Tag Archives: Arlen Chitwood

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.

————————

Where’s the outrage?

The Word of the Kingdom conference is scheduled for early February (see link). Unsettlingly, three of the scheduled speakers believe some African and/or Arab races are cursed, or else promote literature justifying racial segregation.

1. Arlen Chitwood edited and promoted a book endorsing racial segregation (see link). Individually, he maintains some African races are cursed (see link).

2. In the 1980s, Royce Powell preached that certain races should not intermingle (listen to the sermon here — select “The Three Sons of Noah”).

3. Jim Brooks currently hosts two websites — calvarybiblechurchtn.org and thedisciplescall.org — promoting the racial theories of Chitwood, Powell and A. Edwin Wilson (download Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson here).

As “Word of the Kingdom” champions accountability, is it wrong to hold these men accountable for their words and deeds?

Wilson: Sin of blacks found in the “perversion of the flesh”

Well into the latter years of his ministry, A. Edwin Wilson taught that blacks were cursed, a survey of recorded sermons shows. As late as 1977, while pastoring at Daytona Heights Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Wilson derided the civil rights movement as a work of Satan. He claimed God cursed blacks on account of “perversion,” not color, and he maintained equality with whites was impossible, as the curse would be valid until the beginning of the millennial age.

Wilson, who died in 1987, originated a distinct teaching called “Word of the Kingdom,” a teaching which persists today through the efforts of Arlen L. Chitwood, a published writer and conference speaker who adapted much of Wilson’s theology to his own. Wilson’s racial theories, however, are not so well known.

Out of perversion, a curse

Wilson advocated the “Hamitic curse,” a race theory drawn from interpretations of Genesis 9 (see Wikipedia). He did not invent this doctrine, but adapted it to his own theological system. In his sermons and published writings, he maintained that God planned to curse blacks from time immemorial; that the sin of Ham, recorded in Genesis 9, simply gave occasion for the pronouncement of the curse. Wilson also connected the curse to inherent qualities in blacks, which he reckoned as sexual perversion.

“Study the history of the black race and you find one of their grosser sins in the perversion of the flesh,” he said in a sermon in 1973. “I mention that because the world is filled with commentators who would curse God and Noah for pronouncing such a curse on Canaan for so slight an act as glancing on the uncovered body of his father. Far more than that was involved.”[1. Recorded sermon, April 18, 1973.]

The text he referenced is the narrative account of the drunkenness of Noah, which resulted in one of Noah’s sons shaming him. Genesis 9:22 states, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.” The narrative continues, noting that when Noah awoke, he “knew what had happened to him.” Consequently, the patriarch cursed Ham’s son Canaan. Some theologians, however, maintain that Ham did much worse. Wilson entertained two of these theories:

Commentators both among the Jewish rabbis and the evangelical students of the Word of God are divided in their speculation, and I use speculation advisedly because we don’t know exactly. There is one or two things we do know: Noah had no more children. So that there is one camp of interpreters who have come to the conclusion that Ham, the black one of the family, because of an intense hatred, because of his black condition, emasculated his father so that there would be no more blacks born like him. There are others who believe the sin perpetrated upon the person of Noah was the sin which made Sodom and Gomorra so infamous in the sight of the Lord.

But one thing cannot but impress you: Verse 24 — Noah awoke from his wine, and knew, as soon as he sobered up, he knew, more than likely from physical pain[2. One would think.], he knew what his younger son had done to him. Why the younger son? His younger son was black. His younger son possessed characteristics rendering him capable of deeds and acts of which the other two were incapable. [3. ibid.]

That Ham was black accords with ancient race theories, discredited in modern times, that three distinct races were begotten by Noah: Caucasian (white), Mongoloid (yellow) and Negroid (black). Quite literally, from one marital union, Noah begat ethnically diverse sons. Such is drawn inferentially from Genesis 9:19 which states, “of them was the whole earth overspread.”

