Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Baptist Pastor Ken Temple Proves That St. Paul Was a Blasphemer Who Claimed That People Can Save Others (Mariology & Synergistic Soteriology)



Rembrandt, The Apostle Paul, c. 1657


This comes from a combox concerning Mariology. Ken's words will be in blue. The title and some of my humorous remarks are, of course, tongue-in-cheek and "turning-the-tables" or reductio ad absurdum rhetoric.

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Ken wrote, citing Catholics (dunno who, though, because he provided no primary documentation):

The Flowery language of praise in prayer is wrong and she is made too much of and exalted beyond what the Scriptures say. Praying to Mary is much more than just "asking her to pray for us":
Prayer: O Mary, no one receives any favor except through you. Help me to ask you each day for the graces I need to remain faithful in my state of life."

O Mary, your holy name is great and brings us salvation. Let me strive to speak it with true love, boundless joy, and complete confidence."


O Mary, you are our Mother and our Teacher, instructing us in how to live. Help me to heed your inspirations and follow your Divine Son more closely.
pp. 98-99 Mary Day by Day, 1987 Catholic Book Publishing, Nihil Obstat: Daniel V. Flynn . . . Imprimatur: Patrick J. Sheridan, D.D. Vicar General, Archdiocese of NY.

"Mary brings salvation!" What more evidence do we need of exalting her above the Lord and only Savior, Jesus Christ? All of these facts and this blasphemous statement and prayer alone should keep any thinking Evangelical from being duped into converting to Rome by the tricks of always raising doubt and skepticism as to how do we know for sure who are in the right church, historical church, Newman's "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant" arguments.

Very well, then, Ken. Great! You have succeeded in proving that the Bible and St. Paul both are blasphemous and exalt the Apostle Paul above Our Lord Jesus, since we have these passages in Scripture:

1 Corinthians 9:22 I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

[Paul "saves" other people, thus clearly placing himself above God, and blaspheming, right, Ken?]

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching: hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

[Good grief! What blasphemy! After his own outrageous claims, St. Paul now thinks that Timothy can save himself (the Pelagian heresy) and those who hear him. Doesn't he know that only God can save??!!!]

Philippians 2:12b-13 . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

[Paul again blasphemously teaches Pelagianism, or works-salvation. Folks are taking the place of God by working out their own salvation???!!!! If someone says that God is mentioned in the second part, the Calvinist "monergist" still has to explain how a human being can participate at all in what only God can do (according to the monergist) ]

2 Corinthians 4:15 For it [his many sufferings: 4:8-12,17] is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

Ephesians 3:2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you...

Ephesians 4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

[Paul distributes divine grace, just as we believe Mary does, and teaches that others can do the same]

St. Peter also joins in this folly of teaching that Christians can distribute divine grace to each other:

1 Peter 4:8b-10 . . . love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

So much for papal infallibility, huh???

Even the angels help to give grace:

Revelation 1:4-5a John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ . . .

[it was nice of John to add in Jesus Christ at the end, along with his own and the angels' giving of grace, just so we'll remember that there is but one mediator of God's grace. Not a lot of "monergism" there, I reckon . . .]

In fact, Paul is so gung-ho on the notion of his distributing grace to folks, that he mentions this at the beginning of practically every epistle that he wrote. I wrote in another paper of mine:
Grace, however, is also referred to in Scripture as in some sense "quantifiable". Lutherans and Protestants in general try to deny this; they usually view grace as simply "God's favor"; that which saves one, in a non-quantifiable sense (as in, e.g., Rom 6:14; Eph 2:8-10). The biblical usage is more complex and nuanced than that, . . . [many examples given]

In fact, it can be plausibly argued, that when Paul and others use the common greeting of "grace to you" (e.g., Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:2; Phlm 1:3; Rev 1:4) it is in the same quantifiable sense: i.e., "may God give you more grace." It doesn't make sense if it is intended only in the broad Protestant meaning (that we agree with as far as it goes) of "you are saved by grace alone".

