Racism, Guilt – Other People’s, and Our Repentance

by Reed DePace

“How am I guilty of sins committed by others, sins I had nothing to do with since I was not even there?!”

Regarding the issue of our denomination’s repentance for sins in the Civil Rights era, this is the most common objection raised by those who sincerely disagree with actions taken at the PCA 2016 General Assembly (last week, in Mobile, AL). It is not that they don’t agree that such sins should not be repented from. It is that they do not agree with what we might call corporate-historic repentance.

I am beginning work on a D-Min dissertation devoted to this topic, and hope to study this subject a bit more fully. Here I am not able to delve into it as deeply as it needs. Instead, for the sake of our congregation (and maybe others as God chooses), I want to do two things:

  1. Provide background on this issue in terms of its application to our local church and our denomination.
  2. Provide an outline of the reasons why I believe corporate-historic repentance is biblically valid, and so does apply in these kinds of situations.

My prayer is that the Spirit will see fit to use this pastor’s reflections to lead our congregation to the freedom in Christ from this history, and equip them for greater service in the gospel in our community. And, since we are covenantally connected to the Church outside our local church, I also pray God will use it to honor the gospel’s advance amongst brothers and sisters not a part of First Presbyterian Montgomery.

OldeFirst02

Historic First Presbyterian, downtown Montgomery

Our church is prayerfully moving toward the next step in the fruits of repentance (cf., Luke 3:8) for our history of racism in the Civil Rights era and since. Neither the majority of the members of our church nor myself were present during any of the occurrence of the sins documented in our church records (session, diaconate, and congregational minutes). And those records also show that those few members who were part of the church during these events did actively try to address these sins. Here are a series of links giving background on this topic, both from a local and a denominational perspective.

I urge you to read all the links in these posts. For our denomination, the PCA, particularly read the referenced overture (full statement and the amendment.) For our local church, particularly look at the powerpoint at our church’s website.
As noted above, a problem for some is the inference that someone is personally guilty for sins which that person never participated in. “How am I guilty for sins of racism committed by others in the past?” As understandably difficult and frustrating is this question, a beginning answer is not that hard to find. The issue is not personal guilt for the sins of others, but the corporate experience of that guilt. Maybe asking this question differently can help show this:

How am I guilty for sins of racism  committed by others Adam in the past beginning?

The answer is that we are not. That does not mean that the guilt of Adam’s sin do not effect us. The doctrine of sin in Scripture makes it abundantly clear that while each Christian is not personally responsible for Adam’s sin nevertheless the guilt of Adam’s sins have effected their lives, and disastrously so. Just consider Paragraph 3, Chapter 6, from the Westminster Confession of Faith:

“They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.”

[Biblical references for the italicized phrase: Genesis 1:27, 28; 2:10, 17; Acts 17:26; Romans ROM 5:12, 15-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 45, 49. See WCF 6, beginning on page 26.]

Here we see what we might call the original corporate imputation of guilt. We are not guilty of Adam’s sin, but the guilt and its results are imputed to us. In principle then, we already recognize that the guilt of one generation’s sin effects a subsequent generation who had no participation with the original sin. Even more, we depend on this principle, if Jesus’ obedience and its results (something we also did not participate in) are likewise going to be imputed to us (cf., Romans 5).

Corporate-historic repentance is simply an application of covenantal principles that are the foundation of our faith. Yes, we individually are not guilty for each other’s sins (cf., Ezekiel 18). And yet, we are covenantally connected to one another. In some manner, the guilt of our forefathers, material and spiritual, has an effect on us. This is nothing more than the necessary continuing application of the warning in the second Commandment, Exodus 2:5 (4-6):

…”visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,” … (iniquity: sin, with its guilt).

This is a warning repeated so frequently that we don’t need to make extended arguments about the fact and nature of the ongoing consistent application of ALL God’s law to every generation:

Exodus 34:7; Leviticus, 20:5; 26:29, 39, 40; Numbers 14:18, 33; Deuteronomy 5:9; 7: Joshua 7:24, ff.; 1 Samuel 15:2-3; 2 Samuel 21:1-6; 24:10-17; 1 Kings 14:9-10; 16:1, ff.; 21:21, 29; 2 Kings 23:26; Job 5:4; 21:19; Psalm 79:8; 1106:6,7; 09:14; Isaiah 14:20-21; 65:677; Jeremiah 2:9; 32:18; Daniel 9:8; Matthew 23:31-32; 27:25.

[For extended arguments of the ongoing application of ALL God’s law, see the Westminster Larger Catechism question 99, with its biblical references, beginning at page 234.]

At the very least, there are covenantal applications with reference to the guilt of sin. These covenantal applications cross both space (trans-spatial) and time (trans-temporal). This does not mean personal culpability, responsibility for the sin. It does mean personal experience of the consequences of such guilt. Yes, the parameters and details of this need to be worked out, but it can hardly be argued that the Bible does not teach this principle.

Now ask this question of Scripture: would God who in Christ frees us from all sins and its effects not particularly provide an application of the gospel to address this covenantal aspect of the guilt of sin?
goolgestreet04b

First Presbyterian Montgomery, the Church @ Chantilly

Corporate-historic repentance, what the PCA and First Presbyterian Montgomery are applying to these circumstances, is an application of the Covenant of Grace, the gospel promises fulfilled  by Jesus our Christ. Here is a partial list of factors involved:
  • Corporate-historic repentance is exemplified in the circumstances of Jeremiah (14:20), Daniel (9:6-8), Ezra (9:6-7), Nehemiah (9:2), and the Apostolic Church (Acts 7:51-52, 58, 60; 8:1; 9:176-20).
  • Corporate-historic repentance does not say I am personally guilty for the sins of my forefathers.
  • Corporate-historic repentance instead acknowledges the truth of God’s word that my forefather’s iniquities (sin with its guilt) are a burden that only the gospel can remove.
  • More, corporate-historic repentance declares to the ones offended by my fore-fathers’ sins that I recognize they were sinned against.
  • Finally, corporate-historic repentance declares that Jesus Christ will cover and remove these sins and their offense.

Whether you find yourself quibbling with the details of these things, at the very least I pray you will find yourself agreeing that corporate-historic repentance does have a biblical mooring and that it is the means God gives us in Jesus to remove the effect of the guilt of corporate-historic sins.

May He so bless us, to our joy (John 15:11) in His glory (John 15:8).

by Reed DePace

121 Comments

  1. greenbaggins said,

    June 28, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Hmm, interesting post. I’m not sure I can go along with covenantal guilt. It seems more that the consequences are spread than the guilt itself. Plus, I’m not sure that the imputation of Adam’s sin provides a legitimate analogy, since only the first and last Adams are covenantal heads of the human race, and it is only as Adam is the covenantal head of the whole human race that Adam’s sin is imputed to us. Generational connection is not the same thing. Imputation seems to me to be tightly connected to the covenantal headship of humanity: Adam’s sin to us, our sin to Christ. Only covenantal heads of all humanity can have this transfer.

    Definitely not with you on your interpretation of Exodus 20. The phrase “of them that hate me” refers to the younger generations. In other words, the covenantal aspect of Exodus 20 is not imputed guilt, but that the children learned the same sins from their fathers, and were punished for their own sin.

  2. June 28, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    I don’t buy that covenantal repentance applies in this situation in the PCA. I posted about that earlier in general. In specific, the usual citations in favor of covenantal repentance involve situations when the bulk of a population Is continuing in the sin. That’s not now, nor ever has been, the case in the PCA. The official position of the PCA, as documented in our founding documents, is that all races have always been and are welcome. That some individuals and churches violated this official policy is not in question. Those should certainly repent, and some have.

    As a subtext to this debate, after my discussions with southern TEs, I’ve come to realize that there are really two PCA’s – one consisting of a handful of southern churches that practiced (and some still do) racism and segregation, and the vast bulk of the PCA where this is a foreign concept. That small subset should certainly repent, but the overture passed means virtually nothing to the rest of us in a practical sense. The rather excitable and rude speaker on the floor who cited one blog and one church father ignored the fact that there are 370,000 communicants. A handful out of 370,000 is hardly a blip in the curve.

    As we go forward, it would be wise to keep this in mind. Should the entire denomination “repent” for a handful of their 370,000 members in a few southern churches who violate Scripture and PCA policy? I think not. I don’t see Scripture supporting such a move.

  3. Rowland Ward said,

    June 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    The argument for the continuing obligation of the Solemn League and Covenant held by earlier Reformed Presbyterians is not one that appealed to me but may furnished some interesting insights.