That Ham possessed qualities “rendering him capable of deeds and acts which the other two were incapable” is invention. Certainly, Ham had little compunction about viewing his father’s nakedness and reporting it, but that he despised his purported blackness is fictive in the extreme, born from an astonishing ignorance of history, culture and race.

No merely man’s words

Wilson believed Noah’s curse was a prophecy of God. In a 1977 sermon, he declared, “The words uttered by Noah are the words of God. Now, the sin perpetrated by Ham was not the cause of the prophecies. They were the occasion of the prophecy, but not the cause of it. Those words of this prophecy would have been uttered whether Ham sinned or not. But Ham’s sin gave occasion to it, but did not cause it.”

To intermingle the races, Wilson taught, would be to disrupt the order of the universe, for God had declared that they should be segregated. Citing several passages in the scriptures, Wilson concluded that unless the races remained separated the gospel could not be spread freely. On this count, he chastised ministers who wanted “to curse Shem [the Jews] whom God has blessed” and “to bless Canaan [the blacks] whom God has cursed.”[3. Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson.]

Wilson argued God separated the races at Babel (cf. Gen. 11) for a purpose, so that people “might seek after the Lord and come to know him and be saved.”[4. Recorded sermon, May 2, 1973.] He added that “the sons of Ham, the sons of Shem, the sons of Japeth, have all been divided into different races and languages and families,” and that God “took the sons of Ham, of whom are the servile nations and he scattered them across the southern part of the earth, from the equator on.”

Segregation and degradation

Wilson insisted that servitude was the proper condition for blacks. “An historical documented fact is evident. You can mark this down. You can do research work on it, all you want to. It is an established fact that every descendent of Ham … has been or is in a state of servitude. The curse pronounced upon Ham was a curse of servitude. Not color. A servant. He’s to be a servant. That’s given rise to an expression that’s used among theologians, they talk about servile nations. God has given certain nations of the world to be servants of other nations.”

What level of research Wilson conducted on the subject is unknown, but on several occasions he demonstrated a total want of knowledge regarding the history of slavery or black culture. Several times he stated that blacks were the most vicious slave traders, but this ignores entirely the horrors of the Middle Passage, the terror of slave-breaking, and the violation of slave women, raped en mass by white slave holders and overseers. It is true, however, that some African tribes participated in the slave trade.

His comments regarding black office holders betrays a profoundly racist sentiment:

“The spirit of the Lord says there are three things that tear up the relationships in the world today, and for four which it cannot bear. Number one, for a servant when he reigneth. That’s all I’m going to read tonight. One thing the earth cannot stand, one thing that disquiets the whole order of things is to take a servant or slave and put him in a position of power and authority. And if you want a commentary on that just make a study of the cities of the United States that have had servants for mayors. That’s all you have to do. That’s the word of God. That’s the word of God.” [5. Recorded sermon, June 5, 1977.]

Wilson boldly asserted that segregation was justified even in the church. His proof, however, was not strictly drawn from the scriptures:

“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.”[9. Recorded sermon, April 18, 1973.]

The ministry of A. Edwin Wilson in the 21st century

Wilson’s sermons and writings remain in circulation today. His sermons are hosted at two sites registered to Pastor Jim Brooks: http://calvarybiblechurchtn.org and http://thedisciplescall.org. Wilson’s sermons are also hosted at http://hopeofglory.net, which is registered to Daniel Shannon, a Baptist pastor in Alaska.

(Brooks, incidentally, is scheduled to speak at the 2010 Word of the Kingdom Conference. Also scheduled are Chitwood and the man who succeeded Wilson at Daytona Heights Baptist Church, Royce Powell. All three are connected in some way to Wilson’s strident segregationist views, which is noteworthy as two other speakers are of African descent. The conference is hosted by Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida — see link.)

Pastor John White, now deceased, maintained Wilson’s tape ministry. He lauded Wilson, explaining, “He taught things from the Word of God that I had never heard before, and therefore was challenged to check him out. I found out that what he taught about the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heavens could not be refuted without twisting the meaning of words and being inconsistent in interpretations.”[6. See http://www.gbcne.org/abouthost.html.]