Why wish, after all, that someone should have or receive what they already clearly possess? If "grace" only means "the free favor by which we are saved" then the Christians to whom Paul is writing his epistles already have this grace (since Protestants believe in a past salvation that is already accomplished). So why would Paul say "grace to you"? It would be like telling a man who has a daughter "I wish you the blessing of a daughter from God" or a man with a nice mansion: "best wishes to you for a nice mansion." That makes no sense. Rather, it seems fairly clear, I think, that st. Paul is stating that he hopes and prays that his readers will receive more grace from God, as in the sense of 2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:7, James 4:6, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, etc.
Good work, Ken! It's not every day that a Baptist pastor proves by his own words that the Apostle Paul is a blasphemer (along with -- as a special bonus -- John, Peter, and Timothy) . . .

Related Reading:

Does St. Alphonsus de Liguori, in The Glories of Mary, Teach That Mary is "Above God" and Can "Manipulate God"? (Corrections of Protestant Misunderstandings of Catholic Mariology) (Dave Armstrong vs. Len Lisenbee)

"Whitewashing History": Critique of James White's Book, Mary -- Another Redeemer? (William Possidento and Dave Armstrong vs. James White)

Dialogue on My Critique of James White's Book, Mary -- Another Redeemer? (+ Part II) (particularly with regard to the differing views on early Mariology of Protestant Church historians J.N.D. Kelly and Philip Schaff) (Dave Armstrong vs. John Q. Doe and "BJ Bear")
A Biblical and Theological Primer on Mary Mediatrix

Human, Pauline, and Marian Distribution of Divine Graces: Not an "Unbiblical" Notion After All?
Does Mary's Role as Mediatrix Contradict Jesus Christ as the Sole Mediator? / Response to a Catholic Critic

Dialogue on the Biblical Analogies to the Concept of Mary Mediatrix (Dave Armstrong vs. Robert Bowman)
Mary as Mediatrix: The Patristic, Medieval, and Early Orthodox Evidence
Treatise on the Queenship of Mary, "Queen Mother", and the Assumption (Steve Ray)
The Imitation of Mary

Is Mary Worshiped by Catholics? (The Latria / Dulia Distinction)

Did Jesus Renounce Marian Veneration? (Lk 11:27-28)

"Work Out Your Own Salvation With Fear and Trembling" (Philippians 2:12): Does It Harmonize With Protestant Soteriology? (vs. Ken Temple)



St. Paul compares the process of eschatological salvation to the running of a race


Baptist pastor Ken Temple is a regular on my blog. His words will be in blue. I used this passage in a paper demonstrating synergism and human cooperation with the distribution of salvation and grace.

* * * * *

Philippians 2:12b-13 (RSV) . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

My original (non-satirical) comment about the passage in the other paper was: "If someone says that God is mentioned in the second part, the Calvinist 'monergist' still has to explain how a human being can participate at all in what only God can do (according go the monergist)."

Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote, concerning this passage:
In truth, the two doctrines of the sovereign and overruling power of Divine grace, and man's power of resistance, need not at all interfere with each other. They lie in different provinces, and are (as it were) incommensurables. Thus St. Paul evidently accounted them; else he could not have introduced the text in question with the exhortation, Work out or accomplish your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh or acts in you. So far was he from thinking man's distinct working inconsistent with God's continual aiding, that he assigns the knowledge of the latter as an encouragement to the former . . . It is quite certain that a modern Predestinarian never could have written such a sentence [as Philippians 2:12-13].

(Sermon: "Human Responsibility," 1835 [his Anglican period] )
This verse says, "work out your salvation", not "work for your salvation".

Of course. I never claimed otherwise. When I implied this it was a use of sarcasm, according to the purpose of reductio ad absurdum in the previous paper (that is, not something I actually believe; I was making fun -- with my notorious dry wit -- of what many Protestants mistakenly think Catholics believe).

Work it out, what God has put in you; make it manifest by obedience, because God is in you.

No problem with that. I only object to the insinuation that this process has nothing to do with salvation. It clearly does, because Paul uses the word "salvation." What could be more clear than that? One can read in theological presuppositions if they wish, but that is eisegesis, and not the way to properly interpret Holy Scripture.

Monergism is only passive at the beginning point of regeneration. After that you make real choices because the heart has been set free. Monergism is not talking about sanctification. It is not passive once the heart and soul are regenerated. You still believe and choose and have to strive for holiness, etc. You make real choices. You believe; only because God first awakens the heart, makes the heart alive, (Ephesians 2:1-4), opens the heart (Acts 16:14) shines the light (2 Cor. 4:5).

