Tuesday, December 26, 2017

There IS A Race Relations Problem In The Church But Maybe Not Where You Think

More and more it seems that prominent, once orthodox, black evangelicals or Protestants are abandoning the Gospel which has the same message for all men regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, and begun embracing identity politics dressed up in religious language. I have already mentioned men like Lecrae and Thabiti Anyabwile who have turned their back on "White evangelicalism" or have scolded White evangelicals for supporting Trump while at the same time proclaiming their support for pro-infanticide career criminal Hillary Clinton. Now there are two more examples that are deeply concerning. The first comes via a tweet from Anthony Bradley.

According to Bradley evangelicals, which presumably he defines as White, conservative Protestants, have never had  the Gospel. Ever. As someone who qualifies under virtually any definition of "evangelical" that statement says to me, as someone born again more than 15 years ago who has in my own feeble way been studying the Gospel ever since, that I don't really have the Gospel. Does that mean I am not justified before God in the eyes of Mr. Bradley and the "black church"? There exists no justification apart from the Gospel so if Anthony Bradley thinks that as an evangelical I have yet to "embrace the Gospel for the first time ever" he must therefore be saying that I am unsaved. Not just me but millions upon millions of my fellow evangelicals that have been told in no uncertain terms that we have never embraced the Gospel, that apparently only those who see the Gospel from the "black church perspective" have a true understanding of the Gospel.

That begs the question: What exactly is the "black church"?

From what I am seeing and hearing from Mr. Bradley, Lecrae, Jemar Tisby and others is that blacks in America and around the world have a unique and distinct view of the Gospel. That in itself is fine but there is also a further suggestion that their view of the Gospel trumps all others and seems to also delegitimize the views of people that don't share their view of the Gospel. To me, you can have culturally distinct lenses to view the Gospel from just so long as you don't alter what the Gospel is but when something like this causes controversy, I suspect that the Gospel some of these men are talking about is actually "another gospel" (Galatians 1:6-10)

There isn't a race specific aspect of the Gospel in the New Testament. The struggles of the descendants of black slaves, the persecuted Irish during the Potato famine, the starvation of Ukrainians during the Holodomor, the killing fields run by Pol Pot, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict all have the same message from the Gospel. Repent and believe in Jesus Christ. How that looks might be a little different but those are secondary concerns. The Gospel, as Keller rightly puts it, is primarily about the forgiveness of sins, something all men stand in need of regardless of their race.

I have expressed on many occasions my own concerns about a myriad of issues with American evangelicalism, sometimes pretty stridently, but I don't drum the entire evangelical church out of the Kingdom because I have some concerns over the way they apply the Scriptures to specific contemporary situations. I have lots of issues I disagree with my Presbyterian brothers about but I don't sweepingly declare that they have never had the Gospel because I disagree with them on the issue of baptism.

When someone says that only their specific stream of Christianity has the "True Truth™", my cult alarm starts going off. Mr. Bradley is not speaking in a "all things to all people" sort of way (1 Corinthians 9:22) where we speak the universal Gospel to people in their specific cultural context. No, he is writing out of the Kingdom everyone that doesn't share his "black church perspective".

Dr. Anthony Bradley is a featured speaker at the Gospel Coalition's upcoming conference celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who is widely understood to be a plagarist and serial adulterer along with holding to some heterodox beliefs that would have been condemned in better days from TGC.

This should be a moment of truth for the Gospel Coalition. According to the founding documents of the Gospel Coalition, they are:
We are a fellowship of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures.
But according to Anthony Bradley evangelicals have never had the Gospel. Kind of weird that a Gospel Coalition would hold a conference including a speaker that accuses them of never having the Gospel in the first place. Also weird that Bradley would want to speak to a group that doesn't have the Gospel, unless he is only going to lecture the White audience. I replied to Bradley's tweet but I don't expect a reply in return.

So I would ask the leadership of the Gospel Coalition, men like Albert Mohler and Don Carson and Mark Dever and John Piper, men who I consider giants of the faith who have each helped me to better understand the Gospel, if they agree with Bradley's assertion that they have never had the Gospel. As for me I am confident that Al Mohler and John Piper have and understand as well as any human being can the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not at all confident and am in fact quite skeptical that Martin Luther King, Jr. ever had the Biblical Gospel.

Anthony Bradley is also a research fellow at the Acton Institute, which has an all White executive team and a  mostly White team in general. The Acton Institute is headed up by a White Roman Catholic priest, Robert Sirico. I wonder if Anthony Bradley thinks Sirico has the Gospel? I intend to reach out in multiple ways to the Acton Institute to see if they agree with the assertion from Bradley that evangelicals have never had the Gospel.

Then I saw a Facebook post from Eric Mason where he used the term "cooning"

Notice that Eric applies Titus 3:14 specifically to the "black & African diaspora", not to the church in general but to the "black & African diaspora". I would think that a lot of the black & African diaspora in places like Haiti and Africa are happy that white Christians apply Titus 3:14 to the entire church in need, not just toward people that share their racial/ethnic heritage.

Eric is a pastor and author of several books, including one I own, Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole. Eric was once considered part of the small but important core of black Reformed ministers that were seeking theological reformation in the black church but he seems to have abandoned that as have many others.

He also uses a curious and ugly term: "cooning". So what exactly is "cooning"? It is a term I have heard before, defined in the Urban Dictionary as follows:
Cooning is a verb derived from the word coon. A coon was/is a person of african decent whose sole purpose was/is to entertain white people. These 'coons' started out as wearing black face, characterized by haveing big eyes and painting big red lips on their face. These people would tap dance, play instruments and sing. 
Modern day coons are blacks who play stereotypical roles and black entertainers that promote ignorance. 
I have heard this pejorative term used before and as someone that lacks "perspective" it sounds to me like the all too common practice of blacks shaming other blacks for not acting sufficiently "authentic". In other words, it describes a black that is acting "too white". It creates a monoculture where only one manifestation of black culture is considered authentic and acceptable. Pardon my language but the only equivalent I can think of from a white perspective is a term that was in vogue in the 90's: "whigger", which as you can guess is a combination of "white" and "nigger" and was used to describe a white kid that tried to act black.

Of course I am coming at this from a White perspective so my opinion isn't even heard. It is a pretty clever rhetorical device. You stake out a position on race relationships and then declare that anyone black that doesn't fall in line is a coon and anyone white that speaks up on the topic isn't even worthy of being heard. At all. All that is left is a singular view from one narrow perspective that is above reproach. Like I said, a pretty clever rhetorical device. On the other hand I wonder why it is that black Christians can feel free to lecture white Christians and even question their salvation as a group and we are expected to meekly stand there and take it but on the flip side white Christians are not even worthy of being heard by black Christians simply because we are speaking "from a white space".

What this really boils down to is a black version of kinism. The logical conclusion of what Bradley, Lecrae and others are proposing, a unique and exclusionary racial identity that trumps shared identity in Christ, at least on a practical level, is not functionally different from what is proposed by white kinists. Instead of being a Christian that happens to be black, you are a "black Christian". Rather than a local church that happens to be compromised of mostly black people, you have a "black church". This calls for a segregated worship, a segregated community, a segregated theological system. It even, as above with the reference to Titus 3:14 sees good works as being racial segregated in the church!

If you can reconcile a belief that White kinism/ethnonationalism is a terrible thing but that the opposite, a "woke" church hermeneutic that examines the Bible in every respect through the lens of past racial grievances and condemns the entirety of the White evangelical church for being "captive to Western culture" and utterly absent the Gospel itself, you are a far more creative thinker than I am.

I understand that the church in America is dominated by white, European expressions of the faith that are grounded in Western culture. That is because America has long been a nation that was overwhelmingly populated by white people of European descent. I have yet to see, although it may be out there, anyone criticizing the church in Africa for being to "Afro-centric" or the church is Asia being too Asian. Thanks to the First Amendment blacks have the right to worship among themselves as they please, a right recognized and codified in law by the white Founding Fathers and many blacks have benefited enormously from this, including Mason and Bradley. Eric Mason was educated at the graduate level at Gordon-Conwell and Dallas Theological Seminary, two schools founded by whites in the tradition of Western, European culture. Anthony Bradley graduated from Clemson and teaches at The King's College, institutions that likewise bear the "taint" of unbearable whiteness. I have to assume that the audience and financial support for the Acton Institute is overwhelmingly white but that doesn't stop Anthony Bradley from being a research fellow there which gives his work greater exposure. The board of directors for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is made up of 100% white men but I am sure Eric Mason didn't return any of the royalties for his book that they promoted multiple times.

It might be blasphemous in some circles to say this and deeply unpopular in many others but I think that a huge amount of blame for the current problems with race relations in the church in America can be laid at the feet of the public leaders of the "black church". The permitted narrative is that race relations are terrible and the blame for this is only on whites, even whites that have never done anything to impede the success and happiness of a single black person. In too many cases there seems to be a new, different and false "gospel" that is being adopted to replace the Biblical Gospel of the Good News of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It is a "gospel" of racial grievances, both real and exaggerated; of historical myopia where it is perpetually pre-1964 in America; of left-wing economic policies; of blame placing and responsibility avoidance; a "gospel" that is overly focused on the last 150 years in America and not focused enough on eternity.

As long as leaders of the "black church" are unwilling to stop lecturing long enough to have an honest and real dialogue and as long as they refuse to even "hear us at all" if we don't cede the entire conversation before we begin, then there is really little reason to try. If black leaders are going to call other blacks "coons" and arbitrarily claim that evangelicals have never had the Gospel and that our opinions are irrelevant and unworthy of being even heard because they come from a white man, then I really don't have time for them. I will do what I can for those in the church in need, regardless of race, and I will share the Gospel as I have opportunity, regardless of the race of the person I am witnessing to. What I will not do is be silenced or let accusations and slander in the public square go unchallenged, regardless of the respective races of those accusing and being accused.

Race is still one of the most fraught topics in America and it doesn't help when men who are elders in the church fail to exhibit the wisdom and temperance that their calling demands of them. If the "black church" and evangelical leaders won't call them out for their slander and foolishness, then I will.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Well Done Good And Faithful Servant

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21)

Ligonier Ministries shared the news a few minutes ago that Dr. R.C. Sproul has gone home to be with the Lord....

Dr. Sproul is a teacher I have never met in person but for over a decade his teaching via writing, books, videos, audio and in person at T4G has had an enormous impact on me. He had a real talent for weaving the teaching into an accessible but deep material for people of all levels. He was one of the least Cage Stage Calvinists around, someone who was firm on his positions but never angry about it. Perhaps no other teacher did more to help me flesh out my early Calvinism than Dr. Sproul. 

I had my differences with what he taught, most notably on the proper recipients for baptism, and I have my concerns about some aspects of his ecclesiology but I always knew that Dr. Sproul would be fair and Scriptural in his positions even when I disagreed with his conclusions. I am terribly sad about his passing and not a little envious of his presence now with the Lord. Oh to hear the voice of our Lord: "Well done good and faithful servant".

Here is one of my favorite talks from Dr. Sproul from Together for the Gospel in 2008. You could have heard a pin drop in the room. I can truly say to Dr. Sproul "rest in peace" and I look forward to seeing you one day soon at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Save me a good spot.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Real Winners In Alabama Last Night Weren't On The Ballot

In a not terribly stunning upset Doug Jones, an absolute nobody that was a far Left sacrificial lamb in a deep red state, right up until the moment that the 40 year old, unproven and unprovable allegations against Roy Moore surfaced, won the Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions. It is noteworthy that in 2014 when Jeff Sessions ran for re-election, he was so heavily favored that he ran unopposed and garnered over 97% of the vote. So this was supposed to be a safe seat. Then the media stepped in, these accusations were assumed to be true and constantly hammered into the voter's minds for a month and just like that Alabama flips to the Democrats and the Republican lead in the Senate shrinks to almost nothing.

So who really won last night? It wasn't Doug Jones. Unless something drastic changes in the next three years, he should be crushed handily by a more mainstream Republican in 2020 when Trump is at the top of the ticket in Alabama. Like my Senator Joe Donnelly, who is I believe the only Democrat holding state-wide office in Indiana, Jones is destined to be a one-term Senator, and an abbreviated term at that. A Soros aligned pro-abortion Democrat doesn't have much of a future in Alabama politics, especially once he starts voting in lockstep with Chuck Schumer.

No, the real winners are a mixed bag.

The mainstream media is a big winner. They found a tool to use against untamed Republicans like Roy Moore, a perfect accusation in this climate of sexual harassment and "assault" that occured four decades ago. In a world of #MeToo accusations of sexual misconduct are as good as a death sentence. I don't think the media quite understood what they unleashed and as Democrats like Al Franken and John Conyers go down in flames it sort of seems like this victory might be a Pyrrhic one but they still got their winning tactic. I expect to see variations of this trick employed again, probably as soon as 2018, with an unprovable accusation is used to undercut conservative candidates. The media in the urban enclaves of D.C, New York and elsewhere despise people in places like Alabama and Indiana and by defeating Roy Moore they feel a sense of getting even for their humiliation on election night 2016.

Another big winner was the "Never Trump" style "conservatives" that hate Trump and hate his right hand man during the election, Steve Bannon. Over at once reliably conservative but now mostly irrelevant National Review, David French crows that "conservatives" that stayed home, wrote in candidates or even voted for radical Leftist Doug Jones were "taking a stand". People like French and the loathsome Bill Kristol are of the old school Republican establishment that don't care about vulgar things like winning elections and passing legislation. They just care about their cushy positions at think tanks and their status as pet, tame "Republicans" that get invited to appear on CNN and to write for the New York Times. These champagne conservatives are like their neighbors in the media that occupy the fancy zip codes around D.C. and New York in that they don't like, don't trust and often are openly ugly toward the very people Republicans rely upon to win elections. Roy Moore epitomized every caricature they have created about Republican voters in fly over country. They hated him from the get-go and the accusations of misconduct decades ago were as welcome a gift to them as they were to the media.