Chitwood, who edited and published Wilson’s writings in 1981, wrote in the introduction to the collection, “The articles in this periodical covered a broad range of Biblical subjects and came from the pen of an individual who, through many years of prayer, study, and meditation upon the Scriptures, was pre-eminently qualified to write on these subjects.”

Continue reading Wilson: Sin of blacks found in the “perversion of the flesh”

Arlen Chitwood on the “Hamitic curse”

In his published writings, Arlen Chitwood maintains that several African races are cursed by God. He argues that “Hamitic curse” is still valid, and will remain so until the reign of Christ in the millennial kingdom. This curse, he describes, is a curse of servitude, the lowest form of servility.

“The curse connected with Gen. 9:25, 26b, 27b, of necessity, remains in effect today, will remain in effect until the Millennium, and will then pass out of existence,” Chitwood wrote in reply to inquiries on this subject. He added that this is “simply what the Bible states — something which no one can get around, no matter how hard that person might try.”

Historically, the Hamitic curse was used to defend slavery and segregation. Chitwood’s spiritual predecessor, A. Edwin Wilson, championed segregation and derided integration as a work of Satan, employing biblical texts to defend his position (see related story).

Chitwood is reluctant to speak on the topic, but he has not publicly disavowed Wilson.

In the 1980s, Chitwood edited and published Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, which contains Wilson’s racial theories. Chitwood wrote in the introduction to the book, “The articles in this periodical covered a broad range of Biblical subjects and came from the pen of an individual who, through many years of prayer, study, and meditation upon the Scriptures, was pre-eminently qualified to write on these subjects.”

Until recently, Chitwood offered an electronic edition of the text at LampBroadcast.org. The book is widely available from other online sources and in print.

Continue reading Arlen Chitwood on the “Hamitic curse”

Kingdom seekers split over race issue

The “Word of the Kingdom” is a house divided. Churches and individuals associated with this teaching are split over whether a race of people called “Hamitics”[1. “Hamitics” are considered to be descendants of Noah’s son Ham. They are understood to have settled in Africa and the Middle East. The term is not recognized by sociologists or the designated peoples themselves, yet its use persists among some dispensationalists.] are cursed. This breach is noteworthy inasmuch as kingdom seekers believe the “Word of the Kingdom” is not a teaching, but the word of God itself.

The late A. Edwin Wilson, who originated this system of theology[2. Wilson was the first to teach what is known among kingdom seekers as the “Word of the Kingdom.” This distinctive teaching is preserved in much of its substance in the teachings of like-minded persons], contended that Noah pronounced a generational curse upon the descendants of Ham, whom he identified as Africans. Arlen L. Chitwood, a leading theologian in the movement and a former disciple of Wilson, contends Hamitics are under a curse, though he is reluctant to identify who they are. His writings indicate Hamitics are of African descent.[3. In “Focus on the Middle East” Chitwood identifies 90 percent of Egyptians as Hamtic (p. 75). His writings do not indicate which other people groups fall under this designation, but historically the term was used to describe most Africans and some Middle Easterners. Absent clarification, one has only the historical use of the term to go on. Chitwood placing Hamitics in Africa is consistent with the general theory of the Hamitic race.]

“The curse connected with Gen. 9:25, 26b, 27b, of necessity, remains in effect today, will remain in effect until the Millennium, and will then pass out of existence (Zech. 14:21b),” Chitwood wrote in reply to written inquiries.

He added later, “The preceding would reflect A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it. The latter would have to be the case, for the preceding is simply what the Bible states — something which no one can get around, no matter how hard that person might try.”

Churches associated with the teachings of Wilson and Chitwood are not so certain.

Continue reading Kingdom seekers split over race issue

Summary of information on A. Edwin Wilson

Information came flooding in this week concerning A. Edwin Wilson’s views on race. Several articles were posted here. This is a recap of that information.

