“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

“R Powell” endorses A. Edwin Wilson’s book

An “R Powell,” possibly Royce Powell who succeeded A. Edwin Wilson in pastoral ministry in the 1980s, has written a review of Wilson’s book at Amazon.com, endorsing the text. Here are his comments:

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.

As far as the review that Mark Adams wrote, it it appears his reviews on any Christian writing were mostly negative. — source

I have endeavored several times to contact Powell through various intermediaries, but have thus far been unsuccessful. If “R Powell” is Royce Powell, then these comments shed important light on the racial views of contemporary advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom,” which Wilson founded. Powell spoke last year at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, and his sermons are promoted by the Los Gatos branch of that movement.

One sermon in particular deserves attention, for in it Powell avows that certain races shouldn’t intermingle. The title of that sermon is “The Three Sons of Noah” — direct link to mp3 file: http://www.calvarybiblechurchtn.org/images/powell/100_The_Three_Sons_of_Noah.mp3 — it is found at this page.

There seems to be a concerted effort to defend the reputation of the late A. Edwin Wilson, who advocated segregation through the 1980s. Radio preacher Arlen Banks reposted Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson after having pulled the text from his website over concerns that some of the content was not appropriate. Banks later disavowed those concerns. John Chitwood, Arlen Chitwood’s son (Arlen edited Wilson’s book) also posted a review at Amazon.com, saying Wilson was not a racist.

As regards “R Powell’s” assertion that my “reviews on any Christian writing were mostly negative,” I can only reply that I do not regard Wilson’s book as a Christian writing.

Can it be that salvation is conditional?

Arlen Chitwood boldly asserts that free grace is limited to one aspect of a person’s being, ones spirit. He explains, “The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional” (p. 13, Salvation of the Soul, emphasis is Chitwood’s).

I have inquired of many, especially among those who promulgate the “Word of the Kingdom,” as to where such an idea is taught in scriptures. Where does it say that salvation (in this case “soul salvation”) is conditional upon how one lives, not upon the finished work of Christ at Calvary. Thus far, no one has presented such a scripture.

If you can find one, please comment

Is Arlen Chitwood a racist?

There are those who will argue that the very question is a statement. But, truthfully, I am not sure of the answer. And that’s what bothers me.

Chitwood is esteemed as a man of God, a teacher of truth, a prophet of his age; yet, he actively teaches that blacks are cursed. In the 1980s, he edited and promoted pro-segregation texts. What are we to make of this? Shall we say that his actions speak for his character? As Chitwood is unwilling to clarify his views, directly refusing to answer questions from KingdomExclusion.com, we have only his actions and published writings to consider.

Continue reading Is Arlen Chitwood a racist?

Kingdom preacher claims Satan is “using preachers”

Radio preacher Arlen Banks writes in a series of blog entries that Satan is “using preachers and prominent figures in the Church” to deny essential aspects of the gospel, adding that there is a “very subtle false teaching in every denomination.”[1. http://thekingdomoftheheavens.org/2010/11/18/the-word-of-the-kingdom-part-4/] The accusatory nature of these remarks is breathtaking, considering a chief complaint among followers of the so-called “Word of the Kingdom” is that they have been unfairly disparaged, even complaining that they are being persecuted. What is one to make of a teacher who unabashedly claims that the majority of Christian ministers are really just tools of Satan?

Word of the Kingdom preacher reposts racist book

Radio preacher Arlen Banks has reposted a book promoting segregation. Banks previously offered Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson in digital form at TheKingdomOfTheHeavens.org, but pulled it after it was revealed here that the late preacher taught that blacks were inferior to whites.

At the time, Banks maintained that Wilson was “wrong” to say that Ham committed immoral acts because he was black.[1. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1041]

“I disagree with Wilson’s speculation of Ham being black, but he was entitled to his opinion, whether it was wrong or right,” wrote Banks in the forum at KingdomExclusion.com.

Banks reposted the book last week.

In the 1950s, Wilson founded a teaching called “Word of the Kingdom,” which maintains, among other things that salvation is conditional. Though not widely known, “Word of the Kingdom” is promoted by Christians who typically identify themselves as baptists.

Wilson maintained in sermons and articles throughout four decades that blacks were cursed by God; he taught that integration was a work of Satan. Wilson’s racial theories mirrored those of many in the South in the mid-1900s.

In a 1973 sermon, Wilson preached:

Generally speaking, around the world, what’s the hour and the day that manifests the strongest evidential segregation? It’s on Sunday, and what time? Eleven o’clock. That’s particularly true in what area of the world? … Bible Belt? What is the capitol of the Bible Belt? … Chattanooga is the capitol of the Bible Belt, you know it is. What other city in the world has Bible taughting (sic.) schools like this city? No place but the Bible Belt that have it. 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.

Selected Writings was published in 1981, and reprinted as late as 1996. Digital copies have been available at various sites promoting the Word of the Kingdom, including Arlen L. Chitwood’s site, LampBroadcast.org.

Chitwood edited Selected Writings.

