Radio preacher Arlen Banks writes in a series of blog entries that Satan is “using preachers and prominent figures in the Church” to deny essential aspects of the gospel, adding that there is a “very subtle false teaching in every denomination.”[1. http://thekingdomoftheheavens.org/2010/11/18/the-word-of-the-kingdom-part-4/] The accusatory nature of these remarks is breathtaking, considering a chief complaint among followers of the so-called “Word of the Kingdom” is that they have been unfairly disparaged, even complaining that they are being persecuted. What is one to make of a teacher who unabashedly claims that the majority of Christian ministers are really just tools of Satan?
Radio preacher Arlen Banks has reposted a book promoting segregation. Banks previously offered Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson in digital form at TheKingdomOfTheHeavens.org, but pulled it after it was revealed here that the late preacher taught that blacks were inferior to whites.
At the time, Banks maintained that Wilson was “wrong” to say that Ham committed immoral acts because he was black.[1. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1041]
“I disagree with Wilson’s speculation of Ham being black, but he was entitled to his opinion, whether it was wrong or right,” wrote Banks in the forum at KingdomExclusion.com.
Banks reposted the book last week.
In the 1950s, Wilson founded a teaching called “Word of the Kingdom,” which maintains, among other things that salvation is conditional. Though not widely known, “Word of the Kingdom” is promoted by Christians who typically identify themselves as baptists.
Wilson maintained in sermons and articles throughout four decades that blacks were cursed by God; he taught that integration was a work of Satan. Wilson’s racial theories mirrored those of many in the South in the mid-1900s.
In a 1973 sermon, Wilson preached:
Generally speaking, around the world, what’s the hour and the day that manifests the strongest evidential segregation? It’s on Sunday, and what time? Eleven o’clock. That’s particularly true in what area of the world? … Bible Belt? What is the capitol of the Bible Belt? … Chattanooga is the capitol of the Bible Belt, you know it is. What other city in the world has Bible taughting (sic.) schools like this city? No place but the Bible Belt that have it. Now why is the eleven o’clock hour in Chattanooga the most segregated time and place in the world? There is a reason for it. Because in a majority of the pulpits you’ll still find the word of God.
Selected Writings was published in 1981, and reprinted as late as 1996. Digital copies have been available at various sites promoting the Word of the Kingdom, including Arlen L. Chitwood’s site, LampBroadcast.org.
Chitwood edited Selected Writings.
The book has been promoted continuously by pastors connected with the Cornerstone Christian Fellowship franchise, though Pastor John Herbert, of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, said previously that he would not adhere to Wilson’s teachings on race. Still, several speakers at a conference sponsored by Herbert’s church teach that blacks are cursed.
In e-mails to the publisher at KingdomExclusion.com, Banks has defended Wilson, saying that the late preacher was a godly man. “A. Edwin Wilson is not a racist,” Banks wrote last July.[2. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1391]
However, speaking of the curse upon blacks, Wilson wrote that it “involved [the] general inferiority of the Hamitic race, and a special condemnation to the lowest degree of servitude. This curse consigns the Hamitic race to a position of national and personal servitude until the time of restitution of all things.”
Banks offers Wilson’s book at two sites he maintains: TheKingdomOfTheHeavens.org and AEWilson.org.
I am often asked by those who support “kingdom exclusion”/”word of the kingdom” what motivation a Christian has for living a godly life. They ask, generally, “Why should Christians do what is right? Why should they care?” They suggest that unless one believes one possibly faces punishment in the millennial kingdom, one will be ineffectual in Christian living. One will become carnal.
1. Who among us will not be punished? “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it? … So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty” (James 2:10 & 12). Should we not heed these words? It is James, after all, who is most often quoted in the teaching of “soul salvation.” Should we not, then, draw the same conclusions as James?
2. Where is this punishment found? Revelation speaks of the millennial kingdom, but makes no mention of the so-called “exclusion” of carnal Christians. Or, are we to believe, as Arlen Chitwood and others espouse, that Christians too will suffer the hurt of the second death? That idea is frankly blasphemous.
(I should note that the absence of “exclusion” is mirrored everywhere. No one, to this date, has shown anyone where “exclusion” is to be found in scripture.)
3. Is not forgiveness a greater motivation? Ask yourself, as a Christian, why do you want to be good? Why? Is it because you fear a “rod of fire” or the “hurt of the second death,” or is it because God has so loved you? Were we saved by fear, or the cross?
4. Why should we end with works? How is “soul salvation” not a complete repudiation of grace? Did not Paul warn, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). I have noted that in all of his writings, Arlen Chitwood never speaks of sanctification. His defenders say, well, “soul salvation” is sanctification? If that is true, “soul salvation” is heresy, for Paul says we are not being perfected by the flesh.
