Archive by Author

President Reagan’s Faith, Interaction with Dr. Albert Mohler, Brief Comments on Justice

Started off expressing thanks for the recently discovered letter President Ronald Reagan sent to his father-in-law shortly before his father-in-law’s death in which Reagan gave a clear call to faith in Jesus as the only way of salvation. Then I moved to interact with and respond to some of the comments made by Dr. Albert Mohler of The Southern Seminary in the Q&A chapel from last week, focusing specifically upon the comment related to why he has not signed the statement despite saying that he agrees with major portions of it.  I had the video all cued up but never ended up playing anything as I kept moving from point to point (having listened to it multiple times) in providing background until I had pretty well covered everything.  Also included a section of commentary on the injustice of lodging 30+ year old allegations of misconduct and how the current cultural moment attempts to bring cosmic justice into our present reality (an impossibility).

Here is the YouTube link:
Live Video Stream
The Dividing Line is on YouTube video. Our YouTube channel also provides videos of most of the debates that Dr. White has done over the years. Take some time and browse it to see if there is something there of interest to you. If you are looking for the next upcoming show be sure to subscribe to the blog as we post show announcements the morning of the show.

China’s Totalitarianism, Union Theological Seminary Invites You to Apostacy, 1 Timothy 6

Yes, I know, I said open phones, but I forgot to address the developments in China yesterday even though it was the first thing on my list. And then I ran across Union Theological Seminary’s invitation to apostasy, and I really needed to work through that as well.  Read a little bit from a Brannon Howse show that will make your head spin, then took about 20 minutes to look at 1 Timothy 6 and the issue of slaves and slave owners in the early church.

Here is the YouTube link:
Live Video Stream
The Dividing Line is on YouTube video. Our YouTube channel also provides videos of most of the debates that Dr. White has done over the years. Take some time and browse it to see if there is something there of interest to you. If you are looking for the next upcoming show be sure to subscribe to the blog as we post show announcements the morning of the show.

9/11, Accreditation, Social Justice, Jemar Tisby

Covered a wide variety of things today from the 9-11 remembrances to the use of accreditation to crush Christian education in the West to various discussions of the social justice issue from a number of specifics (especially from articles by Douglas Wilson and Samuel Sey).  Finished up looking at Jemar Tisby’s article wherein he exhorts people to “avoid” people like me.

Here is the YouTube link:
Live Video Stream
The Dividing Line is on YouTube video. Our YouTube channel also provides videos of most of the debates that Dr. White has done over the years. Take some time and browse it to see if there is something there of interest to you. If you are looking for the next upcoming show be sure to subscribe to the blog as we post show announcements the morning of the show.

A Response to Dr. Raymond Chang

Raymond Chang has written a thread in social media in response to our Statement that is helpful—in the sense of illustrating how worldview presuppositions impact reading and communication.

The thread begins with the intended conclusion, that which Dr. Chang is wanting to communicate to his readers: if you do not stand with the social justice movement, with those who are seeking to recast the Christian gospel in terms of power structures, oppression, intersectionality, and all the other current trends in cultural expression, you are (even if you vehemently deny it and there is not the slightest evidence of it) promoting racial supremacy, whatever that is defined as meaning today.  He begins by noting that over 4000 men (it is actually men and women) have signed the Statement, and then says, “This should grieve us all as it seeks to promote a type of false unity based on racial supremacy (though it will try and deny it) while fundamentally ignoring the the call to love others as Christ loved us.”  We can be thankful, I guess, that Dr. Chang is not attempting to look like a friend while trying to get close enough to stab with a dagger! No, this is a howitzer shot from 1500 meters. No close combat needed.  There is no desire of unity, no desire to dialogue, no view that we are all on the same side but need to talk this through. Nope—those pastors and theologians over there are racial supremacists (isn’t that just simply a longer version of “racist”?) who ignore the biblical command to love others. Period.

If you have read the Statement and are left just a bit confused as to how that set of affirmations and denials could ever be read in such an outrageously unfair and twisted fashion, you are not alone, but, you are also giving evidence of the fact that you have not been breathing deeply of the vapors of the social justice left. 

He goes on to note that many of those who have signed are pastors (quite true), but that this only makes things worse for “the blind are leading the blind when it comes to issues of racial unity in the church.”  Those who are promoting such concepts as critical race theory and intersectionality and the like are likewise convinced that if you are not “on board” with the program (its truth being so self evident!) then you are blind and, well, worthy of mockery and disdain.  In fact, those on the other side are truly unaware of their state, for Dr. Chang informs us, “they don’t see how their truth as been coopted by a hyper individualistic and racialized imagination. They can’t even see what they can’t see and that is what is most concerning because they operate in an echo chamber.”  It is difficult to know how Dr. Chang can be so condescendingly confident about such a wide range of individuals with ministries stretching around the world, but then again, the worldview of the left rarely troubles itself with accurate representation of any opposing viewpoints.