Some really big winners last night were RINO "Republicans" like Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. With the GOP lead in the Senate down another vote and with only a razor thin majority in the Senate, the demands of big government Republicans like Collins will be overwhelming. They will be able to demand huge concessions for their votes and with no margin of error they will get what they want. I don't expect anything positive like national concealed carry reciprocity or real immigration enforcement reform to be enacted until after the 2018 elections but you can bet Susan Collins, Flake and others like them in the squishy Republican middle will be getting all sorts of attention and money from lobbyists and special interest groups for the next year or so.

A surprising winner in this is the Alt-Right. That may seem counter-intuitve given silly essays like this one from Douglas Schoen where he mentions that this election was a blow to Steve Bannon and the Alt-right, especially since Bannon isn't Alt-Right by any definition of the term. But look a little deeper at the numbers. We once again see a huge racial disparity in an election. According to CNN, 96% of blacks in Alabama voted for Jones and they made up almost 30% of the voters even though they are only around 17% of the eligible voting population. Whites voted pretty overwhelmingly for Moore, almost 70%. Every kind of White voted as a majority for Moore, even White college educated women that presumably were swayed by the sexual harassment allegations, voted for Moore by a narrow margin:

From CNN, accessed 12/13/2017

The electorate is increasingly divided into White Republicans and Black/Latino Democrats. This plays into the racial self-interest message of the Alt-Right: all politics are identity politics and you had better start thinking about protecting your own racial identity because everyone else is thinking about theirs. The Alt-Right wasn't on the ballot in Alabama but you can bet they will use the results above to advance their message.

This is what I wrote on Facebook in response to a post from Robert Gagnon regarding the David French post I mentioned above.
The election itself was just a sideshow for a much larger struggle for the heart and soul of the Republican party. People like David French, Bill Kristol and NRO in general represent the old school Republican party that is happy to lose as long as they preserve their sense of genteel respectability and keep getting invited on TV. Moore was a flawed candidate, as they all are, but the efforts to suppress the Republican vote from NRO and others speaks volumes about the loyalty of those old school voices of pseudo-respectability that once dictated what it means to be conservative.
The 2017 Alabama Senate special election was a huge proxy fight that got out-sized attention from the media that normally doesn't care about Alabama one way or the other. It has also been an absolute circus. Now all the effort and attention will shift to the 2018 mid-term elections where a lot of Democrat Senators like Joe Manchin (WV) and Joe Donnelly (IN) are very, very vulnerable. Given that Democrats have a lot of vulnerable seats to defend and three quarters of the total seats up for re-election to defend in general which will strain their resources, not to mention the general fatigue over Trump bashing in the media, the booming economy and stock market and the absolute inability to make any charges stick to Trump and we could see a major shift in the Senate make-up come January 2019 which only a little over a year away from now.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The State of Discourse and The Free Media As 2017 Comes To A Close

It is without reasonable argument that the state of the media has reached a low point in American history. At the same time, the level of discourse in our country  has devolved to a point that is often one step removed from preschool tantrums. This is a dangerous state of affairs as our free and open liberal republic relies in large part on the free exchange of ideas. To make matters worse, the line between civil discourse and political violence has gone from fuzzy to non-existent in just a few years, accelerating into what often appears to be virtual open warfare on our streets and on our campuses. I find myself nostalgic for the good old days when we only dealt with the Robert Bork confirmation hearings and the impeachment of President Clinton. Now speakers on college campuses are routinely assaulted, free speech rallies are met with thuggish street violence that would be at home in pre-Third Reich Germany and your average banana republic, and people sever friendships and even family relationships over political differences.

I came across a perfect example of this just last week. I stumbled across an article about one Debra Messing. I sort of knew the name but I wasn't sure who she was until I read the article, apparently she was one of the stars of Will & Grace, a show I am pleased to report I have never watched. Ms. Messing apparently is mad at the New York Times and has canceled her subscription. I couldn't care less about a washed up actress and her newspaper subscriptions but the reasoning was interesting. She is mad at the New York Times for running what she and others thought of as a puff-piece about a far right, "Nazi-sympathizer" named Tony Hovater. I was intrigued so I read the article for myself.

The first thing you notice is what a soft and gentle headline graced the article: A Voice of Hate in America’s Heartland. That is clearly a sympathetic headline, right? The article itself was actually quite balanced, and featured some actual journalism where the story was not entirely pre-ordained before the first word was typed. Tony Hovater is on the surface a pretty average 29 year old guy, recently married, working at a grill and doing contract work as a welder. I think what really incensed people is that the article didn't go out of the way to paint him as a lunatic, but rather a pretty run of the mill guy who had adopted what are considered to be very extreme views. Richard Fausset, the author of the piece, wrote a follow-up based on the vitriolic feedback to his article where he wrote his reason for the article:
Why did this man — intelligent, socially adroit and raised middle class amid the relatively well-integrated environments of United States military bases — gravitate toward the furthest extremes of American political discourse?
That was the real crime, suggesting that this ideology might appeal to a regular guy and not responding with a caricature. If I was some leftist living in Manhattan, terrified of the scary alt-right types living out in fly-over country, it would seem to me that I would want to understand where they are coming from, the old "seek first to understand and then to be understood" thing. I am not sure how well this article accomplished that but at least he tried. Mr. Hovater is not some drooling, knuckle-dragging mouth-breather who just hates him some colored folk. This is someone who reads the works of Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe, two writers I also read, and who speaks clearly and intelligently, even if you disagree with him. But that isn't what the readers of the New York Times, people who fancy themselves as smarter and more worldly than the rest of us subscribe to that paper to get. They want red meat (fair trade, vegan, locally sourced, gluten free, soy based red meat of course), just as the readers of Breitbart want red meat. They didn't get it here and while no rational person would see this as a soft sell of far right ideology, that didn't stop readers of the Times from accusing them of "normalizing" neo-Nazi beliefs, an ironic charge given the title of the article and the reality of Tony Hovater being a pretty average guy with un-average beliefs. Kudos to Marc Lacey and the editors of the NYT more or less standing by the piece:
We regret the degree to which the piece offended so many readers. We recognize that people can disagree on how best to tell a disagreeable story. What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them. That’s what the story, however imperfectly, tried to do.
The aftermath to the story is as predictable as the sun rising in the East. Simply disagreeing and explaining why you disagree is no longer good enough for the Left in America. People figured out, not a difficult task, where Mr. Hovater and his new wife lived and worked. The Washington Post reports that Mr. Hovater both lost his job and is being forced to move: Nazi sympathizer profiled by the New York Times says he lost his job and — soon — his home.
The restaurant’s owners said in a statement Wednesday that they did not know of Hovater’s white nationalist views until the Times article was published. They said the article illustrated “some very disturbing images and thoughts” that they do not share.
The owners also said that they and their other employees have been bombarded with threatening and intimidating calls and social media messages since the article was published. That prompted Hovater to suggest to the owners to “release him from employment,” the statement said. They did so and also fired Hovater’s wife and brother-in-law shortly after.
This is what has become normalized in America. Someone on the right, whether someone as extreme as Tony Hovater or as mild as academic Charles Murray, speaks out and rather than being engaged in the battlefield of ideas they are attacked and threatened with violence. How about a "big statement" in response to that:
People who are willing to threaten and often carry out violence against political views they dislike are far more dangerous to this nation than all of the White nationalists put together.
I sometimes worry a little about this, about whether something I write about homosexuality or gender or immigration will trigger the seemingly limitless ranks of unhinged people on the Left and they will threaten me or my family with violence. This is not an unreasonable concern. I have run into cultists online that I think are dangerous enough that I stopped interacting with them out of concern that they would come after my family. It is way too easy to find out about someone and where they live with a quick search online and while I can take care of myself, my family shouldn't be threatened by lunatics.