  4. reiterations said,

    June 28, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    No. See Ezekiel 18, where God goes out of His way (so to speak) to stress that individuals are responsible for their own sins, not those of others – especially those of previous generations. There are other texts that speak to this, as well.

  5. June 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    In addition to comment #4, Jer 31 is also devoted to individual vs. “hereditary” sins. In the issue at hand, it IS individuals who sin/sinned, not the corporate PCA. As I’ve pointed out several times, the official policy of the PCA has always been to include all races and ethnicities.

  6. rfwhite said,

    June 29, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Reed: This whole topic is thought-provoking. As others have suggested in their comments, the idea of corporate-historic repentance has plausible utility in certain situations, but not in others. For example, I’m with others in balking at the analogy to Adam’s sin, given Adam’s unique covenantal role. Yet the comeback to that observation is that Adam’s uniqueness is what makes the relation one of analogy, not identity. We might ask, should Noah have repented of Cain’s sin? Having said that, your hypothesis that corporate-historic repentance is an application of the Covenant of Grace is at least intriguing. One puzzle is to figure out what, if any, limitations apply: for how many generations does one generation repent? “The third and fourth”? To put the question in the extreme: are we in the current generation of the covenant community accountable to repent of the sins of our fathers in the exodus generation? If not, why not? In addition, here’s another puzzle: what precisely is the nature of sin that later generations can be held accountable for that which prior generations did? In other words, exactly how does the sin of one generation relate to later generations? One answer is that sin is passed through consequence. Are there other answers too?

  7. reiterations said,

    June 30, 2016 at 3:49 am

    Another thought: if this generation apologizes for its slavery “sins,” where does it stop? Will the next generation have to do the same thing all over again? And the generation after that? 100 years from now? 500 years from now, still apologizing? It’s like this is the other side of the coin of the “reparations” nonsense.

  8. Hugh McCann said,

    July 1, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Covenantal guilt?

    Expiated by Korean-American Presbyterians (among others) repenting of dead white guys’ racism & confessing same in order to more fully include African-American Presbyterians?

    Is God happier with the PCA today?

  9. July 7, 2016 at 12:04 am

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  10. July 7, 2016 at 12:27 am

    […] the Presbyterian Church in America and is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Ala. This article appeared on the Greenbaggins blog and is used with […]

  11. B said,

    July 7, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I know many people have put a lot of thought into this topic and so I will try to add another approach after finding myself agreeing with many of the comments in this blog.

    It seems to me this issue has become a significant one in the PCA in the last few years culminating with the GA this year.

    I have all sorts of questions about the propriety of such an action as I see the examples of repentance referenced in the blog post as references to present generations continuing in the sins of their fathers (marrying strange wives was ongoing in Ezra’s day not something of the distant past).

    But one overarching theme keeps coming back to me. Why isn’t the PCA more concerned or at least equally concerned with the generational sins being committed right now? Does the PCA think that pornography, hatred, lieing, etc… is non-existent in members of the denomination? What about the worshipping of God by images, Sabbath breaking, etc…? This is not to be judgmental of any one or group of people, we are all guilty of such sins. The point is this: does focusing on sins of generations past make the generation present feel righteous in its own sight? We have enough sins to repent of and forsake rather than seeking to repent of the experiential consequences of our forefathers sins, do we not?

    I appreciate the post and willingness to engage. It is an interesting issue to think about.

  12. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    B, welcome. Indeed, thinking, praying, and fighting them. I think they are all related, expressly in terms of what “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the 3rd or 4th generation” means.

  13. greenbaggins said,

    July 8, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Hey, Reed, would love to hear your thoughts on Bob’s and my comments in answer. Iron sharpening iron and all that. For a long time I thought we would never disagree on anything. I think a healthy debate on these things will serve the church well.

  14. Reed Here said,

    July 8, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Lane, yes, intend to interact. But not able to at present, as I’m working on readings for my last DMin class.

    Not ignoring y’all. And yeah, don’t like finding myself disagreeing with y’all either. But I do expect God will bless us all with better insight through interaction.

  15. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2016 at 9:14 am

    If we wish to follow this corporate guilt track, then our Black pastors are guilty for what the white pastors did to them. I’m not sure how much sense that makes.

    I think also that the differing courts of the church have to be taken into account. If an individual church instituted racist policies, then the Presbytery can be faulted for not holding the church accountable. However, it is much more difficult for the GA to be held accountable for not disciplining a Presbytery for not disciplining a church. The GA only reads the records of the Presbytery, not usually of individual churches. As has been pointed out, on the denominational level, the indications are of a non-racist nature.

  16. Ron said,

    July 9, 2016 at 11:59 am

    What if my white genetic-forefathers fought strenuously in the battle for racial equality? Wouldn’t they have been innocent of racial sin? If so, would I share in the guilt of the rest or would my corporate solidarity be with my genetic lineage?

    Or, if through interracial marriage I became black, would I then be on the receiving end of an apology or in need of repentance? Kind of reminds me of that which Scofield dispensationalists sometimes wrestle. For eternity will John the Baptist be a NT or OT saint, part of the bride or a guest / spectator at the marriage feast of the Lamb? In both cases, I detect a false premise that might need revisiting.

  17. Don said,

    July 9, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Speaking of false premises…

    What if my white genetic-forefathers fought strenuously in the battle for racial equality? Wouldn’t they have been innocent of racial sin?

    Your either-or question misses the point. If someone fights strenuously against pornography, does that make them innocent of sexual sin? Not automatically, of course not. Humans (and their sinful nature) are more complicated than that.

    if through interracial marriage I became black, would I then be on the receiving end of an apology or in need of repentance?

    I assume you mean your ancestors’ marriage(s), but that should depend on whether you suffered racial discrimination or committed it. (Or both.) I’m not sure why that’s a difficult question.

  18. Ron said,

    July 9, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    “If someone fights strenuously against pornography, does that make them innocent of sexual sin? Not automatically, of course not. Humans (and their sinful nature) are more complicated than that.”

    Don,

    Is that what this is all about for you, whether sinners have a sin nature and potentiality for sin? Has this now morphed to potential sin? Should modern day blacks repent because their forefathers had the potential to curse God and their oppressors for the injustices under which they suffered? Absurd, which your “Not automatically, of course not” concedes.

    “I assume you mean your ancestors’ marriage(s), but that should depend on whether you suffered racial discrimination or committed it. (Or both.) I’m not sure why that’s a difficult question.”

    This is not a matter of what one presently suffers but how one can be guilty (or innocent) of his ancestors’ sins. My point was that one could come from both lines, innocent and guilty. In such a case, does he repent or should his forgiveness be sought? Both? Neither? These three questions should clue us in to the absurdity of this novel mission. It’s just a new form of pietism. Let’s worry about our own black hearts rather than confessing and repenting of personal non-sins, as if that were even possible.

  19. Don said,

    July 9, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Is that what this is all about for you, whether sinners have a sin nature and potentiality for sin?

    No, that was a probably-underexplained attempt to say that your first questions in comment 16 are completely irrelevant.

    This is not a matter of what one presently suffers but how one can be guilty (or innocent) of his ancestors’ sins.

    This is the problem–this is exactly what you (apparently) fail to see. Blacks are still suffering from the racist institutions, policies, and attitudes of the past, and whites are still benefiting from them–even to the point of being able to be happily unaware of those benefits. This is not a matter of history for the sake of history. If the PCA is addressing the issue appropriately, it is for the sake of the present.

  20. Ron said,

    July 9, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Well then let’s focus on our present sins. Actual sins. That should keep us busy enough. But by all means, once you exhaust those, let’s revisit how we might receive the evangelical grace of repentance for the sins of others.

  21. Don said,

    July 10, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Ron,
    You’re equating “present sins” with “actual sins.” Wow. That’s a great way to avoid having to repent for anything, if one were to decide that maybe all that racist stuff in the past, wasn’t even sin.

  22. Ron said,

    July 10, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Don,

    Maybe what is most needful at this time is repentance from the noetic effects of sin that is permeating this exchange.

  23. Ron said,

    July 10, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Is the “present” situation the PCA finds itself a point in time that immediately expires or can it be of longer duration? The present in common parlance need not pass away right away. Secondly, actual sins are the ones we actually commit. Yes, even our sins of yesteryear, but *our* sins of yesteryear and not somone else’s.

