Category Archives: A. Edwin Wilson

Editorial: No accountability among kingdom seekers

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:

Does accountability matter at all? The hypocrisy of these advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” is galling.

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Radio preacher says A. Edwin Wilson “not a racist”

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.”

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John Chitwood declares Wilson’s book not “racist”

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.

Continue reading John Chitwood declares Wilson’s book not “racist”

Chitwood avows theory that blacks, other races are cursed

Months after it was reported that a prominent teacher of the “Word of the Kingdom” edited and endorsed a book promoting segregation, Arlen L. Chitwood has published two pamphlets affirming that blacks and other races from the “southern parts” of the world are cursed. Maintaining that “racism is not even remotely connected” with the teaching, Chitwood omitted to explain his role in publishing Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, a 1981 book that stated that blacks and whites should not integrate.[pullquote] [God] took the sons of Ham, of whom are the servile nations, and he scattered them across the southern part of the earth, from the equator on.” — A. Edwin Wilson (1977)[/pullquote]

Apparently unconcerned to distinguish his beliefs from those of his spiritual predecessor, A. Edwin Wilson, Chitwood repeated his assertion that curses and blessings pronounced by Noah over his progeny (cf. Gen. 9:24-27) constituted “prophecies” that remain effectual in this current generation. He did not explain how his interpretation of the so-called “Hamitic curse,” the age-old theory that blacks and other races should serve the dominent races (especially whites), is substantively different from interpretations that Chitwood acknowledges “have been used in a perverted manner to teach and foster racism.” Nor did the state whether Wilson used the Hamitic curse in a “perverted manner.”

In the introduction to Selected Writings, Chitwood wrote that Wilson was “pre-eminently qualified” to write on the subjects contained in the 1981 book. Chitwood has never disavowed Wilson on segregation, despite repeated inquiries from KingdomExclusion.com.

Chitwood’s pamphlets, “Sons of Noah, pt. 1″ and Sons of Noah, pt. 2,” are published here: http://lampbroadcast.org/PAMPHLETS.HTML.

Continue reading Chitwood avows theory that blacks, other races are cursed

CCFLG promoting A. Edwin Wilson?

Shortly after KingdomExclusion.com published “Race Hatred and the ‘Word of the Kingdom’” in December of 2009, the leadership at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship of Los Gatos, California, seems to have purchased search-engine keywords for “a edwin wilson.”

(KingdomExclusion.com also purchases keywords to promote site content.)

The purchase of keywords apparently came after the leadership of CCFLG posted “Guilt By Association,” in which they complained they were being treated unfairly because of their association with Arlen L. Chitwood, who edited and published Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson.

Wilson, who died in the late 1980s, had written that blacks were cursed by God.

The leadership at CCFLG stated that it was being falsely assumed that they “must believe everything that A. Edwin Wilson believes because we are associated with a man who is associated with him.” They did not explain why they believed this was the case.

That CCFLG purchased keywords for “a edwin wilson” suggests the church wanted to advertise its association not merely with Chitwood, but also Wilson. The following screen image was captured Dec. 18, 2009 (click on image to view):

It is possible that someone else purchased these keywords, but that is unlikely.

Cornerstone’s website links to several sites offering Wilson’s book, though some have recently pulled the text. CCFLG has stated categorically that they oppose segregation.

Cornerstone elder defends Wilson on race issue

Defending the late A. Edwin Wilson’s moral character, an elder at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship (CCFLG) in Los Gatos, California, noted that while Wilson’s writings “can be problematic at times,” his views were “acceptable in certain circles.”[pullquote]We did not express ‘repulsion,’ but rather a disagreement with his interpretation and conclusion.” — Ralph Alley[/pullquote]

Wilson had maintained that blacks were cursed.

Ralph Alley said CCFLG was not repulsed by Wilson’s beliefs, but that CCFLG disagreed with his “interpretation and conclusion.” In an unnamed article in the church’s web forum (perhaps written by Alley), the leadership at CCFLG also stated that they did not entirely disagree with an essay entitled, “Sons of Noah,” in which Wilson wrote that blacks would remain under a curse until the end of time.[1. Text and commentary here: http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=539] CCFLG added, however, that they believed “Sons of Noah” contained “inflammatory, racist remarks.”