If anything, the response from much of the Left simply reinforces the beliefs of people on the far-right, namely that people on the Left are intolerant and prone to violence. It also reinforces my personal belief that we have walked too far out in the desert as a nation and the only way for us to survive peaceably is to divide up now. I agree that ideas can be dangerous, ideas like socialism and communism have been responsible for over 100,000,000 deaths and misery for untold tens of millions more, but I don't see it as my job to combat communism by threatening the lives of communists or actually attacking them. I will argue against them by reason and logic, I will troll and mock them mercilessly but I don't advocate shooting up my political opponents while they practice baseball or jumping them while they are mowing their lawns. Resorting to violence to suppress political speech is the hallmark of brown shirts and Bolsheviks, not free people. If you are really worried about the incipient rise of a resurgent fascism, ask yourself which political movement today is engaged in the sort of behavior that presaged the rise of fascism, communism or other totalitarian movements. It isn't the 29 year old who works at a restaurant and reads Julius Evola.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nonresistance In An Era Of Church Shootings

June 17, 2015 a young White man named Dylan Roof opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlestown, South Carolina. Roof killed 9 black parishioners and was clearly motivated by a desire to ignite racial violence.

September 22, 2017 a Sundanese immigrant Emanuel Kidega Samson opened fire at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee. One person was killed and a number of other people were wounded

November 5, 2017, Devin Kelley, a dishonorably discharged Air Force veteran and militant atheist, enters the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing over two dozen people, including a number of small children.

These are three examples of mass shootings that have occurred at churches over the last two years. I am sure there are others but these are the ones that come to mind.

Now more than ever I am seeing a lot of American Christians asking the question “Is it time for me to arm myself when gathering with the church?” and it is a perfectly understandable question and one that needs more than a simplistic response. My viewpoint on this has been maturing, I hope, over the last year.

First things first, we need to start with some definitions. There are three categories of legally legitimate lethal violence as I see it.
1. Violence in the cause of a nation or state, typically as a member of the military or law enforcement, although I would stipulate that the police often would fall into the second or third categories below.
2. Violence in the defense of one’s self, as an act of self-defense against an aggressor.
3. Violence in the defense of another, such as the shooting of Devin Kelley by a neighbor, an act which likely prevented Kelley from killing even more people.

I have been an absolutist when it comes to nonresistance, in large part as a response to the unquestioning acceptance of violence, including lethal violence, on the part of the church. The church in America has a serious issue where it comes to our love affair with the American military and that is deeply unhealthy.

In practice this means that I have generally treated all three types of lethal violence above in the same way. If it is wrong to kill as a soldier it is wrong to kill in self-defense and it is wrong to kill to defend someone else. It is simpler to look at it that way because it helps neuter some of the “Oh yeah, what about...” gotcha questions.

Looking at each in turn and treating them as distinct although closely related issues gives us a slightly different view.

State Sanctioned Violence, Especially The Military

The first category is, in my opinion, the easiest to reject from a Scriptural and practical sense. It is also one of the hardest to address in the church in America because of our unhealthy love affair with the flag and the military. While war is a reality of human existence, one that will not go away in my lifetime or prior to the return of the Lord, and while Scripture teaches that the sword is placed in the hand of the government as represented by Caesar, that doesn't mean that war is inherently noble or something Christians should engage in.

Very few wars would qualify as a truly justifiable war in American history. Not Vietnam or Korea or World War I. Not even the Civil War which was absolutely not fought to rid America of slavery but instead was fought to keep the Union together. Our wars are generally not defensive in any sense and usually were fought over territory, empire or some sense of misplaced national pride.

Even in the case of World War II, the United States both engaged in atrocities like the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo in addition to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that were all designed to strike terror into the civilian population and sap the will of the government to continue the fight, as well as the complicity of the United States in allying ourselves with the brutal totalitarian government of the Soviet Union, whose forces engaged in all sorts of inhumane behavior and who enslaved and murdered millions upon millions of people in Russia and Eastern Europe for decades after Adolf Hitler was dead. Our “good war” which serves as the trump card for pro-military Christians was hardly a flawless war and was arguably the extension of our foolish intervention in World War I.

In summary, Christians should not be involved as participants nor should we support wars of aggression, wars where you are being sent at the command of Caesar to kill either fellow Christians or the people you are supposed to evangelize. While I can make a weak case for Christian involvement of a sort in defensive wars, there have been very few of those (the war of 1812?) and in general soldiers don't get to pick and choose which wars they get to fight in. The soundest policy for Christians is to not serve as soldiers for Caesar.

Violence In Self-Defense

The second category is a little harder but still for me ultimately is an area Christians should adopt a nonresistance/nonviolence position and that is using violence to defend yourself, specifically defending your life.

The New Testament is replete with what appear to be admonitions to not use violence to defend oneself. In Matthew 5:39 Jesus says "Do not resist the one who is evil". We are told to overcome evil by doing good to those who wrong us (Romans 12:21). Jesus Himself stated: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28). Paul saw dying for the sake of the Gospel as far better than remaining in this world:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. (Philippians 1:21-23)
So killing someone else to preserve my own life seems counter-productive to me. There is an argument to be made that my family needs me for a variety of reasons that would support self-preservation but compared to the commands of Christ and Paul it is a pretty weak argument.

Violence to Protect Others

The third category is where my absolutist convictions waver. Protecting your friends or family or even strangers when they are in danger from an evil person is hard to argue against. It goes against our nature to stand by when someone is being hurt, especially as a man. I understand and have argued on many occasions that there are other options besides pulling a gun or standing meekly by but in some cases there are just not many options.