    Maybe your issue isn’t noetic at all. Maybe it’s just garden variety avoidance. In any case, I’ll leave you to this very pious sounding movement that can even afford escape from the root of our sin, ourselves and not our parents’ parents…

  24. Don said,

    July 11, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Ron,
    OK, this pretty much illustrates the problem. You think racism is a problem of “yesteryear.” You think it was resolved in the 1960’s. (That’s in fact about what Reed says in the second sentence of the original post.) That is not at all the experience of black Americans, of black Christians.

  25. Ron said,

    July 11, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Don,

    Nope, it’s a problem today too. You’ve misconstrued everything I’ve written. (I’ll let Reed comment on whether you misinterpreted his second sentence.) In any case, our “discussion” doesn’t seem to be progressing.

  26. Don said,

    July 11, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    If I have misconstrued what you’ve written–quite possible but it doesn’t matter what I think. If a black Christian were to read what you’ve written, do you think they would get the impression that you support them in their struggle against the racism inside and outside the church that they regularly face, that you actively “bear one another’s burdens”?

    (I don’t want to imply that the answer to that is yes, no, or otherwise, but I do hope you consider what your answer to it is.)

  27. Ron said,

    July 11, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Don,

    I could refute you with hard facts. Names, places, conversations. But the black brothers I know are thinking men. AND, I know how they think on this matter.

    At the very least:

    1. They realize that one can’t repent for another.

    2. They understand that believing 1 does not leave one open to the reckless charge you’ve made regarding affirming 1.

    3. They realize they I don’t need to drivel on about how I love blacks every time I deal with reckless pietism.

    4. One brother in particular loathes reasoning like yours. He’s middle aged and told me he has suffered under it all his life.

    This unmoderated thread is repugnant to my sensibilities.

  28. Reed Here said,

    July 12, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Um, Don and Ron,

    I most certainly am repugnant, but maybe I can helpfully moderate anyway (big wink, but no tongue in cheek).

    Don, it sounds to me as if you’re reacting to some things Ron hasn’t said, but may be inferred. If so, my caution is that reading between the lines needs to be confirmed before commenting on. In particular, it sounds like you are concerned with what appears to be either or both: 1) a lack of awareness that there is still a racial issues alive in our communities, and/or 2) a lack of expressing this awareness, in Ron’s comments.

    At the risk of being accused of playing favorites, let me offer that I think you’re falling into a simple error, common to all of us, especially in such formats under the communication limits of a blog. You may be right about Ron (my two points), but then again you may be wrong. My take is that your and Ron are experiencing the classic talking past one another problem. Accordingly, rather than assume, might it simply work better to phrase your concern in the form of a question?

    As to my second sentence in this post, no, your take is not what I am saying, or even what I have in mind directly underneath what I am saying. Yet, if what you’re observing is that my post necessarily infers that this issue is a real present-day problem, then I would say that is a fair inference to draw, even though not the focus of my comments.

    Ron, similar advice brother. No throwing stones here. You know I’ve struggle with that before, and have been bruised by my own ricochets. Yet just a reminder, when it looks like you’re being misread, observe that as soon as you can. Then follow up with questions to helpfully expose what the other person is concerned about.

    In your comments I do note some efforts on your part to do this. Might I just suggest staying in “why?” mode a little longer. It seems to me that Don is not intentionally trying to misread and offend you. He’s just struggling to track with you. Again, this is a common problem with blog conversations. Accordingly I am encouraged that you and Don can both back up, smile, and move forward together.

    Don, not knowing you personally (I don’t think), I nevertheless do find reason to believe you’re a brother with the same motivations as I and I know Ron share: love for God and brother.

    Ron, yeah, I know you brother. I’m grateful to say that even though these kinds of conversation glitches are like grit in your gears, you too find yourself humbly compelled to Christ’s glory in these things.

    Sorry brothers for anything I may have missed in your concerns. Pease follow up if you need to do so. In the meantime, first more questions to clarify, and only then comments to qualify.

  29. Ron said,

    July 12, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Reed,

    Breath of fresh air. Great nuance. Thank you.

    Also, I almost elaborated upon my last post but thought it would come across as disingenuous so I didn’t. Let me try….

    What I found repugnant was the thread, specifically the interrogation. More on that in a second. The lack of moderation was not what I found repugnant. Analogy… “The undisciplined child in the checkout line was annoying.” What or who annoyed? The child. The lack of parental discipline was a only a possible occasion. :)

    I found the interrogation disheartening because it suggests that one is not doing enough for racial equality unless he subscribes to the thesis. Secondly, I am convinced that such an accommodation that the thesis contemplates especially in the hands of some (not you) eclipses the root cause and is actually insulting to racial victims on a couple of levels.

    Got rerouted due to whether to Sioux Falls last night. Was supposed to go to Omaha. The FV sure gets beautiful summer weather if this is typical. :)

  30. Reed Here said,

    July 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    (Smiling chuckles). Thanks Ron. I wasn’t sure the exact repugnant connrction, but I knew I could truet your intentions. Hence I offered my small (true) joke as a “safe” inexact response.

    I understand your frustration. I expect Don meant better, but the frailties of blog conversation made things a bit harder great him.

    More generally, yes, I think you’ve touched on an important caution for us all to keep in mind. Thus subject and related topics are filled with abuse, misuse, and refuse on all sides. It is imperative that well-intended folk keep this in mind and cut each other a little slack, even if ignorance is in play. I’ve born greatly blessed by a fellow pastor, black, here in the Gump. Hugs patience and forebearance with me ha been blessed with dramatically deepening and balanced insights,

    Yeah, FV land, hush! Lane might hear you. ;)

  31. Kevin said,

    July 12, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Reed, why does your congregation only repent for sins of racism? Are you ready to repent for the sins of the Reformers persecution of the anabaptists too? Why so selective, IOW why should this cooperate historic repentance end with racism by your church ? Start confessing ALL historic sins, don’t be selective. If you believe the scripture teaches historical corporate repentance, then don’t end with your denomination or racism, get busy repenting for ALL corporate historic sins. When Jesus said ” repent and believe in the gospel Mark 1:15, I think he meant our own sins. K

  32. Reed Here said,

    July 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Thx Kevin.

  33. Kevin said,

    July 12, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Reed, I think I went to far. I’m sorry. K

  34. Ron said,

    July 12, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Reed,

    Your first paragraph… yes I sensed that… We’re good. Couldn’t be better, Brother. Fondest affections.

    Btw, iPhone crash and lost all emails addresses. Rebuilding data base. I actually went to email “it’s Reed” a few times in the last two months. Almost went to the church website to track you down. Please email this lazy man your contact info.

    I wrote about the weather cognizant of brother Lane. I’m not sure it’s common grace toward FV or blessings upon the righteous. Need to go ponder DTK’s excellent teaching through Jobe. That’s for him if he’s lurking. :)

    Sat behind a two believers today. One a pastor in the RCnA and the gal an Arminian. She didn’t understand how total depravity could foster evangelism. :)

  35. Ron said,

    July 12, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    “Are you ready to repent for the sins of the Reformers persecution of the anabaptists too?”

    Kevin,

    The discussion pertains to actual sins committed by our pappys. Persecuting Anas is always under good regulation. :)

    Seriously, I’ve had similar thoughts as yours. After further reflection I think the distinguishing ingredient is sins that our forefathers committed that are *still* being committed today. There’s no lingering persecution of your tradition. I’ll stop here as I don’t want to come across as arguing for the PCAs position on this matter. Your fundamental point has validity me thinks.

  36. Don said,

    July 12, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Thank you, Reed.
    I’ll preface my remarks by saying that I’m sure that Ron is opposed to racism, whether we agree on the details of what to do about it. In fact I haven’t written anything here about the corporate-repentance issue, if it’s a good idea for the PCA or not. If that’s what Ron means by “the thesis” in comment 29 (I’m not sure), that was not my concern.

    My concern is along the lines of this:

    It is imperative that well-intended folk keep this in mind and cut each other a little slack, even if ignorance is in play.

    In general I agree with this, it should be a sufficient rule of thumb for discussions in blog comment sections. But it is not enough on its own, when the playing field is not level. My criticism of Ron is that he, as a white man, is writing things that *could be* interpreted as saying that racism is an issue of the past, or maybe not an “actual” sin. It is not fair that he, writing from a position of power and privilege (whether or not it was asked for or deserved) should expect a black man reading his words to give him the benefit of the doubt. Since that is always what whites are asking (or telling) blacks to do. I believe the burden lies with white Christians to (among other things) not use the power that society gives us, but to turn it around, following Mark 10:43 to be the servant and not expect to be the one in charge. I have no idea if the corporate repentance overtures would accomplish that, but I do believe that being extra careful with our words to not minimize the sin of racism, would help accomplish that.