CCFLG did not specify which parts of the essay they agreed with.

Continue reading Cornerstone elder defends Wilson on race issue

Kingdom believer yanks Wilson’s book over race controversy

Radio broadcaster Arlen Banks has removed A. Edwin Wilson’s controversial book from his website, months after it was revealed that the late preacher promoted segregation during his decades-long ministry.

At TheKingdomoftheHeavens.org, Banks had been offering an electronic version of Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, a book edited by Arlen L. Chitwood, and published by Schoettle Publishing Company in 1981. In those writings, Wilson criticized desegregation, calling it a work of Satan. In several sermons in the 1970s, he proclaimed that blacks were cursed, that Ham violated Noah because he was black, and that integration offended God.[pullquote]I disagree with Wilson’s speculation of Ham being black, but he was entitled to his opinion, whether it was wrong or right.”[/pullquote]

Chitwood removed the book from his website, LampBroadcast.org, in December, but he did not disavow Wilson’s racial theories. Instead, he insisted that Wilson held the correct interpretation of the Bible.

Writing in the forum at KingdomExclusion.com, Banks stated, “I disagree with Wilson’s speculation of Ham being black, but he was entitled to his opinion, whether it was wrong or right.”

Banks has not publicly disavowed Wilson’s racial theories, but indicated by e-mail that he did not approve of them. He still offers links to sites promoting Wilson’s book.

In the mid-1900s, Wilson formulated a doctrine which he called the “Word of the Kingdom,” which maintains that some aspects of salvation are conditional. Chitwood and several “Cornerstone” churches continue to advance this teaching.

Where’s the outrage?

The Word of the Kingdom conference is scheduled for early February (see link). Unsettlingly, three of the scheduled speakers believe some African and/or Arab races are cursed, or else promote literature justifying racial segregation.

1. Arlen Chitwood edited and promoted a book endorsing racial segregation (see link). Individually, he maintains some African races are cursed (see link).

2. In the 1980s, Royce Powell preached that certain races should not intermingle (listen to the sermon here — select “The Three Sons of Noah”).

3. Jim Brooks currently hosts two websites — calvarybiblechurchtn.org and thedisciplescall.org — promoting the racial theories of Chitwood, Powell and A. Edwin Wilson (download Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson here).

As “Word of the Kingdom” champions accountability, is it wrong to hold these men accountable for their words and deeds?

Wilson: Sin of blacks found in the “perversion of the flesh”

Well into the latter years of his ministry, A. Edwin Wilson taught that blacks were cursed, a survey of recorded sermons shows. As late as 1977, while pastoring at Daytona Heights Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wilson derided the civil rights movement as a work of Satan. He claimed God cursed blacks on account of “perversion,” not color, and he maintained equality with whites was impossible, as the curse would be valid until the beginning of the millennial age.

Wilson, who died in 1987, originated a distinct teaching called “Word of the Kingdom,” a teaching which persists today through the efforts of Arlen L. Chitwood, a published writer and conference speaker who adapted much of Wilson’s theology to his own. Wilson’s racial theories, however, are not so well known.

Out of perversion, a curse

Wilson advocated the “Hamitic curse,” a race theory drawn from interpretations of Genesis 9 (see Wikipedia). He did not invent this doctrine, but adapted it to his own theological system. In his sermons and published writings, he maintained that God planned to curse blacks from time immemorial; that the sin of Ham, recorded in Genesis 9, simply gave occasion for the pronouncement of the curse. Wilson also connected the curse to inherent qualities in blacks, which he reckoned as sexual perversion.

“Study the history of the black race and you find one of their grosser sins in the perversion of the flesh,” he said in a sermon in 1973. “I mention that because the world is filled with commentators who would curse God and Noah for pronouncing such a curse on Canaan for so slight an act as glancing on the uncovered body of his father. Far more than that was involved.”[1. Recorded sermon, April 18, 1973.]

