Friday, June 12, 2015

PCA hotly debates delaying formal acknowledgement of racism and the end is EPIC

Hundreds of men line up to sign historic protest while the Moderator reads from The Lord of the Rings
[Update: Jim Wert, our delightful and evenhanded Moderator, has included details of his closing comments in the comments underneah. They are a must read to get a full picture of the events. A huge thank you to Jim!]

Mississippi Teaching Elders, Drs Sean Lucas and Ligon Duncan entered a personal resolution at the beginning of the Assembly which acknowledged the involvement of our denomination (and our predecessor denomination) in promoting racism and failing to act to support the goals of the Civil Rights movement. It encouraged us to seek repentance and carry this message to our local churches. The resolution was referred to our Overtures Committee for a recommendation.

The OC, after a great deal of debate, many hours, and consultation with some of our Black pastors, decided 80-0-0 to refer the resolution to the next GA for "perfecting" of the language and the addition of concrete suggestions to congregations to help them understand what the fruit of this repentance might look like. Much reasoning was attached to the referring which expressed support for the resolution and hope for substantive change.

When this recommendation from the OC hit the floor of the GA, it become apparent that the brothers were not going to immediately defer to the unanimous vote of the OC (in itself a highly unusual thing). Many brothers wanted us to act now. One brother said, "It is never good to delay confession of sin." The problem was that according to the rules of our Assembly, the only thing that we could do was to send the overture to the next GA or ask the OC to take the matter back up (at 10 pm on the last night of the Assembly). Many brothers made speeches expressing a deep desire to deal with this at this year's GA, but finding a way to accomplish something like that was elusive. Several Black PCA pastors (but not all), spoke in favor of deferring for a year.

We stopped and prayed for direction from the Lord.

Time was extended (by vote) for debate many times. The motion to send the overture to the OC for a midnight meeting failed. It became apparent that the Assembly's only option was to send it to the next Assembly for perfecting. The moderator suggested that if someone were to enter a "protest" which expressed repentance for racism, then others could sign on to it and it would become a part of the record of the Assembly - not as an action of the GA, but as an action of the signers. Debate continued. The moderator declared that he was going to call for a time of open prayer after the debate. The GA voted to send the overture to the next GA.

We went into a time of prayer. And prayed and prayed and prayed. And then we prayed some more. Men poured put their hearts God, praying for repentance and transformation - expressing sorrow and grief for the sufferings of our Black brothers and sisters and acknowledging our sin as a part of it. Men wept and confessed sins. I have no memory of the GA taking such a large block of time for prayer.

One of the last two remaining founders of our denomination stands and confessed his sin, particularly indifference. He was disappointed that we were not taking action this year. A man stood up and made a "protest," expressing confession of sin and hope for repentance. He turned in his protest and the Assembly began to move forward with our Moderator's closing remarks. As he began talking men began filtering down to sign the "protest."

Yes, this cloak, made into a tie, hanging on our moderator's neck.
 As a preface to his remarks the Moderator held up his tie and explained that it was made from the actual material of the elvin cloaks from The Lord of the Rings. It did appear so. He then gave a biblical exhortation using extended imagery from The Lord of the Rings, including a long read selection by and about his hero, Samwise Gamgee. Meanwhile, the line of men to sign the protest (really a statement repenting of racism) had grown longer than the convention hall itself as a large majority of the men present (many hundreds) signed the document.

It was a beautifully surreal and epic moment, repenting of racism to a reading of Tolkien. God is good.

55 comments:

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  2. Cousin Travis,

    At a random rest stop in the middle of Virginia, made because I had drunk too much coffee, I saw an African American man wearing a Covenant College T-shirt. I asked him if he had just been to G.A., and he said he had. It was a PCA pastor from Baltimore I had not yet met.