    I could have pointed all that out less heatedly in the earlier comments; I apologize for that.

  37. Ron said,

    July 13, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Please read this one instead.

    Don,

    You say you’re “sure” that I’m opposed to racism but then go on to say that my statements can be inferred as my not ascribing sin to racism. Given the latter charge I’m at a loss as to where you might ground the former vindication. Or even better, given the former vindication, I’m at a loss as as to the substance of the charge. That’s something you may want to ponder, maybe even instead of trying to persuade us to repent of sins of others prior to when we were even born.

    I know where you got the assurance of my opposition to racism. It was established early on, though by far my main concern was over this silly and contrived notion of repenting of another’s sin. So, although my posts were more aligned with my objection, they presuppose throughout the sin of racism.

    My first post recognizes racial inequality and guilt (while trying to flesh out the true guilty). My second post again does the same. My third post, which was brief, was narrowly focused on our concern for our own personal sins (fill in the gap – even racial sin if it applies to you) and implies we can’t receive the grace of repentance for another person’s *sin* (the context being racial sin committed by others). Posts four and five addressed your hermeneutic with respect to my posts, your obvious twisting of words. Post six affirms racism is a problem today.

    At the very least, if racism could be “inferred” from my posts, it can’t be justly inferred without committing grave sin.

  38. July 13, 2016 at 9:54 am

    John MacArthur once said, if you want to know what men struggle with the most, listen to what they talk about all the time. ” Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” I think those who always make a big deal about racism ( not to say it isn’t sin, it is) are those who struggle with it themselves. I certainly don’t feel guilt for generational racial christians within the reformed baptist tent. Each man will give account for his own life. The christian church is very good at reflecting society trends, whether counseling, now preoccupation with reparations to the blacks and racism. My only point is christians pick sins, abortion, homosexuality, now racism, etc. and then address them publicly or corporately. Is a congregation going to go back and repent for the past sexual abuse sins of the past? I just find this a strange step on the part of this congregation. Im all for public confession in our churches, but for others historic sins, where does this end. K

  39. Ron said,

    July 13, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Kevin,

    I too am for public confession in the church. Corporate confession that is. What I now see are personal conversion testimonies that are poorly vetted and then read aloud during morning worship. Many of which dishonor parents, e.g. “I was raised in an abusive home…” or go into way too much detail regarding some adult sin from which someone was delivered. If we must allow for testimony, then why not read a litany from 1 Corinthians 6 and then end with the good news of verse 11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Who needs to know who the past thieves, drunkards and whoremongers are in the church? Aside from being a matter of precept, it can also become an occasion for great regret later. Unnecessary regret that could have been avoided with better shepherding. Such professions can even can be badges of righteousness for today. But again, my point is one of principle first and foremost. Surely we do well to praise God for the reality that He reaches down and saves poor miserable sinners. But some biblically minded discretion is past overdue in many circles I’m afraid.

  40. Kevin said,

    July 13, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Ron, I agree with everything you said . K

  41. Ron said,

    July 13, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    I’m speaking out of experience, not about any particular congregation or denomination.

  42. Don said,

    July 13, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Ron 37,

    maybe even instead of trying to persuade us to repent of sins of others prior to when we were even born.

    Once again, I have not actually written anything to try to persuade you of such. But anyway.

    You say you’re “sure” that I’m opposed to racism but then go on to say that my statements can be inferred as my not ascribing sin to racism. Given the latter charge I’m at a loss as to where you might ground the former vindication.

    Your comments, such as in 27, lead me to believe as such. Your arguments against the overtures are clearly about the issue of historical/corporate repentance, not whether racism needs to be repented of.

    That does not, however, excuse the sloppy writing, wherein it could be inferred that you are contrasting racism with “actual” sins or that you suggest that racism was an issue of the past.

    Or even better, given the former vindication, I’m at a loss as as to the substance of the charge.

    The charge that your imprecise writing could be interpreted to mean that you do not take racism seriously?

  43. Ron said,

    July 14, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I’m happy to commit all your allegations and now your frothy defense of them to the Lord. Goodbye.

  44. Kevin said,

    July 14, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Don, what are you saying, that because Ron doesn’t hold your position he is a racist? That sounds like something we are hearing out of the black and liberal cultures these days. I flat out reject that Ron has shown anything like that in his character here. Ron and I have had candid conversation, but there is no need for ad hominem inference. K

  45. Reed Here said,

    July 14, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Don, I think you’re overstating things. That Ron could be misunderstood does not make it an imperative that you force that possibility down his throat. You continue to press inferences as if they were factual.

    Stop. Thanks.

    I do sympathize with the fact that is this topic there is too much vigorous vitriol, often on the basis of presumption. May we al work harder at the humility and grace necessary to help each avoid such presumption.

  46. Reed Here said,

    July 14, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Don and Ron, pease take a look at the email I just sent you both. thanks.

  47. Reed Here said,

    July 14, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    BTW, Kevin, forgot to acknowledge no, 33. Thanks.

  48. Ron said,

    July 14, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I’d like to review the bidding for a couple of reasons.

    I wrote in my very first post: “What if my white genetic-forefathers fought strenuously in the battle for racial equality? Wouldn’t they have been innocent of racial sin? If so, would I share in the guilt of the rest or would my corporate solidarity be with my genetic lineage?”

    In that first post I affirmed “racial sin” and actually placed it in opposition to the act of fighting for racial inequality. Rather than see the obvious point, the argumentative rejoinder, which came by way of a pornography analogy, took the form of an accusation that I didn’t recognize that one can fight for racial equality while also being guilty of racial sin. I can’t even call the accusation *pedantic* because it’s *technically* false as well as unsubstantiated. It’s a classic argument from silence imbedded into a false disjunction. Agenda? A bit of gotcha maybe? Can we detect fair play and integrity? Regardless, both my post and the response to it presuppose that I believe there can be racial sin and that I’m am against it when it occurs.

    I wrote in my second post: “This is not a matter of what one presently suffers but how one can be guilty (or innocent) of his ancestors’ sins. My point was that one could come from both lines, innocent and guilty.”

    In that quote I presuppose that people can currently suffer under racial sin (but that it’s not germane to the question of imputed solidarity, which was my entire reason for entering this discussion, now with much regret). My response also affirms notions of true guilt and innocence. It acknowledges that there is guilt for those among our forefathers who committed such sin. Prima facie, there must be guilt today when such occurs, but really I don’t need such a rational prima facie rendering for anyone without an axe to grind. This display of recklessness is apparent.

    Now watch real closely how the man responds:

    “This is the problem–this is exactly what you (apparently) fail to see. Blacks are still suffering from the racist institutions, policies, and attitudes of the past, and whites are still benefiting from them–even to the point of being able to be happily unaware of those benefits.”

    Did I convey that I fail to see racism today? (Reed’s earlier point to Don.)

    But it gets much worse I’m afraid. Much worse. My direct response to this mild rant – in context – was a response to the lament that “blacks are still suffering.” So naturally I found common ground when I said: “Well, then let’s focus on our present sins. Actual sins. That should keep us busy enough. But by all means, once you exhaust those, let’s revisit how we might receive the evangelical grace of repentance for the sins of others.”

    I acknowledged present sin of the day and also the sin of our forefathers. If there was anything vague at all, which I don’t believe there was in the least, then surely the unclear should be interpreted in light of the clear, and the earlier fence posts should account for something contextually. (I hesitate even to raise a need for such a charitable rendering as I don’t want to lend credence to the charge of lack of clarity for what I’ve written.)

    Now the present scrutiny:

    Now then, this gotcha agenda would try to depict me as contrasting racial sins with *actual* sins or depicting racism as now a thing of the past. It’s written:

    “That does not, however, excuse the sloppy writing, wherein it could be inferred that you are contrasting racism with “actual” sins or that you suggest that racism was an issue of the past.”

    Sloppy writing on my part? How about the plain meaning of words?

    My post that Don conveniently finds offensive was contrasting sins of the present age, ones *we* commit ourselves, with the *alleged* imputed sins that were no less *truly* committed not by us but by *others* years ago. Even aside from context(!), I plainly wrote that we should deal with our own actual sins (present day sins – our *actual* sins. Sins we commit). This in no way implies, nor can it be *rationally* “inferred,” that racism is over, a thing of the past. Rather, the very opposite could be inferred(!), hence my. “Well, then let’s focus on our present sins” especially in light of the lament that blacks still suffer for our sins! Let’s deal with our own personal sins – the same sins that our forefathers committed(?) (well, that would depend on each one’s personal account!). Let’s repent of the actual sins that are not imputed to us – our own *actual* sins for which we can indeed repent. We succeed there, then nobody will be calling us to repent of the impossible.