The book has been promoted continuously by pastors connected with the Cornerstone Christian Fellowship franchise, though Pastor John Herbert, of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, said previously that he would not adhere to Wilson’s teachings on race. Still, several speakers at a conference sponsored by Herbert’s church teach that blacks are cursed.

In e-mails to the publisher at KingdomExclusion.com, Banks has defended Wilson, saying that the late preacher was a godly man. “A. Edwin Wilson is not a racist,” Banks wrote last July.[2. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1391]

However, speaking of the curse upon blacks, Wilson wrote that it “involved [the] general inferiority of the Hamitic race, and a special condemnation to the lowest degree of servitude. This curse consigns the Hamitic race to a position of national and personal servitude until the time of restitution of all things.”

Banks offers Wilson’s book at two sites he maintains: TheKingdomOfTheHeavens.org and AEWilson.org.

Accountability?

I am often asked by those who support “kingdom exclusion”/”word of the kingdom” what motivation a Christian has for living a godly life. They ask, generally, “Why should Christians do what is right? Why should they care?” They suggest that unless one believes one possibly faces punishment in the millennial kingdom, one will be ineffectual in Christian living. One will become carnal.

I reply:

1. Who among us will not be punished? “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it? … So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty” (James 2:10 & 12). Should we not heed these words? It is James, after all, who is most often quoted in the teaching of “soul salvation.” Should we not, then, draw the same conclusions as James?

2. Where is this punishment found? Revelation speaks of the millennial kingdom, but makes no mention of the so-called “exclusion” of carnal Christians. Or, are we to believe, as Arlen Chitwood and others espouse, that Christians too will suffer the hurt of the second death? That idea is frankly blasphemous.

(I should note that the absence of “exclusion” is mirrored everywhere. No one, to this date, has shown anyone where “exclusion” is to be found in scripture.)

3. Is not forgiveness a greater motivation? Ask yourself, as a Christian, why do you want to be good? Why? Is it because you fear a “rod of fire” or the “hurt of the second death,” or is it because God has so loved you? Were we saved by fear, or the cross?

4. Why should we end with works? How is “soul salvation” not a complete repudiation of grace? Did not Paul warn, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). I have noted that in all of his writings, Arlen Chitwood never speaks of sanctification. His defenders say, well, “soul salvation” is sanctification? If that is true, “soul salvation” is heresy, for Paul says we are not being perfected by the flesh.

I am astonished that people actually teach that without “soul salvation” (otherwise called the “accountability” gospel) Christians would have no motivation for doing what is right. Those people miss, by a wide margin, the true gospel.

Paul, too, was confronted by such people. Look at his reply: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2).

Let it be so.

Chitwood: Salvation is not entirely by grace

Though Arlen L. Chitwood teaches that salvation is by grace, he limits unconditional salvation to one aspect of a person’s being, the spirit. A believer’s other aspects — the soul and body — are saved conditionally.

“The salvation of the soul, unlike the salvation of the spirit, is conditional,” he writes in Salvation of the Soul, the Saving of a Life (p. 13, emphasis is Chitwood’s). “The salvation of the soul is dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved. It is dependent on the individual allowing the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life through his own spirit.”

Chitwood describes redemption as having three phases: salvation of the spirit by grace, realized at the cross; salvation of the soul by works, realized through human achievement; and, salvation of the body, a consequence of soul salvation (in other words, it just happens).

Chitwood never clarifies how salvation can be entirely by grace but also by works. In truth, it is either one or the other.

Two Salvations

In some of his writings, he appears to limit “soul salvation” to judgments rendered at the dawn of the millennial kingdom. “The former [spirit salvation] has to do with eternal verities and the latter [soul salvation] with millennial verities” (ibid, p. 36). Reduced to attaining or losing rewards in the kingdom (cf. Matt. 6:19-20), his theology is innocuous (and, frankly, quite unoriginal). But, he draws such a careful distinction between “spirit salvation” and “soul salvation,” that each becomes a distinct form of salvation.

Significantly, Chitwood makes this point in Salvation by Grace Through Faith:

The “spirit” of unsaved man, associated with “darkness,” is dead. It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his “body of… death,” in which there dwells “no good thing” (Rom. 7:18, 24). But, with the movement of the Spirit — breathing life into unsaved, lifeless man — man’s spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul (Heb. 4:12). — page 8

His use of Heb. 4:12 is disturbing because the text makes no mention of a person’s spirit and soul being divided at the moment of salvation. The text simply says that the word of God searches every aspect of a person’s being. More troubling is what follows:

“The ‘soul’ remains within the sphere of darkness” (ibid.).

In other words, the soul of a believer is not presently saved, and is not saved by grace through blood redemption. Soul salvation, to use Chitwood’s own phrasing, is “unlike” spirit salvation.

How, Then, Is One Saved?

Chitwood never explains how the soul and body ever come to be saved. If by Christ at the cross, why not presently? Why must the soul and body be saved at a future time? If by achieving rewards (i.e., positions in the millennial kingdom), how is that not salvation by works? How can unconditional salvation be conditional?

Ultimately, what is the mode of salvation for the soul and body?

