Monthly Archives: December 2009

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

Is some part of Christ’s work unfinished?

Robert Govett, who may well be the originator of kingdom exclusion[1. Govett believed in kingdom exclusion; “exclusion” is how he phrased his theological perspective.] (that is if we exclude the doctrine of purgatory), wrote an interesting work reflecting on “sins before faith” and “sins after faith.” His thesis is that the two are essentially different, which is paradoxical.

We are taught that our past sins are entirely wiped away in Christ. Whatever one did before becoming a Christian is immaterial. No reckoning of past sins will be demanded. But according to Govett sins committed after faith are entirely different. These will be held against the believer, not as affecting the believer’s eternal security, but as affecting his standing in the millennial kingdom. (Some others, however, do assert that judgment after this order will persist into the everlasting ages.)

Question: Why is the work of Christ at Calvary sufficient to wipe away sins committed before faith, but not after faith?

I do not consider that God’s standard of righteousness is less for the believer, so I am inclined to believe that if exclusion is true, no Christian can ever hope to securely enter the kingdom. Perhaps a handful. Any Christian who believes he is living an utterly pure life before God is deceived — I’ve worked too long in ministry to believe Christians are perfect, and it is perfection what God demands.

Some set up a second mode of salvation — “salvation” here is defined as the mode by which the penalty of sin is removed. They propose that Christ is serving as a priest in the heavens, making offerings (essentially offering up his blood continually) for sins committed after faith. This is an interesting solution, but not entirely satisfying.

Question: If all one has to do is confess Jesus’s priestly ministry (cf. 1 John 1:9 & 2:1), what is to keep the Christian from sinning?

As I read the writings of Paul, I am astonished that he never distinguishes between “sins before faith” and “sins after faith,” for he applies no solution — how to deal with “sins after faith” is entirely neglected — unless one has created a false premise.

Perhaps we ought only consider “sins.”

Disturbing parallels

Senator James Henry Hammond, speech before the Senate, 1858:

In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life. That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement. It constitutes the very mud-sill of society and of political government; and you might as well attempt to build a house in the air, as to build either the one or the other, except on this mud-sill. Fortunately for the South, she found a race adapted to that purpose to her hand. A race inferior to her own, but eminently qualified in temper, in vigor, in docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to answer all her purposes. We use them for our purpose, and call them slaves. We found them slaves by the common “consent of mankind,” which, according to Cicero, “lex naturae est.” The highest proof of what is Nature’s law. We are old-fashioned at the South yet; slave is a word discarded now by “ears polite;” I will not characterize that class at the North by that term; but you have it; it is there; it is everywhere; it is eternal.

A. Edwin Wilson, “The Sons of Noah,” 1950s (re-published 1981):

In the curse (Gen. 9:24-27) pronounced by God through Noah (called by God “a preacher of righteousness,” II Pet. 2:5), the descendants of Ham became the servile nations of the world. God pronounced the blessing upon Shem, that he was to be the channel of spiritual blessings to the world, and a blessing upon Japheth, that from him were to come the explorers, colonizers, and developers — those who would possess the whole of the earth. There is no equality on the earth among men, there will be no equality among them during the millennium, neither will there be equality among them during eternity.

“The Sons of Noah,” by A. Edwin Wilson

The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson was first published in 1981, while the author was still alive. A publisher’s note states: “All material in this book can be quoted in part or in whole — reproduction is encouraged as there is no copyright” (emphasis in the original). Selected portions are offered here at KingdomExclusion.com so that the reader might decide for himself or herself the moral rectitude of the content.

Comments for this entry are closed. You may post reflections in the discussion forum.

KingdomExclusion.com’s position on this material has already been stated. See previous entries.

Notice to the reader: The following contains pro-segregationist theology.

Continue reading “The Sons of Noah,” by A. Edwin Wilson

Summary of information on A. Edwin Wilson

Information came flooding in this week concerning A. Edwin Wilson’s views on race. Several articles were posted here. This is a recap of that information.

Race hatred and the “Word of the Kingdom” — This was the initial article on the subject describing Wilson’s segregationist views. It was noted that Arlen L. Chitwood of LampBroadcast.org compiled and edited Wilson’s writings, and offered them on his website. Subsequently, Chitwood pulled Wilson’s book, which was offered in electronic form. In chapter 15, “The Sons of Noah,” Wilson claimed civil rights was a work of Satan. He wrote that blacks and whites should not mix. Chitwood has not disavowed Wilson’s racial theories.

Wilson and Chitwood are founders of a teaching called the “Word of the Kingdom,” a doctrine which holds that salvation is partly conditional.

Chitwood pulls controversial book from LampBroadcast.org — Shortly after the above-mentioned article was published, Chitwood had his son, John Chitwood, remove Wilson’s book and other files that had been “orphaned” on the site. Again, Chitwood did not disavow Wilson’s statements on race. Arlen Banks, a visitor to this site, subsequently announced that he offers the book on his website (press here), where it has been available for the past year.