    Don’t miss:

    What’s most noteworthy is when I refer to our forefathers’ sins I’m accused of possibly implying that that there’s no racial sin today. Yet when I speak about dealing with the *actual* sins of today – our present day sins from which we indeed can repent – I’m accused of possibly implying that racism isn’t actual sin! Far from my being unclear, for who can survive such erratic scrutiny? In one stroke of the pen I’m accused of either possibly denying racism is actual sin or possibly affirming that it’s a thing only of the past. Maybe Don doesn’t know what rational inference entails? Or am I to be on guard for irrational inference? If the latter, then no amount of qualification and elaboration can save me, or anyone else for that matter, from such charges.

    To belabor the obvious, “actual” can be referring to that which is a *fact* or 2. *current* or *exists now*. See definition below.

    I could have been taken as using either definition or even both! But no, Don chose neither path. I could have been taken as: deal with factual sins (as opposed to the sins that are *counterfactually* imputed to us). Or, let’s deal with the sins in our own present lives, the only ones we have, from which which we can possibly repent.

    ac·tu·al:

    ˈak(t)SH(əw)əl/
    adjective

    1. existing in fact; typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed. “the estimate was much less than the actual cost”
    synonyms: real, true, genuine, authentic, verified, attested, confirmed, definite, hard, plain, veritable;

    2. existing now; current.
    “using actual income to measure expected income”

  49. Don said,

    July 15, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Ron,
    As I said (elsewhere), I asked if you would forward this exchange to the “black brothers [you] know [who] are thinking men.” I will take their opinion as definitive.

  50. Don said,

    July 15, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Kevin 44,
    Before I can respond, please clarify what you mean by my “position.”

    And can you point out the specific ad hominem(s)? I try to avoid that, but of course do not always succeed.

  51. Ron said,

    July 15, 2016 at 6:09 am

    Don,

    I find your offer disingenuous, naive and equivocal. Let me try to explain.

    For you to change your mind a hand full of blacks would need to deny which charges, that my “imprecise writing *could be* interpreted to mean that [I] do not take racism seriously?” Or, that my supposed sloppy writing “could be inferred” as my not believing racism is “actual” sin or is merely a sin of the past? Is that what you sincerely think you require to change your mind?

    Well, I know no thinking man who would deny such things. Possible inferences include irrational ones, and irrational ones are drawn all the time. Oops.

    It’s interesting, Don, how quick you’d be to exploit people within a race by requiring them to weigh in on this matter for you to supposedly change your mind. It’s also remarkable that you’d suggest that beliefs in general and your beliefs in particular regarding what I’ve written work this way. They don’t. Your offer is both disingenuous and naive. Of course one can irrationally infer x from y. That’s axiomatic. Accordingly, if every black man in the world denied the charge, you shouldn’t change your mind, nor would you! It’s not a matter of opinion, or a black-white thing as you made it out to be. Rather, it’s simply a matter of what is possible. Of course it is possible to infer what is not there. Your little farce is exposed.

    Are these “possible” inferences that can be drawn from my posts *rationally* inferable? If they are, then why the need to take a poll of blacks or whites?! Why not simply begin by putting forth the basis for the rational inferences?

    You haven’t thought this through, Don. Not even minimally. Under the pretense of possible inference you’ve allowed for irrational inference. Given the “possibility” of someone thinking x, albeit irrationally, I’ve somehow offended. (Spirit of the age, Don. Spirit of the age.) If that’s not a fair depiction, then please explain why not.

    If I’m right that these possible inferences can only be *irrationally* inferred, then in the final analyses wouldn’t it seem as though you believe that blacks would have a more difficult time recognizing this than whites? Otherwise, why the challenge to ping, exploit seems more like it, only black friends?

    This little charade of yours has been helpful in fleshing out some things. Kevin’s comment about his former minister’s observation might be worth you considering.

    Again, without reservation I can affirm that it’s possible that one can draw these inferences. But since possible inferences include irrational ones, and irrational ones are drawn all the time, your observation isn’t at all interesting.

  52. Reed Here said,

    July 15, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Ok, Ron and Don. Let’s call it finished. No iron sharpening it on going on at this point.

  53. Kevin said,

    July 15, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Ron said ” what if my white genetic forefathers fought strenuously ” they would have earned extra merits from Mary in the treasury of merit. Imputation working at its best. Lol hope you are well. K

  54. Kevin said,

    July 15, 2016 at 8:31 am

    Don, what do you mean the playing field is not even? If blacks were as concerned with the sins within their own communities as they are with the unfairness of racism from whites I might have more respect for your words. I see a great hypocrisy. When I see the finger always pointed toward white America for the black plight, I think about my imigrant father from Italy. I never once heard him complain about unfairness. Why? America was an amazing place for opportunity. Black Christians should just forgive and move on. This whole thing about social justice and reparations isn’t biblical. We are taught to turn the other cheek, if one asks for your coat, give him your shirt. You made a statement about hearing Ron’s words wouldn’t lead black Christians to think he supported them in their plight against racism. I can tell you as a white christian, when I turn on ESPN or the news and I continually hear the black leaders always cry racism, I lose respect. I was a professional jazz musician. In that world the blacks are the most talented and it’s their history. I can’t tell you the reverse racism I experienced in that world. The blacks in that world dont consider whites up to the task. I didn’t complain. I succeeded and have many black friends in that world. I think you your wrong about Ron. And all the believers I know treat blacks and whites the same k God bless,

  55. Ron said,

    July 15, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Glad to stop, Reed, though that could probably be the most useful post I’ve ever made on this site or any other including my own. I could have only wished I could have made it on behalf of someone else who had been falsely accused rather than in defense of myself. In either case, the irony was presented and I’m satisfied.

    Best wishes.

  56. Ron said,

    July 15, 2016 at 9:58 am

    K,

    There is no equivalency between the challenges your people and mine might have lived under vs what blacks suffered under and in many respects still do. Not even close. They’re of a different order utterly and completely. I can’t say that enough.

    I take from your comment that you don’t judge a man by the color of his skin and that any oversight of yours is due to being color blind in a good sense. By the same token my dear friend, you’re sorely mistaken.

    “Grace to you.”

  57. Don said,

    July 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Ron 51,

    It’s interesting, Don, how quick you’d be to exploit people within a race by requiring them to weigh in on this matter for you to supposedly change your mind.

    It’s not exploiting. It’s being willing to submit to their opinion, which is based on a perspective which is very different than mine and yours.

    Accordingly, if every black man in the world denied the charge, you shouldn’t change your mind, nor would you!

    Absolutely not. Let me know what the men you originally referenced in 27 say about this conversation.

  58. Don said,

    July 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Kevin 54,
    What Ron said in 56, but an easy place to start is to listen to US Senator Tim Scott’s recent speech on Driving While Black.

  59. Kevin said,

    July 15, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Ron, I reject that black people are in the same plight today. I certainly don’t deny the awful prejudices against blacks in this country historically. It’s shameful. But I do not believe they exist today, but are used as an excuse for the failure to confront their own sin in their communities namely fatherless homes, young black crime. If blacks spent as much time on those problems instead of always yelling racism, they would be better off. You are ” sorely mistaken” grace to you brother. K

  60. Ron said,

    July 15, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    K

    Nuance has not been the hallmark of this thread. My post addressed the notion of oppressive equivalency between Italian and African Americans. The latter suffered inhumane injustices. The former did not. That’s the material point.

    Frankly, I don’t see the race card played by too many blacks today. Sure, there are a few self appointed spokespersons but they don’t speak for the populace. Rather, I see the white liberal media playing the card more than anything.

    The black guys I know have turned the other cheek. But Kevin, although we’re all required to do so, if we’re going to demand anything it should be first and foremost that all oppression that would put people in a position to have to turn the other cheek would stop.

    I really have no more to say on this matter, Brother.

  61. Kevin said,

    July 16, 2016 at 11:29 am

    ” Frankly, I don’t see the race card being played by to many blacks today” Are you serious brother? If anything since the divider and chief took office it’s gotten worse. Just watch ESPN or CNN for an hour. Everything is a race issue for the black pundits. What world do you live in Ron. Of course we can agree to disagree. K

  62. Reed Here said,

    July 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    And now we’re off post point. Okay brothers, work on reeling it back in.

    Thanks!

