto something. This quote from his speech to the National Press Club is telling:

"My deep frustration has been exponentially growing in recent years by witnessing the fact that almost everything has already been said, that all rational arguments have been used and that global warming alarmism is still marching on. It could be even true that "We are now at the stage where mere facts, reason, and truth are powerless in the face of the global warming propaganda."

This appears to be worth the read. The name of his book is "Blue Planet in Green Shackles". But want to know something else? This book was copyrighted May 2008 - and nobody has it in stock! Not Amazon, not Barnes and Noble, not Borders. Amazing. I can't find it. Is there information - counter to the cacophony of global environmental gloom - that is being supressed here?

Fom the Wild World of Eschatology. (that's the "End Times" for the theological layperson out there) I used to be very much into the End Times, all the scenarios, the mark of the Beast, identifying the when and where of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Antichrist, etc. And I must now say that it fascinates me to read about Mikhail Gorbachev and his Green Cross International foundation. Here's a man who was once General Secretary of the Soviet Union, its President, and in a breathtaking series of events, was deposed. It just so happened that when Gorby came to power a book I read about him being the Antichrist was floating in evangelical circles - which has now been largely discredited. Ok, so he's not the Antichrist. But, but, but, but....imagine if you will a scenario by which some man-made disaster to the environment should take place. An already near-hysterical world would demand an international and global solution, an iron-clad policy by which the nations of the world will agree to abide by for collective survival and protection. To whom might they turn for leadership and institutional guidance? The president of Green Cross International, maybe? Hmmm.

Baruch Hashem! Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From the "Are you serious?" department

President Bush, it is reported, is mulling over a possible conversion to Roman Catholicism. I don't know how true that is. According to the report, Mr. Bush may be following in the footsteps of his brother, Jeb, and former prime minister Tony Blair - both of whom are Catholic converts. But what struck me was the muted, theological jab from a friend, also a Roman Catholic, who suggested that the president “is not unaware of how evangelicalism, by comparison with Catholicism, may seem more limited both theologically and historically.”

Evangelicalism. How did that creep into the conversation? Did I detect a bit of jealoousy? As far as I know, Mr. Bush is a Methodist in good standing currently attending an Episcopalian church. And while historic Methodism and Episcopalianism are not in the evangelical camp, per se, this man's comments betray a twinge of resentment.

Of course, as a student of both theology and history, I could take umbrage at a statement that suggests that theology and history began and ended with Rome or that evangelicalism - that American/Yankee innovation - is comparatively limited in theological depth and scope.

But I won't.

Last I checked, the euangelion was the whole show. The Good News. The raison d'etre.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What can Christians expect?

What can Christians expect with an Obama presidency? I don't really know. But I have some speculations. I'll share them in a later post. It might surprise you.

What can conservatives expect from an Obama presidency? Well, you don't need a crystal ball for that kind of prognostication. He is, indeed, a bonafide liberal on so many social issues. That much is sure. Pro-gay marriage, pro-choice (which nowadays is pro-abortion), anti-homeschool, anti-gun, anti-traditional nuclear family. And as I was telling a friend, it's not Obama I fear so much as it is his friends and appointees. The, La Raza, Code Pink crowd would definitely have access to power and cultural control. Perhaps we might expect the appointment of more ultra-liberal judges, zero action on the borders (where's the fence already?), a complete and immediate withdrawal on Iraq, an abandonment of Israel, a naivete on radical Islamic ideology, a "no" to building oil refineries or a "no" new drilling for oil in American controlled territories because of the environmental threat to a species of birds - all this adds up to disastrous four years.

But what about Obama the person? The symbol? I really feel that it could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing. Good, in that there will be one less argument used by the cultural left and the Black essentialists that America is a fundamentally racist nation. (Hey that fundamentally racist nation just elected a Black man to its highest office. Take that!) Or, it could be bad in that the Pandora's box of everything the liberals want for America will be opened because Obama is the candidate of the ultra left - a Jimmy Carter with dark skin. Appeasement to our enemies, higher taxes, soft immigration policy, American interests sacrificed to globalism and world peace, etc., etc. - coming soon in January 2009.

Stay tuned for my assessment of American Christianity under Obama.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The roots of Feminism....Marxism, what else?