Chitwood becomes so confused on the point that he actually argues that Christians are unequally yoked within themselves![1. In a previous article, I identified Gnostic tendencies in Chitwood’s writings. See http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=73.]

Within this unredeemed body lie two opposing entities, each seeking dominion — a redeemed spirit, and an unredeemed soul. The unredeemed soul is housed in an unredeemed body, and the two are mutually compatible. But the redeemed spirit housed alongside an unredeemed soul in an unredeemed body experiences no compatibility with either of the other two at all. Compatibility is not possible, for “what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (II Cor. 6:14). — Salvation of the Soul, p. 8, emphasis is Chitwood’s

Note that the spirit, saved by grace through faith, is “redeemed,” but the soul, apparently not saved by grace through faith, is “unredeemed.”

What is particularly tragic about Chitwood is that he goes great lengths to teach that salvation is by grace — “All man can possibly do is simply receive, through believing on the Son, that which has already been done on his behalf” (Salvation by Grace Through Faith, X) — but he limits that form of salvation to the spirit. Unquestionably, he teaches that the soul and body are in “darkness,” “unredeemed,” and saved “conditionally.”

That, in the final assessment, is not salvation by grace.

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Footnotes:

J.D. Faust’s book is just total nonsense

J.D. “Joey” Faust’s sole claim to recognition is his supposed chronicle of the history of the accountability movement; however, The Rod, Will God Spare It? is anything but scholarly. In fact, it’s impossibly bad.

Briefly…

1. Faust assumes anyone from antiquity who writes about the millennial kingdom is also writing about exclusion, i.e., the punishment of carnal Christians in the millennium. His source for these ancient documents is a CD-ROM, which he apparently word-searched to find relevant information. Unfortunately, the mere mention of the millennial kingdom in these documents qualifies the author as a kingdom exclusionist. That Faust has made of an actual study of these documents is dubious.

2. Faust’s interpretation of allegorical texts is utterly pedestrian. He actually envisions a rod of fire protruding from Christ’s mouth in the day of judgment! (Incidentally, the image on the book cover is equally ridiculous.)

3. Faust’s criticism of the Catholic doctrine of purgatory is painfully hypocritical. He assails the church for representing purgatory as a “place,” but then spends chapters discussing where his form of exclusion will occur literally. He makes no effort to describe what Catholic purgatory actually is, and judging from his sources, it is doubtful that he knows anything of the doctrine. (I’m not endorsing the doctrine of purgatory, but I do expect its critics to at least represent the doctrine accurately.)

4. He is a King-James-onlyist.

5. He, and the few people he numbers in his church, are about the only people who believe his version of exclusion. His interpretation of scripture is so utterly unique, he contradicts nearly everyone else whom he lists in the text as allies of exclusion.

The book, which is really simply a bad outline of a book, fails completely to make the case for exclusion, rendering it the work of neurotic or else a heretic.

For Wilson was an honourable man…

A great injustice has been done to the late A. Edwin Wilson. In the last year, several individuals removed digital copies of The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson from their websites. Among these I can name Arlen L. Chitwood, who had long intended to remove the book from his website, but did not realize that it remained “orphaned” among some pages of his website, LampBroadcast.org,[6. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=366] and Arlen Banks, who removed it because he felt Wilson was wrong to have taught that Ham “violated” Noah, his father, because Ham was black.[5. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1041]

Sadly, these individuals removed the text after I had exposed Wilson’s teachings to the general public. I bear the fault. My actions, my tenacity, led to the removal of Wilson’s book from their sites. Somes other souls, however, remained steadfast. When I called upon them to remove the book (on moral grounds, not legal) they refused. Among these I can name Calvary Bible Church and Schoettle Publishing Company. There are others still, but their names escape me for the moment.

The “injustice” I speak of is the resulting difficulty the general public now has accessing the book. How will they know what sort of man he was. I must now speak, for Wilson was an honorable man. The general public should know that Wilson taught that:

Christ never abolished slavery.[1. Chapter XV, p. 3, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]

“And Wilson was an honorable man.”

The general public should know that Wilson taught that…

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. His supreme desire is not the integration and fusion of the colored race with the white — he is looking forward to the day when the nation of Israel shall be integrated and fused with other nations, and then all of God’s prophecy concerning Israel’s restoration and elevation to the head of the nations shall fail of fulfillment and God will have been proven to be false. Satan is thus hoping to continue his reign over the souls of men.[2. Chapter XV, p. 3, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]

“And Wilson was an honorable man.”

The general public should know that Wilson taught that…

This curse [upon black people] also involved general inferiority of the Hamitic race, and a special condemnation to the lowest degree of servitude. This curse consigns the Hamitic race to a position of national and personal servitude until the time of restitution of all things (Zech. 14:21).[1. Chapter XV, p. 4, of the electronic edition of “The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson”.]

“And Wilson was an honorable man.”

I call particularly upon Arlen Banks (for I know his heart) to repost The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson to TheKingdomOfTheHeavens.org, so that people might know what sort of man Wilson was. Please, do us this justice, Arlen.

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Footnotes: