Last Friday (and into the weekend) I got into a little Twitter skirmish with a handful of folks who were responding to my piece on The Slaves of Jonathan Edwards, found here. The threads are pretty tangled, but if you want to go back and sort them out, I was interacting with @danieleleven32, @KyleJamesHoward, @PastorTrey05, @analfordplea, @kdawelch, and @JohnTLowe. To be fair to them, they were not all saying the same thing, John Lowe being quite judicious and reasonable, for example, and Kyle Howard not being, but the larger debate was revolving around whether or not I, as in yours truly, am a white supremacist.
For those just arriving at this happening place that we call Mablog, I was maintaining the negative, and doing so somewhat stoutly—believing, as I do, that I have some inside information on the question.
John Lowe, to his very great credit, asked me if the danger I was warning against in my Jonathan Edwards piece was a tweet by Evangelicals4Justice:
“Evangelicals4JusticeParker: The doctrines of inerrancy shut down our ability to look at the Bible in all its complexity and is a doctrine of whiteness. #LiberatingEvangelicalism”
I replied that I did not have that tweet in mind specifically (not having been aware of it at the time), but that it was a superb example of the kind of falsehood I was talking about. And as Lowe noted, if the doctrine of inerrancy is to be filed under “whiteness,” then plant confession will not be far behind. I am not tilting at windmills, in other words.
Cut to the Published Chase
In the course of this minor league imbroglio, Kyle James Howard was operating in accordance with the “if it quacks like a neo-Confederate duck” school of thought, which many observers take as having a surface plausibility. Unfortunately, in this instance, the reasoning was more like if it has “four legs like a dog” and “two hind legs like a dog,” it therefore cannot be the paleo-conservative cow that it claims to be. Can’t you count? Four.
And thus he was not at all shy about saying that I was too a representative of white supremacy, and when challenged on the point, he opted for the generalist response of dodging the question and deferring to the research of others.
“You have published works Mr. Wilson. We can just refer people to them.”
To the published works you have appealed, to the published works ye shall go!
I had several times asked him if he had read my debates with the kinists, for example, and to date I have not received an answer. For those who have the time, interest, or inclination, there are four ways to check my published works on the subject, as you have been invited to do by Mr. Howard, and now most cordially by me.
With regard to racial issues as they related to slavery and the War Between the States, I have written Black & Tan. For those who are interested in my take on the more contemporary aspects of race relations, I have written Skin & Blood. For those who would like a quicker read, you can just type kinist or kinism in the search bar at the very top right of this blog, and browse what pops up. If any form of white supremacy pops up, you have somehow navigated to the wrong blog. You are in some other place, and not here anymore. And fourth, if you are prepared to bet on my research integrity, I will provide you with three quick citations below.
In Black & Tan, I said this:
“American slavery had the additional complication of its racial basis. And so we as Christians, and especially as American Christians, must denounce as a matter of biblical principle every form of racism, racial animosity, or racial vainglory. God created man in His own image and has made from one blood all the nations of the earth (Acts 17:26). We are called to believe firmly that in the gospel God has reversed the curse of Babel, and that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave or free (Gal. 3:28), black or white, Asian or Hispanic, tall or short. Jesus Christ has purchased men from every nation and tribe with His own blood, and His blood necessarily provides a stronger bond than ours does.”
Black & Tan, Loc. 500-508
In Skin & Blood, I discredited my white supremacist credentials even more by saying this:
“Outside of Jesus Christ, racial harmony is a pipe dream. Apart from Christ, racial reconciliation is not going to happen, but rather the opposite. In Christ, racial harmony is a theological necessity, a doctrinal requirement, and an eschatological hope.”
Skin & Blood, Loc. 105
In a blog post entitled Cracking Down on the Crackers, among other things, I said this:
“But problems run in the other direction too. If a thug gets shot in Milwaukee by a black cop, and the obligatory rioting and looting begin, in order to distract us all from the current stupidity somebody starts gesturing toward some of our by-gone stupidities. Somebody argues that we have to start cracking down on the crackers, as though they were capable of taking over anything more than somebody else’s comment thread.”