I love reading insightful articles written with a Judeo-Christian worldview in mind from folks who may have done a wee bit more study than the average radio pundit. So today I offer up an article/paper written by Jennifer Roback Morse. This paper is entitled, "Bringing Home and Frying up the Bacon". It was presented at Harvard University (!) at the Legacy and Future of Feminism Conference. What a read! It successfully argues that the roots of Feminism are in Marxism (as if we didn't already know this). But most people I talk to naively believe that Marxism died when the Soviet Union fell. Nay, but alas, Marxism now lives and thrives on our nation's campuses and seminaries. My own doctoral thesis offered the viewpoint that even the race struggle in this country - recently revived in the Rev. Wright affair - is rooted in Marxist thought.

It is time for Christians to reawaken and meet the enemy at the gates. And though our weapons are spiritual - because the battle is spiritual - we must expose the devil and his schemes in the natural so that when complex social issues appear before us we may hear the Master's voice and discern truth from error. Happy reading.

Baruch Hashem! Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Religious Pluralism vs. Religious Exclusivity, Celtics vs. Lakers

You have to hand it to Dr. Sproul. He says simply what it takes others to say in a million words. Nobody writes more cogently, with erudition and good sense than R.C. Sproul, IMHO. That God has blessed him in his twilight years with the sharpness of mind to continue to provide reasons to believe is a blessing to the generations living in post-Christian America. His latest piece is from one of my favorite devotionals, Tabletalk magazine.

Enjoy and Baruch Hashem!

Well, it's a rematch of the Celtics and Lakers this Thursday evening for the NBA championship. Outta be a good series. And I gotta go with my traditional favorites, the Boston Celtics. Ah, the names just ring with history: Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Jo-Jo White, Paul Silas, Larry Bird, Sam Jones, K.C. Jones, Kevin McHale, and Danny Ainge. Now it's the turn of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to try and add a 17th world championship banner. Why do I like the Celtics when I'm not even from Boston? I dunno, my Dad liked them when I was a kid. So I guess it's a case of the son inheriting the father's passion. And why did my Dad like them when he was not from Boston? I think it had to do with Bill Russell - one of the league's first African-American superstars. My Dad's generation always liked a Black "first" - coming of age as he did, in the pre-Civil Rights era. Hence, you can imagine his support for Obama.

Me? Not so much. (lol)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Black Liberation Theology, Rev. Wright, and Obama

I did a paper on Black Liberation Theology that was rejected because it was perhaps too political. Ah well. I'll let you read and be the judge. Baruch Hashem!

The Liberation Theology of the Liberal Church
By Fred W. Ball, Jr., Ph.D.

Recently, the media has been focused on the presidential run of Barack Obama, the Illinois senator whose rise to popularity has been nothing less than meteoric. From a virtual unknown to the precipice of power in the free world, many Americans are trying to discover just who Mr. Obama is and what sort of values he holds. Simply put, America wants to know what Barack Obama believes before they give him power. One way of finding out who a man is and what he believes in is by examining his religious beliefs, practices and influences. And for the past twenty years Mr. Obama has been a member in good standing at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, under the influence and teachings of its pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Rev. Wright, who has very recently retired, has himself been in the center of a media firestorm because of his theological views and because of some anti-American sermons he has preached and in particular one given shortly after 9-11 invoking God to “damn” America. YouTube and other online newsgroups have run snippets from the sermon round the clock in which Rev. Wright makes clear that he is not concerned with biblical injunctions to love and redeem but to condemn and judge.

Perhaps many would be surprised that Rev. Wright’s rantings are not random and haphazard, but are deeply rooted in a theological point of view. And it is due to this aberrant theology that his views about race, ethnicity, and the American way of life should give anyone living in this country, Christian or not, cause for concern primarily because of how it may have influenced Barack Obama. While all believers are called to witness to the truth of the gospel, Jesus said that the servant is not greater than his lord; neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him.1
In other words, every member of a church when he or she leaves the pews becomes a servant witness to what they have been taught and instructed from the pulpit. So it is that this principle of primary influence is one Christians ought to take seriously in the case of someone seeking the highest office in the land. Yet the question remains, as Mr. Obama has been “sent” by Rev. Wright, spiritually speaking, who has “sent” Rev. Wright theologically speaking?

