There is an interesting dialog going on at this thread: How Appealing is Kingdom Exclusion? Though advocates of exclusion disagree on many fundamental points, they agree on one thing certainly: the soul of a Christian is not yet saved. From this arises a critical question: why? Why is the blood of Jesus efficacious to save a person’s spirit, but not a person’s soul? Most exclusionists would simply reply, “Well, that’s just the way it is; that’s God’s plan of salvation.” All right, let’s accept that point, that the spirit of a believer is saved, but their soul is not. The question then arises, what ultimately saves a Christian’s soul? If it is not unconditional grace, what is it? And if it is not unconditional grace, how is it salvation?
Some, such as Arlen Banks, who is participating in the discussion, argue that “soul salvation” only pertains to receiving rewards in the millennial kingdom. If that is true, then it is not really salvation. In a word, it is receiving rewards. (Let’s just call it what it is.) Yet he continues, arguing that the soul of a Christian is not yet perfect, but that it will be sometime in the future. Ah, that leads to another question: what makes the soul of a believer perfect for all eternity? If it is not unconditional grace, what is it? And if it is not unconditional grace, how is it salvation?
The problem all exclusionists run into is that by dividing salvation into three separate works — spirit salvation, soul salvation, body salvation — they add to unconditional grace. They adulterate salvation. Trying to motivate Christian to good works (cf. Heb. 10:24), they alter the gospel; they present a false gospel.
The tragedy is that there is a doctrine that addresses the life after ones conversion: sanctification. And it is noteworthy that most exclusionists never address this doctrine. Arlen Chitwood, who has become quite a leader within this movement, never once, in all the dozens of his books, teaches on sanctification. The reason is plain: he has created another doctrine to take its place. He calls it “soul salvation.”
There is a reason why I place “soul salvation” in quotation marks.
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?
First, who is A. Edwin Wilson? He is the originator of a teaching called the “Word of the Kingdom.” He died in 1987, but his teaching lives on, principally in the ministry of Arlen L. Chitwood. What is the “Word of the Kingdom”? It is the belief that the salvation is conditional — that Christians will suffer the hurt of the second death for carnality. Since 2007, I have opposed this teaching, outlining my objections in article after article, maintaining that “Word of the Kingdom” propounds works-salvation.
But in 2009, sometime in November or December, I came across another reason to oppose this teaching: race hatred. As it turns out, Wilson was a segregationist. Given his Southern origins, this should not have come as a surprise. But it did. After all, “Word of the Kingdom” says Christians need to be aware that they are accountable for their actions.
Apparently, this is not so.
Had Wilson merely been a product of his age, I suppose I would have written off his views as an unfortunate circumstance of history. But there is more. Through the 1970s, Wilson continued to preach that blacks were cursed, and that no equality should be afforded to them. In 1981, his admirers felt his teachings should be memorialized in a published collection of his writings. Chitwood edited and promoted this text, callously disregarding its racist content.
Since publishing several articles on Wilson’s racial theories, only one advocate of the “Word of the Kingdom” has stated that Wilson was wrong on the race issue. Pastor John Herbert of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, disavowed Wilson’s position on race, saying, “I would not adhere to that under any circumstances.” In this regard, he stands alone.
The Response of Others:
- Chitwood has declined repeatedly to explain his role in editing and promoting Wilson’s racial theories; in fact, rather than contradict Wilson, he wrote his own treatise on the Hamitic curse, declaring that, in fact, blacks are cursed[1. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1223]
- John “Driftwood” Chitwood — Arlen Chitwood’s son and webmaster — concluded that Wilson’s book was not “racist”[2. http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Writings-Edwin-Wilson/dp/B003QTIWQQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280433697&sr=8-1 and http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1373]
- Radio preacher Arlen Banks replied by e-mail that “Wilson is not a racist” [3. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1391]
- Ralph Alley, an edler at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, wrote on his church’s website that “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”[4. http://cornerstonelosgatos.com/Blog.php?post=14]
- Jim Brooks, who spoke at a “Word of the Kingdom” conference at Herbert’s church, continues to disseminate Wilson’s racial teachings[5. ]
- Royce Powell, another speaker at that conference, also taught that certain races shouldn’t intermingle[6. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=943]
- Schoettle Publishing Company continues to sell Wilson’s book (now in its third printing)[7. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=374]
- RaptureReady.com continues to publish Wilson’s book on-line[8. http://www.raptureready.com/resource/wilson/w22.htm]
Does accountability matter at all? The hypocrisy of these advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” is galling.
Responding to inquiries from KingdomExclusion.com regarding a new website promoting the work of the late A. Edwin Wilson, radio preacher Arlen Banks asserted that Wilson “is not a racist.” The website, http://aewilson.org, features Wilson’s writings and provides links to Wilson’s audio sermons.
Wilson, who died in 1987, taught that blacks will be cursed until the millennial reign of Christ.
Banks said he created the website to counter one created by KingdomExclusion.com (http://aedwinwilson.com). “As for the web site that I created, Wilson supports himself with his own writings and audio, I add nothing. You only show your disturbed view of a portion of Wilson’s Writings on your site. The site in question aewilson.org gives the reader both sides of the spectrum.”
An Internet search of “aewilson.org” yields no results concerning Wilson’s teachings on race.
In December last year, KingdomExclusion.com reported that in the 1950s through the 1980s, Wilson opposed integration as a work of Satan. The website also reported that Wilson taught that blacks are cursed, and that blacks have special proclivities toward sexual sins. Wilson also asserted that blacks should occupy “a position of national and personal servitude” until the millennial kingdom.[1. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=819.]
Answering e-mail inquiries, Banks stated that “A. Edwin Wilson is not a racist. Arlen Chitwood, is not a racist. Royce Powell, is not a racist. I, Arlen Banks, am not a racist.”
However, KingdomExclusion.com has identified several racist teachings from some of these prominent figures in the “Word of the Kingdom” movement:
Banks seems more concerned to defend the “Word of the Kingdom,” which Wilson and Chitwood originated, than to answer questions regarding the racial views of these teachers. Banks regards all of these men as “God’s Preachers.”
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.