Monthly Archives: March 2010

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.

Kingdom believer claims to be unsaved

Quite extraordinary things pour forth from the pen of Arlen L. Chitwood, such as the claim that he is not ultimately saved. In an almost confessional tone, he claims his soul is at war with his spirit, that darkness pervades his being. He asserts positively that his body is in partnership with Belial (or Satan). His redeemed spirit, confesses Chitwood, is in a constant struggle with his unredeemed soul.[1. Salvation of the Soul, the Saving of the Life, p. 47] By yielding of his own volition to the Holy Spirit, Chitwood says he hopes to win the salvation of his soul. Except that God has placed a division between his spirit and his soul, he would be entirely corrupt.

“The first thing which God does for man is to place light alongside the previously existing darkness — place a new nature alongside the old nature, a new man alongside the old man — with a division established between the two (cf. Heb. 4:12),” claims Chitwood.[2. ibid.. Actually, Hebrews 4:12 does not state that there is a division between the soul and spirit, but rather that there is a division between the soul and spirit (non-material aspects of a human) and joints and marrow (material aspects of a human). This misreading of scripture, however, is necessary for sustaining the teaching Chitwood calls the “Word of the Kingdom.”]

Thus, an unredeemed body houses his redeemed spirit — light and darkness coexisting in one being.

Whether or not his soul is ultimately saved, depends on his willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to control his life. By yielding to one Chitwood calls the “spiritual man,” he claims he can gain “control over his emotions, feelings, and desires,” and thus realize the salvation of his soul, and thus attain full salvation.[3. ibid., p. 13]

This same fate he consigns to all Christians: apostles and martyrs, prophets and elders, ordinary Christians and the persecuted. No man, reckons Chitwood, is entirely saved, not Paul, not James, not Peter. No Christian reading these words can claim to be fully saved, nor can any Christian claim to be saved unconditionally. Unconditional salvation applies to ones spirit only; ones body and soul are saved conditionally, and this is determined by works.[4. ibid.]

These are, indeed, extraordinary beliefs.

Fortunately, they are not found in the Bible.

————————

Who are the unbelievers?

Who are the unbelievers in 2 Cor. 6:14-16?

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God…

Quite extraordinarily, “kingdom believers” assert that such are Christians who do not believe in the “Word of the Kingdom,” the belief that salvation is conditional and that so-called carnal Christians will be excluded in the millennial kingdom. This interpretation aligns Christians with darkness, Belial (Satan), and idols. It also provides a basis for excluding so-called “non-kingdom-believers” from their fellowships.

Attention was drawn to this teaching a few years ago after a recorded sermon was distributed among members of a mountain community in Los Gatos, California. The recording contained a 2006 sermon in which John Herbert, the pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, stated,

Can I tell you this morning that no work other than that which is done in Boaz’s field is of any value whatsoever. Anything that is done outside of Boaz’s field is wood, hay and straw, and it will be burnt up. But we notice the progression of what we have seen here. We must determine to make this journey. We must determine to be obedient to the Word of God. We must be determined to do everything that it says, and then we start to work in Boaz’s field. Because as we begin to do this word, take it, use it, allow it to change us, see what it says and be faithfully obedient to it, we cannot help but start dying to self, we cannot not help but crucify our flesh, you can’t be obedient to this word and live in the flesh. It’s just not possible.

“And do we find there? (Ruth 2:8.) Then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Will you not? You will listen. Will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here but stay close by my young women.’ We better stick around those who know something of the Kingdom and what they are talking about. Don’t go running off with any old body, just because we like the look of them. Praise the Lord.

“The scripture says we should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Can I tell you that’s not talking about a non-Christian. It’s talking about somebody who doesn’t get this, who’s not interested in this. They’re the unbelievers. And we are not to be unequally yoked with them. We need people around us who can support us and encourage us in this.” — source

The juxtaposition of “righteousness” and “lawlessness,” “light” and “darkness,” and “Christ” and “Belial” makes it plain that Christians are not in view. (That no theologian, to my understanding, has suggested otherwise should also be instructive.) Paul states that Christians should be separate from the world; he never says Christians should separate themselves from other Christians, except in extreme circumstances (cf. 1 Cor. 5:3-5, in order to save the man’s “spirit”). He argues that believers are to be separate from the world, and not yoked to it or formally bound to it (cf. 1 John 2:15). Traditionally, Paul’s words are interpreted as an appeal against mixed marriages, i.e. union between Christians and non-Christians, which is ill-advised on so many levels.[pullquote]The scripture says we should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. Can I tell you that’s not talking about a non-Christian. It’s talking about somebody who doesn’t get this, who’s not interested in this. They’re the unbelievers.”[/pullquote]

Paul discusses marriage elsewhere. In 1 Corinthians, he explains that believers are not required to divorce their unbelieving mates (1 Cor. 7:12-16). However, he does forbid divorce: “To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife” (1 Cor. 7:10-11). He makes this statement without qualification, and obviously he has Christians in mind. This prohibition does not apply in situations where one spouse has converted and the other has not. Here, Paul lays out an exception: they can divorce, but they do not have to. If they remain married, the other might be saved.

Unmarried Christians are encouraged to remain unmarried, though they may marry if they wish (1 Cor. 7:9).

That 2 Cor. 6:14-16 speaks only to the marriage issue is doubtful. Rather, Paul is addressing all spiritual unions. Accordingly, believers should have no union or partnership with unbelievers, i.e. those aligned with Satan.

Herbert’s interpretation of the text is troubling on many levels. First, there is the issue that Herbert avows conditional salvation. Cornerstone’s statement of faith states that “the salvation of the soul will be realized at the Judgment Seat of Christ and is determined by works.” Thus, “unbelievers” to Herbert’s reckoning are those who reject Paul’s admonition that “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9 — interestingly, he does go one to say that Christians were created for good works).

Second, Herbert employs 2 Cor. 6:14-16 as an excuse for breaking fellowship with those who reject the so-called “Word of the Kingdom,” which in actuality is the invention of A. Edwin Wilson and Arlen L. Chitwood.

Herbert maintains that unbelievers are those “who [don’t] get this, who [are] not interested in this,” i.e. the “Word of the Kingdom.” On this basis, he encourages disunion with other believers — not on moral grounds, e.g. Paul’s exclusion of a man cohabiting with his stepmother (again, cf. 1 Cor. 5:3-5) — but for purely sectarian interests.

Justification of Herbert’s teaching is common among “kingdom believers.” The leadership at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, for example, affirms Herbert’s position in a piece called “Confusion About ‘Unbelievers'” — that the unnamed author introduces a term, confusion, is telling; no one previously had been confused about the unbelievers. The unnamed author trails off into typology, ultimately concluding that partners with Satan can indeed be Christians themselves.

It’s quite extraordinary for a group of professing Christians to label other Christians (believers) as unbelievers. It is perhaps uncharitable. However, given that to accept the “Word of the Kingdom” is to believe that blacks are cursed, that salvation is conditional and that Christians will suffer the hurt of the lake of fire, other motivations must be at work.

The desire of so-called “kingdom believers” to separate themselves from other Christians calls to mind the apostle John’s admonition that “they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). That “kingdom believers” do not continue in fellowship with other Christians, that its leaders condemn all other Christian teachers, suggests the “Word of the Kingdom” is not a presentation of the gospel, but rather a schismatic invention of carnal men and women.