    I asked him what he thought of last night, and he said he was in tears. That he was overwhelmed with joy by what he heard. He also told me that when he first heard about this personal resolution, he thought oh no, here will go again, like 2002, an apology without any change... and that he wanted something deeper and stronger. It confirmed to me the wisdom that the Spirit gave to the Overtures Committee Thursday morning to come in with a unanimous report. What a sweet providence of God to have us run into each other on the way home.

    God was clearly at work, but the real work begins now. Let's pray for a year of humbling and reconciliation as we prepare for Mobile. That's what our African American brothers asked for and expect. But a great way to start last night. Great to see you and thank you for calling us to prayer. (I note that you very humbly neglected to mention above that it was you who asked for that, so I will say it for you!)

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  3. Thank for reporting. Wonderful news! A story to encourage us all and a great example of a body united in action.

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  4. How do you repent for someone else's sin? I guess what do you expect from a denom where the Moderator holds up his tie and explains that it was "made from the actual material of the elvin cloaks from The Lord of the Rings." They spend hours in prayer and debate trying to repent for sins that probably not one of them ever committed, yet when formal overtures were made for the GA to direct the Standing Judicial Commission to retry the case exonerating Federal Visionist and false teacher Peter Leithart they are ruled out of order and not one TE or RE lined up to protest the trashing of Christ's the Gospel. I don't understand the PCA.

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    1. Sean, consider Daniel 9 and Lamentations for examples of corporate repentance. It's entirely appropriate to seek the Lord's forgiveness on behalf of our people group, nation, city, or family. Speaking as a white man, racism is something we've all had a share in, partly due to our indifference to the plight of men and women we call family in Christ. Look up the Westminster Catechism on the sixth commandment, which one of our brothers spoke on at the GA last Wednesday. The ramifications of systemic or habitual neglect are chilling and they don't stop with racism either. Classism is just as big a problem. We neglect the poor and the disabled in various ways by catering to our desires and comforts. James has harsh words about that, but we don't give it enough attention.

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    2. Amazing! Tell us about your corporate rejection of the gospel. Shouldn't you corporately repent for that? You talk about the law of God, specifically the sixth commandment, and "the plight of men and women we call family in Christ," but in rejecting the gospel your efforts are in vain. In fact, outside of the gospel your efforts have nothing to do with the sanctification that God produces. Sounds to me like you're heaping up God's wrath on yourselves.

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    3. Justbybelief,
      You're saying the PCA has corporately rejected the gospel? Curious where you see this or if you are confusing us with the PC(USA) which is the mainline presbyterian denomination. Seeking clarity and the reasoning behind your statement.
      Mike

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    4. "The ramifications of systemic or habitual neglect are chilling and they don't stop with racism either. Classism is just as big a problem."

      This isn't Christianity, Phil. It's cultural Marxism dressed in a "Christian" veneer.

      If you aren't already a supporter of same-sex "marriage," you will be shortly. It's the heretical trajectory you're on.

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  5. So I am confused by your post. I thought perhaps we had repentance of racism at GA, but the part from The Lord of the Rings is confusing to me. I've seen the movies but never read the books. I need some handles as to actually what you are talking about. Sam seems to always be a faithful friend. That is what he embodies to me, but on not sure how it applies here.

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    1. Terry,

      Jim Wert has very helpfully given his full comments below. I found his comments to be insightful and helpful. I too find constant resonances of biblical themes in TLOTR. However, late at night after the Thursday session, when I wrote this out, what struck me was the surreal mash-up of it all. How did all of these things all end up coming together in the same moment. There was no meaning that I was trying to attach to it. I was simply trying to share the experience. All that said, I wouldn't say at all that there wasn't meaning to be had.

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  6. Sam was a servant, almost considered a "slave," as his family had been in servitude for generations. He was not thought to be "equal." Yet, he again and again proved his abilities, his bravery, and his love. He did become a friend.

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  7. I thought a few clarifying comments might be in order:

    First, Travis, thank you so much for planting the seed that led to such fruitful, Spirit-filled, soul-stirring prayer. I, too, cannot remember such an extended and uninterrupted season of prayer in our General Assembly.

