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.
Genesis of a Modern Race Controversy
“Sons of Noah” was published in 1981 in Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, and edited by Arlen L. Chitwood, a self-published author and theologian. Wilson, and subsequently Chitwood, formulated a teaching called the “Word of the Kingdom,” which CCFLG now espouses. The teaching maintains that salvation is partly conditional and that Christians can “win” or “lose” positions in Christ’s millennial kingdom.[2. In Salvation of the Soul, the Saving of the Life, Chitwood explains that only the spirit of a person is saved unconditionally by grace; a person’s soul and body are saved “conditionally” by works; see p. 13.][pullquote]Now why is the eleven o’clock hour in Chattanooga the most segregated time and place in the world? … Because in a majority of the pulpits you’ll still find the word of God” — A. Edwin Wilson[/pullquote]
Last December, KingdomExclusion.com published several articles detailing Wilson’s and Chitwood’s racial theories. These reports revealed that, for decades, Wilson taught that blacks were cursed and that integration was a work of Satan. In a 1971 sermon, Wilson proclaimed, “Now why is the eleven o’clock hour in Chattanooga the most segregated time and place in the world? There is a reason for it. Because in a majority of the pulpits you’ll still find the word of God.”[3. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=819]
Chitwood, who wrote that Wilson was “pre-eminently qualified” to teach upon such subjects, defended his mentor, writing in an e-mail that the Hamitic curse, the underlying assumption of Wilson’s racial theories, “remains in effect today.” He said that this view reflected “A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it.”
Chitwood has not disavowed “Sons of Noah,” and Selected Writings continues to be sold with his endorsement.
CCFLG Expresses Concern Over Reputation
CCFLG posted comments about Wilson to its website shortly after inquiries were made last December by KingdomExclusion.com into the racial dimensions of the “Word of the Kingdom.” In a thread entitled, “Guilt By Association,” the leadership complained that CCFLG was being falsely accused of racism because of its association with Chitwood.
“Fact: It has recently been said by one of our brothers in Christ that racism exists within the doctrine that we teach,” claimed CCFLG.
No such statement was published at KingdomExclusion.com. In fact, CCFLG was not mentioned in any article regarding Wilson until after “Guilt By Association” was posted.
Defending themselves against a perceived accusation, the leadership stated that they opposed segregation “because the Bible doesn’t support it,” but hedged elsewhere. “Is there any contemporary people group under the Hamitic curse?” asked the leadership. “Don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. The Bible’s genealogies don’t carry into the present day.”
Blacks Are Cursed… True Or False?
Some time ago I posted a few comments at Cornerstone’s website, hoping to elicit further comment on the subject. As the leadership had accused an unnamed person of lying, I suggested that perhaps Wilson lied when he said that blacks were cursed and that Ham violated Noah because Ham was black. Since CCFLG agreed that Wilson’s comments were “racist” and “inflammatory,” I figured that they would agree that Wilson’s interpretation of scripture was not founded on truth, but a lie.
Alley offered this reply: “Although a few of A. Edwin Wilson’s writings can be problematic at times, and the one in question was from a time (some 40+ years ago) when such writing was acceptable in certain circles, I see no hard evidence to support your claim that he was indeed ‘lying.'” To arrive at this conclusion, though, Alley narrowly defines “lies” to mean deliberate falsehoods only; however, liars can be deceived themselves, and most dictionaries allow that a lie need not be deliberate. Any falsehood is a lie.
Further, Wilson’s statements about blacks were not limited to “one” writing. A past survey of recorded sermons revealed that Wilson advocated segregation throughout the 1970s, and the “one” essay, which was written in the 1950s, was specially selected for publication in 1981, while the author was still alive. Certainly, within that time period, Wilson had been warned about his error (we know for certain, for example, that he read Billy Graham’s 1954 essay condemning segregation). That Wilson chose to ignore such warnings does not excuse him.
Research, Revelations and Reports
The first article published on the subject of Wilson’s racial views, “Race hatred and the ‘Word of the Kingdom’,” focused narrowly on the following details:
- Wilson’s theological justification of segregation
- Chitwood’s role in editing, publishing and promoting Selected Writings
- Chitwood’s belief in the Hamitic curse and insistence upon it as a tenet of premillennialism
Around the time of that first article’s publication, inquiries were sent to organizations and individuals associated with Wilson or Chitwood. They were asked privately whether they knew about Wilson’s segregationist views and/or whether they supported segregation. Their responses were noted in subsequent articles at KingdomExclusion.com. Pastor John Herbert of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, offered the strongest denunciation, saying in a telephone interview, “I would not adhere to that under any circumstances.”
Few others, however, disavowed Wilson’s segregationist stance, either offering no comment or else excusing it.
- Schoettle Publishing Company, which sells Selected Writings, refused comment
- Unsolicited, Chitwood twice affirmed belief in the Hamitic curse, the underlying assumption of Wilson’s segregationist views; Chitwood did, however, pull an electronic edition of Selected Writings from his website
- Arlen Banks, a self-described national radio evangelist, defended Wilson several times before finally pulling Selected Writings from his website
- Pastor Jim Brooks, whose websites offer both Selected Writings and Wilson’s sermons, never answered
- Nor did the owner of HopeofGlory.net, another site offering Wilson’s book, answer
KingdomExclusion.com was unable to locate Pastor Royce Powell, who succeeded Wilson as pastor at Daytona Heights Baptist Church, and who also preached that certain races should not “intermingle.”
Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, was contacted because of its close connection with Chitwood, and its endorsement of his teachings, two points acknowledged in “Guilt By Association.” The church also participates in conferences wherein Brooks, Chitwood and Powell are speakers.
CCFLG did not directly reply to KingdomExclusion.com, but instead posted comments to its website, though without reference to whomever it was they believe accused them falsely. (It is possible, though unlikely, that some other blogger was in view.)
“Guilt By Association”
If there is any “guilt” to be felt by the leadership of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship (either in Jacksonville or Los Gatos) it is their uncritical association with Chitwood. What Alley and the rest of the leadership at both Cornerstone churches refuses to acknowledge is that their doctrine is drawn so exclusively from Chitwood/Wilson that to confront either man (Chitwood for his current sins; Wilson for his past sins) would be to acknowledge that the “Word of the Kingdom” is not “what the Bible says,” but an interpretation of scripture (and a highly novel one at that).
Again, it should be observed that the matter is not “one” writing from 40 years ago. This is a current issue: (a) Chitwood continues to maintain that Africans are cursed; (b) Wilson’s book continues to be published, and with Chitwood’s glowing introduction; (c) Powell continues to preach at “Word of the Kingdom” conferences, as does Chitwood; (d) Brooks continues to distribute Selected Writings.
These are the very leaders of the “Word of the Kingdom” movement, and they promote and propound the Hamitic curse.
And the year is 2010.
© 2010, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.