Tag Archives: Word of the Kingdom

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 and others respond to Wilson’s racial diatribe

After posting “Race hatred and the ‘Word of the Kingdom,'” inquiries were sent to churches and organizations that promote LampBroadcast.org, a ministry that had published a book condemning desegregation. Some never replied back. Others offered “no comment.” Some expressed disapproval.

In The Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, edited and compiled by Arlen Chitwood of LampBroadcast.org, the late A. Edwin Wilson had written, “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.”

This diatribe is found in chapter 15, “The Sons of Noah.”

A pastor responds to inquiries

Pastor John Herbert of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, disavowed Wilson’s position on race. “I would not adhere to that under any circumstances,” he said in a telephone interview. He added that he would not “dismiss” the other material in the book, which he called “excellent.”

Herbert was sought for comment given Cornerstone’s relationship with Chitwood, who is a regular speaker at conferences the church sponsors.

Herbert explained that Wilson’s views on race were unfortunate but reflected his times. He emphasized that Wilson’s views were not accepted at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. “We have no racial biases whatsoever,” he repeated, adding that the congregation is mixed and that it conducts regular missions trips to Kenya.

“At Cornerstone Christian Fellowship there is no instance whatsoever where you would see racial intolerance,” he said.

Non-response and vexation

No other person, group or organization queried offered comment. Schoettle Publishing Company, which sells Wilson’s book, referred KingdomExclusion.com back to Chitwood (see story). Others asked to be removed from a supposed mailing list.

The leadership at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Los Gatos, California, never answered, but posted a response on their church website. In “Guilty by Association,” an unnamed author stated that he (or she) believes the church would not be given fair treatment by KingdomExclusion.com. The author went on to say that the church disagreed with most of “The Sons of Noah,” but “not all of it.” The author did not explain which parts the church approved, but said it disavowed statements affirming racial segregation “because the Bible doesn’t affirm it.”

Is anyone cursed?

Regarding the underlying assumption of Wilson’s race theory, however, there has been no negative comment.

Wilson derived his position from a theological construct called the “Hamitic curse,” the idea that a race of people descended from Ham is under a curse (cf. Gen. 9). As the theory goes, this curse will be valid until Christ reigns in the millennial kingdom. The “Hamitic curse” has long been condemned as derogatory and racist, and Pastor Tony Evans has written an instructive article on the subject (here).

John Herbert of Conerstone Christian Fellowship offered no comment on the subject, saying he would have to study the matter first. However, he did offer that “people in the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be under a curse,” whereas the unsaved are under a curse of sin and death already.

The Californian extension of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship offered the following regarding the possibility that a race of people is under a curse: “Don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us. The Bible’s genealogies don’t carry into the present day.”

Chitwood speaks

Chitwood, for his part, steadfastly affirms the “Hamitic curse,” though he now refuses to state which groups comprise this designation. Previously, he stated the curse, “of necessity,” remains in effect, explaining that this would “reflect A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it.” When asked if African Americans were in view, he offered “The Sons of Noah” in reply.

Responding to KingdomExlcusion’s first article on the subject, Chitwood complained that he was describing Wilson’s views, not his own. “I didn’t go on and answer your question about my view on the matter,” he complained.

Editorial Note: Chitwood insisted that if his comments were published, the entire response be quoted, so here it is:

Mark:

As usual, in your latest attempt to do whatever it is that you are trying to do, you have all types of material in your latest article on your web site that has no basis in fact. But your misdirecting my statement above does need corrected on your part, since you are the one who made the mistake.

Note the pronoun in my statement — “his” — referring back to Wilson, not to me. All I did was comment on your statement concerning Wilson, since that had been the continuing subject of your previous inquiry. I didn’t go on and answer your question about my view on the matter.

The English language shouldn’t be twisted in this manner to drive a point home, else the point could easily be false, as it is in this case.

And it is false because I don’t even agree with a number of things wilson has in that chapter in his book, along with things here and there that he has elsewhere in the book. I was just the editor of the book, not the author.