The UCC and Christian Liberalism

Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a pastor in the United Church of Christ tradition. Quite apart from the biblical dogmatism of the Barton Stone/Alexander Campbell movement known as the Churches of Christ, the United Church of Christ (UCC) originates from a blend of New England Congregationalist and Evangelical and Reformed Church bodies in 1957. The official UCC website characterizes their theological tradition as follows:
“The denomination's official literature uses broad doctrinal parameters, honoring creeds and confessions as "testimonies of faith" rather than "tests of faith," and emphasizes freedom of individual conscience and local church autonomy. Indeed, the relationship between local congregations and the denomination's national headquarters is covenantal rather than hierarchical: local churches have complete control of their finances, hiring and firing of clergy and other staff, and theological and political stands.”2

Thus, the UCC polity does not, per se, subscribe to a tidy theological position but is noted for its absence of one. Whereas one congregation may be theologically moderate, another may be quite liberal in their views. Some UCC churches may be rightly called politically activist.3
One clue as to this theological non-centeredness is the sentence from their website that says that the creeds, confessions, and written formulations are not “tests of faith” but are “testimonies of faith”. This type of wordsmithing allows plenty enough theological wiggle-room to make any sort of doctrine acceptable. The trouble emerges on this point: if the doctrines are not tests but mere testimonies only, then the doctrines themselves are robbed of their compelling content. In other words, whatever is testified to as true for believer “A” may not be true for believer “B”. This places the UCC solidly in a whirlpool of theological relativism even within its own denomination. Similarly, its doctrinal statements, while paying homage to the Reformed tradition, are reduced to eloquent aphorisms since what they profess are not requirements for the believer to possess. In other words, one may have “faith” and a testimony - but the words of denotation, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for example, is not a test of anything. Contrast this with numerous passages in scripture which tell us as believers to confess specific propositions and values. Besides, if words mean nothing, why do we need a Bible? A testimony of faith is all we need. But in the UCC, all of this is OK. It is but another symptom of “anything-goes” liberal Christianity.

Liberation Theology becomes Black Theology

But Reverend Wright’s sermonic rant derives from theological leanings that are much more profound than Christian liberalism. His views are steeped in what’s known as Liberation theology. This theology originated during the turbulent 60s as a movement within Roman Catholicism with the principle aim of alleviating the suffering and oppression of the poor. While these are noble goals - and every Christian should be concerned with aiding the poor and eliminating oppression - advocates of Liberation theology tended to identify any and all oppression in strictly Marxist terms and have even justified the use of force, as Marxism permits, as an acceptable Christian means of eliminating oppression. But in its Marxist scheme, its application was also widespread: capitalism is identified as the enemy in the class struggle; males are identified as the enemy in the gender struggle; and Whites are identified as the enemy in the racial struggle.

Yet within this context, the very emphasis on class, gender, and race struggle works counter to the Gospel message – subverting it - by placing Marxist remedies, including violent uprising, ahead of Christian appeals to charity. Though this is not to say the Bible is set aside in Liberation theology, in fact, the primary proof-text its advocates misuse is Matt. 26:51-52, where Jesus declares that he has not come to bring peace but a sword. But very often in Liberation theology there is little difference in the sermonic call to Christian action and the kind of activism that leads to social unrest. As a result, Liberation theology often harms and defames Christianity by setting women against men, men against men, class against class, and race against race in clear violation of imperatives to show Christian love and model a unity of the brethren. It is no surprise then that, at least historically, Liberation theology found its most fertile ground in Latin America and in some African countries. But it could only be carried so far: some have said that the discrediting of Liberation theology in Latin America was due to the violent and bloody Nicaraguan and Salvadorian uprisings.[4]
But in the United States, Liberation theology was instead embraced and then amplified by Marxist professors and liberal theologians from some of our country’s elite universities, colleges, and seminaries.

In particular, the views that Rev. Jeremiah Wright expounded from his pulpit are in large measure derived from the pen of Dr. James Cone, an African-American professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary whose principal work, A Black Theology of Liberation serves as the basis of what is called Black theology. And what is Black Theology? In short, it is Cone’s unique blending together of the 60s Black Power Movement with Barthian Christianity to form a single protest narrative. First, Cone posits the view that God identifies with the pain of the oppressed African-Americans in such way that racism then becomes a type of venial sin. In Black Theology, Cone argues that White people as a whole are not to be condemned as much as it is the “White Church” or “White Christianity” that should be identified as the oppressor of African-American Christianity. And why does Cone say this? Because Cone subscribes to the view that White Christianity represented and continues to represent itself as the moral institution from which America’s historic racial problems have been endorsed and now continue. Because White Protestant Churches largely disagreed or did not join hands with the aims of the Civil Rights Movement, White churches are therefore to be condemned for enabling White oppression of Black people and the moral voice of those people, the Black Church. But Cone goes further and suggests that God must ruthlessly judge White people for this particular sin or else. Or else what? Cone writes:

“…either God is for Black people or He is not; if He is against Black people, we must reject His love.” [5]

These are profound words. Not only that, Cone’s works are an endorsement of Black essentialism. This is the antithesis of White Aryanism – a belief that there is something essentially pure and holy to Black culture and Black skin. How influential is this? On CNN news recently, Rev. Wright tried to deflect criticism of his views by suggesting that criticism towards him and his ideas are in reality criticism directed at the Black Church.[6]
An influential urban movement known as the Shrine of the Black Madonna, founded by Albert Cleage, goes so far to argue that the Holy Scriptures have been tampered with by Jews and Whites and that God and Jesus are actually Black Africans. This is an extreme view of this theological/racial identity theory, but it is not all far from the point Cone and others were making.

