Monday, June 19, 2017

This Would Be Why I Can Do Without Denominations

Wow, those Southern Baptists sure don’t waste any time.

Seems like the Alt-Right only really came to the attention of the mainstream for the first time back in September when Hillary Clinton gave her now-infamous “basket of deplorables” speech in New York City. Whether calling a significant number of Trump supporters racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic hurt the Clinton campaign is a matter of opinion; what isn’t debatable is that today the “deplorables” have their guy in the White House.

The Dems don’t.

The McKissic Resolution

But that was only nine months ago, and a Baptist “pastor” named William McKissic has already submitted a resolution to the Southern Baptist Convention to put a Christian rubber stamp on that ill-advised Clintonian rhetoric.

Why do I care? Well, y’know, he WAS quoting scripture. At least a little bit (mostly it seems he was making unsupported assumptions).

So let’s see what Mr. McKissic had to say:
“Resolution On The Condemnation of the ‘Alt-Right’ Movement
and the Roots of White Supremacy

Submitted to the Resolutions Committee for the
SBC Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, June 13-14, 2017
by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that from one man God made every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17:26).”
Okay so far, I guess.

The Reason for Nations

But we should probably note the reason Paul gives us that God made every nation of mankind in the first place: it was “that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him”. Nations exist because such a condition is preferable to the alternative, and for good reason. A self-sufficient, successful, globalized world is no more inclined to seek God than the men on the plain of Shinar in Genesis 11.

Sorry, carry on:
“WHEREAS, the prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when the Lord would judge between the nations and render decisions for many people (Isaiah 2:4).”
Yes indeed. If I recall correctly, that judgment will occur right around about the time “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Ergo, not today. The nations await their judgment.

He Rules Over the Nations

Carry on, Mr. McKissic:
“WHEREAS, the Psalmist proclaims the Kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations.”
This too is prophetic, and speaks of a coming day when the whole earth will bow before the rightful ruler of the planet. We read, “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.”

Ergo, also not today.
“WHEREAS, the promise of heaven includes the eternal blessings of the Tree of Life for God’s people, which includes the healing of the nations that comes from the leaves of that tree.”
which also is ... er ... not today. Do we detect a theme here?

The Will of Christ Supreme

Now we get into something a little more speculative:
“WHEREAS, the supreme need of the world is the acceptance of God’s teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love; and

WHEREAS, all Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love.”
Wait, what? All Christians are “under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme ... in human society” and bring government and society as a whole under the will of Christ? That’s not quite how I interpret the Great Commission. The responsibility of bringing governments under the sway of righteousness is well above my pay grade and yours, and good luck with that project considering what the Lord Jesus himself taught about the conditions of the world just prior to his return.

Still, it explains a lot about the thinking behind this resolution. If you haven’t got the will of Christ right in the first place, it’s even harder to bring governments under its sway.

Reigniting of Social Animosities

Maybe I’ll just let Mr. McKissic continue for a bit:
“WHEREAS, just societies will order themselves as free men and women and organize at various times and for various purposes to establish political order and give consent to legitimate government; and

WHEREAS, the liberty of all nations to authorize such governments will, at times, allow for the rise of political parties and factions whose principles and ends are in irreconcilable conflict with the principles of liberty and justice for all; and

WHEREAS, there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing.”
One can certainly debate who’s done the “reigniting of social animosities” here. Those who think the U.S. was doing just fine in the race relations department prior to the emergence of white nationalism are welcome to live in their bubble.

The Toxic Menace

Now the rhetoric gets superheated:
“WHEREAS, this toxic menace, self-identified among some of its chief proponents as ‘White Nationalism’ and the ‘Alt-Right,’ must be opposed for the totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.”
Boy, this really DOES sound like the Clinton speech, doesn’t it? But what “violence” are we talking about here exactly? All the violence and totalitarian impulses I’m seeing on YouTube these days (Berkeley, etc.) are the work of the political Left.