Now, if you were to ask me what race of people today is under the curse in Gen. 9, I would take the matter no further than to tell you to find out who the descendants of Ham through his sons are today, and you will have that segment of society. I’m going to let you find that out for yourself so that you can’t do what you have already tried to do on your web site.

This will be the last communique with you on the matter. There are too many people out there who want to know the truth for me to waste time with those who don’t.

You can put this e-mail on your web site to correct what you have done if you like. But if you do, again, put the whole message out there.

ALC

First, it should be noted that Chitwood’s views were never solicited. The original inquiry pertained only to Wilson. Chitwood himself volunteered that “A. Edwin Wilson’s position, my position, and the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value and believes it” was reflected in his comments about Gen. 9. Responding to a subsequent inquiry seeking clarification, Chitwood offered “The Sons of Noah” without qualification.

Second, none of the quotations from “The Sons of Noah” was attributed to Chitwood. It was only noted that Chitwood compiled and edited the book, and that he promoted it at LampBroadcast.org. (If these facts are disturbing, that can’t be helped.) Until the publication of these findings, an unabridged, electronic version of the book was offered by Chitwood at LampBroadcast.org.

Third, it should be noted that Chitwood continues to offer his views on the subject:

“Now, if you were to ask me what race of people today is under the curse in Gen. 9, I would take the matter no further than to tell you to find out who the descendants of Ham through his sons are today, and you will have that segment of society. I’m going to let you find that out for yourself so that you can’t do what you have already tried to do on your web site.”

Though Chitwood declines to state which people are in view, his published work indicates he believes a majority of Egyptians are under the curse. In “Focus on the Middle East” (p. 75), he identifies 90 percent of the population as “Hamitic.” His writings do not indicate which other groups fall under this designation.

Racially and culturally insensitive?

Chitwood regularly gives preference to offensive nomenclature. Egyptians, for example, do not call themselves “Hamitics.” Muslims, for another example, do not call themselves “Moslems;” Chitwood regularly prefers that spelling.

(“Moslem” is offensive to Muslims because, as commonly pronounced in English, it sounds like an Arabic word meaning “one who is evil and unjust” — see here for more.)

To persistently use terms which knowingly offend people is vulgar. It suggests utter disregard for their humanity.

The notion of a “Hamitic curse” is equally demeaning, yet Chitwood persists with this idea as well. Knowing its history (directly from Wilson, no less), Chitwood steadfastly defends the “Hamitic curse.” That he refuses to explain his position leaves his views open to debate.

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’

Race hatred and the “Word of the Kingdom”

Pastor round table on desegregation, 1954
Photo from Life magazine’s cover story on church desegregation, 1954.

Exclusionist circulates writings claiming blacks are under a curse

Arlen L. Chitwood, a leading exclusionist, edited and now promotes literature affirming segregation as a necessary component of the gospel. In reply to inquiries, Chitwood defended the writings of A. Edwin Wilson, his spiritual predecessor, arguing that the Hamitic curse, “of necessity, remains in effect today.” He added that it is “something which no one can get around, no matter how hard that person might try.”

The “Hamitic curse” is the antiquated theory that Africans are inferior and are condemned to “national” and “personal” servitude by God. The theory is based on interpretations of Genesis 9 (the curse of Canaan). In the 1800s, it was used to justify slavery, and in the 20th century, it was used to defend segregation.

Writing in the 1950s, Wilson wrote, “WHAT GOD HAS SEPARATED, LET NOT MAN INTEGRATE!” (emphasis in the original). His essays were collected and published under the title, Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, in the early 1980s. These include numerous denunciations of the civil rights movement.

An unabridged version is maintained by Chitwood, who edited the text, at LampBroadcast.org.[9. http://www.lampbroadcast.org/LAMPDOWN.HTML. Writing in the introduction, Chitwood stated, “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.” — UPDATE: The material was pulled, see here.]

Wilson, whose ministry lasted between 1953 and 1970, objected to Billy Graham’s Life magazine article, entitled, “Billy Graham makes plea for an end to intolerance,” and subtitled, “Arguing that the Bible forbids segregation, evangelist calls for both love and justice” (Oct. 1, 1954).