The Flaws of Black Theology

The view of Black Theology that racial oppression is a continuous and ongoing symptom of White Christianity is faulty on its face for four good reasons: One, oppression isn’t what it used to be. Blacks – who are overwhelmingly Protestant and Christian in the U.S. - have made political and economic strides in the past forty years that have been nothing short of spectacular in the history of civilized peoples. From chattel slavery a little over 150 years ago to an aggregate gross domestic purchasing power set at around 800 billion dollars last year is virtually miraculous.[7]
That is to say, as America has prospered so also to a large degree has its Black population. African-Americans have been elected by voters of every hue to the highest offices in the land, appointed by White leaders to top-level executive posts at every tier of government, and are one of the primary influences in the entertainment, sports, and athletics industries. But perhaps more than that, the Black Church had been perhaps the crucial, moral voice to the ending of institutionalized racism both in the U.S. and abroad. So the problem of deep, strict oppression as Black theology identifies it is institutionally imperceptible. And this is not to say that racism is dead in the U.S., it isn’t; but historical racial oppression in its rawest, meanest form is quite dead.

Secondly, Black Liberation theology is fatally flawed by its reliance on the philosophy of racial essentialism. Any serious theology must refer to a God and a Redeemer who is absolutely above race and ethnic qualities if the message of salvation is to be carried out fully to the world. Even if God’s self-revelation is to the Jews only, a group Black Theology despises, the universal message of redemption is denied. But, as Paul wrote to the Romans, the gospel is to the Jew first and also the Hellenes, or non-Jews. And perhaps because Judaism rejected this message of redemption that God – in the fullness of time - caused the gospel to burst forth from Judea to Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the Earth. What else is the Great Commission but an appeal to every nation, kindred, and tongue? to slave and master? to patrician and plebian? to sinner and saint? But if Christ died only for the oppressed minority, i.e. Blacks, then there is indeed something special about Black folks that needs to be revisited in the scriptures. But the scriptures are plain that both Whites and Blacks need redemption and having once been redeemed - are Christ’s forever. Even on the face of it the premise is self-defeating: if Blacks are essentially pure, good, and holy, then why was Hitler’s claim about the essential purity of the Aryans wrong? Black Liberation theology cannot provide an answer to the universal problem of sin if Blacks are its only victims and Whites are the only perpetrators. Only advocating the eradication of Whites would solve this problem; but that would be the Hitlerian solution in reverse! Hate cannot be used to destroy hate. The scriptures tell us plainly that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Therefore, there is oppression – period – that must be dealt with. Not White oppression. And not just in Detroit, but in Darfur, too. The lies of the so-called purity of Africa-centered thinking must be dismissed as well. Bitter intra and cross-ethnic violence among neighboring tribes and people groups throughout Africa should also explode the myth that racial essentialism is the panacea for the oppressed Black soul in America. Oppression knows no ethnic bounds.

Thirdly, Black Liberation Theology is virtually a stranger to the biblical concepts of grace and love. Blacks must understand from their history books that Whites have been given a grace that they have not always shared in the way that Christ would have them share it. America’s Christian history has not always been kind to African-Americans. And though most White Christians and Christian denominations opposed Dr. King and his very moral message of ethnic reconciliation and justice it does not follow that White people are therefore guilty of the unpardonable sin. To be sure, the nasty symptoms of “human group” sin: racial oppression, ethnic prejudice, and the like, are very much barriers to agreement and harmony in the Body of Christ, and the Church needs the passion of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness to change this and conform the Church to Christ’s standard. But the nature of sin is its self-deception that we alone – and our group - are free from it. We can see the mote of racism in our brother’s eye far easier than we notice it in our own. Hate begets hate much more than it can produce love. Grace allows the believer to appeal to the righteousness of Christ and accept in himself something of the burden of the Savior’s unjust suffering. We must all work out our salvation with fear and trembling lest we ourselves fall into the same snare as the disobedient and the hypocrite. Historic racial and ethnic grievances should be something the Church wrestles with, acknowledges, and unites together to destroy and then forgive one another. White people are not the enemies of Black people; neither is the so-called White Church an enemy of the so-called Black Church – no matter how often the Rev. Wright and others traffic in these lies. But rather it is the gift of God to grant us as individuals and members of ethnic groups the divine grace to endure each group’s flaws and manners. But with one caveat: that we should all go and sin no more.