I am astonished that people actually teach that without “soul salvation” (otherwise called the “accountability” gospel) Christians would have no motivation for doing what is right. Those people miss, by a wide margin, the true gospel.
Paul, too, was confronted by such people. Look at his reply: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2).
Let it be so.
Though Arlen L. Chitwood teaches that salvation is by grace, he limits unconditional salvation to one aspect of a person’s being, the spirit. A believer’s other aspects — the soul and body — are saved conditionally.
“The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional,” he writes in Salvation of the Soul, the Saving of a Life (p. 13, emphasis is Chitwood’s). “The salvation of the soul is dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved. It is dependent on the individual allowing the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life through his own spirit.”
Chitwood describes redemption as having three phases: salvation of the spirit by grace, realized at the cross; salvation of the soul by works, realized through human achievement; and, salvation of the body, a consequence of soul salvation (in other words, it just happens).
Chitwood never clarifies how salvation can be entirely by grace but also by works. In truth, it is either one or the other.
In some of his writings, he appears to limit “soul salvation” to judgments rendered at the dawn of the millennial kingdom. “The former [spirit salvation] has to do with eternal verities and the latter [soul salvation] with millennial verities” (ibid, p. 36). Reduced to attaining or losing rewards in the kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:19-20), his theology is innocuous (and, frankly, quite unoriginal). But, he draws such a careful distinction between “spirit salvation” and “soul salvation,” that each becomes a distinct form of salvation.
Significantly, Chitwood makes this point in Salvation by Grace Through Faith:
The “spirit” of unsaved man, associated with “darkness,” is dead. It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his “body of… death,” in which there dwells “no good thing” (Rom. 7:18, 24). But, with the movement of the Spirit — breathing life into unsaved, lifeless man — man’s spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul (Heb. 4:12). — page 8
His use of Heb. 4:12 is disturbing because the text makes no mention of a person’s spirit and soul being divided at the moment of salvation. The text simply says that the word of God searches every aspect of a person’s being. More troubling is what follows:
“The ‘soul’ remains within the sphere of darkness” (ibid.).
In other words, the soul of a believer is not presently saved, and is not saved by grace through blood redemption. Soul salvation, to use Chitwood’s own phrasing, is “unlike” spirit salvation.
How, Then, Is One Saved?
Chitwood never explains how the soul and body ever come to be saved. If by Christ at the cross, why not presently? Why must the soul and body be saved at a future time? If by achieving rewards (i.e., positions in the millennial kingdom), how is that not salvation by works? How can unconditional salvation be conditional?
Ultimately, what is the mode of salvation for the soul and body?
Chitwood becomes so confused on the point that he actually argues that Christians are unequally yoked within themselves![1. In a previous article, I identified Gnostic tendencies in Chitwood’s writings. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=73.]
Within this unredeemed body lie two opposing entities, each seeking dominion — a redeemed spirit, and an unredeemed soul. The unredeemed soul is housed in an unredeemed body, and the two are mutually compatible. But the redeemed spirit housed alongside an unredeemed soul in an unredeemed body experiences no compatibility with either of the other two at all. Compatibility is not possible, for “what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:14). — Salvation of the Soul, p. 8, emphasis is Chitwood’s
Note that the spirit, saved by grace through faith, is “redeemed,” but the soul, apparently not saved by grace through faith, is “unredeemed.”
What is particularly tragic about Chitwood is that he goes great lengths to teach that salvation is by grace — “All man can possibly do is simply receive, through believing on the Son, that which has already been done on his behalf” (Salvation by Grace Through Faith, X) — but he limits that form of salvation to the spirit. Unquestionably, he teaches that the soul and body are in “darkness,” “unredeemed,” and saved “conditionally.”
That, in the final assessment, is not salvation by grace.
A great injustice has been done to the late A. Edwin Wilson. In the last year, several individuals removed digital copies of The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson from their websites. Among these I can name Arlen L. Chitwood, who had long intended to remove the book from his website, but did not realize that it remained “orphaned” among some pages of his website, LampBroadcast.org,[6. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=366] and Arlen Banks, who removed it because he felt Wilson was wrong to have taught that Ham “violated” Noah, his father, because Ham was black.[5. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1041]
Sadly, these individuals removed the text after I had exposed Wilson’s teachings to the general public. I bear the fault. My actions, my tenacity, led to the removal of Wilson’s book from their sites. Somes other souls, however, remained steadfast. When I called upon them to remove the book (on moral grounds, not legal) they refused. Among these I can name Calvary Bible Church and Schoettle Publishing Company. There are others still, but their names escape me for the moment.
