Monthly Archives: January 2011

Advocates of “Hamitic curse” to speak at WOK conference

Each has spoken at the “Word of the Kingdom” conference before, so this is not exactly “news.” Arlen Chitwood, Royce Powell and Jim Brooks are again scheduled to speak at the annual conference, which is hosted by Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida (see link). Both Chitwood and Powell advocate the “Hamitic curse,” the idea that blacks are biblically cursed; Brooks hosts sermons (including Chitwood’s and Powell’s) on it. In the past, the conference has featured African speakers, and its organizer, John Herbert, has spoken against racism. He did, however, state that he was unsure about the curse.

See the following:

Kingdom seekers split over race issue
Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe

Editorial note: Several have asked why I continue to report on the matter. Fact is, people within the “Word of the Kingdom” movement continue to advocate the curse. It can hardly “go away” if new voices continually speak for it.

Kingdom preacher Royce Powell taught that “darker race people” are cursed

Royce Powell, a speaker at last year’s “Word of the Kingdom” conference at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, preached, in a 1984 sermon, that the “darker race people, the black people” should not serve in positions of leadership or intermarry with other races. His definition of “darker race people” also included Egyptians, Middle Easterners and people of the “East Babylonian” area.

Efforts to reach Powell, directly or through intermediaries, over the last year have been unsuccessful.

In a recorded sermon, hosted at Calvary Bible Church’s website,[1. The date, 1984, is embedded in the digital file; http://www.calvarybiblechurchtn.org/audio-sermons/royce-powell.html] Powell taught that “the scripture tells us that the race [Noah’s descendants] was divided into three categories,” and explained that “Ham and his descendants were destined or were biblically assigned the place of being a servant of servants unto his brethren.”

Powell’s 1984 sermon:
[audio:Powell-The_Three_Sons_of_Noah.mp3]

Powell is a prominent and revered “kingdom” preacher, who succeeded A. Edwin Wilson as pastor of a church in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the early 1980s. Wilson, deceased in 1989, was an avowed segregationist, preaching and writing about the evils of integration through several decades of his ministry. His essay, “The Sons of Noah,” outlines theological grounds for the separation of the Body of Christ along racial lines.[2. From the Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson]

In the sermon, “The Three Sons of Noah,” Powell divided the world’s races into three categories: Canaanites or the “darker race people,” Shem or the “Nation of Israel,” and Japheth (traditionally whites). He added that efforts to unite these races were the work of Satan. “The ‘Canaanite’ is cursed… to be the servant of ‘Shem’ and ‘Japheth’,” explained Powell.

His comments on race mirror Wilson’s considerably.

Citing Old Testament prophecies, Powell asserted that it was wrong for the United States to “force” modern-day Israel into political agreements with the “Canaanites,” presumably Arabs and Palestinians. (Powell’s use of outdated and outmoded racial appellations makes it difficult sometimes to identify which ethnic groups he is mentioning.) “One of the ways that Satan has tried to destroy the nation of Israel is not only through war but through devising a plan to intermingle the races,” Powell stated. “And that won’t ever work. Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, says, does — that won’t ever work.”

He explained that when races intermingle, the order of the universe is upset. For this reason, “Canaanites” should not assume positions of leadership, for this is equally offensive to God, explained Powell. “I just say that to be biblical,” he defended.

At one point in his sermon, Powell endeavored to explain why Jews are apparently so economically savvy. “The Canaanites taught them,” he explained. The shrewdness of Jews in business, Powell added, is not a positive quality; instead, the Jews should have avoided contact with the Canaanites. This is “why the Lord Jesus in two instances… cleansed the temple… he was ridding the temple of trafficking and the trading,” Powell preached. “He won’t allow that.”

It is not known whether Powell continues to maintain these views, but “Word of the Kingdom” churches have for the last year been promoting his sermons, including “The Three Sons of Noah.” In 2010 Powell spoke at a “Word of the Kingdom” conference hosted by Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida. In reply to inquiries, a church worker there directed KingdomExclusion.com to Powell’s sermons at Calvary Bible Church’s website, saying the sermons were highly esteemed. Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, also provides a direct link to that site at its home page at CornerstoneLosGatos.com.

Radio preacher Arlen Banks is featuring Powell’s sermons on his radio show.

“I have prayed about doing this for over a year now so, I decided to start 2011 off right,” wrote Banks at his website, TheKingdomoftheHeavens.org. He began posting the sermons late in 2010. “The responce (sic) has been great.”