Race hatred and the “Word of the Kingdom” — This was the initial article on the subject describing Wilson’s segregationist views. It was noted that Arlen L. Chitwood of LampBroadcast.org compiled and edited Wilson’s writings, and offered them on his website. Subsequently, Chitwood pulled Wilson’s book, which was offered in electronic form. In chapter 15, “The Sons of Noah,” Wilson claimed civil rights was a work of Satan. He wrote that blacks and whites should not mix. Chitwood has not disavowed Wilson’s racial theories.

Wilson and Chitwood are founders of a teaching called the “Word of the Kingdom,” a doctrine which holds that salvation is partly conditional.

Chitwood pulls controversial book from LampBroadcast.org — Shortly after the above-mentioned article was published, Chitwood had his son, John Chitwood, remove Wilson’s book and other files that had been “orphaned” on the site. Again, Chitwood did not disavow Wilson’s statements on race. Arlen Banks, a visitor to this site, subsequently announced that he offers the book on his website (press here), where it has been available for the past year.

Are black people cursed? — For the purpose of starting discussion, I posted a link to an article by Tony Evans, who discusses the “Hamitic curse.” Evans, an African American and, according to one visitor of this site, an exclusionist, describes his understanding of the curse. The discussion is lively, particularly after the first ten comments.

Publisher declines comment on Wilson’s bookThe Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson is offered in print by Schoettle Publishing Company. Asked to comment on the book, the publisher declined.

Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe — This article contains comments from the leadership of two “Word of the Kingdom” churches that promote the works of Chitwood or Wilson, or both. It also contains Chitwood’s avowal of the “Hamitic curse.”

The day Billy Graham did the unthinkable — Wilson’s published tirade was sparked by an article published by Billy Graham in 1954, disavowing segregation in the church. This article outlines Graham’s decision to integrate his crusades.

Contemporary readings on the Hamitic curse — Most readers are probably unaware of the so-called “Curse of Canaan” or “Hamitic curse.” Links posted in this article provide an explanation.

Chitwood pulls controversial book from LampBroadcast.org

Arlen Chitwood has removed articles promoting race segregation from his website. His son, John Chitwood, indicated that A. Edwin Wilson’s controversial writings were removed last night because they had not been part of the “website proper for quite some time.” Copyrights on two pages were 1996 and 2006.

The content was not disavowed.

In an e-mail message, John Chitwood offered that he never heard his father or Wilson make racist statements; however, in “Sons of Noah,” Wilson wrote that the “hand of Satan” was behind the civil rights movement. He claimed blacks will remain under a curse until the millennial kingdom.

Chitwood, who compiled and edited the book, lauded the author as one “pre-eminently qualified to write on these subjects.”

A 1996 edition (third printing) is offered by Schoettle Publishing Company (website). The book has no apparent copyright.

See also: “Race hatred and the ‘Word of the Kingdom’

Does it matter?

Several people have asked why I bother: “Why do you write about exclusion?” The principal reason is that there is a dearth of critical research on the subject. When I first encountered the writings of Watchman Nee, J.D. Faust and Arlen L. Chitwood, I found few analytical sources. Apart from their own writings, there was no analysis, no critical thought, no explanation of the origins Kingdom Exclusion (KE). In short, there was little perspective.

My aim is to rectify this situation.

I do not conceal the fact that I am opposed to KE, but my research is consistent and well-documented. I’ve read extensively on the subject, interviewed and corresponded with key figures, and have engaged in a dialog with numerous others. My objections are theological.

1. The temporary exclusion of so-called carnal Christians is entirely absent in scripture. The likes of Chitwood, Nee and Faust contend that unfaithful believers will be subjected to 1,000 years of exclusion (variously defined) in the millennial kingdom. The thousand-year rule of Christ is described in Revelation 20, but no mention is made of exclusion. Nor is it found elsewhere. The fact that it is simply absent should settle the question.

2. KE fosters a salvation-by-works gospel. Some are more explicit than others (e.g. Chitwood: “The salvation of the soul … is conditional“), but all tend toward works as a condition of grace, inasmuch as grace is inadequate for redemption, that some other means is necessary.