I understand all that. My recent post detailing Luther's true teaching about the necessity of good works proves this. Again, your mistake lies in relegating this passage to sanctification, when that is not what the text says. Your position holds that sanctification has nothing formally, directly to do with salvation. But the text uses the word "salvation"; therefore, your position that it is about sanctification rather than salvation is utterly incoherent.

We are co-laborers with Christ. I Cor. 3:9 Monergism does not preclude our choices and will and actions and deeds and efforts in sanctification in manifesting the reality of salvation that God works in the heart, both to will and to work His pleasure. Again, monergism is only about the fact that God alone regenerates at the beginning because the soul is dead; like a dead battery. "you were dead in your trespasses and sins." Ephesians 2:1

No need to reiterate this. I understand it. But it is helpful to readers who are unacquainted with the Calvinist position.

Once God makes your heart alive, you must choose to obey and He give you the power and motivation to do that.

Indeed.

See Ezekiel 36:26 also, When God takes the stoney heart out and replaces it with a new soft pliable heart; then He causes them to walk in His statutes.

That's right.

The only problem, Ken, is that the verse does not separate sanctification and justification, as Protestants arbitrarily do. It is saying, rather, that we have the salvation and we also have to "work it out."

If we didn't have the salvation in some sense (we would call it regeneration or initial justification), then we wouldn't be able to "work it out." On the other hand, If we have it and we are working it out, then it is impossible to separate this "working" from salvation itself and put it into a little neat airtight compartment called "sanctification." And it is impossible to act as if the salvation was already obtained in one instant of justification, and thus assured forevermore. The Bible has a word for sanctification that could easily have been used here if indeed that is what Paul actually meant. He uses the other word himself, elsewhere.

If you're working out salvation, then obviously, the "working out" has to do directly with the salvation. According to your theology, the verse ought to say:
Work out your sanctification, in which you are grateful to God for your salvation and justification.

(RFB: Revised Fundamentalist Version)
But of course it does not. So in order to avoid the implications you have to play with the text and eisegete, and force it into an unbiblical Protestant soteriology. And this is only one of many many such passages.

Moreover, if this is merely the usual Protestant scenario of "doing good works in obedience and gratefulness for the justification already obtained by God's free gift of grace and imputed justification" then for what reason is the person "in fear and trembling"? What is he afraid of, or worried about, or vigilant to obtain? If you're simply doing good deeds to show God how much you love and thank Him for the irrevocable past gift of salvation, that you are absolutely sure you have already, why would you be scared and trembling?

It makes no sense; no more than would the analogy of a child who pleases his mother or father by washing the car or doing the dishes doing so in fear and trembling. Not at all. There is nothing to fear! The child is in fear and trembling when he or she fears being punished or displeasing parents, not when doing something nice for them, in love.

I think it is rather obvious, then, that Paul is teaching a vigilance in staying in a state of grace with God, lest we fall out of it (precisely as Catholics -- and to a large extent, Protestant Arminians -- hold). That is more than enough cause for "fear and trembling." Hence, Paul writes, along the same lines:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 10:7-12 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance." We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents; nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Galatians 5:1,4-7 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. . . . You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Philippians 3:8-17 Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us.

Colossians 1:21-23 And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, . . .

1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 5:15 For some have already strayed after Satan.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright is Dead Wrong For All the Wright Reasons (the Old Testament Prophetic Tradition, AIDS, and Abortion)




This paper presupposes that readers have been following (to some extent, anyway) the goings-on of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his pastor and "spiritual mentor" Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of the ultra-liberal United Church of Christ denomination. I was struck by several ironies and inconsistencies in his rhetoric, especially after he has now taken to giving public speeches, defending himself and his ludicrous positions. I felt compelled to express myself, because of the hypocrisy of this man.

Oddly enough, I myself have been exceedingly critical of America, from a generally conservative political perspective (largely due the scandal of legal abortion), but also one that is a Catholic "third way". It is not only political liberals who take such positions, and being intensely critical does not necessarily equate with a lack of patriotism or love for one's own country, any more than we would claim that the prophet Jeremiah did not love his nation because he (like all the prophets) scathingly criticized it. He spoke truth to his people, and condemned rampant sins and institutional sins. The Christian message (especially when applied to socio-political situations) contains an inherent prophetic element.