Though KingdomExclusion.com has been unable to reach Powell, directly or through intermediaries, an “R Powell” recently posted a review at Amazon.com defending Wilson’s controversial book:

I originally received a copy of the Select Writings of A Edwin Wilson from the Editor, Arlen Chitwood in the early 8o’s, and have referred to it many times over the years for additional insight when I taught a bible class. I recently decided to re-read the book in full and found new insights in the Word of God. So impressed with its content, I purchased two additional books as gifts for my pastor and my sister, who pastors a church in Chicago.[3. http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Writings-Edwin-Wilson/dp/B001LOHSOU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294522891&sr=8-1]

(Previously, I had posted a review criticizing Wilson’s pro-segregationist views.)

KingdomExclusion.com first mentioned Powell’s “The Three Sons of Noah” in a posting dated January 9, 2010, and began sending inquiries that same month to various leaders within the “Word of the Kingdom” movement. None of the inquiries has been returned. In that same span of time, advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” have begun to vigorously promote Powell’s sermons. It is not known whether they agree with his racial views.

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Powell’s sermons at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, preached in 2010, can be viewed here:

Genesis 19 (link)
Isaiah 11 (link)

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“Word of the Kingdom” — heretical and racist

Having studied this teaching since 2005, I can only conclude that the “Word of the Kingdom,” as taught by the late A. Edwin Wilson and Arlen L. Chitwood, is heretical, and that aspects of the teaching are even racist. I do not make these statements lightly. These are harsh findings to be sure, but I must speak plainly.

Heresy —

Chitwood openly states that salvation is not entirely by grace, that it is not unconditional. Only the spirit of a person is saved by grace unconditionally; the soul is saved conditionally. This, Chitwood states directly: “The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional” (The Salvation of the Soul, pg. 13 — emphasis Chitwood’s). This statement is antithetical to the gospel, which states that salvation is not by our own doing, but by grace alone.

The apostle Paul writes, “For 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).

I have written Chitwood several times regarding his assertion that “soul salvation” is conditional, and his responses have been less than satisfying. While spirited, Chitwood ultimately declined to explain how conditional salvation accords with the Free Grace movement, which he claims to champion. I’ve also spoken with Roel Velema, who has translated a number of Chitwood’s works into other languages, about this matter. Velema plainly asserts that “soul salvation” results from human action, though Velema attempts to place this working of salvation within the context of free grace. I’ve spoken with countless others, all of whom decline to assert that the soul is saved entirely by the blood of Jesus.

Why is the “Word of the Kingdom” heresy? Because it asserts that the soul is not saved ultimately by the blood of Jesus, but that the crucifixion of Christ only initiates the possibility of soul salvation.

Key articles at KingdomExclusion.com —
1. Chitwood: Salvation is not entirely by grace
2. Kingdom believer claims to be unsaved
3. General objections to the teaching of Arlen L. Chitwood

Racism —

Here, I must stately positively that not all advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” are racists, or that they all avow segregation. That is simply not true. Many participate in mixed fellowships. However, most advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” continue to champion the Hamitic curse, which is the underlying theology of religious segregation. The late A. Edwin Wilson wrote and preached extensively on segregation, and his works are promoted by “Word of the Kingdom” advocates today. This is intolerable, and shameful.

Even more disturbing are the apologetic comments from advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom.” Ralph Alley, called an elder at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, wrote that Wilson’s segregationist views were “acceptable in some circles,” though he did indicate that Wilson’s teachings on race were “problematic.” Other advocates have gone steps further. Chitwood wrote two articles recently affirming the core of Wilson’s racial views, and Arlen Banks, a radio preacher, even asserted by e-mail that certain races should not intermix. He did not, however, take issue with congregations already mixed.

The unwillingness of advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” to disavow the Hamitic curse entirely stems from two concerns: (1) their understanding of eschatology and (2) Wilson’s role in establishing the “Word of the Kingdom.” First, so-called “kingdom seekers” believe fundamentally that Old Testament curses extend into the modern age and culminate at the millennial kingdom. They do not appear to question why they believe in the Hamitic curse (there is no evidence of it in scripture), but hold to it as an unquestionable gospel truth. Second, Wilson founded the “Word of the Kingdom” and he was steadfast in his opposition to integration. He maintained these views from the 1950s (possibly earlier) to the early 1980s. Unable to accept that Wilson was garden-variety racist, advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” advance that the Hamitic curse is biblical, though misunderstood and sometimes misused by modern theologians. Even Chitwood asserted that some people use the teaching in “racist” ways, but he does not explain how the teaching itself is not racist. Nor does he care to.

No believer in the “Word of the Kingdom,” to my knowledge, has disavowed the Hamtic curse — though some claim to be uncertain about it.

Why is the “Word of the Kingdom” racist? Because it demeans people of African descent, and undermines the unity of the Body of Christ by asserting that Christians of different races should not, ultimately, mix.

Key articles at KingdomExclusion.com–
1. Is Arlen Chitwood a racist?
2. No accountability among kingdom seekers
3. Race hatred and the Word of the Kingdom
4. Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial teachings