  63. Ron said,

    July 16, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”

    “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

    We can safely say that incorrigible children, at least for the most part, were as a general rule subject to poor parenting. And although children who grow into delinquent adults are responsible for their own actions, their parents most often share the blame.

    Now take that principle and apply it to what we might find so revolting in a particular subculture or community. Just like parents who are appalled by the so called life style of their children should first look into the mirror to find blame, I’d submit, without rehearsing the tragic history of insufferable injustices inflicted upon a particular race of people, that maybe those who are so exceedingly appalled by such things should consider blaming not just the race in view but those who sinned against it in *exceptional* ways – who provoked people to anger in *exceptional* ways and abused the rod without constraint.

    Of course deserters of homes are deadbeat dads. They get no pass. But such extreme behavior doesn’t typically come about ex nihilo, just like it’s not surprising that Charles Manson was born of a sixteen year old drug addict / prostitute who later rejected her son. Again, nobody gets a pass but there is often enough sin to go around.

    I’ve heard only once in my life the expression, “we should’ve picked our own cotton.” The connotation was one of disdain, offered by a southern woman. I have a new take on it. It places blame elsewhere, on the oppressors of a race, not the race. If one is disgusted, then what causally preceded the actions that disgust? Don’t underestimate causal influence. If we say, well then how long can others share the blame? Well, I suppose the answer of duration correlates to the degree of inhumane treatment.

    I’ve had these thoughts for many years and I’m staunchly conservative and reject the liberal agenda.

  64. Ron said,

    July 16, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Reed,

    I’m scratching my head about the moderation. I’ve seen posts get pretty far afield at GB, with no moderation whatsoever. This thread seems pretty on topic to me. A bit tedious at times but still on topic, relatively speaking of course. *shrug*

  65. Ron said,

    July 16, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    “Absolutely not. Let me know what the men you originally referenced in 27 say about this conversation.”

    With any brains at all anyone would say those wild inferences could be *possibly* drawn. It’s not a racial thing, Don. It’s axiomatic. Irrational inferences can be drawn. I’d hope all men everywhere would agree. The question is whether such an inference is rational, but the poll you’d like me to take isn’t concerned with rational inference but rather possible inference, which makes your entire pursuit both flawed and uninteresting.

    Now this question is a bit off topic. Will you be taking off your Bernie bumper sticker or just pasting “Hillary 2016” over top of it?

  66. Reed Here said,

    July 17, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Normal moderating.

  67. Don said,

    July 17, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Kevin,
    I asked two specific questions in 50. If you answered them, then I missed that in some of your other comments. Would you mind answering them specifically?

  68. Don said,

    July 17, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Ron 65,

    With any brains at all anyone would say those wild inferences could be *possibly* drawn.

    So are you afraid to ask your friends and maybe find out they disagree?

    Now this question is a bit off topic. Will you be taking off your Bernie bumper sticker or just pasting “Hillary 2016” over top of it?

    Slander, Reed, it’s slander! No, seriously, my politics has nothing to do about this.

  69. Ron said,

    July 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Don,

    You’re obviously not tracking. To disagree with me would be to disagree with you. You’re now asking me to produce people who’d day those inferences cannot possibly be drawn.

  70. Hugh McCann said,

    July 17, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Draw a circle. Now, draw another circle, next to, but not touching the first circle.

  71. Ron said,

    July 17, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Brother Don,

    Slander? It’s not even libel.

    Regarding this latest accusation of yours, it’s based upon just another wild inference, not rationally inferable. Not knowing your political affiliation I couldn’t possibly conclude that it was driving your remarks. Rather, I’ve inferred your political affiliation strictly by your remarks. What else would I have to go on? Are you now going to require I bring forth liberals to agree with me for you to recant?

  72. Don said,

    July 18, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Ron 71,
    You notice the part where I said, “No, seriously”? That was intended to indicate that the preceding comment was not serious.

    And yes, I understand the difference between libel and slander, and I feel a little bad (honestly) that I used the wrong one, just because it sounded a little better in context.

  73. Reed Here said,

    July 18, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I liked it Don. ;-)

  74. Reed Here said,

    July 18, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Ron, I don’t think Don is not tracking with you. Instead I think he is asking why you’re not going to ask your black friends.

    I take your answer to be, “because they would think it was stupid to ask what they already assume, know.”

    Don’s just pushing you a little, checking to see if there is a secondary reason why you wouldn’t ask black friends to read your comments here in this blog and then affirm/deny Don’s observation that they sound insensitive to underlying/broader issues.

    You may very well be right regarding your black friend’s response. It still might be interesting to hear what they think about the principle Don is building on, to wit the problem of cultural-contextual blindness of white Christians to black Christian concerns.

    Admittedly, there are overlapping principles that adds the possibility of confusion to any particular topic. Nevertheless I’ve found it a great blessing to just ask and listen on the principle itself. I am persuading that cultural-contextual blindness is a valid issue, even if some might misuse and/or abuse it.

    Given some of your comments to Kevin, I anticipate you already agree with this notion.

  75. Ron said,

    July 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Oh, so now it’s a matter of insensitivity as opposed to what could *possibly* be inferred? Interesting. Ar first it was a blatant accusation of “You think racism is a problem of ‘yesteryear.’ You think it was resolved in the 1960’s. (That’s in fact about what Reed says in the second sentence of the original post.) That is not at all the experience of black Americans, of black Christian.”

  76. Reed Here said,

    July 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Ron, not where I was going at all. Please forgive any lack of clarity.

    If you get the cultural-contextual blindness principle, its all good by me. If you don’t, then I’ve no need to press it on you.

  77. Reed Here said,

    July 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Some helpful advice on discussing such topics in our current “volatile” setting:

    http://theaquilareport.com/how-should-i-process-the-current-tensions-and-violence-in-our-country/

  78. Reed Here said,

    July 18, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    THx Dr. White. Short and helpful. HIs basic question is very helpful in beginning to listen and respond helpfully.

  79. Kevin said,

    July 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Dr White, thanks for that article. After he lays 10 ad hominems like ignorant naive, etc. On whites who think there isn’t white privilege in this country, I lost all respect for this guy. He is making a value judgment, and then reaming anyone who doesn’t concur. Well I don’t concur. I see a group of people who point the finger and are unwilling to confront the sins of their communities like fatherless homes, black on black crime etc. Sorry, you can’t just say I’m poor, the odds are against me, and your a racist. Welcome to the world of sinners. Blacks will never have their message heard until they show they are willing to take responsibility for their own behaviors. All my black friends have come from tough situations and are upstanding believers who are successful. Not one of them blames whites. Obama is the one who said there isn’t a white America or black America , just america. Right! Black lives matter is a group of anarchist who are racist fanned by the division caused by this president. Simple as that.

  80. Ben Carmack said,

    July 21, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Dear Reed,

    I just now read your post. Sorry this is a late comment, but I’ve read some of your previous comments concerning racism and found them quite helpful.

    In the last year we’ve seen the rise of Donald Trump and also the continued rise of Black Lives Matter. Both phenomena make broad appeals based on racial grievance. Some of Trump’s most vocal supporters are the online Alt Right, and the Alt Right is in turn closely related to the Kinist movement among Reformed churches.

    I’ve had some interaction with the Kinists, and from that I’ve concluded that racism is very much alive and well among some Reformed people, and you have had good things to say on that front (confronting Kinism).

    Leaving aside whether the notion of corporate-historical repentance is valid or not, it remains quite true that racial animus is still with us, on both the “right” and “left.” Hatred, as our Lord taught, starts in our heart and works it way out through our words and actions. Racism is a matter of the heart.

    As such, I instinctively feel uneasy about repenting for the heart sins of previous generations. I feel much more comfortable about confronting the sins being committed now, in my heart and in the hearts of others.

    If the PCA wanted to pass a resolution condemning specific racist doctrine, such as Kinism, and ruling Kinism out of bounds in the denomination, and then also pass a resolution condemning the racial hatred underlying the Black Lives Matter crowd, that would be fine by me. I’m not sure how much tangible good repenting for historic sins would do for the souls current in the denomination.

    But I would imagine an anti-BLM or anti-Kinist resolution would generate some howls. There would be division, and in that division we would quickly discover who was approved and who was not.

    Love,

  81. Reed Here said,

    July 22, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Ben, appreciate the substantive comment. Agree with you broadly and in most instances particularly.

    I get the hesitancy in terms of corporate-historic repentance. Indeed, I agree that I cannot personally repent for anyone else’s sins. My DMin project will be addressing this subject, and other key questions around it. This brother provides an example of how we might understand a differentiating in types of repentance.