The text he referenced is the narrative account of the drunkenness of Noah, which resulted in one of Noah’s sons shaming him. Genesis 9:22 states, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.” The narrative continues, noting that when Noah awoke, he “knew what had happened to him.” Consequently, the patriarch cursed Ham’s son Canaan. Some theologians, however, maintain that Ham did much worse. Wilson entertained two of these theories:

Commentators both among the Jewish rabbis and the evangelical students of the Word of God are divided in their speculation, and I use speculation advisedly because we don’t know exactly. There is one or two things we do know: Noah had no more children. So that there is one camp of interpreters who have come to the conclusion that Ham, the black one of the family, because of an intense hatred, because of his black condition, emasculated his father so that there would be no more blacks born like him. There are others who believe the sin perpetrated upon the person of Noah was the sin which made Sodom and Gomorra so infamous in the sight of the Lord.

But one thing cannot but impress you: Verse 24 — Noah awoke from his wine, and knew, as soon as he sobered up, he knew, more than likely from physical pain[2. One would think.], he knew what his younger son had done to him. Why the younger son? His younger son was black. His younger son possessed characteristics rendering him capable of deeds and acts of which the other two were incapable. [3. ibid.]

That Ham was black accords with ancient race theories, discredited in modern times, that three distinct races were begotten by Noah: Caucasian (white), Mongoloid (yellow) and Negroid (black). Quite literally, from one marital union, Noah begat ethnically diverse sons. Such is drawn inferentially from Genesis 9:19 which states, “of them was the whole earth overspread.”

That Ham possessed qualities “rendering him capable of deeds and acts which the other two were incapable” is invention. Certainly, Ham had little compunction about viewing his father’s nakedness and reporting it, but that he despised his purported blackness is fictive in the extreme, born from an astonishing ignorance of history, culture and race.

No merely man’s words

Wilson believed Noah’s curse was a prophecy of God. In a 1977 sermon, he declared, “The words uttered by Noah are the words of God. Now, the sin perpetrated by Ham was not the cause of the prophecies. They were the occasion of the prophecy, but not the cause of it. Those words of this prophecy would have been uttered whether Ham sinned or not. But Ham’s sin gave occasion to it, but did not cause it.”

To intermingle the races, Wilson taught, would be to disrupt the order of the universe, for God had declared that they should be segregated. Citing several passages in the scriptures, Wilson concluded that unless the races remained separated the gospel could not be spread freely. On this count, he chastised ministers who wanted “to curse Shem [the Jews] whom God has blessed” and “to bless Canaan [the blacks] whom God has cursed.”[3. Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson.]

Wilson argued God separated the races at Babel (cf. Gen. 11) for a purpose, so that people “might seek after the Lord and come to know him and be saved.”[4. Recorded sermon, May 2, 1973.] He added that “the sons of Ham, the sons of Shem, the sons of Japeth, have all been divided into different races and languages and families,” and that God “took the sons of Ham, of whom are the servile nations and he scattered them across the southern part of the earth, from the equator on.”

Segregation and degradation

Wilson insisted that servitude was the proper condition for blacks. “An historical documented fact is evident. You can mark this down. You can do research work on it, all you want to. It is an established fact that every descendent of Ham … has been or is in a state of servitude. The curse pronounced upon Ham was a curse of servitude. Not color. A servant. He’s to be a servant. That’s given rise to an expression that’s used among theologians, they talk about servile nations. God has given certain nations of the world to be servants of other nations.”

What level of research Wilson conducted on the subject is unknown, but on several occasions he demonstrated a total want of knowledge regarding the history of slavery or black culture. Several times he stated that blacks were the most vicious slave traders, but this ignores entirely the horrors of the Middle Passage, the terror of slave-breaking, and the violation of slave women, raped en mass by white slave holders and overseers. It is true, however, that some African tribes participated in the slave trade.