In short, if we were to postulate that I was a white supremacist, we would also have to conclude that I am being a very disappointing one, and that I am not receiving about three quarters of memos from white supremacy headquarters.
But ah, someone might reply, your racism and white supremacy are far more insidious than that. You have not eliminated deep racism from the framework of your basic assumptions about the world. You have merely eliminated some of the more egregious violations of good manners. You have learned to say all the right things about skin color, but what kind of stand have you taken against the systemic racism that still plagues our culture and country? What about that?
So I am glad you asked that question. I do affirm that there are many instances of systemic racism woven throughout our laws and political structures, and that these laws and policies are destructive to blacks, and that one of the worst things about them—like so many examples of political pandering—is that they have been camouflaged to look like they were intended to help blacks. In other words, to deny what the Left consistently says about systemic racism, as I do, both root and branch, is not to deny the reality of systemic racism. It is a very real thing, but it is not the thing that is currently parading about as astute cultural analysis.
I am talking about evils like occupational licensing, like welfare payments, like rent control, like affirmative action, like minimum wage laws, like public housing, and like simple-minded quota determinations of whether discrimination exists in a school, company, or occupation. In their defense, the economic illiterates who devised these policies did not intend the swath of destruction they have caused for blacks, and everybody has agreed to ignore how much damage this has done to blacks, but that is a thin defense. For the prosecution, I should point out that these economic illiterates are largely white, and despite their manifest incompetence still think they have the right to run the world. And a largely white media covers for them.
So for the record, I have opposed such institutionalized insults to our black citizens for as long as I have opposed the more recognized forms of white supremacy, which is to say, for as long as I have known how to think.
The Tar Pit of Racial Recriminations
One of the more tragic aspects of contemporary blather about racial reconciliation is that it tries to bring justice to bear on the whole question without defining that justice in the light of the cross of Jesus Christ. The results of this profoundly false move should not be surprising. It has served to inflame racial tensions, rather than ameliorate them. It has fomented hatreds instead of crucifying them. It has blown hard on the fiery coals of animosity, and has then taken the rising flames as evidence that blowing on the coals must have been a really good idea, and obviously necessary.
When justice is applied to race relations without a cross, the end result is, and can be nothing other than, a toxic cycle of mutual recriminations. And that is exactly what we are now getting. Justice apart from the cross is justice apart from forgiveness, and justice apart from forgiveness is a death trap for every human being, black, white or anything else. Take the bottomless pit of Revelation, line it with hot tar, and throw all the sinners who are eager to gnaw on one another into it. That is justice without a cross. Spend ten thousand years in the outer darkness, and then ask if anybody cares anymore what color the objects of their hatred are. There are no colors there. It is the outer darkness.
Does anybody seriously think that we actually needed Jesus to come to earth in order that we might learn how to better accuse one another? We were already really good at recrimination. That was not one of the gifts that Jesus bestowed upon men after He ascended. Did we really need the presence of the Holy Spirit in order to dig up bones from two centuries ago? Really? I thought we were already proficient at that kind of lasting enmity.
The reason Jesus came and died was to put all that kind of thing to death. The hostility between Jew and Gentile was a weapons grade hostility, no petty thing, and Christ came to tear down the wall between them, to nail their enmity to the cross, and to make one new man out of the two. That is what the cross did, and it is the opposite of what the whole contemporary social justice enterprise is trying to do.
When one ethnic group is finished pouring out all its bitterness, resentment and abuse on another ethnic group, with both ethnic groups being in the flesh, both being carnal, does anyone seriously think that the second ethnic group will not be able to figure out how to return fire? Does anybody think that Group 2 will not be able to come up with accusations of their own?
You might say that Group 2 might not be able to come up with true accusations, and there are two replies to this. First, when it comes to the recriminations game, truth is not the point. You have unleashed the furies, and the furies will do it their way. Second, because every ethnic group—red, and yellow, black and white—is made up of sinners, there will always be a large measure of truth mixed in with the accusations. The devil, the accuser, knows how to lie effectively, and it turns out that whites are not uniquely sinful. Everybody has a black heart.
