Race, Grace, and the Crimes of Nineveh


In an attempt to respond to my piece on Al Mohler and Southern Seminary—as I think I may safely assume—Joel McDurmon tweeted this:

“Ftr, saying that white Christians pursuing racial reconciliation will NEVER be permitted to achieve success, but be strung outwith endless apologies, because guilt is easy to monetize . . . just happens to be a massive insult to those black Christians involved.”

Of course, this cries out for a response. And the first thing that comes to mind is this exchange.

“One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also””(Luke 11:45, ESV).

But instead of stepping back, abashed, the Lord Jesus turned around and finished the point.

“And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers” (Luke11:46, ESV).

Of course if I say something that insults the race patsies,the implications of what I said will also fall on the race hustlers. So I agree with McDurmon here. Every Christian who is engaged in this business needs to be heartily ashamed of themselves.

I have said that this is a never-ending squirrel cage run of guilt. If you deny it, then you need to tell us all what the end game is. What will be enough? Define for us what needs to happen.

For my part, I am happy to do so. We will never have racial harmony unless and until the ministers of the gospel, white and black alike, start preaching free grace in the blood of Jesus Christ. Unless and until we start declaring the free remission of sins in the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Unless and until we start preaching that the foundational unity that white and black men both have is the blackness of their respective hearts, a problem that can only be addressed with a gospel of free forgiveness of sin, openly and freely declared.

At the center of my previous article was the assumption—a pretty safe one given the heart of man—that for the people engaged in this racket, there will have been enough white groveling around the time socialists start saying, “You know, we actually think the rich have long ago paid their ‘fair share.’”

When will the apologies demanded by the cultural Marxists be enough? They will never be enough. If you doubt what I say, just ask for a definition of enough. Don’t cry “insult!” Define enough.

But I will tell you—and am happy to tell you repeatedly—what really is enough. In the words of the old hymn, “It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.” What was enough? When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” that was enough.

The Crimes of Nineveh:

Jonah did not flee from his assigned task of preaching to Nineveh because he was a coward. He did not run away because it was a huge city and he was afraid he might get butterflies speaking to crowds that size. He did not attempt to sail to Tarshish because he needed time to work on his book.

He ran because he knew that God was going to be gracious to a wicked city—a city that had done appalling things to Jonah’s people. Jonah was a black man who was charged to preach free grace to 1930’s white Birmingham. It was that kind of set-up.

And so when God forgave Nineveh, what was Jonah’s reaction?

“And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness,and repentest thee of the evil” (Jonah 4:2).

Jonah ran because he knew how gracious God was to the utterly undeserving. His reaction was this: “I knew it. I knew You were going to do this.” And he knew that God was going to do it for a city that Jonah hated. And speaking in earthly terms, speaking in carnal terms, Jonah had good reason for his hatred. Believe it or not, the Assyrians were almost as bad as white men. In fact, and this figures, they probably were white men.

One ancient relief shows prisoners being skinned alive. Some men who had spoken against the king had their tongues torn out. The Assyrian custom was to lead captive kings off with hooks through their noses.

“Therefore the Lord brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.” (2Chronicles 33:11–12, ESV).

The reference to Manasseh being “in distress” is likely a reference to him being tortured. Nahum prophesied against this wicked city, probably around 650 B.C. Jonah’s ministry had been in the previous century. Assyria was every bit as bad at the earlier time, and Jonah—to his great annoyance—was used as an instrument in God’s hand to give that city a reprieve. They deserved total annihilation in Jonah’s day, but God relented upon their repentance, and the destruction didn’t fall until after the courageous ministry of Nahum.

So when Jonah was sitting outside the city in his little booth, and the Assyrians repented (curses!), Jonah was understandably upset. “That’s it? You’re going to let them say they’re sorry, and let them go? What about justice? What about reparations? What about all the things that have to be put right? I have a list right here.”

We all have our lists. And do you know what needs to happen to our lists? They need to be nailed to the cross so that they can be damned there.

One Last Thing:

Joel tweeted something else that should be addressed, and so I may as well address it in conclusion.

“The Mohler/SBTS report is a MODEL of how Christians need to think, act, speak, and believe on this issue. I pray it will be emulated by many. As for the detractors. . . . . . . Paleo-Confederate nonsense is still nonsense.”

For all the reasons stated in my previous piece—which actually require an answer other than nuh uh—that report is not a model of how Christians need to deal with this stuff. As I believe I made clear, Al Mohler is one of my heroes. That is why this needs to be confronted. The road they are taking will lead only to disaster. The fact that Mohler was used to deliver his beloved seminary from liberalism does not mean that the threat of liberalism has gone away. It is now back in another form, a deadlier and sneakier form, and the good guys have made their accommodation with it.

So what is a shame in all this is that God has had to tap a paleo-Confederate—which would be me, for those just joining us—to rebuke all our evangelical professional classes for their ongoing and systematic racism. But that’s all right. If God can use the foolish to confound the wise, then he certainly can use a paleo-Confederate who accepts the truth of Martin Luther King’s great line (“not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”) to rebuke the people who hold their conferences in honor of MLK, but who deny that high sentiment in virtually everything they are currently touching.

In their war on racism, they do nothing but perpetuate it.In the name of fighting racial insensitivity, they exhibit the worst forms of racial insensitivity. They have inverted everything. This is because gospel cleanses now, and what they are doing is building a perpetual motion machine that runs on guilt. And I will repeat what Joel denied. The gospel cannot be monetized, and whenever it is monetized, it isn’t gospel anymore. The perpetuation of guilt can be monetized, and the clerical classes have always exhibited a peculiar genius in figuring out ways to do it. They are doing it now.

So let me say it once more. When it comes to race relations, sinful men need forgiveness. They need the blood of Christ. They need cleansing. They need to be washed. They need to be cleansed. They need all of that right now, right this minute. And God offers it right now—today if you hear His voice—and He will cleanse and wash away every sin right this minute.

Sinful men don’t need lectures from commies.

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