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.
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.
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:
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:
(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.
Powell’s sermons at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, preached in 2010, can be viewed here:
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
A “J Kirk Donovan” lately commented here that “the breaking down of national and ethnic barriers, in not only the US but the world, is contrary to the Scripture’s teaching.” As typical of the disciples of A. Edwin Wilson, he declined to provide scriptural evidence. The reason is obvious: there is no such scripture.
Therefore, it is ironic that those who teach the “Word of the Kingdom” often accuse “mainstream” Christianity of rejecting the Bible.
Should not the case of A. Edwin Wilson serve as a warning? That perhaps the “Word of the Kingdom” — steeped in race hatred and bigotry — is flawed? (How is it possible that they can listen to Wilson’s sermons and not blanch? How is it possible that they can read “Selected Writings” and not be sickened?)
Let us review:
1. They teach that salvation is conditional. — Where is this found in scripture?
2. They teach that so-called carnal Christians will be judged in the millennial kingdom. — Where is this stated?
3. They teach that Christians are the “unbelievers” of 2 Cor. 6:14. — Paul calls Christians disciples of Satan?
4. They teach that blacks are cursed. — Again, where is this stated?
The ungodliness of the so-called “Word of the Kingdom” is breathtaking. It is quite appalling. It is not simply a “perspective,” as some are apt to say, but a complete rewrite of scripture. These disciples of Wilson and Chitwood seek to make Christ’s “Yes” a “No,” and his “No” a “Yes.”
That any of them should apologize for Wilson’s racial teachings is evidence enough against the so-called “Word of the Kingdom.” The teaching has now become a curse.
Postscript: I have been accused, unjustly, of attacking a “godly” man. Well, listen to this man’s sermon (1973):
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]
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. ]
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:
Powell, Wilson’s successor at Daytona Heights Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, taught that certain races shouldn’t intermingle[3. See Powell's sermon posted here: http://www.calvarybiblechurchtn.org/rpowell.htm (under "The Three Sons of Noah").]
Chitwood edited and promoted Wilson’s teachings on blacks, endorsing Wilson as a Bible teacher “pre-eminently qualified” to speak on such subjects; and, he wrote independently that blacks are indeed cursed[4. http://kingdomexclusion.com/?p=1223]
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.”
In reply to a review of Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, which I posted at Amazon.com, John Chitwood (the son of the editor of that book), lately wrote that Wilson’s avowal of segregation should not be construed as reflecting racist sentiment. The book was published in 1981, and contains a chapter, written in the 1950s, lambasting integration as a work of Satan. In his four-star review of the book, Chitwood wrote, “Segregation was a way of life at the time of Wilson’s writing, and it is incorporated into the theme, but certainly not in the spirit of Mark Adams’ shrieking claims of racism.”
He went on to write, “Mark Adams does NOT want you to read this book!” This is untrue. Why anyone would want to read the racist ramblings of an uneducated Southern preacher from the Jim Crow era escapes me, however I would recommend the text as a case study for racism in that period.
“The curse connected with Gen. 9:25, 26b, 27b, of necessity, remains in effect today…” — Arlen L. Chitwood, frequent guest speaker at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship
“Is there any contemporary people group under the Hamitic curse? Don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. The Bible’s genealogies don’t carry into the present day.” — Leadership at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California
“People in the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be under a curse…” – Pastor John Herbert, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida
What saith you?
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