Fourth, Black Theology is actually a type of humanism masquerading as Christian justice. Though the final authority and judge of the Body of Christ is Jesus Himself, in actualizing Black theology Christ’s authority is solidly rejected. By default then, men must defer to other men to remedy the problem of group sins and oppressions. But who among us is without sin to be a fair judge? Unfortunately, sin is the universal problem that Black Theology wants to place only on White folks. (How ironically racist is this type of judgment?) Hamlet said, “…treat every man as he deserves and who shall escape a whipping?” The very nature of Christian grace is that it allows us to correct our faults without the instant justice of Hell we each deserve. African-Americans have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to thank others for overlooking. And we seek to die daily to those sins that easily beset us in the hope that our habits as well as our hatreds are not called into account. Yet if man is truly the measure of all things - as humanism claims and Black Theology suggests - then our remedies to racial injustice can only be human ones. But we must also ask this question: is there truly a just remedy to racism and ethnic oppression outside of the application of divine love to the human heart? If so, aren’t we rejecting the God who, as the scripture says, “shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”? [8]

Reverend Jeremiah Wright would have us all believe that the struggle against Black oppression is as real and vital as it was in the 1960s. And perhaps Barack Obama heard in Rev. Wright’s sermons and in the UCC fellowship the emotional roots of an identity struggle that he himself is seeking to resolve inwardly, having had no father to guide him. But clearly, Rev. Wright and the UCC are in the wrong, having not solved their own identity struggles, nor gotten over their failed Marxist theories, but have sought to cloak their protests with a veneer of Christianity. The need for Black churches to preach a political message of hate rather than accept a Christ who loves is perhaps the final mystery of iniquity in this sad saga. And keeping all of this in mind, let us remember that while love covers over a multitude of sins, we can’t help but shake our heads in wonder at the supreme irony that pastors like Rev. Wright are also the beneficiaries of a great country that grants them the freedom to preach their hatred of it.

John 13:16
The United Churches of Christ website:
Northern California/ Nevada Conference of the UCC website:
AD2000: A Catholic Monthly Vol 1 No 9 (December 1988 - January 1989), p. 12
William R Jones, "Divine Racism: The Unacknowledged Threshold Issue for Black Theology", in African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology, ed Cornel West and Eddie Glaube. (Westminster John Knox Press), 2003, pp. 850, 856.
“Still More Lamentations From Jeremiah” from Washington Post article, by Dana Milbank. Tuesday, April 29, 2008; Page A03
“Two Black Americas” from Washington Post editorial, by Eugene Robinson.
Friday, April 4, 2008; Page A23
Romans 2:16

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Drudge Report

If you're a Christian with serious convictions you'd be much amiss in not knowing who Matt Drudge is and what the DrudgeReport is all about. It is a mover and shaper of the culture from the cyberworld that is unlike any other. While Drudge's influence may be felt moreso in the political world, it is also culturally compelling because, as Arianna Huffington puts is: "Drudge has his finger on the zetgeist" of the day. Imagine that! And what, you may ask, is a zeitgeist? The word is a compound word of German origin, "zeit" for time and "geist" for spirit. That is, the spirit of the times.

And it is Christians - especially those of us called to defend the faith - that need to know what time it is. As Dylan once sang, "the times, they are a-changing". And so it is true today. Anything that exalts itself above the knowledge of Jesus Christ for us is to be rejected. Therefore, we must come against the spirit of the age in the spirit of Christ - ready to defend the origin, meaning, morality, and destiny of the Christian worldview. The spirit of this age sets itself against the Christian worldview by emphasizing evolution, existentialism, paganism, and nihilism - each of which is culturally and rationally self-defeating. It is time we put down our internal quarrels and prepare ourselves to do daily battle. Emails, newsletters, blogs, and editorials are the portals of today's information sharing world.

My thing with the Drudge Report is this: don't just read it, prepare yourselves biblically to defend against the ideas bandied about it, get informed, and pray for and about those issues that are found there that touch your heart and mind. You are now needed at the breach. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world!