In his response to the article, Wilson declared 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.”[2. Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, chpt. 15, p. 3.]

The “Word of the Kingdom” and racial separation

Chitwood and the late A. Edwin Wilson are founders of the “Word of the Kingdom,” a dispensational teaching that maintains salvation is “conditional.”[1. Salvation of the Soul, by Arlen L. Chitwood, p. 13.] Central to the message of the “Word of the Kingdom” is that Christians have abandoned the Bible, and that fundamental truths are ignored.

Chitwood has gained a wide audience on the Internet, but his views and Wilson’s views on race are not broadly known. A popular online edition of Wilson’s writings, for example, contains a only redacted version of Selected Writings of A. Edwin Wilson, omitting chapter 15.[3. RaptureReady.com.] Chitwood includes this chapter in the edition he offers at LampBroadcast.org.

After being notified that I was researching Wilson’s racial theories, Chitwood offered the following reply, printed here in its entirety. Emphasis is in the original.

Mark:

One can no more change that which is written in Gen. 9:25, 26b, 27b than he can change that which is written in Gen. 9:26a, 27a.

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).

The blessing connected with Gen. 9:26a, 27a, of necessity, remains in effect today, will remain in effect until the Millennium, and will then be realized in its fullness during the Millennium and throughout the endless ages following, never passing out of existence (Gen. 12:1-3; Ex. 4:22, 23 [and there is an entire O.T., plus a N.T., filled with verses which could be referenced to show that it “must” and “will” be this way, with the two references shown revealing “why” it must be this way]).

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.

Now, if you put the preceding on your web site, I don’t particularly care. But, if you do, I want the whole of what I have written in the preceding four paragraphs quoted, exactly as I’ve written it. Also, do not reference me on this matter in any way on your web site unless you do as I’ve previously stated.

What you might think or say about what I’ve stated is immaterial. I could care less. But, if you are going to comment on the matter, I want it all out there, exactly as I’ve written it, so people can see what you are commenting on.

In fact, if this goes on your web site, put the whole of the previous out there — all six paragraphs.

ALC

Asked specifically if these comments pertained to “African Americans and the civil rights movement,” Chitwood answered, “You can derive that information from his book, the chapter titled, ‘The Sons of Noah,’ pp. 271-284.”

Race hatred and the American church

Slavery and segregation constitute dark chapters in the history of the American church. Though Christians were first to oppose slavery on biblical grounds, the Bible was used by other churchmen to promote bondage and servitude. Proslavery ministers appealed to the “Hamitic curse,” gaining a wide and vociferous audience. So strong was opposition to abolitionism that in the early 1800s Congress outlawed the transmission of anti-slavery materials by mail.[5. Read All on Fire for background] Abolitionists were cut off, and mobs silenced them further. Still, Christian abolitionists prevailed upon the consciousness of America.

The cost, however, was inordinate.

Between 500,000 and 650,000 Americans died in the Civil War, a war would not have occurred except for slavery. The continuation of race hatred in the 20th century added to the number of the dead. Thousands of blacks were lynched, almost always with impunity. When Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to the White House, segregationists called even for the lynching of the president! His anti-lynch law was never considered by Congress.

The Civil Rights movement, occurring nearly a century after the Civil War, signified remarkable change. Equality became the dominant issue, and ministers could not remain silent. Some, like Billy Graham, called for an end to segregation (his own crusades were desegregated); others, like A. Edwin Wilson, called for its continuation.

The “Word of the Kingdom” and practical implications

There is no evidence that Wilson sanctioned violence against blacks; however, his theories contributed to the violence by giving justification to segregation. He even advocated the subjugation of African Americans, writing, “[The Hamitic] curse 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),” emphasis mine.[6. Page 4 of chapter 15.]

Wilson scoffed at the notion that people are created equal under the law and before God. “Are all people born equal? According to the Word of God they are not.”[7. Page 11 of chapter 15.] Here, he parodies Jefferson’s “all men are created equal” by assuming equality means sameness in physical being, social position and intellectual capacity. He deliberately ignores the significance of the clause, that all people are equal before God in the legal sense. Scripturally, the equality of persons could not be more certain: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality,” (Romans 2:10-11).

