Category Archives: Arlen L. Chitwood

Arlen L. Chitwood promotes a “strong” form of exclusion, maintaining that “non-overcoming” Christians will suffer the hurt of the second death, implying that non-overcomers will be cast into the lake of fire. His distinct teaching is more commonly known as the “Word of the Kingdom.” Characteristics include unconditional spirit salvation; conditional soul/body salvation (i.e. works-salvation); emphasis on man’s regalness; strong typology. His published works are at http://lampbroadcast.org.

Is Arlen Chitwood a racist?

There are those who will argue that the very question is a statement. But, truthfully, I am not sure of the answer. And that’s what bothers me.

Chitwood is esteemed as a man of God, a teacher of truth, a prophet of his age; yet, he actively teaches that blacks are cursed. In the 1980s, he edited and promoted pro-segregation texts. What are we to make of this? Shall we say that his actions speak for his character? As Chitwood is unwilling to clarify his views, directly refusing to answer questions from KingdomExclusion.com, we have only his actions and published writings to consider.

Continue reading Is Arlen Chitwood a racist?

Kingdom preacher claims Satan is “using preachers”

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?

Accountability?

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.

I reply:

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.

Chitwood: Salvation is not entirely by grace

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.

Two Salvations

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.

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Footnotes:

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.

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.