Dr. Chang goes on to assert that “the truth of God’s Word has been grossly missapplied by them. And now that people are trying to lovingly correct them they are bunkering down.”  I have certainly seen a number of attempts to respond to the Statement, but sadly, so far, the common denominator of these attempts would not be accurately described as “loving.”  Vitriolic, condescending, acidic—just plain nasty, yes, but “loving” would not be the appropriate descriptor at this point.  We can hope for future interaction that might be loving, thought-out, etc., but in reality one would not expect those responses as yet. It took us some time to put the document together, review it, get input, etc., so the thoughtful, meaningful, and yes hopefully, loving responses would probably be coming at a future time.

The accusations continue on with these words: As God in Christ Jesus tore the veil and broke down the dividing wall of hostility, they are seeking to build it back up brick by brick.” Such a strong denunciation should be accompanied, of course, by careful and accurate interaction with the statement, but, that would be highly unusual for those on the left. The mere accusation is normally sufficient, and that is all we get here, too. The accusation is, of course, utterly fallacious. Indeed, just this morning I preached on Ephesians 2 and the unity of the body and its basis in the work of Christ who, by His death upon the cross, makes peace and provides the basis of true unity between God and man and, thereby, between those in the one body of Christ. There is nothing any rational person could find in the Statement that would substantiate such an accusation.

Next we have, “What they don’t know, is that their actions are dividing the church that Jesus laid down his life for.”  Again, sweeping accusations that are left without the slightest substantiation outside of “they don’t agree with us about our social justice agenda, therefore, they must be wrong.” One is tempted to point back to the “echo changer” line that was used by Dr. Chang earlier and recognize that while many in conservative circles do indeed seek the echo chamber, the very essence of leftist ideology demands the echo chamber, applauds the echo chamber, and does all it can to maintain the echo chamber.

Dr. Chang then directed his readers to Pastor King’s already addressed article and then goes on to respond to the same passage that has triggered so many others on the left:  “But statements like this are the root of racial supremacy: ‘WE AFFIRM that some cultures operate on assumption that are inherently better than those of other cultures because of the biblical truths that inform those worldview that have produced these distinct assumptions.’”  Those on the left struggle mightily to recognize that just because belief X has been held by someone in the past who engaged in behavior Y it does not follow that belief X is necessarily foundational to or determinative of behavior Y.  The Inquisitors who tortured people in Spain confessed the Trinity, but the Trinity had nothing at all to do with their actions of torture.  Racial supremacists may hold to orthodox confessions at points, but it does not follow that those confessions are foundational to or determinative of their errors.  The affirmation in the Statement almost rises to the level of a self-evident truth, and failing that it is so very simple to establish it as true.  The biblical assumptions embraced by the people of Israel resulted in a better cultural manifestation than those followed by the Canaanites who offered their children in sacrifice to Molech.  How can this obvious truth be denied? If all cultural assumptions are equal, then it follows that Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and all the rest could not be identified as better or worse than any others.  There are many on the left that go there, but surely no Christian could possibly do so.

There were more comments that could be addressed, but this seems sufficient to identify just some of the problems, the biggest of which is easily seen: this is a response that is not a response. There seems to be an almost allergic reaction on the part of some to the very idea of actually interacting meaningfully with the words of the Statement, let alone any of the explications and applications that have been offered by its authors and signers in the week since its promulgation.  But, we continue to hope for better!

Avoid the Signers of the Statement Says One Avoiding Its Arguments

Jemar Tisby, head of the blog formerly known as RAAN, has suggested, in an article run on the Religion News Service (RNS) site, that those of us involved in writing the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel should be “avoided.” Those are his words. I like quotes, so here we go:

I’m tempted to refute the recent statement on the gospel and social justice point-by-point — showing how it falls short of the Bible’s call for justice. But I think our time would be better spent on other pursuits. There’s too much work to be done — work that will be delayed by endless debates.

Here’s my advice.

Many of the people who authored and signed this statement have large ministries and platforms.

Avoid them.

Find other authors, preachers and teachers from whom you can learn. People like Austin Channing Brown or the podcasters and bloggers at Truth’s Table or The Witness, where I am a contributor. Or read Howard Thurman, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Bryan Stevenson, James Baldwin or the other writers who have explored issues of justice.