The “injustice” I speak of is the resulting difficulty the general public now has accessing the book. How will they know what sort of man he was. I must now speak, for Wilson was an honorable man. The general public should know that Wilson taught that:
Christ never abolished slavery.[1. Chapter XV, p. 3, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]
“And Wilson was an honorable man.”
The general public should know that Wilson taught that…
Integration, of which we hear so much today, is an effort to take two or more parts and fuse them into one, to integrate the colored race and white race through marriage, amalgamation, and assimilation, and to reduce the two groups (colored and white) to one group. Anyone who knows God’s plan and purpose concerning the human race can see the hand of Satan behind all this. His supreme desire is not the integration and fusion of the colored race with the white — he is looking forward to the day when the nation of Israel shall be integrated and fused with other nations, and then all of God’s prophecy concerning Israel’s restoration and elevation to the head of the nations shall fail of fulfillment and God will have been proven to be false. Satan is thus hoping to continue his reign over the souls of men.[2. Chapter XV, p. 3, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]
“And Wilson was an honorable man.”
The general public should know that Wilson taught that…
This curse [upon black people] also involved general inferiority of the Hamitic race, and a special condemnation to the lowest degree of servitude. This curse consigns the Hamitic race to a position of national and personal servitude until the time of restitution of all things (Zech. 14:21).[1. Chapter XV, p. 4, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]
“And Wilson was an honorable man.”
I call particularly upon Arlen Banks (for I know his heart) to repost The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson to TheKingdomOfTheHeavens.org, so that people might know what sort of man Wilson was. Please, do us this justice, Arlen.
A “J Kirk Donovan” lately commented here that “the breaking down of national and ethnic barriers, in not only the US but the world, is contrary to the Scripture’s teaching.” As typical of the disciples of A. Edwin Wilson, he declined to provide scriptural evidence. The reason is obvious: there is no such scripture.
Therefore, it is ironic that those who teach the “Word of the Kingdom” often accuse “mainstream” Christianity of rejecting the Bible.
Should not the case of A. Edwin Wilson serve as a warning? That perhaps the “Word of the Kingdom” — steeped in race hatred and bigotry — is flawed? (How is it possible that they can listen to Wilson’s sermons and not blanch? How is it possible that they can read “Selected Writings” and not be sickened?)
Let us review:
1. They teach that salvation is conditional. — Where is this found in scripture?
2. They teach that so-called carnal Christians will be judged in the millennial kingdom. — Where is this stated?
3. They teach that Christians are the “unbelievers” of 2 Cor. 6:14. — Paul calls Christians disciples of Satan?
4. They teach that blacks are cursed. — Again, where is this stated?
The ungodliness of the so-called “Word of the Kingdom” is breathtaking. It is quite appalling. It is not simply a “perspective,” as some are apt to say, but a complete rewrite of scripture. These disciples of Wilson and Chitwood seek to make Christ’s “Yes” a “No,” and his “No” a “Yes.”
That any of them should apologize for Wilson’s racial teachings is evidence enough against the so-called “Word of the Kingdom.” The teaching has now become a curse.
Postscript: I have been accused, unjustly, of attacking a “godly” man. Well, listen to this man’s sermon (1973):[audio:A-Edwin-Wilson-1973-04-18.mp3]
Are these the words of a godly man?
First, who is A. Edwin Wilson? He is the originator of a teaching called the “Word of the Kingdom.” He died in 1987, but his teaching lives on, principally in the ministry of Arlen L. Chitwood. What is the “Word of the Kingdom”? It is the belief that the salvation is conditional — that Christians will suffer the hurt of the second death for carnality. Since 2007, I have opposed this teaching, outlining my objections in article after article, maintaining that “Word of the Kingdom” propounds works-salvation.
But in 2009, sometime in November or December, I came across another reason to oppose this teaching: race hatred. As it turns out, Wilson was a segregationist. Given his Southern origins, this should not have come as a surprise. But it did. After all, “Word of the Kingdom” says Christians need to be aware that they are accountable for their actions.
Apparently, this is not so.
Had Wilson merely been a product of his age, I suppose I would have written off his views as an unfortunate circumstance of history. But there is more. Through the 1970s, Wilson continued to preach that blacks were cursed, and that no equality should be afforded to them. In 1981, his admirers felt his teachings should be memorialized in a published collection of his writings. Chitwood edited and promoted this text, callously disregarding its racist content.
Since publishing several articles on Wilson’s racial theories, only one advocate of the “Word of the Kingdom” has stated that Wilson was wrong on the race issue. Pastor John Herbert of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, disavowed Wilson’s position on race, saying, “I would not adhere to that under any circumstances.” In this regard, he stands alone.