And how is it reasonable, fair or honest to tar white nationalists as “bigots”? Does Mr. McKissic object to Israeli nationalism? Or Saudi nationalism? Or Zimbabwean nationalism?

Bigots to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right, Here I Am ...

There are certainly bigots on the Alt-Right, just as there are bigots on the Left and bigots who adhere to every political ideology in human history. I daresay there were bigots at the Southern Baptist Convention and most of them left it just as bigoted as they came, even though they will receive credit (and hopefully some approbation as well) for having approved on Wednesday a modified version of McKissic’s resolution, one that put a tad less emphasis on the so-called evils of nationalism.

Like every political movement, the Alt-Right is a spectrum that runs all the way from a microscopic number of posers in Nazi haircuts to thousands of people like the guy next door whose most “racist” concern is that the neighbourhood property values hold up and that his wife and daughters can walk down their street without being accosted or worse.

To claim otherwise without evidence is, well ... bigotry. Don’t you think? It’s making a claim about all persons in a particular group on the basis of the behaviour of a few, the very thing that Mr. McKissic tells us he opposes.

And supporting his resolution would be institutionalizing bigotry. See why I’m not a fan of denominations?

Hamming It Up

One more try to get to the end here:
“WHEREAS, the roots of White Supremacy within a ‘Christian context’ is based on the so-called ‘curse of Ham’ theory once prominently taught by the SBC in the early years — echoing the belief that God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos — which provided the theological justification for slavery and segregation. The SBC officially renounces the ‘curse of Ham’ theory in this Resolution; now be it therefore ...”
Right. Guilt-tripping the SBC for its ancient history. Nice try.

You Say You Wanna Resolution

So, here it is:
“RESOLVED, that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, AZ, June 13-14, 2017, denounces every form of ‘nationalism’ that violates the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty; and be it further ...”
This might be tough considering that Mr. McKissic has entirely failed to articulate “the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty”.
“RESOLVED, that we reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called ‘Alt-Right’ that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system; and be finally ...”
‘DESTABILIZE SOCIETY?’ Oy veh. There’s a rhetoric bomb for you.
“RESOLVED, that we earnestly pray, both for those who lead and advocate this movement and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of their perverse nationalism, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people and tongue.”
Yes, and if the United States of America and the Kingdom of God were synonyms, there might be the faintest hope of this.

If there is a better case to be made for keeping churches out of the political arena than Mr. McKissic’s resolution, I can’t think of it.

‘Perverse’ Nationalism

Nationalism is not “perverse”. It’s God’s accommodation to a fallen world. Globalism¹ is perverse. One-world government is the brainchild and favorite go-to strategy of fallen man under Satan himself, and the 42 months in which the Beast is allowed to rule the whole world will be the single worst time in human history. To call for abolition of the national spirit and for a borderless world is to attempt, however unconsciously, to speed the ascent to the world stage of the Man of Lawlessness.

Probably not the most productive use of Southern Baptist energies.

Nations are indeed a product of sin, but they did not come into being on their own. God created the nations at the Tower of Babel because the alternative — unregenerate men working together for the exaltation of mankind and in defiance of the will of God — is much, much worse than the bigotry, infighting and even wars that are a product of nationalistic competition.

Furthermore, if Mr. McKissic is correct that the phrase “healing of the nations” connotes a reversal of Babel, he should note that it will occur not by the will of man but by sovereign act of God when the inhabitants of the glorious New Jerusalem are finally free to eat from the tree of life, an event described in the very last chapter of our Bibles.

Until then, there will always be nations around. Get used to it.

  1. I have no idea if Mr. McKissic is consciously globalist. Not all pro-immigration Christians are globalists and not all anti-immigration Christians are nationalists. But I think it’s safe to say that anyone who, for whatever reason, promotes ongoing immigration on such a scale that it drastically and permanently alters their country’s existing ethnic demography is aiding and abetting globalism.

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