Tag Archives: Royce Powell

Advocates of “Hamitic curse” to speak at WOK conference

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.

See the following:

Kingdom seekers split over race issue
Chitwood and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe

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.

Kingdom preacher Royce Powell taught that “darker race people” are cursed

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:
[audio:Powell-The_Three_Sons_of_Noah.mp3]

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:

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.[3. http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Writings-Edwin-Wilson/dp/B001LOHSOU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1294522891&sr=8-1]

(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.

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Powell’s sermons at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, preached in 2010, can be viewed here:

Genesis 19 (link)
Isaiah 11 (link)

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“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.

Editorial: No accountability among kingdom seekers

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:

Does accountability matter at all? The hypocrisy of these advocates of the “Word of the Kingdom” is galling.

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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”