I have a solemn and sacred obligation to my family which includes providing for them (1 Timothy 5:8) and educating my children. It is hard to not feel that protecting them from evil doers would fall under my obligations as a father and husband. If someone was threatening my wife and kids and I have the means to stop that someone from harming them, whether that means tackling the would-be assailant or punching him in the nose or hitting him with a baseball bat or pulling a trigger, it would seem to be the lesser of two evils to stop an evil man by violence rather than let him hurt my wife and kids. The counter-argument, which again I have used, is that the lesser of two evils is still evil but then again the alternative is also evil and the greater of the two. Sometimes there just isn't a good option. I am not talking about seeking out an opportunity to shoot someone but evil men can and do seek people out, whether in homes or a school or a church.

I wouldn't want to drive people away with an absolutist position that leaves no room for discernment. There is something deeply distasteful about being in a position to protect your family and not doing so. I might be able to craft a fancy theological argument in favor of nonresistance in that situation but in real life if someone was seriously threatening my wife or kids I am pretty confident that those arguments would fly out of the window and I would do anything in my power to keep them from harm. Anything. I am just as sure that even the most dyed in the wool pacifist would do the same thing if push came to shove and claiming otherwise seems sort of dishonest to me. That isn't really a failure to trust God, I have always worked for a living so I could pay for food to feed my kids instead of sitting around the table waiting for God to provide food in a manna in the desert manner. It is the reality of living in a fallen world. Some of my kids have not professed faith in Christ yet (and may never do so). My wife deserves my protection and my kids need their mother. To let someone harm them when it is in my power to prevent that is just not something I am sure I can argue in favor of anymore.

This is not an easy position to come to. I still find myself arguing internally even as I type these words. But I also have to wrestle between an "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" argument and what I prayerfully feel I am obliged to do in the event of a threat to my friends, family or innocent strangers. I also realize this is a largely theoretical discussion as it is extraordinarily unlikely that I or anyone reading this post will ever have to choose between two highly distasteful and disturbing options. Furthermore I am still hashing this question over and I have been for some time but the recent shootings in Texas and the chatter on social media in response prompted me to take this conversation public. So this is where I am right now. I sincerely pray that God will never allow me in a place where I have to put this to the test.

So ought Christians come to the gathering of the church tomorrow armed in case they need to stop an armed assailant bent on murder? I am not going to but I am also not going to condemn those that do. This is not an issue where one can defend the practice by pointing to the two swords conversation in Scripture or by the appeal to the "live by the sword, die by the sword" argument as both sides of that coin have specific redemptive-historical meaning that defies simple pigeon-holing into a marginally related issue. I think this is a serious question to ponder because as we see violence escalating, especially from people who have religious or political reasons to attack Christians, it is not going to diminish. I would not be surprised to see copycat attacks over the rest of this year. So it is a conversation we need to be having in humility and charity toward one another. That is a pretty tall order in this day and age but that is something the church, if nowhere else in our society, should be able to do.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

The Election That Never Ended

One year ago on November 8th, 2016, the day started as so many other election days have for me since my earliest recollection of an election, the 1980 landslide of Ronald Reagan that I watched with my die-hard Democrat grandparents (they didn't have a good night). As I have in every significant election since I turned 18 I went to the polls and as I have in most elections since 1992 I went to the polls with my wife. I cast my vote for Gary Johnson, as I did in 2012, because I simply couldn't pull the lever for Trump, partly for reasons of character and partly because he just isn't terribly conservative in any traditional sense, although in the last twelve months I have found myself less and less identified with traditional conservatism as well.

I am a pretty skeptical/cynical person on almost any topic and especially when it comes to the media but I admit I bought into the polling data. It was so overwhelming and so uniform and I have such a low opinion of many of my fellow Americans that I assumed that a woman who should be on trial would instead be elected and become the first female President of the United States. I actually was feeling kind of poorly that evening so after dinner I went upstairs to lay down for a bit but my wife and kids watched the returns. I came back down late in the evening when things were a toss up still and we watched the returns on the network news and PBS as well as on the internet. Watching the mostly leftist media talking heads slowly melting down online was pretty funny and at the end of the night, in the middle of the night in fact, I watched the Trump victory speech.

What has transpired since has been nothing less than surreal. The pundits who assumed Hillary would win warned about the danger of violence from Trump supporters when he inevitably lost and a refusal to accept the results in spite of the evidence to the contrary. Since the election there has been plenty of denial, hysterics and violence but it has been almost entirely one-sided from liberals/progressives. From the rise of the antifa to the Jill Stein led recounts to the endless searching for any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign to the relentless negative press and made up stories, culminating recently in the blatantly edited video of Trump dumping food to koi immediately after the Japanese Prime Minister did the exact same thing, the assault on Trump and the electoral process has been vicious and unending. The difference between the way Trump supporters and others on the Right view the election results and the way progressives and far Left voters view it is proof positive that we live in different worlds. We have experienced some of this with family members "unfriending" my wife and I on Facebook because we didn't support Hillary and our experience is far from uncommon. The nation is incredibly divided and ironically but not unexpectedly that division is being driven by those most likely to call Trump divisive.

From calls to arbitrarily abolish the electoral college to articles of impeachment being drawn up for no other reason than political posturing, not to mention the endless primal screams for attention from Hillary Clinton who unsurprisingly lacks the grace to quietly accept she lost and move on with her life, we are in a Ground Hog Day scenario where the election seems to be replayed over and over.


A year later the election is still contested in some corners, like the ridiculous fail last weekend where the antifa were going to come charging out of their parent's basements and overthrow the "Trump regime" which ended up being a handful of tiny protests that no one paid any attention to. There has been a great deal of political violence, again almost entirely from leftists. People were assured that the rise of Trump would lead to a wave of "hate crimes" and when that didn't materialize we have instead been treated to a lengthy series of hoax hate crimes that are breathlessly reported on by the media when first announced and then conveniently forgotten once they are shown to be self-inflicted or otherwise hoaxes.

Meanwhile the Trump presidency has been what you would expect. Twitter fights with people, brashness, chaos. What I didn't expect but should have is how much pushback Trump would get from other Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Jeff Flake not to mention faux-conservatives like Bill Kristol and most of National Review. I figured the Left would fight Trump tooth and nail but I didn't expect the level of petty suicidal political shenanigans from the GOP. It is apparent that many Republicans like the former Presidents Bush would rather have had a liberal Clinton White House as long as she didn't upset the establishment apple cart. If nothing else Trump deserves credit for exposing as phonies most "conservatives" in D.C., plus his nomination of Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court who appears to be a slam-dunk.