The Response of Others:
- Chitwood has declined repeatedly to explain his role in editing and promoting Wilson’s racial theories; in fact, rather than contradict Wilson, he wrote his own treatise on the Hamitic curse, declaring that, in fact, blacks are cursed[1. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1223]
- John “Driftwood” Chitwood — Arlen Chitwood’s son and webmaster — concluded that Wilson’s book was not “racist”[2. http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Writings-Edwin-Wilson/dp/B003QTIWQQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280433697&sr=8-1 and http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1373]
- Radio preacher Arlen Banks replied by e-mail that “Wilson is not a racist” [3. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1391]
- Ralph Alley, an edler at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, wrote on his church’s website that “a few of A. Edwin Wilson’s writings can be problematic at times, and the one in question was from a time (some 40+ years ago) when such writing was acceptable in certain circles”[4. http://cornerstonelosgatos.com/Blog.php?post=14]
- Jim Brooks, who spoke at a “Word of the Kingdom” conference at Herbert’s church, continues to disseminate Wilson’s racial teachings[5. ]
- Royce Powell, another speaker at that conference, also taught that certain races shouldn’t intermingle[6. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=943]
- Schoettle Publishing Company continues to sell Wilson’s book (now in its third printing)[7. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=374]
- RaptureReady.com continues to publish Wilson’s book on-line[8. http://www.raptureready.com/resource/wilson/w22.htm]
Does accountability matter at all? The hypocrisy of these advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” is galling.
A common teaching among some fundamentalist Christians is that man became man when God breathed into his nostrils. Until then, man was merely matter — inanimate, lifeless. Some of these same fundamentalists believe that when a person dies, that person is divided: the spirit goes to one place, the soul to another, and the body into the earth. Yet, is there scriptural evidence to support such a view? Is a person really divided upon death?
Regarding the teaching of the “Word of the Kingdom,” it is held that the spirit of a Christian is saved, but the soul and body are not (yet saved). But it is not clear how the soul and body are ever saved. If someone who teaches the “Word of the Kingdom” can tell me, please comment.
Responding to inquiries from KingdomExclusion.com regarding a new website promoting the work of the late A. Edwin Wilson, radio preacher Arlen Banks asserted that Wilson “is not a racist.” The website, http://aewilson.org, features Wilson’s writings and provides links to Wilson’s audio sermons.
Wilson, who died in 1987, taught that blacks will be cursed until the millennial reign of Christ.
Banks said he created the website to counter one created by KingdomExclusion.com (http://aedwinwilson.com). “As for the web site that I created, Wilson supports himself with his own writings and audio, I add nothing. You only show your disturbed view of a portion of Wilson’s Writings on your site. The site in question aewilson.org gives the reader both sides of the spectrum.”
An Internet search of “aewilson.org” yields no results concerning Wilson’s teachings on race.
In December last year, KingdomExclusion.com reported that in the 1950s through the 1980s, Wilson opposed integration as a work of Satan. The website also reported that Wilson taught that blacks are cursed, and that blacks have special proclivities toward sexual sins. Wilson also asserted that blacks should occupy “a position of national and personal servitude” until the millennial kingdom.[1. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=819.]
Answering e-mail inquiries, Banks stated that “A. Edwin Wilson is not a racist. Arlen Chitwood, is not a racist. Royce Powell, is not a racist. I, Arlen Banks, am not a racist.”
However, KingdomExclusion.com has identified several racist teachings from some of these prominent figures in the “Word of the Kingdom” movement:
- Wilson was an avowed segregationist[2. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=262]
- Powell, Wilson’s successor at Daytona Heights Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, taught that certain races shouldn’t intermingle[3. See Powell’s sermon posted here: http://www.calvarybiblechurchtn.org/rpowell.htm (under “The Three Sons of Noah”).]
- Chitwood edited and promoted Wilson’s teachings on blacks, endorsing Wilson as a Bible teacher “pre-eminently qualified” to speak on such subjects; and, he wrote independently that blacks are indeed cursed[4. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1223]
Banks seems more concerned to defend the “Word of the Kingdom,” which Wilson and Chitwood originated, than to answer questions regarding the racial views of these teachers. Banks regards all of these men as “God’s Preachers.”
In reply to a review of Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, which I posted at Amazon.com, John Chitwood (the son of the editor of that book), lately wrote that Wilson’s avowal of segregation should not be construed as reflecting racist sentiment. The book was published in 1981, and contains a chapter, written in the 1950s, lambasting integration as a work of Satan. In his four-star review of the book, Chitwood wrote, “Segregation was a way of life at the time of Wilson’s writing, and it is incorporated into the theme, but certainly not in the spirit of Mark Adams’ shrieking claims of racism.”
He went on to write, “Mark Adams does NOT want you to read this book!” This is untrue. Why anyone would want to read the racist ramblings of an uneducated Southern preacher from the Jim Crow era escapes me, however I would recommend the text as a case study for racism in that period.