    It seems to me that there is enough evidence in Scripture to say there is a theology of corporate-historic repentance. However, the biblical parameters if this are not that well established, at least not at the common knowledge level. Given the circumstances of my current call, this is particularly relevant to us. Hence I will be giving the time to try a little to identify boundaries.

    As to Kinism and BLM, agreed. While I think the latter is all but irrelevant to ministry within most of the PCA, sadly Kinism appears to be alive and thriving. Were God to call my ministry different, I would indeed fight to see any such believing person fully repentant or excommunicated. This evil is one of those that strikes at the root of the glory of God, and thus its presence on our denomination is a horrifying source of moral pollution on the rest of us.

    Returning the love brother. May you always know more of HIs glory and joy (John 15:8-11).

  82. Hugh McCann said,

    July 22, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Hear, hear, Ben.

    But it’s much more comforting and comfortable to confess the sins of others, “repent” for them, and resolve that they were evil, and that we don’t want to be like them.

    To the extent that all whites (PCA or not) need to repent for racism, slavery, etc., do not all blacks likewise need to address their racist tendencies?

    As sin is bound up in our totally depraved hearts, one wonders if the PCA is as BLM-free as Reed avers….

    (Reed, the link you posted in # 82 merely takes us to this article, not something else.)

  83. Reed Here said,

    July 23, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    fixed.

  84. Hugh McCann said,

    July 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Kinists cannot be taken seriously.

  85. Ben Carmack said,

    July 27, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Dear Reed,

    I appreciate the thoughtful response. My previous comment was on the wordy side. I’ll make one last point and let you have the last word.

    My main point is that Reformed men have a tendency to to become museum curators, more comfortable re-fighting the battles of yesteryear and throwing garlands and flowers on the tombs of dead prophets and dancing on the graves of dead wolves. Meanwhile, real live wolves prowl the churches and devour the sheep with Kinism and BLM-mania.

    What’s the appropriate and courageous thing for shepherds to do? Condemn the race-baiters of all stripes and chase off the wolves. Make that the priority. Worry about historical, corporate repentance later.

    With love, dear brother,

  86. Hugh McCann said,

    July 27, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Hear, hear, young Ben!

  87. Reed Here said,

    July 27, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    To all Kinists:

    Your posts will be deleted, for 1 or 2 reasons.

    1. No anonymous posting. You need to be able to offer a name that can be verified to belong to you. (I.e., full name, church membership, that kind of thing). (I find it amazing that many of y’all kinist are bold braggerts, hiding behind pseudonyms. So much for confidence of conviction.)

    2. No heretics. That covers all y’all.

    You profess to be men of moral integrity. Then demonstrate it: stop posting here. You are not welcome with your heresy.

    Reed (Here) DePace

  88. Hugh McCann said,

    July 27, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Good point Reed – we can’t very well respond to threats or treats, warnings or well-wishing from anonymous* folk, whether Arab, white or black supremacists or Guy Fawkes mask-wearers.

    But anyone visiting our church is welcome to hear the life-giving message of repentance and faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    But they’d best not threaten our deacons or elders.

    * I thought THEY were the brave ones!

  89. Reed Here said,

    July 27, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Ben, appreciate your “first problems first” approach. I demur to agree however, that focusing on corporate-historic repentance is opposed to dealing with more immediate racism. Indeed, it is a sure way of surfacing racist wolves in the flock. Not all who object are racists to be sure. But among those who do object are actual racists, kinists in particular.

    But even more, this subject, like other “occasional” subjects, should not be addressed because it is the cultural “flavor of the month.” Instead it should be addressed to the degree that it is relevant to the particular needs of a congregation.

    E.g., a congregation with a large contingent of former oneness pentecostals needs a large dose of trinity teaching. Likewise, a congregation with a heritage of racism needs a large dose of teaching on sins of partiality. Corporate-historic repentance is an appropriate application to the latter.

    My emphasis is not a straining of cultural gnats. Instead it is a carefully considered and prayerfully adopted plan of discipleship by a pastor who knows and cares for the sheep under his charge.

    Appreciate your kindness brother. I’m listening.

  90. Kevin said,

    July 29, 2016 at 10:38 am

    ” Indeed, it is sure of surfacing racist wolves in the flock” This bothers me. ” Why racism? Why not the sexual sins of past generations of your church Why racism, why now? Reed, it is interesting that this post and topic come up in our current culture where we have a president who has fan the flames of racism. It is always interesting to me how the church many times co ops the issues of the culture and it’s solutions. We never saw this more than with Christian counseling where the church bought into man’s problem as a phobia, or a disorder, instead of sin. And they Co opted the methods of secular counseling. Please tell us are their loads of racists in your congregation presently? Do you consider the slave owners of the past who treated their slaves with dignity in sin? Scripture tells slaves to submit to their masters. Peter says submit to good masters and bad. Now please explain the evidence you have that your church acted in sin towards blacks, and then tell me how you are able to judge the hearts of others and repent for their alleged sin? ” Love believes all things” Jesus said repent and believe in the gospel. He said he came into the world to save sinners. I will stand before the judgment seat of God, you cannot judge my heart nor repent for my sins. K

  91. Don said,

    July 29, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Kevin,

    Do you consider the slave owners of the past who treated their slaves with dignity in sin?

    I’m not sure why it would take more than an afternoon of research to find out that effectively, this did not exist in the pre-Civil War South. If you don’t know where to start, I’d recommend Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

    For your other questions, did you actually read anything that Reed wrote?

  92. Reed Here said,

    July 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Kevin, have you viewed the link at our church’s website? It will answer your “why racism?”

    As to “why not sexual immorality?”, you’re assuming brother. This post is about this subject because it is contemporarily relevant. I.e., I wrote it particularly in response to the actions of my denomination. More, it is a currently relevant subject to my church (something I’ve stated repeated). I reject any suggestions that I’ve been co-opted by socio-political ideology of any sort on this topic Kevin. It is at least offensive for you to even imply it, given the plethora of public statements I’ve made to the contrary. Its as if you’re calling me a liar.

    I’ve written in the past on the dangers of sexual immorality. I regularly refer to the dangers of this subject, contemporarily, in sermons and other pastoral teaching, regularly (i.e., at least weekly). Indeed, this is a main problem in any congregation, and should be at the top of the list of attacks on the gospel for any pastor. It is for me.

    So, yes, taking action on sexual immorality might ALSO surface wolves among the sheep. In my ministry circles i don’t know of anyone openly defending sexual immorality the way kinists do racism (who are in my ministry circles). But if they exist, yep, I expect they will rise up shortly with a “now wait a minute,” objections as well.

    While I appreciate your angst, brother, about the influence of socio-political issues, you are falling prey to assuming things about me that are just not credible. To paraphrase an old saying, absence of immediate presence is not. I’m not co-opted by arguments from progressives (Obama, BLM, etc.) anymore than you have by kinists. You can drop this line of argument with me.

    Aside, I think if you examined your own motives as to why you knee jerk react on this subject, you might find it easier to formulate objections that avoid inaccurate assumptions. I do sympathize with the concerns you voice. I also believe you’re not listening very well. I leave it up to you and the Spirit to determine why that is so.

  93. Kevin said,

    July 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Don, are you denying that Peter tells believing slaves to submit to their masters good or bad? Scripture doesn’t call believers to social justice. It calls us to winsomly preach the gospel. And Jesus calls people to repentance and faith in the gospel. Mark 1:15. Whatever perceived racism on my part or your part is inmaterial, when God changes their heart, only then does it have the opportunity of stopping.

  94. Kevin said,

    July 30, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Reed, I’m not calling you a liar brother. I have great respect for you, even having never met you. You heart speaks of an upright man on this blog. Never in doubt. I will try to listen better. But I re read your article. Ephesians 1:7 says we have been redeemed, not will be. Making historic cooperate repenance a necessary step to deal with the effects of the past generations sins seems in some way to undermine the sufficiency of the cross in some way. We are new creatures. The gospel relieves us of these consequences. Not to say we shouldn’t be mindful of them, but to repent for them, I don’t think so. Some time the Reformed seem to miss the discontinuity between the OT and New. In acts it says we ate forgiven of all that couldn’t be forgiven under the mosaic covenant. I believe that would include all guilt, even that passed on as you say. Just my thoughts. K

  95. Reed Here said,

    July 30, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Kevin, in your church’s worship service, do you have a regular confession of sin?

    If so, do you participate, or do you say to yourself, “well I already did that when I was converted, so no need to do it again”?