While most of the elections since last November have gone the way of conservative and populist Republicans, Democrats did win the governor's races in blue state New Jersey and in Virginia last night, both races that would have been easy wins but for the ridiculous truck video in Virginia. The media has been desperate for a win to pronounce a backlash against Trump and I am sure they will latch on to two elections that were almost a given to say "See, see! People are turning against Trump!" when in reality the same people that told us Hillary had a 90%+ chance of winning the day of the election are also telling us that people they clearly don't understand and truthfully despise are turning on Trump. Color me skeptical.

The real test will be next November when a ton of vulnerable Democrat Senators are up for re-election including my own Senator trying to win reelection in a state with essentially no state-level Democrat elected officials. If it goes as I expect, we should see a substantial gain for the GOP in the Senate which would be better news if Mitch McConnell wasn't the majority leader. If Trump has a larger majority in the Senate to work with and the economy keeps chugging along, and if we get the wall built and avoid any new wars, I think Trump is in a good position to be re-elected in 2020, especially if the Dems nominate some crazed liberal that makes people nervous.

I am starting to see some fatigue, the reduced enthusiasm of the protests and the general fizzling out of the anger against Trump after a fever pitch for a year. It would be interesting to see what Trump could get done if he didn't have to fight with the media (and his own party) over every single issue and koi pond but the ideologues in the media are so out in the open in declaring war against Trump that I don't see that happening.

As I said, it has been a surreal year since the 2016 election. It will be an equally crazy ride over the next twelve months leading up to the 2018 elections, especially if there is a war or a Supreme Court vacancy. You better buckle up, it is going to be a bumpy ride!

Monday, November 06, 2017

The Amish Get'n R Dun

Yesterday we had a pretty heavy storm roll through the area including a brief period of high winds. We lost power but didn't think much of it until we got a call that a local business had been damaged. It is an Amish owned pallet shop and we know the family quite well so we took some friends over to survey the damage. It was pretty extensive....

The wind flipped an empty semi trailer on its side

A 2x4 driven through the inner ceiling. 

The tin from the roof left quite a debris field

One large piece of tin landed on a power line

This is the loading dock and pallet storage

As you can see, pretty extensive damage. This is a large building with lots of machinery but luckily it was a Sunday so no one was inside working. The family shored up the rafters as another front was moving in and then waited until today.

Whatever else you may say about them, when there is a crisis the Amish community always comes together. Many men skipped their regular work today and were on site before 7 AM to help. Lots of women were there as well to make sure things were cleaned up and the guys got fed. For most of the day I would estimate there were 75-100 people at work. By the middle of the day the rest of the tin was off and they were removing the soaked insulation, making quite a mess in the storage area where pallets are normally kept....

The insulation was falling like snow and was a foot deep in places.

By the end of the day, what seemed like it would be a week long project to get the business back up and running instead had the place looking like nothing had happened...

A brand new roof viewed from the east.

The loading dock area with the new roof in places

The pallet storage with the floor swept clean and full of pallets again
A brand new roof was in place, the mess inside was largely cleaned up and the tin scattered around the nearby fields was collected and hauled away with the wooden debris burned.

In a world that seems to be tearing itself apart, it was a refreshing reminder that human beings still care for each other and step up when others are in need. I really needed that reminder with everything else that is going on. I don't think we can afford to bunker up and just assume the world will leave us alone but I do think we need to build strong communities to face the days that are coming.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Protestant Reformation At 500: So Much Recovered, So Much More To Reform

Happy Reformation Day!

So many others have written far more comprehensively and eloquently about the significance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that I don't feel the need to embarrass myself by rewriting more poorly what others have already written. What I mostly am today is thankful.

Thankful that I have the Bible translated and readily available in my own language (which coincidentally is not 17th century Olde English). Thankful that because of that I can know that I don't need to impress God with my own self-serving and feeble attempts to be righteous. Thankful that I know the church is the community of the redeemed being equipped for the work of ministry, not a dispenser and controller of "grace". Thankful that no human being has the right or authority to stand between me and my Lord. Thankful that salvation is freely offered to all and is not something to be purchased by the rich. Thankful that the Lord Himself is allowed to be the head of His own church.

It was an imperfect, incomplete Reformation led by imperfect and often deeply flawed men but then again the apostles were flawed men as well. There was so much accomplished and recovered and renewed by the Reformers, Magisterial and Radical alike, but there remains much work to be done before the Lord returns and nowhere is that more true than in the church. It is the task of every believer, and especially the brethren, to continue to reform the church to restore her to a family of God that is ready for the harsh days which are to come.

We must never lose sight of what was once almost lost and what was recovered at such great cost during the Reformation and never trade that for a false ecumenical unity or abandon it at the demand of the world. Far from being irrelevant today, the principles of the Reformation are every bit as desperately needed today as they were in Wittenberg 500 years ago.

Sola Gratia 

Sola Fide 

Solus Christus

Sola Scriptura  

Soli Deo Gloria

Let that be our battle cry. By grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone under the authority of the Scriptures alone for the glory of God alone.

Thank you Lord for that obscure monk Martin Luther who five hundred years ago took a bold if unwitting step and in doing so changed the world forever. May we who are in our own ways his successors live lives worthy of the sacrifice of Luther and so many others to hold fast to the truth of the Gospel over this half millennium.

Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda

"the reformed church must always be reformed"

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Peace With God

One of the best parts of Romans is that it is chock full of powerful verses that by themselves are deeper than ten theology books. Romans 5:1 is one of those.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)
Peace with God. What is that? It is the change of status between a sinner and God, man once being lost and an enemy of God, now being at peace with Him.

How? Through faith alone. Not by works of human righteousness. Not by religious ritual. Through faith alone.

Faith in what? In Christ alone. The righteousness of the man made right with God, a man who has gone from being an enemy of God to having peace with God and not just peace but being made part of God's family through adoption, comes not from anything we have done to please God but by our faith in Christ who did all that was required to propitiate our sins.

By faith alone in Christ alone. That glorious truth is what had been shrouded in darkness for over 1000 years by the man-made religion of Rome.

Exactly 500 years ago today, on October 29th, 1517 which was apparently a Monday, a monk named Martin Luther was probably already writing out his 95 theses or at least was giving serious thought to what they would be. Two days later he would walk to the church in Wittenberg, Germany to nail those theses to a door. I cannot imagine he had any idea what this would cause, that this spark of unintentional rebellion would strike the tinder of a people sick to death of Rome and her empty religion and eager for the Gospel.

By grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. That is the only path to justification and peace with God. Peace is found in Christ alone, not in religion, not in a church, not dispensed by a man.

In Christ alone.

Solus Christus!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Liberal Male Misogyny And Harvey Weinstein

One of the recurring topics I have on this blog is the trait I have noticed among male liberals where they hold pretty ugly views of women that they hide under feminist rhetoric until they get the chance to unload on a "safe" target, usually a conservative woman. They also usually get a pass from other liberals because of the target of their ugliness being conservatives.