    Second, for those who may have found my Lord of the Rings references in general, or my Lothlorien cloak tie to be trivializing to our proceedings, that was obviously not my intent. J.R.R. Tolkien was a deeply Christian author his entire life, and his masterwork, by his own admission, reflects this faith "unintentionally at first, and intentionally in revision." Sam Gamgee, in particular, exemplifies courage, resilience, sacrifice, service, friendship and love; and he develops the most as any character in the entire book. These traits encourage me, and I find them worthy to remember as I seek to serve my church. They seem equally relevant for our sessions, presbyteries, and General Assembly. And our blogs.

    To any specific question about my closing remarks, I did not have specifically in mind our final debate concerning repentance and action on the matters of historic racism in our denomination. They were intended more generally. But I do think they apply. Here's the gist of what I said, for any interested:

    I first noted that some of my brothers were returning to places of home, comfort and peace -- they were headed back to the Shire. For most, they were likely returning to challenge, uncertainty, attack, paths requiring faithfulness and resilience, and occasional sanctuary -- they return to the Wilderlands, or Moria, or perhaps Rivendell for a season. But there are some who are probably heading back to places of despair, hopelessness, fear and barren ground -- they return to find themselves in Mordor. This may be the case for some returning to areas where racial tension have been particularly acute lately, like St. Louis, or Baltimore. Especially for any in this last group, I offered this realization from Sam during his journey through Sauron's wasteland:

    “There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”

    I then reminded my brothers that our situation was better. Our star is not remote or inaccessible, but is the bright Morning Star present with us. Because (and only because) Jesus goes with us and in us can we hope to face our Mordors with strength and courage enough to overcome.

    Terry, I envy you in the experience of reading the Lord of the Rings for the first time. I hope you do it!

    And Travis, thank you again for your thoughts and prayerfulness.

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    1. Mr. Moderator,

      You did a fine job all week, with a wonderful demeanor, orderliness and sense of humor. You were clearly the best hobbit for the job. :) Thank you!

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    3. Here is a quote from that "deeply Christian author" Mr.Moderator thinks we should emulate concerning his lifelong devotion to the papacy and his disdain for the Reformation and Protestants in general:

      "I myself am convinced by the Petrine claims, nor looking around the world does there seem much doubt which (if Christianity is true) is the True Church, the temple of the Spirit dying but living, corrupt but holy, self-reforming and re-arising.

      But for me that Church of which the Pope is the acknowledged head on earth has as chief claim that it is the one that has (and still does) ever defended the Blessed Sacrament, and given it most honour, and put (as Christ plainly intended) in the prime place.

      'Feed my sheep' was His last charge to St. Peter; and since His words are always first to be understood literally, I suppose them to refer primarily to the Bread of Life. It was against this that the W. European revolt (or Reformation) was really launched—'the blasphemous fable of the Mass'—and faith/works a mere red herring.” - Tolkien: Man and Myth, p. 193

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    4. Sean, I think you are missing the point of this thread. If your passion and commitment is rooting out the reading and promotion of Roman Catholic fiction writers, you'll need to carry out that discussion in a different venue. We all know JRR Tolkien was a Catholic. Please let your comments on my blog in this vein rest at the above.

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    5. That would be too easy Travis and it was hardly my point. It makes sense that Mr. Wert would refer to Tolkien as a "deeply Christian author" when the authors of the PCA's FV&NPP report, to include Lig Duncan and Sean Lucas, referred to the FV/NPP men, who all believe" faith/works a mere red herring," as their "brothers in Christ." Since that time and according to the courts of the PCA, men like Leithart, Wilkins, Lawrence, Moon, Meyers -- and by extension Doug Wilson and James Jordan -- are all "deeply Christian" teachers and preachers. If you want to live a fantasy world where denominational unity means repenting of imaginary sins instead of the real sins committed against Christ and His Gospel, then it all makes sense.