Are black people cursed? — For the purpose of starting discussion, I posted a link to an article by Tony Evans, who discusses the “Hamitic curse.” Evans, an African American and, according to one visitor of this site, an exclusionist, describes his understanding of the curse. The discussion is lively, particularly after the first ten comments.

Publisher declines comment on Wilson’s bookThe Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson is offered in print by Schoettle Publishing Company. Asked to comment on the book, the publisher declined.

Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe — This article contains comments from the leadership of two “Word of the Kingdom” churches that promote the works of Chitwood or Wilson, or both. It also contains Chitwood’s avowal of the “Hamitic curse.”

The day Billy Graham did the unthinkable — Wilson’s published tirade was sparked by an article published by Billy Graham in 1954, disavowing segregation in the church. This article outlines Graham’s decision to integrate his crusades.

Contemporary readings on the Hamitic curse — Most readers are probably unaware of the so-called “Curse of Canaan” or “Hamitic curse.” Links posted in this article provide an explanation.

Contemporary readings on the “Hamitic curse”

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.

Noah curses Ham
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.

“The day Billy Graham did the unthinkable”

Billy Graham
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.”

Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe

After posting “Race hatred and the ‘Word of the Kingdom,'” inquiries were sent to churches and organizations that promote LampBroadcast.org, a ministry that had published a book condemning desegregation. Some never replied back. Others offered “no comment.” Some expressed disapproval.

In The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, edited and compiled by Arlen Chitwood of LampBroadcast.org, the late A. Edwin Wilson had written, “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.”

This diatribe is found in chapter 15, “The Sons of Noah.”

A pastor responds to inquiries

Pastor John Herbert of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, disavowed Wilson’s position on race. “I would not adhere to that under any circumstances,” he said in a telephone interview. He added that he would not “dismiss” the other material in the book, which he called “excellent.”

Herbert was sought for comment given Cornerstone’s relationship with Chitwood, who is a regular speaker at conferences the church sponsors.

Herbert explained that Wilson’s views on race were unfortunate but reflected his times. He emphasized that Wilson’s views were not accepted at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. “We have no racial biases whatsoever,” he repeated, adding that the congregation is mixed and that it conducts regular missions trips to Kenya.

“At Cornerstone Christian Fellowship there is no instance whatsoever where you would see racial intolerance,” he said.

Non-response and vexation

No other person, group or organization queried offered comment. Schoettle Publishing Company, which sells Wilson’s book, referred KingdomExclusion.com back to Chitwood (see story). Others asked to be removed from a supposed mailing list.

The leadership at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, never answered, but posted a response on their church website. In “Guilty by Association,” an unnamed author stated that he (or she) believes the church would not be given fair treatment by KingdomExclusion.com. The author went on to say that the church disagreed with most of “The Sons of Noah,” but “not all of it.” The author did not explain which parts the church approved, but said it disavowed statements affirming racial segregation “because the Bible doesn’t affirm it.”

Is anyone cursed?

Regarding the underlying assumption of Wilson’s race theory, however, there has been no negative comment.

Wilson derived his position from a theological construct called the “Hamitic curse,” the idea that a race of people descended from Ham is under a curse (cf. Gen. 9). As the theory goes, this curse will be valid until Christ reigns in the millennial kingdom. The “Hamitic curse” has long been condemned as derogatory and racist, and Pastor Tony Evans has written an instructive article on the subject (here).

John Herbert of Conerstone Christian Fellowship offered no comment on the subject, saying he would have to study the matter first. However, he did offer that “people in the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be under a curse,” whereas the unsaved are under a curse of sin and death already.

The Californian extension of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship offered the following regarding the possibility that a race of people is under a curse: “Don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. The Bible’s genealogies don’t carry into the present day.”

Chitwood speaks

Chitwood, for his part, steadfastly affirms the “Hamitic curse,” though he now refuses to state which groups comprise this designation. Previously, he stated the curse, “of necessity,” remains in effect, explaining that this would “reflect A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it.” When asked if African Americans were in view, he offered “The Sons of Noah” in reply.

Responding to KingdomExlcusion’s first article on the subject, Chitwood complained that he was describing Wilson’s views, not his own. “I didn’t go on and answer your question about my view on the matter,” he complained.

Editorial Note: Chitwood insisted that if his comments were published, the entire response be quoted, so here it is:

Mark:

As usual, in your latest attempt to do whatever it is that you are trying to do, you have all types of material in your latest article on your web site that has no basis in fact. But your misdirecting my statement above does need corrected on your part, since you are the one who made the mistake.

Note the pronoun in my statement — “his” — referring back to Wilson, not to me. All I did was comment on your statement concerning Wilson, since that had been the continuing subject of your previous inquiry. I didn’t go on and answer your question about my view on the matter.