Which brings us to Harvey Weinstein, and once the initial accusations of sexual mischief started the floodgates opened. The "casting couch" idea has been a running "joke" for decades and Weinstein himself was the butt of several jokes specifically poking fun at his reputation of being a lecherous creep but he was a good liberal guy and made lots of successful films so people looked the other way. I am not going to recount the accusations but needless to say that in spite of the dozens of women that have come forward to accuse him of harassment, groping and outright sexual assault I am confident there are plenty of other women that traded their youth and sexuality for parts in Weinstein films.

It also sounds like this has been known for a long time and nobody did anything until they were forced to by the viral news story. In spite of his apparently well-known sexual proclivities as it pertains to very young starlets, Weinstein was a favorite among liberals. Along with the grotesque, stomach churning pictures of Weinstein pawing and grabbing actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson, there are lots of these making the rounds.

Why would self-proclaimed liberal champions of women be willing to pal around with this corpulent serial abuser? At least with Bill Clinton it is perhaps because they were kindred souls but for the others I am sure it has nothing to do with the huge amounts of money Weinstein raised for Democrats via direct donations and lavish fund-raisers. Keep in mind that these are the same sort of people who say that Donald Trump is unfit for office because of a sexist comment he made years ago but who mug for the cameras with an actual sexual abuser because he writes them checks.

But I think the bigger issue is that there simply is a different standard when it comes to liberal men versus conservative men. "You have to have sex with me in order to get this part" is OK when it is a liberal saying it but a rather dubious report of a comment by Clarence Thomas, "There's a pubic hair on my Coke can", is a disqualifier when said by a conservative. It isn't like Weinstein is alone in his misbehavior that is overlooked when you are the right kind of celebrity.

Look at some other Hollywood darlings.

Woody Allen married Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his one time girlfriend Mia Farrow, beginning with an affair with the girl while still romantically attached to her mother and has been accused of molestation by other children. Yet Woody is still a favorite among the jet-setter crowd. Personally I never found him amusing or interesting, just mostly a self-important dork that was equally creepy.

Roman Polanski actually drugged and raped a 13 year old girl at the home of another weird cat, Jack Nicholson, and fled the U.S. in 1977. Prior to that he was in a "romantic" relationship with actress Nastassja Kinski who was under 18 at the time. Polanski would have been around 43 at the time, or almost my age. Since then he has gotten a little less creepy by marrying Emmanuelle Seigner who is a mere 33 years younger than he is. All of this time he has been living in Europe as he cannot come back to the U.S. without being arrested. That hasn't stopped him from making films fawned over by his Hollywood pals, including the overrated The Pianist which was nominated for 7 and won 3 Academy Awards, including a Best Director for Polanski. A man uses his position of power to rape one 13 year old girl and carry on a sexual relationship with another young teenage girl, and those are only the ones we know of and there are almost certainly more as his current marriage reinforces his hankering for very young women. Regardless Hollywood doesn't care, and many celebrities including female stars, pine for his return to America.

In the same way that the Left hypocritically yammers about "Black Lives" mattering when it is a politically useful black life and looks the other way when the black lives are the far more numerous lives lost to black-on-black violence and the abortion industry, so to does the Left talk a big show about caring about women and being "feminists" when they can advance their broader political agenda but not caring too much about women, sexual assault, sexual harassment, use of power by men to coerce sex out of women or outright rape them or any other form of misogyny when carried out by one of their allies. The left did all it could to keep Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court because of the spurious accusations of Anita Hill but lionized serial adulterer and woman killer (literally) Ted Kennedy and still lauds accused rapist Bill Clinton because he is one of their own.

Don't be fooled by the rhetoric. The Left only cares about people when they are politically useful. When a woman is just a wannabe starlet desperate for her big break and offered that break by a grotesque pervert in exchange for sex, nobody cares about her. It is just the ways things are done. The same girl caught in a compromising position with a conservative though becomes a cause in and of herself.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

A Response To Lecrae, Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile And Anyone Else Who Cares To Listen

As pretty much everyone knows, evangelicalism and especially conservative evangelicalism is a mostly White thing. Apparently that is a negative.

According to this fairly baffling post from John Piper, 116 Been Real, Lecare Moore, who simply goes by Lecrae, kind of like Cher and Madonna, is distancing himself from "white evangelicalism". I don't know much about Lecrae and I don't listen to his stuff but he has a fairly large following among white evangelicals, especially of the Reformed type.

Based what Piper is saying, he listened to the interview and I just don't have the time, Lecrae is distancing himself in part based on three "experiences", as listed below from Piper's article.
- First, Lecrae’s friend, Tyree Boyd-Pates, the Curator of History for the California African American Museum, told him, “You have said some things that were poignant and provocative for black people, but the phenotype of your music was not black . . . sonically it wasn’t resonating with our soul. . . . It’s like [the] ‘I have a dream’ speech over a rock record.”
- Second, the Washington Post called him an “evangelical mascot.”
- Third, he went public with his dismay over the Michael Brown shooting, and woke up to the reality that this “white evangelical” world did not feel what he felt. “The visceral attacks that came my way were like a shock to my system. That did some identity work.”
Based on this, Mr. Moore is going to "turn (his) back on white evangelicalism"
If I turn my back on white evangelicalism, who am I? If we disagree on . . . Black Lives and social justice, and I’m not getting pats on the back from John Piper, then who am I now? . . . For years that had been what was shaping my identity. . . . If I’m not the evangelical darling, who is Lecrae? . . . 
Getting  a pat on the back from John Piper? How patronizing and insulting. Maybe Piper helped expand Mr. Moore's audience because he appreciated his music and what he had to say but to then reduce it to Piper humoring Lecrae and giving him a "pat on the back" is nothing less than spitting in Piper's face. Then Piper goes on to say this:
Do you see yet why I respond to Lecrae’s “identity development work” with thankfulness? I know young men whose disillusionment with “white evangelicalism” was not as painful as Lecrae’s, and yet they threw the brown baby of Bethlehem out with the white bathwater. They’re done with Christianity. Done with the Bible. Done with Jesus — except the one they create to fit their present political mood. That could have been Lecrae. It could be you. 
Um, so I guess we are supposed to be glad Lecrae has embraced his black identity, something Piper would no doubt condemn in a white person publicly embracing their white identity, because at least he didn't leave the faith totally. Would Piper say the same about a white singer who espoused kinism after the shooting up of a church by a black man in Tennessee a few weeks ago? Piper doesn't seem excited about a lot of what Lecrae says in his interview but he also seems overly focused on "White evangelicalism" being synonymous with support of Trump and opposition to the neo-Marxist Black Lives Matter movement. I sort of don't think Piper understands the subject he is talking about here, either Lecrae and his dismissal and distancing himself from white evangelicalism or what exactly it is that white evangelicals care about or why we do what we do. I might go further and say that Piper seems a lot more concerned with "creating space" and "extending grace" to Lecrae than he is to his fellow white evangelicals and that to me is problematic.