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    6. Sean,

      I think your characterization of this issue as "imaginary sins" is deeply unfortunate and clarifying.

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  8. Jim,
    While all my family loves the Lord of the Rings, it is not really my preferred type of reading. I rejoice that you find it so moving. So my concern is for use of metaphor as fact. It has been said by neo-orthodox theologians that they are not so concerned that Jesus arose from the grave ontologically but that he arose in our hearts. This type of thinking I face frequently in Maryland. People say they believe in Jesus but it is in the same way that they say they believe in Santa Claus. They take it as a metaphor Jesus as a metaphor. Facts and truths are taken as metaphor. Metaphors from Scripture are re-acquired for new meanings to support ideology of humanism, new age thought or other non-Biblical thought. I'm not saying we can't use metaphor, but I'm suggesting that in many settings it can be confusing in today's environment. I'm sure I would be much less confused had I taken the time to come to GA this year. Perhaps next year.

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    1. "All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable."

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    2. John, I you think I am against metaphor, I've caused some miscommunication. That is not my point at all. Do you think Jesus literally died and arose again, or is it a metaphor? Do you think that the book of Revelation will literally happen or is filled with symbolic imagery? Each genre must be taken for what it is, not something else. Promises of Scripture are quite different from the maximums expressed in Proverbs. Parables are used extensively, but we naturally, and without specialized training interpret historical narratives differently.

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  9. Is there a publicly viewable link to the resolution as presented by Drs. Ligon and Duncan?

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    1. I'm going to post it in the main blog roll.

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  11. I would like to actually read and study the overture from Tuesday night, and the protest from Thursday night. I heard both of them, but I am very reluctant to commit to anything before I have fully understood what I am committing to. (Yes, I am a lawyer, and yes, many of my clients should have read documents before they signed them.) I certainly have sins of my own to repent of, but this was much more. I am afraid I might be hypocritical if I signed up to something I hastily agreed to, but later had to explain, or qualify, or limit... If I signed the protest, what was I confessing? (There seemed to be quite a few provisions.) Is it being overly precise or careful or scrupulous to consider what I do before I commit to confession of my sin or the sins of others, or does that itself betray a sinful attitude? Does it matter whether I sign as an African American or Korean American, or are we all implicated in corporate guilt? As the post above said, where can I get these two documents? In any case, my session and presbytery need to see them also. Peter Hill

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  12. Thank you for sharing about these race-related developments at General Assembly. When one starts digging into the history of the Civil Rights movement, it's hard to miss that Birmingham, Alabama and Jackson, Mississippi, both Mecca-like cities of the Presbyterian Church and later the PCA, are both cities that played prominent roles in suppressing racial equality.

    For those wanting to know more about our part as bystanders or about the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham (sometimes referred to in the 1960s as the Johannesburg of America), I would recommend the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, written by Mountain Brook native Diane McWhorter, called Carry Me Home - Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. Additionally, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (museum) in downtown Birmingham across the street from the Sixteenth Avenue Baptist Church is a worthwhile destination.

    I'm so thankful for the delegates who cared enough to take action on this issue this year, and I pray the message reaches every PCA congregation.





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    1. Thank you! I'm going to take a look at those books.

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  13. The text of the Personal Resolution (not Overture) presented by Teaching Elders Ligon Duncan and Sean Lucas on Tuesday evening (the first time the Assembly had seen it) can be found here:
    http://byfaithonline.com/personal-resolution-on-civil-rights-remembrance/

    The text of the "protest" signed by many out of a desire to do more than simply refer this matter to next year's General Assembly can be found here:
    http://byfaithonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/PROTEST-CONCERNING-THE-43RD-GENERAL-ASSEMBLY.pdf

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    1. And the grounds given by the Overtures Committee as to why to refer to next year can be found here:
      http://byfaithonline.com/oc-recommends-refer-civil-rights-resolution-to-44th-assembly-2/

      You will note that the grounds hope for an even stronger and more widespread resolution next year. Peter Hill, this is one of the problems of G.A.s acting on Personal Resolutions.... we are to prepare for G.A., and yet had no time to prepare for this. That by itself is not an argument against acting this year, but it was a consideration. I still don't understand why in its article on the referral, byFaith still does not include the vote total, but it was overwhelming.... something like 90-95% in favor. Jim, do you know?