These two factors — it’s absence in scripture and that it alters the gospel — constitute my primary objections to the teaching.

What saith Chitwood? What saith the Bible?

Arlen L. Chitwood insists that for every New Testament idea, there is a corresponding Old Testament idea, exact in detail and operation. This method yields strange results, often absent any explicit scriptural support. Employing this strategy, he argues that the body of the risen Jesus did not (and does not today) contain blood. What saith the Bible?

“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

By “flesh” one would presume muscle and blood. Chitwood would have us believe the disciples understood otherwise. Why they would believe Jesus’s resurrected body contained no blood is not explained, nor is any explicit scriptural reference given. Nor does the New Testament say Jesus rose physically without blood. (The Bible might have mentioned this if it were so.) Yet Chitwood insists.

Christ was raised in a spiritual body rather than a natural [soulical] body [cf. I Cor. 15:42-44]. He was raised in a body of flesh and bones, with the life-giving, animating principle of the body being the Spirit of God rather than the blood [which He had previously “poured out” (Isa. 53:12)]. — Salvation of the Soul, p. 64

It is perhaps helpful that Chitwood provides scriptural references, but do those passages support his interpretation of the resurrection?

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. — I Cor. 15:42-44, ESV

The “natural” body and “spiritual” body are indeed mentioned, but not the “soulical” body Chitwood envisions. By “soulical,” he means a person who is governed by carnal nature, who is in darkness, who is unredeemed (this is the language he employs).

“The ‘soul’ remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why ‘the natural [Gk. psuchikos, ‘soulical’] man’ cannot understand ‘the things of the Spirit of God’ (I Cor. 2:14). That which remains in the sphere of darkness can have no apprehension or comprehension of that which has shined out of darkness. There is a God-established division between the two which cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26)” (“Eternal Salvation” — link).

It is difficult to comprehend that Jesus ever possessed a “soulical” body. Darkness? John 1:4 (cf. Matt. 4:16) says Jesus was light. Unredeemed? Carnal? Jesus possessed a nature that warred against God? One aspect of his being did not understand the things of God? How can these things be?

As for the claim that the risen body of Christ contained no blood, Chitwood offers a passage in Isaiah as evidence:

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” — Isa. 53:12, KJV

Problematically, blood is not mentioned. Rather, it is his “soul” that was poured out. Following Chitwood’s logic, Jesus rose without a soul, not a body absent blood. (The reader is well advised to examine for themselves each of Chitwood’s scriptural references.) Nowhere does it say that Jesus’s risen body contained no blood because it was poured out.

Yet there is another consideration: the so-called “Word of the Kingdom.”

In order to properly understand the Bible, one must accept what Chitwood calls the “Word of the Kingdom.”[1. This phrase is employed variously by Christians and churches; one should not assume it is unique to Chitwood and his teaching. For research purposes, Chitwood’s theology is classified as “kingdom exclusion,” as it is a term commonly employed by advocates of this variety of thought.] One must find and divine types and anti-types in the scriptures. Explains Chitwood: “type and antitype must agree in exact detail” (Salvation of the Soul, p. 46). Problematically, one must first interpret “type and antitype” — a point Chitwood is reluctant to admit.

(Essentially, type/antitype refers to an allegorical method of interpretation. For example in Romans 5:14, Paul says Jesus was a “type” of Adam, describing that by one man’s sin, sin entered the world affecting all; conversely, by one man’s death, grace entered the world. In other words, Jesus is like Adam, but only in the sense that his actions affect everyone. Otherewise, they are very different: Adam is a created being, Jesus uncreated; Adam yielded to temptation, Jesus could not, etc. Not everything in the Old Testament is a type of something in the New Testament — the latter would have to be much longer to include every such type — but Chitwood insists that everything in the OT should be regarded as a type of something in the NT. For every OT type, there is a NT antitype. Why this must be is never explained scripturally: none of the NT writers insisted on it.)

