I first encountered “kingdom exclusion” in the 1990s, at a church I attended in Santa Cruz, Calif. My pastor proclaimed one Sunday that faithful Christians would dine with Christ, and the less faithful would serve tables. All would gain admittance to the kingdom, but not all would be glorified. This drew “amens” from around the congregation, and I, too, found the idea intriguing.
The pastor was influenced, undoubtedly, by the writings of Watchman Nee, whom I did not know well, though I understood his books were studied by many in the church. I considered the pastor’s proclamation carefully but was ultimately unconvinced. Though his argument seemed logical on certain grounds, I could not find biblical support for the idea. Later, I would leave the church after the leadership embraced yet another novel teaching: the prosperity gospel.
Sometime around 2005, certain members of the church where I am presently ministering became enthralled by the teachings of Cindy Zeigler and Arlen L. Chitwood. At first, they said it helped them appreciate the scriptures on a deeper level; later, though, they decided it was the true teaching of scripture, the only true teaching of scripture. (I think they came to this conclusion much earlier, but, for whatever reason, did not say so.) In 2007, this group departed the church and started their own fellowship.
Having been given a copy of Chitwood’s Run to Win, I was not totally ignorant of the teaching, but I had not studied it thoroughly either. So, in 2007, I began to read, listen, and converse. I must say, what I discovered astonished me. I found that this “deeper understanding” of scripture advanced works-salvation, i.e. not saved by grace, saved by works. I found that this “deeper understanding” promoted a curse upon black people (even the Mormons have given up on that idea). I found that this “deeper understanding” condemned hard-working missionaries in foreign lands, simply because these missionaries do not preach the “Word of the Kingdom,” as taught by Chitwood and his predecessor, A. Edwin Wilson.
Is what I say untrue?
It is all documented at KingdomExclusion.com. Every fundamental teaching of the “Word of the Kingdom” is documented.
(The most unsavory of these details — the group’s teachings on the Hamtic curse — was exposed by Chitwood himself. He drew my attention to Wilson’s “The Sons of Noah,” and I downloaded the text from Chitwood’s site!.)
Today, in 2011, KingdomExclusion.com has mostly achieved its purpose.
Prior to publishing this site, very little was written objectively about the “Word of the Kingdom.” As the teaching is rarely introduced in its full form, i.e. the more controversial aspects are saved for later studies, I felt it important to publish my findings so that all can know “up front” what the teaching is about. Every once and a while I receive e-mails from individuals thanking me for my work.
My critics say I am uncharitable. They say I am “destroying” godly men. They say my research is sloppy and uninformed. To all this I reply that the assembly of believers under Christ is more precious to me than the feelings of a few schismatics. My research is well-documented, and I am available for questions — but I have a few questions of my own!
As regards the “Word of the Kingdom,” I believe I have exhausted the subject. Yet, there are two unanswered questions, which are (1) is the soul EVER saved unconditionally by grace through faith, and (2) how is the soul ever saved?
I’m not sure what direction KingdomExclusion.com will take in the future. At present, I do not plan to keep the site very active. This site has never occupied a very large place in my pursuits, but I find it must occupy an even smaller place. I remain available for questions. I may even publish an article once in a while, but I will not be pursuing this work much further. I have done due diligence. I am satisfied.
To my critics, before you opine, recall the questions mentioned earlier. If you cannot, or will not, answer those questions, what more is there to say? I think the subject is exhausted.
There was a period when the forum at KingdomExclusion.com was quite active, but that’s not the case today. More importantly, the script which powered the forum was outdated, so I decided to delete the forum altogether. This does not affect comments to posts.
The home page is obviously the most visited page at KingdomExclusion.com, particularly as articles typically do not have “read more…” appended to them. Generally, visitors can read seven, full posts at the home page. Excluding the home page, here are the most viewed posts — top five from the last 90 days, and top five from all time:
Past 90 Days:
- Kingdom seekers split over race issue
- Arlen Chitwood on the “Hamitic curse”
- Wilson: Sin of blacks found in the “perversion of the flesh”
- Kingdom believer claims to be unsaved
- Cornerstone elder defends Wilson on race issue
- Are black people cursed?
- Kingdom seekers split over race issue
- “The day Billy Graham did the unthinkable”
- Race hatred and the “Word of the Kingdom”
- Identifying Gnostic tendencies in the writings of Arlen L. Chitwood
A post with many comments, obviously, has gained many readers. Among the 50+ articles at KingdomExclusion.com, these are the ones that stand out.
Things are slowing down at KingdomExclusion.com. In some sense, the topic has been exhausted. What presents itself as a “deeper” understanding of scripture turns out to be nothing more than recycled heresy. There’s really not much more to say. I do respond to private inquiries (press here). Usually I can respond within a week. If you are looking for information about kingdom exclusion, use the search function, or else view pages and categories.
Is Pat Robertson speaking a prophetic word? Or is he making a deduction based on an interpretation of events? Referencing the Haitian revolution, Robertson appears to be saying that tens of thousands died because they were cursed for their grandfathers’ sins. This is a provocative thought, but what purpose does it serve? Every time there is a disaster, is it because of sin? Every time a person falls ill, or is injured, or suffers the loss of his property, is it because of sin?
Jesus was asked such a question after he healed a blind man. His disciples asked who caused the man’s blindness. Jesus replied, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:2). Jesus does not invite speculation. He does not seek the disciples’ input. Nor does he ask questions. He simply states the man was blind so “that the works of God might be displayed…”
If Robertson is speaking a prophetic word, should he not add, “Thus says the Lord”? Should not his word be subject to the prophets? But if he is simply speculating, does that glorify the Lord?