The English language shouldn’t be twisted in this manner to drive a point home, else the point could easily be false, as it is in this case.

And it is false because I don’t even agree with a number of things wilson has in that chapter in his book, along with things here and there that he has elsewhere in the book. I was just the editor of the book, not the author.

Now, if you were to ask me what race of people today is under the curse in Gen. 9, I would take the matter no further than to tell you to find out who the descendants of Ham through his sons are today, and you will have that segment of society. I’m going to let you find that out for yourself so that you can’t do what you have already tried to do on your web site.

This will be the last communique with you on the matter. There are too many people out there who want to know the truth for me to waste time with those who don’t.

You can put this e-mail on your web site to correct what you have done if you like. But if you do, again, put the whole message out there.

ALC

First, it should be noted that Chitwood’s views were never solicited. The original inquiry pertained only to Wilson. Chitwood himself volunteered that “A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it” was reflected in his comments about Gen. 9. Responding to a subsequent inquiry seeking clarification, Chitwood offered “The Sons of Noah” without qualification.

Second, none of the quotations from “The Sons of Noah” was attributed to Chitwood. It was only noted that Chitwood compiled and edited the book, and that he promoted it at LampBroadcast.org. (If these facts are disturbing, that can’t be helped.) Until the publication of these findings, an unabridged, electronic version of the book was offered by Chitwood at LampBroadcast.org.

Third, it should be noted that Chitwood continues to offer his views on the subject:

“Now, if you were to ask me what race of people today is under the curse in Gen. 9, I would take the matter no further than to tell you to find out who the descendants of Ham through his sons are today, and you will have that segment of society. I’m going to let you find that out for yourself so that you can’t do what you have already tried to do on your web site.”

Though Chitwood declines to state which people are in view, his published work indicates he believes a majority of Egyptians are under the curse. In “Focus on the Middle East” (p. 75), he identifies 90 percent of the population as “Hamitic.” His writings do not indicate which other groups fall under this designation.

Racially and culturally insensitive?

Chitwood regularly gives preference to offensive nomenclature. Egyptians, for example, do not call themselves “Hamitics.” Muslims, for another example, do not call themselves “Moslems;” Chitwood regularly prefers that spelling.

(“Moslem” is offensive to Muslims because, as commonly pronounced in English, it sounds like an Arabic word meaning “one who is evil and unjust” — see here for more.)

To persistently use terms which knowingly offend people is vulgar. It suggests utter disregard for their humanity.

The notion of a “Hamitic curse” is equally demeaning, yet Chitwood persists with this idea as well. Knowing its history (directly from Wilson, no less), Chitwood steadfastly defends the “Hamitic curse.” That he refuses to explain his position leaves his views open to debate.

Publisher declines comment on Wilson’s book

Schoettle Publishing Company refused to comment on The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, which contains a denunciation of the civil rights movement and a diatribe against desegregation. The book is featured in its catalog. Asked if the company supports Wilson’s racial theories, Publisher Lewis Schoettle wrote by e-mail, “The editor of the Wilson book is: Arlen Chitwood. You might want to ask the EDITOR…your questions.”

Schoettle (pronounced “shuttle”) is an “extension” of InTheBeginning.org ministries.

Earlier in the week, KingdomExclusion.com published an article about Wilson’s racial theories, featuring a response from Chitwood, who compiled and edited the book.

Promotional literature at SchoettlePublishing.com, borrowing from Chitwood’s introduction, describes Wilson as “one of the great Bible teachers of our times.” And a featured customer comment exclaims, “Brother Wilson’s book is a jewel to the Christian layman. This one book has provided insight and truths previously not revealed in full to me. I never cease to turn to it for short readings as well as long studies of subjects it contains. This book is the one I use to give as a gift to those God leads me to fellowship with regarding kingdom truths. THIS BOOK NEVER GATHERS DUST!” (emphasis in the original).

Subsequent inquiries have not been returned.

Are black people cursed?

On the “Hamitic curse” —

Because Ham was the father of black people, and because he and his descendants were cursed to be slaves because of his sin against Noah, some Christians said, “Africans and their descendants are destined to be servants, and should accept their status as slaves in fulfillment of biblical prophecy.”

I knew that something did not sound right about the curse of Ham theory when I first heard it as a teenager. A white minister was giving me the biblical reason why my people and I had to endure the humiliation of American racism. Because I couldn’t prove otherwise and because my favorite Bible, the famous Old Schofield Reference Bible, which had become the official version of American fundamentalism, endorsed the curse of Ham theory, I had little recourse other than to accept it. After all, those promoting it were “trained” in the Bible and theology at the finest fundamentalist institutions in our country-institutions, by the way, that at that time would not allow blacks to enroll as students. With the endorsement of the Old Schofield Bible, coupled with the legal status of American segregation, the myth was firmly established and embedded in the American psyche.

Read the full article by Tony Evans here: Are Black People Cursed? The Curse of Ham.