The culture of recrimination is not really seeking reconciliation. The culture of recrimination is just trying to change who has the whip hand. And it doesn’t really matter who has the whip hand—the sins committed will all have an uncanny similarity. They will be people sins, not white sins or black sins. In any given scenario, vile things will be done by the Jew, by the Gentile, by the Chinese, and by the Malay, by the Japanese and by the Korean, by the white and by the black.
The Nature of the Error
Allow me to state the nature of the error, and then outline the nature of the only possible solution.
Mankind is a finite creature, and mankind is also a sinful rebel. Our problem before God is not our finitude, but rather our rebellion. Our problem is not that we are small, but rather that we are disobedient. The fall was not metaphysical, but rather ethical. The problem is not what we are by virtue of the creation, but rather what we have become by virtue of the fall. Creation is not the problem. The fall is the problem. The problem is not that we are men and women, but rather that we are disobedient men and disobedient women. Get this distinction clear in your minds, and the folly of this generation’s attempt to replace the gospel of grace will become obvious to you. When we stumble, we ought not to say “I’m only human.” That is not the problem. Being human is what God made you. Being a sinner is what the serpent, your first parents, and your own complicity made you.
So stop repenting of what God made you—as, for instance, a white, heterosexual male. Start repenting of the real problems, which would be vanity, lust, pride, or conceit. Only Scripture gets to identify sin.
The people in the grip of this error are wanting you to feel guilty about being a creature. They want you to confess as wicked things that came to you directly from the hand of God. And they want you to take pride in things that came directly from the Pit. They will denounce your skin color with some ferocity, and show all kinds of sympathy for anal intercourse pride parades.
Do you think I overstate this? What are you breathing out of your nose and mouth, right this minute? That’s right, you miserable wretch—CO2, a pollutant, declared to be such by many august bodies of climate change cops. What are you doing, you with your two boys and three girls, living there in suburbia as you do? Driving them to piano lessons in your SUV? You are wrecking the planet, you fiend. What is the name of the sin that they want you to feel perpetual guilt over? That is right—whiteness, the aboriginal sin in which you live and move and have your being. And what have they done to the image of God, the way He created it—male and female? They have made it an optional extra, merely two options on a range of genders you may (nay, must) choose from. They have vandalized the image of God with their sexual perverseness.
In short, they are at war with the way God created the world. Christians have fallen for this because they knew that God was at war with what we have done to His creation, but these are actually very different things. God is not at war with the downstream consequences of the creation. God is at war with the downstream consequences of us wanting to “be as gods.” His grace and our pride are two different things.
The Day Enmity Died
And so what did God do in this great war? What did He do in His gracious war on our disobedience? He sent His Son to earth, to be born of a virgin, born under the law. His Son lived a perfect, sinless life, a life that could then be imputed to all who trust in Him. Because His life was entirely sinless, He was able to offer Himself up as a pure sacrifice to His Father, which He graciously and obediently did. And as He ascended to the cross, He gathered to Himself all the sins of all of His people. And by sins, I am referring to the animosities, the rivalries, the hatreds, the vainglory, the pride, the lusts, the perversions, the grasping, the selfishness, the contempt for parents, the willful ignorance, and the overweening ambition. All of that.
He did not take upon Himself the works of His own hand. He did not die for anybody’s black skin, or anybody’s white skin. He did not die as a substitute for anybody’s masculinity or femininity. He did not die because anybody was under six feet tall, or over six feet tall. He died to redeem His creation from rebellion. He did not die to redeem His creation for being a creation.
Because of this, I can be at peace with my black brother, and he can be at peace with me. There is no other way. Jesus is the only way this can happen. The cross is the only place where racial animosity or racial vainglory can be crucified. It is the only place where racism can breathe its last. It is the only way for bigotry to die.
So racial hustling has no future. Race baiting has no future. Racial vanity has no future. Racial animosity has no future. And why? I can say this because of what Jesus Himself said on the cross. He said it is finished.