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  14. I was a teen-aged member of the First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg MS when the session - of which my father and grandfather were members - adopted a policy that non-whites were not to be admitted to worship. The beautiful building in which I worshiped as a child is now the home of the True Light Baptist Church - which was the meeting center of the "Freedom Summer" activities in Hattiesburg. Ironic

    If it had not been for racism - and the alleged support for civil rights in the PCUS - the PCA would never have been formed. I hope - and assume - that things have changed. I am delighted at the news of the action of this Assembly - albeit a bit late.

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    1. I agree. I plan to write a post on some of these issues. Thanks.

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    2. If it had not been for racism, the PCA would never have been formed? Waaaaayyy too simplistic, David. Almost slanderous.

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  15. Sean, I kept having this deja vu feeling as I was reading your comments and was reminded of John Robbins with the Trinity Foundation and how he argued that C.S. Lewis was in hell because he rejected a biblical doctrine of atonement. I did a search on your name and found your blog (thanks for the link to mine, btw). It appears that you are a student of Gordon Clark as well, so all of this makes a great deal of sense. I'm not sure Robbins would have agreed with you on the racism issue (as he was a passionate critic of neo-confederatism), but he assuredly would have agreed with you concerning the FV crowd and probably Tolkien as well. I will point out that the philosophy/theology of Gordon Clark was/is not without controversy as well.

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    1. Travis, I do not appreciated you insinuating that I am somehow justifying racism because I think the PCA's priorities are deeply screwed up. Frankly, I think if Robbins were here he would not only be in agreement with me he would probably be commenting on your blog rebuking the PCA for its failure to defend the Gospel against rank heretics like Jeffrey Meyers and Peter Liethart to name just two. And, yes, Clark's life did have its share of controversy, so did Van Til's. So what? But, make no mistake the FV is Van Til's stepchild, not Clark's. It's hardly a mystery that Reconstructionism which gave birth to the FV both find their intellectual roots in Van Til. Besides, and again no surprise, virtually all the FV men from James Jordan on down identify themselves as Vantillian to one degree or another. I have no doubt had more people payed attention to Clark there would have been no FV controversy.

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  16. This will mark the beginning of the end for the PCA as racial babylon always gives way to sexual Babylon. The PCA Founders such as Dr. John Richards who wrote against Racial Amalgamation and Internationalism have been besmirched. We will end up as the PCUSA, eventually ordaining homosexual ministers. A very sad time for our denomination.

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    1. What would you advocate for regarding our African-American brethern? Particularly in light of the comments by one founders of this denomination, on the floor of the 43rd GA during the debate mentioned above, by his own admission did nothing to help or speak to the Civil Rights issues in the late 60's and early 70's. He said that as the denomination was being founded, they ignored it. And he confessed to us that they choose to say nothing at the time and repented of that before us there.

      I hardly think that trying to work alongside brothers in Christ who have been wounded due to race issues, implicit or explict, is marching to abandoning the gospel.

      Would you prefer the denomination just doesn't say anything to the larger culture?

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    2. I would never wish to "besmirch" Dr. Richard Edwards Roberts, I condemn his teaching on the races in the strongest of terms. His handling of Scripture in this issue was reprehensible and I would myself bring charges against a minister who taught such things today. I would also bring charges against someone in our denomination who taught an acceptance of homosexual behavior. Your linking of the two is biblically errant. You have all but said that without an agreement with segregation, the gospel will fall. I consider this assertion evil.

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  17. The Great Commission goes out to Nations Travis. That's Ethnos, (that's the template) and not propositional, so called Nations. We don't want to exacerbate the problem by forcing people together who God Himself has created to be separated.