I've often argued in the past that the existing tragedy of the abortion holocaust should have been many many times more scandalous and troubling to Americans on an ongoing basis than 9-11 was, since it, too, involves the slaughter of "innocent" people, and -- even worse -- receives legal sanction in America, and the ethical sanction of many Christian denominations. And the numbers are exponentially greater: 50 million or so murders compared to some 3,000, or roughly 16,667 times more murders than on 9-11.

America is (so I have also contended more than once) arguably the most wicked nation in history, in light of abortion (not to mention other great sins in our past such as the near-genocide of the Indians and slavery), and in light of the biblical principle of "to whom much is given, much is required." I defended this at length in a paper, entitled: Is America the Wickedest Nation Ever? Yes (a Strong Biblical Case Can Be Made).

Rev. Wright has opined that 9-11 was a judgment on America. But he does so for the wrong reasons (or the Wright ones, as it were: to follow the wordplay in the title). Wright seems to think (as we see in the latest video being shown on the cable news stations) that America's foreign policy is literally the equivalent of that of the Islamic terrorists. This is not my position at all. I have defended the War in Iraq, twice (one / two). Like most people, I think we should get out as soon as we can (and made that clear at the time of my defense years ago), but I'm not at all sure as to how soon that might be.

Wright thinks that our military habitually and deliberately attacks innocent civilians as a matter of course. Though we did a lot of that in World War II, and I have condemned it in no uncertain terms, as has -- somewhat indirectly -- the Catholic Church, I submit that the truth of the matter is quite the contrary. We are fighting against those who do do such things. There is no "immoral equivalence" at all. But for some reason, Wright thinks this is the case.

He claimed that 9-11 was "America's chickens coming home to roost." For what, though, is the question? He would say it is all these imagined things that we are doing around the world, being a force more for evil than for good. It is typical left-wing, historically revisionist, selectively indignant anti-Americanism. He has to distort facts and argue like a radical Marxist handing out fliers on a college campus, to maintain his thesis.

Rev. Wright thinks that it is entirely possible that the American government deliberately spread the AIDS virus as a way to commit genocide against black people (because of the documented Tuskegee experiments that exploited black men with VD).

Rev. Wright calls our country the "US of KKKA", as if there has been no progress at all in race relations these past 50+ years, since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus (I recently sat in the very bus in a local museum), and Rev. Martin Luther King became a civil rights activist.

The most amazing thing is that he believes that America (well, he qualifies this to primarily the government) is still out to "get" African-Americans, despite the fact that one of his own church members (a black man) is almost certainly going to be the Democratic candidate for President. You try to figure that out. I can't. My powers of reasoning and analysis completely fail me on this one. But of course, Wright's feelings here are not based on reason, but rather, emotion over the many legitimate past grievances of African-Americans.

But back to the point I was advancing towards: Rev. Wright makes up imaginary present sins and proceeds to conclude that 9-11 was a judgment for those. He has talked about America "killing babies" in various wars. But to my knowledge, he hasn't uttered one peep about the gigantic legally-sanctioned wickedness of child-killing that we call legal abortion.

He is now covering himself in the mantle of the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament: one that is steeped in social justice and decrying of societal outrages and discrimination, and he makes out that the criticism of him is really an attack on this tradition of speaking truth to power, that is historically characteristic of the black churches. But he fails to see how much of that same prophetic tradition would condemn abortion as well.

This is, again, typical left-wing (or in this case, quite "mainstream liberal") ethical double standards and inconsistencies, with regard to its own ostensible rhetoric of being for the little guy: and the oppressed and helpless, etc., etc. ad nauseum. But not a peep about the ongoing slaughter of preborn children . . . The Old Testament that Rev, Wright likes to cite for his cause of anti-Americanism is filled with passages against abortion, child-killing in general, and the shedding of innocent blood:
You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 18:21)

"Say to the people of Israel, Any man of the people of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, who gives any of his children to Molech shall be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. I myself will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, defiling my sanctuary and profaning my holy name. (Leviticus 20:2-3)

For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. (Psalm 9:12)

they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. (Psalm 106:38)

There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, (Proverbs 6:16-18)

For behold the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:21)

Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways. (Isaiah 59:7)

Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of guiltless poor; . . . (Jeremiah 2:34)

if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, . . . (Jeremiah 7:6)