If the supporters of statements that dismiss social justice as a distraction from the gospel headline a major conference, state your concerns to the organizers. If nothing changes, then don’t go.

If they do an interview on a podcast, find another episode to listen to. If they write more blogs to state their case, share other ones instead.

So there you go.  Let’s analyze: the first presupposition is that Mr. Tisby could rather easily “refute” the Statement, but that is so easy to do, and there are so many more important issues pressing upon him! There is a dismissiveness here that is very clear and represents a common theme amongst many of those pressing CRT and its associated concepts within the Church.  

But, since he possesses this great capacity to refute this statement (but cannot be bothered to do so right now), he will endow us with his wisdom in the form of sage advice.  And that advice?

Divide the church.

Wait—is that not the very thing so many have been saying his movement leads to?  Well, yes, it is. 

“Avoid them.”  From the first response I personally offered to the MLK50 presentations to this day I have had one central core to my concerns: because the movement is based upon external categories and hierarchies of importance and is not derived from biblical categories of redemption and anthropology, the tendency must, of necessity, lead to division.  How else could it be? Creating “black spaces” or “white spaces” or actually pitting one ethnicity against another based upon supposed ancestral sins will create internal schism, tribalism, within the body. It is inevitable because it is being promoted despite the unitary work of Christ in saving, despite there being only one righteousness imputed to any believer, despite the same Spirit dwelling in each and every believer. Theology really does matter!  

“Avoid them.”  Segregate. Close your hearts and minds to those raising serious biblical and theological objections, despite their collective dozens of decades of ministry in preaching, teaching, pastoring and apologetics. Listen to us, not to them! Do not compare and contrast! Do not ask questions, do not listen to both sides! One narrative, one input. Don’t read their blogs. Don’t attend their conferences. They are bad! We are good! And who was it again who said, “This will lead to division”?

I’m sorry, but Jemar Tisby cannot, in fact, “refute” the statement point by point. Isn’t it ironic that others supportive of the “social justice” movement have made a different argument, specifically, that there really isn’t anything controversial or meaningful in the statement, that everyone can agree with it (some of their number said this in the hours after it came out)? Which is it going to be, as it cannot be both. If it is unremarkable, how can it be refutable point by point? 

Let me illustrate my point by reference to the only specific he cited from the statement.  Here again are his words:

Although much about this statement needs discussion, I will highlight one section in particular.

It reads: “We affirm that some cultures operate on assumptions that are inherently better than those of other cultures because of the biblical truths that inform those worldviews that have produced these distinct assumptions.”

The best word to describe the assertion above is “ethnocentric.”

Who gets to decide which cultures and which assumptions are closer to biblical truth? For most of American history, white Christians have claimed that privilege. That privilege is now being challenged.

I have noted that this portion has “triggered” most of those who have drunk deeply at the well of today’s modern societal paradigm. To the biblically-grounded Christian, the statement is rather, well, unremarkable indeed. A society that embraces the light provided by God’s revelation, both general and special (i.e., from the creation and from Scripture), will be blessed by God over against those that refuse that light from the Creator. How can one read the minor prophets and not see this? It is hard to say. In fact, isn’t this what real “social justice” is all about, i.e., making God’s truth known to the nations and praying and working toward the submission of men and women, boys and girls to the Lordship of Christ, which, then, we pray leads, by God’s blessing, to this very result? 

But notice the blatant agnosticism promoted by Mr. Tisby. After identifying this basic, biblical concept as “ethnocentric” (it is theocentric, actually, based upon a consistent application of a worldview that begins with God as the Creator of all things, which is what makes it so abhorrent to those of the cultural left, who are anything but theocentric in their thought), Tisby opines, “Who gets to decide which cultures and which assumptions are closer to biblical truth?” Really? The tribe engaging in human sacrifice, rape, and horrific tribal warfare in worship of pagan deities cannot be identified as farther from biblical truth than those that have enshrined biblical law against such activities in their very civil code? From whence comes such utter moral, ethical, and yes, biblical confusion? We are truly left wondering! Are these the words of one truly steeped in the prophetic witness of the Scriptures? Are the followers of the one true God incapable of being able to tell the difference between good and evil, proper foundational assumptions and those that stand against God’s truth?

Thankfully, we are not left with Tisby’s agnosticism, but we are left without any basis for accepting either his self-claimed ability to refute the Statement point by point as well as his call to divide, separate, and segregate from those expressing objections based upon the clear concerns enunciated, from a serious biblical perspective, in the Statement.