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    1. I hope it doesn't dignify your ideas too much to say that you are entirely wrong and short-sighted about the roots of modernity. They were sown in philosophies of the Enlightenment, long before the pet bugaboos of today's far right were at large. If you do want to go to war with modernity (and I do applaud that, at least!), Filmer and Carlyle will give you much better material than Stormfront.

      As for having any Christian justification (in the Great Commission!), your argument has no catholicity: you're reading in something novel and tendentious that is not in line with how Christians have always understood the text. You're the one being Modern here.

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    2. The idea of race in modern terms is not the same as ethnos (τὰ ἔθνη (Mat 28:19 BGT)) from Scripture. Race comes from the concept that genetically biologically distinct peoples come from different "heads". The word race comes from the Semitic word for head. Hebrew is רֹ֔אשׁ. The Arabic is رأس. Basically both are the same word. Biblically we are all one race since our human head is Adam. There are not four or five heads, we all come from Adam, one head. The different nations come from the division at the tower of Babel. This should be seen as a limitation of evil, not a desired end state. By the way, languages continue to change and the nation of Rome does not exist any more. The Saxon's have descendants, but nobody is a Saxon today, unless you do not mean the nation. Nations come and go over time. The reversal of the division of the nations is on the day of Pentecost where all are hearing the gospel in their own language. The normal shall be every nation, tribe and tongue praising God in heaven in unity, not division.

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  18. Why do you think our PCA founders believed the historic church's position on race and Nations? It's there to help us and not harm us. Why do you think the Nations are in such disarray after having the Gospel for over 2000 years now? Unless you're Ammillennialists or Premillennialists with NO hope for the Nations future developing under the authority of Christ then you really have to think this through.

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  19. Why do you think our PCA founders believed the historic church's position on race and Nations?

    >Because of pride and error. However, I do not think it is quite accurate to call racism the historical position of Christianity. Certainly racism in recent centuries has been a terrible mark on the church, but the concept of race in its modern form is a recent invention. http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-09.htm

    Why do you think the Nations are in such disarray after having the Gospel for over 2000 years now?

    >The nations are simultaneously in better shape and worse shape than previous history. The gospel is going out to humble people who receive it with thankful hearts. Praise God for the spread of his Word today.

    Unless you're Ammillennialists or Premillennialists with NO hope for the Nations future developing under the authority of Christ then you really have to think this through.

    > I miss the point of the sentence entirely. I think I understand both the amillennial and premillennial positions, but I'm not sure how the eschatological position relates to a proper understanding of what race relations should be now.

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  20. This is very much about eschatology. The New Jerusalem has the NationS flowing into it and not an amalgamated Blob of humanity under Christ. Terry I'd love to know your definition of "racism". It sounds like whoever doesn't agree with your position is a racist.

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  21. Racism - the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

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  22. By the way, I did not mean racism as an insult. It was actually the ideology that I was addressing, and it is not the historical position of the church of the past 2000 years. It would be an anachronism to say the church has held this position. I think I may have not communicated my meaning properly.

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  23. Well, ontologically we're all the same before God standing as mankind and also before His Laws there is no respect of persons. But only a fool would say that the various races haven't produced different cultures with various giftings. Even concerning the Gospel and the exegesis of scripture it has been the ancestry of the European that has been the torch bearer of Christianity and Christian civilization. Would you deny this?

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    1. Yes. I think you are looking at only a small part of the church and of Christian history: the Protestant revolution and missionary efforts in the wake of British, French, Spanish, and Portuguese colonialism. Yes, valiant work was done and is bearing fruit now. (Our secular powers also wrecked a lot of indigenous societies and then abandoned them to dysfunction, so don't let anybody tell you colonialism was all roses.)