Because the people have forsaken me, and have profaned this place by burning incense in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, (Jeremiah 19:4)

Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. (Jeremiah 22:3)

But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence." (Jeremiah 22:17)

They built the high places of Ba'al in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (Jeremiah 32:35)

Then he said to me, "The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice; . . . (Ezekiel 9:9)

And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?. . . Thus says the Lord GOD, Because your shame was laid bare and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotries with your lovers, and because of all your idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, (Ezekiel 16:20-21,36)

When you offer your gifts and sacrifice your sons by fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, says the Lord GOD, I will not be inquired of by you. (Ezekiel 20:31)

You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and defiled by the idols which you have made; and you have brought your day near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mocking to all the countries. (Ezekiel 22:4)

For they have committed adultery, and blood is upon their hands; with their idols they have committed adultery; and they have even offered up to them for food the sons whom they had borne to me. (Ezekiel 23:37)

For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And lo, this is what they did in my house. (Ezekiel 23:39)

"Therefore, as I live," says the Lord God, "I will prepare you for blood, and blood shall pursue you; since you have not hated blood, therefore blood shall pursue you." (Ezekiel 35:6)

So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood which they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. (Ezekiel 36:18)

"Egypt shall become a desolation and Edom a desolate wilderness, for the violence done to the people of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. (Joel 3:19)

For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and he has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her. (Revelation 19:2)

I have been myself every bit as "prophetic" in my own denunciations of American law and culture due to this terrible evil as Jeremiah Wright has in his own fashion. I've even taken it deeper than he has. I don't confine myself to governmental blame, but say that all of us in this society have blood on our hands, as long as we allow the outrageous butchery and murder of children to continue. I'm taking my share of that blame, alongside everyone else, as I condemn the sin. I don't just stand here and preach and rail against everyone else's sins, or that of the government, or all the gazillions of white racists that Wright thinks are still out there: as he does.

But (unlike Wright) I haven't ignored those parts of the Bible that don't fit my political agenda: those that are in perfect accord with traditional Christian ethics, whether Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox. Most Protestant churches have, sadly, capitulated to the pro-death abortion culture. and Wright's United Church of Christ is at the forefront of such "progress." Here is its position on abortion:
The United Church of Christ (UCC) has strongly supported the legalization of abortion since 1971. The UCC supported FOCA and strongly opposed the PBA [Partial-Birth Abortion] ban to the point of joining the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARRAL) in a statement affirming President Clinton’s veto of the PBA Ban Act in 1996. The UCC has also called for the church to support abortion in any national health care bill.
As we would expect, based on observation of the descent of many Protestant denominations into heterodox theological liberalism, the UCC is in the forefront of compromise concerning homosexuality and so-called "gay marriage" as well. It voted (by an 80% majority) to approve same-sex "marriage" in July 2005: making it the largest denomination to do so as of yet. Gee, what a huge surprise! Who would have expected such a development??!!

Jeremiah Wright, despite all this, is delusional to such an extent that he actually thinks he is in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets and historic black churches, despite his denomination's belief in the moral propriety of sodomy and the slaughter of babies in the womb (or halfway out of it, on the way to be born, but for the butcher's knife of the abortionist). He uses the Christian religion the way a butcher uses a hog: to get what he wants out of it: no more and no less.

Alveda King, the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, wrote:
I can remember the days when Jesse Jackson was pro-life, and he went across the country calling abortion genocide. I don't understand how he took that turn or why. I personally believe that any leader, especially African-American leaders -- and I can say this because I'm African-American -- should be compelled to remember the days of slavery and to remember their responsibility toward the children we call the unborn. They are real people too, and they actually have civil rights.

(Illinois Leader, January 15, 2004)
Jesse Jackson eloquently defended the right to life of the preborn in a January 1977 article for Right to Life News:

Human beings cannot give or create life by themselves, it is really a gift from God. Therefore, one does not have the right to take away (through abortion) that which he does not have the ability to give.

Some argue, suppose the woman does not. want to have the baby. They say the very fact that she does not want the baby means that the psychological damage to the child is reason enough to abort the baby'. I disagree. The solution to that problem is not to kill the innocent baby, but to deal with her values and her attitude toward life . . . Deal with the attitude that would allow her to take away that which she cannot give. . . .