His comments regarding black office holders betrays a profoundly racist sentiment:

“The spirit of the Lord says there are three things that tear up the relationships in the world today, and for four which it cannot bear. Number one, for a servant when he reigneth. That’s all I’m going to read tonight. One thing the earth cannot stand, one thing that disquiets the whole order of things is to take a servant or slave and put him in a position of power and authority. And if you want a commentary on that just make a study of the cities of the United States that have had servants for mayors. That’s all you have to do. That’s the word of God. That’s the word of God.” [5. Recorded sermon, June 5, 1977.]

Wilson boldly asserted that segregation was justified even in the church. His proof, however, was not strictly drawn from the scriptures:

“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.”[9. Recorded sermon, April 18, 1973.]

The ministry of A. Edwin Wilson in the 21st century

Wilson’s sermons and writings remain in circulation today. His sermons are hosted at two sites registered to Pastor Jim Brooks: http://calvarybiblechurchtn.org and http://thedisciplescall.org. Wilson’s sermons are also hosted at http://hopeofglory.net, which is registered to Daniel Shannon, a Baptist pastor in Alaska.

(Brooks, incidentally, is scheduled to speak at the 2010 Word of the Kingdom Conference. Also scheduled are Chitwood and the man who succeeded Wilson at Daytona Heights Baptist Church, Royce Powell. All three are connected in some way to Wilson’s strident segregationist views, which is noteworthy as two other speakers are of African descent. The conference is hosted by Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida — see link.)

Pastor John White, now deceased, maintained Wilson’s tape ministry. He lauded Wilson, explaining, “He taught things from the Word of God that I had never heard before, and therefore was challenged to check him out. I found out that what he taught about the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heavens could not be refuted without twisting the meaning of words and being inconsistent in interpretations.”[6. See http://www.gbcne.org/abouthost.html.]

Chitwood, who edited and published Wilson’s writings in 1981, wrote in the introduction to the collection, “The articles in this periodical covered a broad range of Biblical subjects and came from the pen of an individual who, through many years of prayer, study, and meditation upon the Scriptures, was pre-eminently qualified to write on these subjects.”

Continue reading Wilson: Sin of blacks found in the “perversion of the flesh”

Kingdom seekers split over race issue

The “Word of the Kingdom” is a house divided. Churches and individuals associated with this teaching are split over whether a race of people called “Hamitics”[1. “Hamitics” are considered to be descendants of Noah’s son Ham. They are understood to have settled in Africa and the Middle East. The term is not recognized by sociologists or the designated peoples themselves, yet its use persists among some dispensationalists.] are cursed. This breach is noteworthy inasmuch as kingdom seekers believe the “Word of the Kingdom” is not a teaching, but the word of God itself.

The late A. Edwin Wilson, who originated this system of theology[2. Wilson was the first to teach what is known among kingdom seekers as the “Word of the Kingdom.” This distinctive teaching is preserved in much of its substance in the teachings of like-minded persons], contended that Noah pronounced a generational curse upon the descendants of Ham, whom he identified as Africans. Arlen L. Chitwood, a leading theologian in the movement and a former disciple of Wilson, contends Hamitics are under a curse, though he is reluctant to identify who they are. His writings indicate Hamitics are of African descent.[3. In “Focus on the Middle East” Chitwood identifies 90 percent of Egyptians as Hamtic (p. 75). His writings do not indicate which other people groups fall under this designation, but historically the term was used to describe most Africans and some Middle Easterners. Absent clarification, one has only the historical use of the term to go on. Chitwood placing Hamitics in Africa is consistent with the general theory of the Hamitic race.]

“The curse connected with Gen. 9:25, 26b, 27b, of necessity, remains in effect today, will remain in effect until the Millennium, and will then pass out of existence (Zech. 14:21b),” Chitwood wrote in reply to written inquiries.

He added later, “The preceding would reflect A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it. The latter would have to be the case, for the preceding is simply what the Bible states — something which no one can get around, no matter how hard that person might try.”

Churches associated with the teachings of Wilson and Chitwood are not so certain.

Continue reading Kingdom seekers split over race issue