The main problem I have though are with Lecrae's three "experiences" and why those are leading him to distance himself and create barriers between himself and white evangelicals.

Like a fine Beretta double gun I am going to let loose with both barrels.

Disclaimer: I don't listen to rap of any sort and haven't since a brief flirtation with Ice-T and N.W.A. back in high school in the 80's and I generally don't listen to "Christian" music at all so you might think I don't have a dog in this fight, with apologies to Michael Vick. However I do like John Piper and I also happen to be one of those lame, awful White evangelicals (although not one that voted for Trump) and it turns out I am sorta tired of being hectored, harangued, scolded, finger-wagged. I am endlessly told I need to feel guilty, that I need to apologize for my phantom "White privilege" and that I am a part of the group that somehow is collectively to blame for every ill, even the obviously self-inflicted ills, of an entire race of people that I have had very little interaction with of any kind in my life. So yeah, this article was like a matador waving a cape in front of me and I freely admit it made me pretty grumpy.

On the first "experience"... 

Lecrae being told his music isn't "black": "You have said some things that were poignant and provocative for black people, but the phenotype of your music was not black". So I guess his rap was too white? And that makes it therefore illegitimate?

Lecrae seems to have fallen victim to the cult of “authentic blackness” where some blacks get to determine for all other blacks what they are allowed to think, say, sing, wear and believe in order to qualify as authentic. I am not black so I don't understand it but it seems unaccountably powerful. Step outside of orthodoxy and the cult leaders rain down on you like the wrath of God, you become an Uncle Tom, are accused of trying to be white, etc. Like I said, I don't get this. No one says to me that if I don't like Polka music that I am not authentically Polish and I have never heard anyone say that the phenotype of any Polish musician, whatever that means, was not white. It is a very strange cultural phenomenon and if I may be so bold it seems to be a control mechanism for those who want to keep blacks from straying from black racial orthodoxy.

On the second "experience"....

The far left Amazon.com/Washington Post which hates all things Christian called him an "evangelical mascot".

That is a pretty cheap and clumsy and obvious shot and Lecrae seems to have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. If I may be super un-PC, if you are a prominent black man and you are going to leave the PC plantation, you better expect to get some backlash. Nothing is less permitted by our culture overlords than a black man who doesn't parrot leftist orthodoxy (see: Thomas, Clarence).

Pardon my French but how much of a fool do you have to be to get so easily sucked in by such an obvious and blatant cheap shot? I don't know much about Lecrae but I would think he would have more wisdom and discernment than to be led around by the nose by the WaPo. Standing for the truth means some slings and arrows and if you aren't wise enough and man enough to stand up to that, well that says a great deal about your character I am afraid.

On the third "experience"....

Lecrae expressed his opinion on the Michael Brown shooting, an unfortunate event but a justifiable shooting, but was apparently shocked when not everyone and especially not his white audience agreed with him. Wow, I hate it when I say something and not everyone agrees with me. According to the interview this caused "some identity work". So let me get this straight. A fairly complex case that got a lot of attention but it was a pretty clear case of justifiable use of force, caused Lecrae to do some "identity work", a phrase that smacks of some pretty heavy racial identitarianism. Even Jonathan Capehart, a member of the leftist Washington Post editorial board and a contributor for similarly left-wing MSNBC wrote: "(The Justice Department report) also forced me to deal with two uncomfortable truths: Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and Wilson was justified in shooting Brown." (emphasis mine).

I don't get why the Michael Brown case has become the bellwether for alleged police brutality. What exactly is it about a huge, probably very strong guy attacking a cop and getting shot for it that is a racially dividing issue? As I recall, Michael Brown was 6' 4" tall and weighed around 292 pounds. That is about the size of a college or even pro football offensive or defensive lineman. During my year of college at Ohio State, my roommate had a class with a center for the football team and one day his classmate stopped by our dorm room. He was enormous but he was probably not quite as big as Michael Brown. Sure Brown was not "armed" but believe me a 6'4", almost 300 pound adult (he was 18) is plenty dangerous especially when he apparently is attacking a cop and going for his gun.

As a relative nobody that has made a career out of going against the grain, you kind of have to have a little spine and thick skin. If people don't agree with you, taking your ball and going home is not going to do a darn thing to change anything and done on a large scale in this context it simply increases racial polarization. If that is the goal, and while I don't think it is for Lecrae it certainly is for many in BLM and similar groups, then at least be open about it.

That raises a question and comment for me. Why is it OK for Lecrae to self-identify within the church based on his race and openly choose to identify himself with that racial subset and reject or at least “distance” himself from people of other races but if I do the same thing I would be labeled a bigot and racist? Or do we operate under two sets of rules in the church when it comes to race, whites have to reach out and seek to be more "diverse" but blacks can self-segregate and that is OK?

If you think this is OK from Lecrae but the Alt-Right and White nationalism is a problem you are either naive or ignorant or both.

That is why the post from Piper seems so confused and schizophrenic and I don't understand it so I am chalking it up to the general disconnect when we talk about race. I don't think Piper would tolerate this coming from a white evangelical but he seems to sort of tolerate it coming from a black evangelical. Piper seems sincere and he has a track record to back up what he is saying. I just hope he doesn't stumble down the Russell Moore path where virtue signaling engulfs his public ministry because Piper has an important voice and I would hate to see it lost in political correctness like Moore.

We are seemingly as far away from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream of a nation where men are judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin as we were in August of 1963 when he gave his speech but ironically many people who claim the contemporary mantle of King are the ones who judge others on their skin color. This is only exacerbated by the Trump Presidency. Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile and others seem bent on flogging white evangelicals for the sins of Trump in a way that I don't recall anyone doing the reverse of during the Obama presidency. Thabiti openly expressed that he supported Hillary Clinton over Trump and no one is more a fan of seeing dead black babies than Hillary. Many black evangelicals seem to be doing what so many accuse white evangelicals of, putting their racial self-interest, misplaced though I think it is, over their Kingdom allegiance.

There has never been a time when black Christians are more in need of the words of Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth where he wrote:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
Black Lives Matter is a pagan, ungodly, anti-Christian organization that thrives on causing racial discord. Those who choose to associate with and show affinity toward it rather than "white evangelicalism" are absolutely no different from those who espouse kinism and white separatism in the church. If white evangelicals making common cause with the GOP and Trump is unequal yoking, how much more so is it when black evangelicals make common cause with BLM?

If you want to associate with me in the church because of our shared redemption in Christ, then cool. I welcome that. If you don't want to associate with me in spite of our shared redemption in Christ because of my skin color and my affiliation with "White evangelicalism" and you prefer to elevate your racial identity above your Kingdom identity, then I can't help that and if I am being totally honest I really don't care or have any interest in working up much concern. Just don't act like your racial separatism is somehow noble and principled while that of Richard Spencer or Jared Taylor is evil.