Wilson’s views are so utterly deplorable, one wonders why Chitwood so voraciously defends them. How is such a teaching to be implemented? Must churches segregate? Must interracial couples divorce? What of the offspring of interracial marriages? Are they half-cursed, half-blessed? Chitwood offers no answers, no qualifications. Instead, he boldly defends “Sons of Noah,” asserting that it is “the position of anyone who takes the Bible at face value.”

Such vulgarity deserves absolute censure. It is entirely deplorable.

—————-

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?”

From whence did it come?

There is considerable interest in knowing the origins of “kingdom exclusion,” the notion that carnal Christians will be excluded/punished in the millennial kingdom. The difficulty in tracing KE is that there is a similar, preexisting doctrine: Catholic purgatory. Advocates of KE reject the idea that exclusion and purgatory are alike, but similarities are too striking. As pointed out in this previous article (see here), both exclusion and purgatory occur at the time of the judgment and both are physical localities, etc. There are significant differences to be sure, but enough similarities to merit comparison. Exclusion is ultimately a reinvention of purgatory.

Exclusionism stems from dispensationalism. Introduced in the early 1800s, dispensationalism holds that all history is divided into several, distinct “administrations” or dispensations. In each period, God dealt differently with man and man’s sin. There are no set number of dispensations, though minimally two are suggested: the dispensation of the old covenant and the dispensation of the new. Most significantly, dispensationalists advanced the idea that the millennial kingdom is the culminating point of human history, as opposed to the eternal kingdom.

Shortly after the introduction of dispensationalism, a number of Protestant theologians began to consider how God would deal with sins committed after ones conversion. What would happen to Christians who lived carnally? What would happen to Christians who failed to walk in the good works God which had created for them since the foundation of the world. Men such as Robert Govett suggested there might be punishment, though they did not commit themselves to the idea.

Exclusion as it is known today emerges in the early 20th century. First, Watchman Nee, a Chinese convert and dispensationalist, advanced the idea that carnal Christians would be purged with fire in the millennial kingdom. If someone held this view earlier, I am not aware. By the mid-20th century, similar teachings were being advanced by the likes of A. Edwin Wilson and numerous others.

Today, exclusion exists in many forms — there is no one theory about exclusion, but several different ones. Some, like Nee, advanced the idea that exclusion purges the carnal believer of his sins; others, like Pastor J.D. Faust, argue that exclusion is punishment (not purgation); others are simply vague: Arlen L. Chitwood holds that carnal Christians will suffer the hurt of the second death, but he does not explain what this means.

Exclusionists ultimately conclude that the blood of Christ is not adequate to fully redeem the believer: some Christians will not be prepared for the judgment; they cannot directly attain the Kingdom of God. Ironically, this is the underlying premise of purgatory. According to the Catholic catechism, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (source).

The traditional Protestant objection to purgatory is that there is no intermediate judgment to be found in the scriptures. The blood of Christ wholly cleanses the believer of sin (past, present and future sin). Granted, purgatory is a matter over which Catholics and Protestants might politely disagree. The New Testament does speak of judgment, the scriptures do speak of purification. Fortunately, Catholics and Protestants maintain that believers are “indeed assured of their eternal salvation.” Protestant exclusionists, however, find themselves in a strange situation. They reject purgatory as heresy, yet advance similar ideas. They seem entirely disassociated from historical reality.

I note finally that exclusionism seems to become more radicalized as it develops. While Nee speaks of purification, later exclusionists, such as Chitwood, speak of salvation. Now, exclusion is a type a salvation. In Chitwood’s case, this form is limited to one aspect of a person’s being, the soul, but it is nevertheless a form a salvation. In a breathless swoop, he reconstructs the doctrine of works-salvation, long rejected by Protestants and Catholics.

The apostle Peter warns against works-salvation: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2 Peter 2:20). My hope is that by researching exclusion, well-meaning Christians might not fall into this theological mire.