Describing the fall of man, Chitwood writes, “The established pattern (type) relative to the restoration of a ruined creation is set in the first chapter of Genesis. Once God establishes a pattern of this nature, no change can ever occur. The restoration of any subsequent ruined creation must occur in exact accord with the established pattern. Thus, God’s work in the restoration of fallen man today — a subsequent ruined creation — must follow the established pattern, in exact detail” (Salvation of the Soul, p. 47).

This radical method of interpretation is never defended scripturally; he simply insists it’s valid. Thus, despite that the Bible never says Jesus rose physically without blood, Chitwood concludes it must mean to say that. His logic is as follows:

Christ is ministering today in the antitype of Aaron, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat, on behalf of Christians who sin. The sins committed by Christians are forgiven through confession of these sins on the basis of the shed blood of Christ which “cleanseth [‘keeps on cleansing’] us from all sin.”

The reason Jesus couldn’t have risen bodily with blood is that the blood must be on the mercy seat, or else Christians could not receive the salvation of their souls (i.e. the forgiveness of sins after ones conversion). This is an extraordinarily literal and materialistic[8. By “materialistic” I mean a kind of forced literalism. For example, when it says that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, one should not presume that God has a right hand or body, but that the expression is metaphorical; otherwise, one will begin to attribute qualities to God that are expressly forbidden.] interpretation; the damage it does is enormous.

If Jesus literally and physically poured his blood on the mercy seat which is in heaven, how and when did he do it? When he appeared to his disciples declaring that he was “flesh and bones,” he had not yet ascended (cf. John 20:27). If the blood was not in Jesus’ body at that moment, and he had not yet ascended, where was the blood kept? If all this sounds ridiculous, that’s the point. The mercy seat is only mentioned once in the New Testament, and nothing is said about Jesus pouring his blood out on it (cf. Heb. 9:5). Second, supposing even that the Bible did make this point, should such a description be taken literally? When the scriptures talk about Jesus sitting at the right hand of the father, is it that God literally has hands? No, such a rendering of the text would be materialistic, i.e. forced literalism.

Yet because Chitwood insists the antitype (Jesus shedding his blood for sins) must correspond exactly to the type (Aaron offering the blood upon the mercy seat annually), one has to accept that Jesus ascended without blood because the blood was on the mercy seat. No scriptural evidence is necessary. It simply is so because that is what is taught in the “Word of the Kingdom.”

Thus, Chitwood teaches that Jesus is currently serving as a priest, and that Christians receive forgiveness of sins, not because of the finished work of Christ, but as Jesus is making a “continuous cleansing for Christians” with the shed blood on the mercy seat (Salvation of the Soul, p. 40). Christians now receive forgiveness by confessing their sins (ibid.).

The problem with Chitwood’s typology — in this instance, the claim just as Aaron made blood sacrifices, Jesus is making a “continuous cleansing” — is that the very text he relies on forbids that interpretation. The scriptures teach quite the opposite. Blood sacrifice in the ancient times had no power to save; it had to be repeated annually; and, the high priest had to make a sacrifice even for himself. Jesus’ blood saves eternally and was offered once (not continuously); further, he did not have to atone for his own sins (he was perfect — not soulical).

What saith the Bible? Does the antitype exactly match the type?

  • “Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these” (Heb. 9:23).
  • “Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:25-28).

Even if Chitwood is not saying the Jesus continually offers his blood on the mercy seat (he seems to want to avoid this conclusion), the point is that his claim that “type and antitype must agree in exact detail” is utterly false. According to Hebrews, they don’t agree at all.

Chitwood, who rails against the Christian church for allegedly ignoring the truth of the “Word of the Kingdom” (so-called), so distances himself from orthodoxy that he systematically alters the meaning of every scripture. Whereas Paul concludes that salvation is entirely apart from works, Chitwood strangely concludes that some aspects of redemption are indeed “conditional” — and he insists he’s only preaching what the Bible says.

Followers of Chitwood’s teaching would do well to ask, “What saith the Bible?”