Given the controversy surrounding A. Edwin Wilson’s tirade against civil rights, I felt it would be instructive to provide a list of selected readings on the underlying assumption of his argument, the Hamitic curse. These are from the Internet. There are many excellent books that cover the subject too.
Though I’m not found of Wikipedia, this entry on the “Curse of Ham,” i.e. the Hamitic Curse, is well done. Press here for entry. Another entry discussing the term “Hamitic” makes for interesting reading. Press here for that entry. The other links are placed below the image.
Image: Dore painting of Noah cursing Ham (cf. Gen. 9).
Selected readings on the Hamitic curse
The Gospel of Division in the Church, by Frederick K.C. Price, D.D.
Dr. Price is the pastor of Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angelas, Calif. He does not regard the “Hamitic curse” as a benign doctrine, and argues church-sanctioned racism is an assault upon Christ.
As I wrote in Race, Religion & Racism, Volume 2, the leaders in the white churches did not use the Scriptures to defend Black people. No, they falsified the Bible in order to speak against them. “They did this even though their actions were in direct opposition to the Word [of God] – Even though they should have known from the Bible that not taking a stand on behalf of those who were treated as the least of society was the same as not taking a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.”
Noah’s Curse Is Slavery’s Rationale, by Felicia R. Lee
This is general article on the history of interpreting the Hamitic curse.
In the Bible, Ham finds Noah drunk and naked in Noah’s tent. He tells his brothers, Shem and Japheth, who proceed to cover their father without gazing at him. When Noah finds out what happened, he curses Ham’s son Canaan, saying he shall be “a servant of servants.” Among the many questions attached to this tale are what Ham did wrong. Was it looking at his father or telling his brothers or some implied sexual transgression? And why was Canaan cursed for Ham’s actions?
“The reason the text was so valued by 19th-century people was that it was about honor,” Mr. Haynes said. “Ham acted dishonorably, and slavery was life without honor.”
While thousands of people have tried to interpret Noah’s curse, Mr. Haynes writes: “Scholars of history and religion alike have failed to comprehend that pro-slavery Southerners were drawn to Genesis 9:20-27 because it resonated with their deepest cultural values.” Too often, he writes, historians have a superficial knowledge of the Bible, and scholars of religion have a limited knowledge of Southern culture.
Are Black People Cursed? The Curse of Ham, by Tony Evans
This article was featured earlier at KingdomExclusion.com, and is offered here too. Regarding segregation, Evans points out that preferences are expressly forbidden in scripture.
They forgot the biblical truth that to be members of the body of Christ means that preferences based on class, culture, or race are totally unacceptable to God, and people who make such preferences are candidates for His judgment (James 2:9-13). Such biblical data, however, would not support the inferiority myth. Adding such biblical references would be telling the whole truth, and truth and myth do not mix very well. Therefore, early Americans had to be selective about what Bible verses to use to establish a theological basis to justify slavery and perpetuate the inferiority myth.
Image: Billy Graham preaching in the 1950s.
In “The Sons of Noah,” A. Edwin Wilson wrote, “In a recent issue of LIFE magazine, contemporary fundamentalists and conservative religious leaders cast doubt upon the Word of God by the statement that the prophecy Noah uttered in regard to Ham, Shem, and Japheth was not of God but was the mere utterings of a man trying to recover from his drunken stupor.”
This is a misreading of two articles published by Life Oct. 1, 1956, one of which was written by Billy Graham. The evangelist did not attack the authority of the Bible, but rather the historicity of the “Hamitic curse.” Arguing that no such curse (or “prophecy”) existed, he called upon Christians to fight segregation. He especially called upon Southern preachers to act.
Earlier, in 1952, Graham had begun to act on these ideas himself. Read about it in “The Day Billy Graham Did the Unthinkable.”
Several people have asked why I bother: “Why do you write about exclusion?” The principal reason is that there is a dearth of critical research on the subject. When I first encountered the writings of Watchman Nee, J.D. Faust and Arlen L. Chitwood, I found few analytical sources. Apart from their own writings, there was no analysis, no critical thought, no explanation of the origins Kingdom Exclusion (KE). In short, there was little perspective.
My aim is to rectify this situation.
I do not conceal the fact that I am opposed to KE, but my research is consistent and well-documented. I’ve read extensively on the subject, interviewed and corresponded with key figures, and have engaged in a dialog with numerous others. My objections are theological.
1. The temporary exclusion of so-called carnal Christians is entirely absent in scripture. The likes of Chitwood, Nee and Faust contend that unfaithful believers will be subjected to 1,000 years of exclusion (variously defined) in the millennial kingdom. The thousand-year rule of Christ is described in Revelation 20, but no mention is made of exclusion. Nor is it found elsewhere. The fact that it is simply absent should settle the question.
2. KE fosters a salvation-by-works gospel. Some are more explicit than others (e.g. Chitwood: “The salvation of the soul … is conditional“), but all tend toward works as a condition of grace, inasmuch as grace is inadequate for redemption, that some other means is necessary.
These two factors — it’s absence in scripture and that it alters the gospel — constitute my primary objections to the teaching.
Kingdom exclusion maintains that one class of Christians will be excluded from the millennial kingdom for faithlessness. Called “nonovercomers,” these believers will be excluded from the 1,000-year-rule of Christ (cf. Rev. 20) for chastisement. Some exclusionists believe that nonovercoming Christians will be temporarily cast into the lake of fire; others that they will be excluded to a place of deep regret.