      But this is hardly torch-bearing for the global church, or even for Europe. You say "European" as though it's a race, but it isn't (and wouldn't have been recognized as such by your racist forebears--remember the "colored" Italian immigrants of past censuses?). What do you know about the (national! ethnic!) churches of Poland, Romania, and Greece? Do you even recognize their Christianity without qualification? They are no less European than our pallid English forebears.

      Without diminishing the work of colonial evangelists or continental theologians in the last 500 years, I'm far more impressed by the work of the original Jewish apostles and early apostolic church in planting local, native, self-supporting churches to the very borders of their known world--bishoprics in Britain, Spain, Africa (as far as the Sahara, which seems to have stopped 'em), and India, many of which survive to this day despite terrible persecution. There are Christian churches ALL OVER THE WORLD and have been from the beginning.

      On the topic of European torch-bearing, it's worth noting that, in the Anglican Communion, today it is the vast churches of Africa and South America (yes, the good fruit of those English evangelists we're so proud of) that provide an orthodox counterweight to the insanity of Canterbury and New York. If any substantial number of White People in the next century worship God in accordance with the reformed traditional faith of England, it will be in large part through the faithful witness of our brothers in the Global South.

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    2. ...Basically, you're conflating a bunch of things and ignoring a bunch of other things and the result does not allow you to make accurate predictions EVEN ABOUT THE PAST.

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  24. I've never met a Christian in my entire life who has hated the other races regardless of the fact that they didn't believe in miscegenation and amalgamation.

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  26. About 1823 or 1824 McClellan Carroll, a Cherokee Indian from North Carolina, married Elizabeth Barom. When her father and brother heard of the young couple's action the father and brother wanted to harm McClellan because they disapproved of the cross racial marriage. They moved to Tennessee. When Elizabeth became pregnant the couple sent word back to Elizabeth's family of the news of a child. They hoped the thought of a grandchild would bring about peace in the family. The Elizabeth's father and brother threatened to kill McClellan so the young couple fled to Bond County, IL. There they had a son Tillman. Tillman had a son William, who had a daughter Imo, who had a son, Bobby, who had a son Terry. I'm proud of my ancestry. I think McClellan and Elizabeth were brave souls.

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  27. They obviously created a lot of discord within the family. There's nothing wrong with honoring your father and mother's desires for marriage per the 5th commandment. In addition, the fifth commandment covers your ancestry who persevered for centuries to maintain a bloodline of good stock, gifted according to the grace of God upon a particular people, bloodline and heritage.

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  28. I would prefer to remain anonymous in this forum, as my job would likely not tolerate my views. If I understand the Federal Vision theology (and I may not), we criticize it precisely because of its presumption to do something on behalf of or in a representative way for another--namely, to accept faith for or on behalf of another--to be distinguished from parents baptizing their children because we say that baptism is not salvific. How therefore is repenting for another's sin any different? Is it not messianic, in the wrong way? Has not that sin been dealt with already? And if not, of what value has our repentance for the dead? I was not a delegate to the assembly, nor am I an elder or deacon--just a rank and file member. But you've some convincing to bring me around on this one. I'm looking forward to discussing this with my pastor, who was there.

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    1. Pseudonym,

      The distinction is between for others sins and repenting of others sins. Biblically, we can't repent "for" another. My kids cannot repent in my behalf. However, they can repent of corporate sins of my family and, as part of the family disavow any participation in my sin.

      So, if your pastor and I neglect to do anything to oppose abortion, he can become convinced that the neglect was sin and repent of it. If I, as a pastor, promote abortion and your pastor does nothing to address it, he can repent of not taking action. If our denomination supports and funds abortions your pastor and I can seek to lead our denomination in stopping the thing and proclaim "repentance," even if we always opposed it.

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  29. Dear Pseudonym,

    The Scripture does show corporate repentance that does transcend a single generation. The book of Daniel has one of the prime examples.

    16 "O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us.
    17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
    18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.
    19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name."
    (Dan 9:16-19 ESV)

    Notice that the sins of the Father's that is being repented of.

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