Chitwood’s latest pamphlet is something of an enigma

In the latest of his pamphlets, Arlen L. Chitwood sets out to explain the enigma of James 2:14-26, yet inexplicably creates others. “James is dealing with the salvation of the soul,” he writes (p. 1). Unfortunately, he does not explain what the “salvation of the soul” is, except to refer the reader to another of his writings, Salvation of the Soul. So, from the onset, the new tract, “Faith and Works,” contains no real explanation of James’ teaching. If you read Salvation of the Soul, you learn that unlike the salvation of the spirit (he believes people are saved three times), the salvation of the soul is conditional. “The salvation of the soul is dependent on the life one lives after his spirit has been saved” (Salvation of the Soul, p. 13). Yet in “Faith and Works,” Chitwood argues that “… in the realm of faith and works, acting by faith is not acting in the realm where one seeks to go out and do a work for the Lord. Rather, acting by faith is completely stepping aside from one’s own self and allow the Lord to do a work through the one exercising faith” (p. 10). This is not consistent with James’ examples in chapter 2, verses 14-26, wherein James explicitly states Christians are actually to do certain things.

Throughout “Faith and Works,” Chitwood dives into the Old Testament, discussing Sodom and Gomorrah and other texts, but spends little time discussing the letter of James itself. Consequently, he draws conclusions that quite confounds James’ explicit teaching that Christians are actually to do certain things. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” asks James (vs. 16). Here, the believer must actually give the things needed for the body. Chitwood argues the Christian must step aside.

Now, certainly Chitwood is not saying that Christians should step aside, answering, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” but what is he saying? Is the Christian actually doing anything? Chitwood writes,

Romans 4:1-4 clearly reveals that works emanating from the flesh, from man (vv. 1, 2) cannot enter into the realm of either “faith” (v. 3) or “grace” (v. 4). The works must be God’s works being performed through an individual excercising “faith,” as in James 2:21-24 and Heb. 11:17. And since they are God’s works, grace can enter into the matter; and since they are works being done through man, “judgment” on the basis of works can occur.

The whole of the matter surrounding faith and works is that simple to understand. — p. 12

This is frankly one of the more bizarre statements to issue from Chitwood’s pen. First, it is the absence of works James rebukes, not the type of work. Second, Chitwood says God must do the work (the Christian stepping aside), doing them through the Christian. Only, these works of faith are “being done through man,” so a person can be judged on the basis of them. Is Chitwood saying that God will judge his own works, punishing the Christian for the lack of them? Certain statements in Salvation of the Soul may help to clarify matters. At one point, he writes, “[the salvation of the soul is] allowing the Spirit of God to impart spiritual truth into and control his life through his own spirit” (p. 13, ibid.). This is all fine, except that he emphatically states that the salvation of the soul is conditional, based on what one does. One cannot make sense of these contradictory statements; they simply are nonsensical.

Unfortunately, Chitwood does not comment on vs. 22 of James’ letter, which reads, “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works.” This is the qualification that James adds to his statement that Abraham was justified by works. Abraham was working all along — he actually brought his son to the alter and raised the knife; he actually embarked from Ur to the promised land — but he was working in the belief that “God was able even to raise him from the dead.” Faith was indeed active with his works (things he actually did), for otherwise he would not have done them.

Certainly, applying a particular logic, one might argue that the Christian indeed yields himself to the Holy Spirit and therefore whatever the Christian does of merit is really God working in him. But it’s not the sort of logic James applies in his letter. Rather, he views God’s work as testing the Christian through trials (1:3). The Christian’s work is to resist temptation (1:12-15), to take care of the afflicted (1:27), to avoid partiality (2:1-7), to speak and act as ones under the law of liberty (2:12), etc.

I don’t necessarily object to the idea that the Christian is one yielding himself to the Holy Spirit, but we find, scripturally, that the Christian is to actually act. He is to walk in the works God created beforehand for him. In the 12 pages of his latest pamphlet, Chitwood provides extraneous answers and draws faulty conclusions.