    If you do participate, do you only repeat the words that specifically apply to your sin, or do you join with your brothers and sisters as a sign of corporate unity with them, even when (some of) the words of the confession don’t specifically apply to you?

    If you do engage in expressions of repentance during worship (or other times post-conversion), do you do so because you think you must or else? Do you do so because you think you lost your salvation when you sinned and need to be saved all over again?

    Again Kevin, lots (LOTS) of assumptions in your comments about what I believe the Bible teaches about corporate-historic repentance. As I’ve said previously here, this is a tentative post on this subject, and not something I am able to dig into deeply at present. (Lord willing, my DMin project will do so.)

    I hope this response suffices. Your characterizations are just that characterizations, and in no way necessary inferences from what I’ve said. With the Westminster Standards, I believe the Bible teaches that repentance unto life is a saving GRACE. After conversion it is the Christian’s privilege to exercise this repentance and receive SANCTIFYING grace from the Spirit who continues to minister Jesus’ life-death-resurrection to God’s children. In no way is this exercise of repentance post-conversion meritorious or in any manner a necessary duty of the Christian. Instead it is an expression of celebration of what is already fully mine in Christ.

    My tentative understanding of corporate-historic repentance AT LEAST fits inside these parameters.

    Speaking with sincere brotherly affection for you Kevin here. Your zealousness leads you to uncharitable reading. Dude, brother, pause. It would be better to ask questions.

    I speak as one whose zealous streak has gotten him into more trouble than I care to remember. Maybe we can join each other in some corporate-historic repentance for this? ;-)

  96. Kevin said,

    July 30, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I do participate in our corporate confession . Actually you make a good point. K

  97. Reed Here said,

    July 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Huh. Who’da thunk. ;-)

    Just to be clear, I’m not saying there is a 1 for 1 correlation here. Instead I am observing that we practice a repentance that is corporate in nature. At the very least this suggests a possible way forward in understanding the example of Daniel-Ezra-Nehemiah.

    But a lot (LOT) of study needs to be done before we draw any hard-fast conclusions.

  98. Don said,

    August 1, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Kevin 94,
    Read some of the Abolitionists’ literature–they were mainly Christians–and then get back to me.

  99. Kevin said,

    August 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

    No Don, you don’t get to avoid my question. I have read abolishinist materials. I think racism is despicable. I don’t need to be convinced. But please answer my question so you can show you understand all of God’s counsel. I’ll try again. Do you deny that Peter tells SLAVES to submit to their masters in good and bad? Yes or no?

  100. Don said,

    August 2, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Kevin 100,
    Who have you read? How do the abolitionists respond to your question? Their answer is more relevant than mine.

  101. Kevin said,

    August 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Don, why would their response be more important than yours. Are you unable to agree with Peter? Black christians, as well as any sinner has no right to complain or demand reparation for suffering. Why? Because God says it is his will, and we are to suffer under it without grumbling or complaining. But, personally when it comes to this or sexual sin, I find the black theology lacking.

  102. Don said,

    August 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Kevin,
    OK so let me ask this another way. Do you regard the Fourth of July as a day of mourning? In view of of Romans 13:1-7, do you view the American Revolution as a wholly unjust, sinful, irredeemable undertaking?

  103. Ron said,

    August 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Don,

    Some might answer yes, the revolutionary war was wrong. Then what? Others might say it wasn’t yet be inconsistent. Your questioning is somewhat akin to the baptist who’d argue against infant baptism on the basis that his Presbyterian opponent rejects sacramental snack-time. I’m not associating myself with a side. Just pointing out the ineffectiveness of the rejoinder.

  104. Don said,

    August 2, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Ron, I don’t think I understand your baptism analogy, but the follow-up question is, of course, that if rich white guys can rebel against tyranny, why can’t enslaved blacks? Even Calvin worked out a theology of when it would be OK to rebel against the government (I believe it depended on how evil the prince was, but I don’t remember the details).

  105. Ron said,

    August 2, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    You think K’s position requires him to mourn the revolutionary war lest he be inconsistent on the question of slaves taking oppression in stride. If he doesn’t mourn the 4th, then he should concede to you on the other. Well, what if he does mourn the 4th? You’d then be back to debating the original, not the analogue. Yet if he doesn’t mourn the 4th, just like you don’t mourn the 4th, then maybe he’s just inconsistent and actually should mourn the 4th. In which case, you’re still back to debating the original and not the analogue.

    Reason for the baptism analogy…We sometimes see baptists argue against paedobaptism by pointing to the paedobaptist’s rejection of paedocommunion. It’s infective. The best way to get back on track is for the paedobaptist either to concede for argument sake the paedocommunion position, or better yet just point out that even an “inconsistent” denial of the practice of paedocommunion isn’t an effective rebuttal against a sound argument for paedobaptism.

  106. Kevin said,

    August 3, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Don it’s clear that you won’t answer a simple question about Peter telling SLAVES to submit in good and bad. Your axiom is showing. It goes against your narrative. Scripture tells us to do everything without complaining and to submit to masters. And yet there is more belly aching on the part of black Christians that are more interested in the false gospel of social justice than the true gospel of scripturen

  107. Kevin said,

    August 3, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Ron, I don’t believe in infant baptism yet I believe your argument to Don is sound. I have never argued against it in light of pedocommunion. I argue it violates the reformed own principle of regulative principle. Not that I want to get into that discussion. But your reasoning is sound to Don.

  108. Don said,

    August 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Kevin,
    I asked you specific, hopefully straightforward questions in comments 50, 101, and 103. I’ll respond as soon as you get back to me on those.

  109. Kevin said,

    August 3, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Don, you can’t answer a question with a question. Like I said, your axiom is showing. A 7 year old could tell me that Peter is telling believing slaves to bear up under bad masters, not join black lives matter. Scripture says we have to lose our lives to gain our life. If anyone could have complained it’s our Lord, but he kept silent. Thats why Paul said he is filling up the sufferings of Christ. He means preaching the gospel. The fact that you can’t acknowledge the verse in Peter shows me your perspective isn’t biblical. I shouldn’t have to answer a question for you to acknowledge the simple truth of Peter. I understand it’s not a popular verse these days. He is talking to SLAVES, not revolutionary war participants.

  110. Don said,

    August 4, 2016 at 12:50 am

    So I take it that if, God forbid, one of your relatives was kidnapped and enslaved, you wouldn’t call the police, you would just tell them to bear up. (This is not, unfortunately, entirely hypothetical, since today there are more slaves worldwide than ever.) That would not be my response.

  111. Ron said,

    August 4, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Kevin,

    1. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

    2. Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?”

    Thoughts on Paul?

  112. Ron said,

    August 4, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Don,

    We may desire to be free. We just may not talk about it. Not even if asked.

  113. Don said,

    August 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Somebody once said

    Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.)

    So maybe telling a slave to sit down and shut up, is not quite the Biblical response.

  114. Ron said,

    August 4, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I almost posted that same text. I chose Paul’s rebuke instead. They actually work well together though…

  115. Hugh McCann said,

    August 12, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Nicely put, Reformed Sinner.
    As if Dabney writes A Defense of Virginia & the South, and all southern Presbyterians’ teeth are set on edge…
    Wretched Saint,
    Hugh

  116. Ron said,

    August 12, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Careful Reformed Sinner. You spent zero words discussing the atrocities of past racism. But wait. If you discuss only past racism, you run the risk of showing at least insensitivity toward current racism – or even worse, that you deny altogether that racism even exists today. Better bow out while you’re seen as just mildly out of touch.

  117. Ron said,

    August 12, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    A little of both. A sandwich of sorts. The warning to be careful and to bow out now was the bread of jest. The meat in between couldn’t have been more serious. It’s based upon my early interactions in this thread.

    I liked your post very much.

  118. Reed Here said,

    August 13, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Reformed Sinner, I’ve placed your posts in the pending folder. Blog policy: no anonymous posting. Pseudonyms are o.k., after you’ve identified yourself.

    Please provide your name and sufficient info. so that we can know you’re a real person (e.g., church membership, that kind of thing). If for some reason you’d prefer to not post this on blog, you may email me privately and identify yourself in that manner.

    Nothing wrong with your comments. Will gladly re-post them, after you identify yourself. Thx.

    reed here, gmail

  119. Reformed Sinner said,

    August 14, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I’ve actually done this before, just haven’t posted here in awhile. I was very active here during the Enns controversy. I’ll post my info again if you don’t think that’s adequate. I’ve used the same name then as I’m doing it now.

  120. Reed DePace said,

    August 18, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Hmm, my response seems to have disappeared. That’s fine RF. Feel free to simply email me.


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