Another area that concerns me greatly, namely because I know how it has been used with regard to race, is the psycholinguistics involved in this whole issue of abortion. If something can be dehumanized through the rhetoric used to describe it, then the major battle has been won. . . . Those advocates of taking. life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder; they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore can be justified. . . .

What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of a person, and what kind of a society will we have 20 years hence if life can be taken so casually?

It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind-set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.

Jackson spoke at the 1977 March for Life. But when he ran for President, he reversed his position. In that year he wrote:
If one accepts the position that life is private, and therefore you have the right to do with it as you please, one must also accept the conclusion of that logic. That was the premise of slavery. You could not protest the existence or treatment of slaves on the plantation because that was private and therefore outside your right to be concerned.
But in 1988 he stated that "it is not right to impose private, religious and moral positions on public policy.''

Civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory has decried abortion as genocide:
Government family programs designed for poor Blacks which emphasize birth control and abortion with the intent of limiting the Black population is genocide. The deliberate killing of Black babies by abortion is genocide--perhaps the most overt of all.

(Ebony magazine, October, 1971)
For more information along these lines, see BlackGenocide.org and another article on black genocide.

All this murder and self-destruction is going on day in and day out in the African-American community, with the sanction and blessing of black pastors like Wright and Jesse Jackson (who often won't speak out against premarital sex, either), and yet Wright wants to talk about idiotic conspiratorial rumors of a deliberate AIDS genocide perpetrated by an evil whitey "KKK" government?! And he preaches things like the following?:
The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.

(April 2003)
May God help us all, with a nutcase like this parading around as a minster of the gospel. The only encouraging thing about it is that lots of people seem to know he is a nut. But conspiracy theories like this one (that Barack Obama today called "ridiculous") are believed by African-Americans in astonishing numbers. According to a 1999 scientific study of 520 black adults, 27% held to AIDS-conspiracy views, and 23% were undecided. A 1990 study of black church members discovered 35% who accepted the conspiracy theory. A 2003 study of 500 subjects produced similar remarkable results, with 27% opining that "AIDS was produced in a government laboratory."

Exchange With Protestants on the Meaning of "Unanimous Consent of the Fathers": Does it Allow Any Exceptions?



Baptist pastor and blog regular Ken Temple's words will be in blue. "Interlocutor"'s words will be in green. This is from a previous combox discussion originally having to do with Mary's sinlessness.

* * * * *

Mary was without sin even while on the earth,

You are just assuming that. Romans 3:23 "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

I'm not assuming anything because I have backed up these views with Holy Scripture:

Luke 1:28 (Full of Grace) and the Immaculate Conception: Linguistic and Exegetical Considerations

Dialogue on the Exegesis of Luke 1:28 ("Full of Grace"), and the Immaculate Conception (Dave Armstrong vs. Ken Temple)

Dialogue with an Evangelical Protestant on Catholic Mariology (including an explicitly biblical argument for the Immaculate Conception, from Luke 1:28, related exegesis, and the meaning of grace)
(Dave Armstrong vs. Jack DisPennett)

"All Have Sinned . . . " (Mary?)

* * *

Tertullian, Origen, Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Basil, Hillary – 6 of the Early Church fathers who taught that Mary had sinned.

So what?

Well, there goes "unanimous consent" of the fathers. Rome defines a dogma based on Tradition. We examine history and see there's actually conflicting views amongst the fathers. Is 1 father good enough as a witness for a dogma/Tradition, 10, 50? . . . It basically seems to come down to, Rome says it, so we'll believe it, even if the evidence to support it seems lacking which is problematic to most Protestants. "Unanimous consent", the "constant teaching of the church", etc. etc. basically boil down to "trust our authority, you're not reading history or scripture correctly". Is there then anyway to test traditions/teachings as Christ instructed? Not really - the faith in Rome is a priori.

The early church fathers who believed that Mary sinned, . . . completely destroys this idea of "the unanimous consent of the fathers", a completely non historical claim. What does it mean?

Well, there goes "unanimous consent" of the fathers.
Not at all, because you fail to understand that that term (used in this particular ecclesiological / patristic context) does not mean "absolutely every" -- as it is used today, but rather, "consensus of the vast majority" in line with the magisterium of the Church. See a short paper by Steve Ray that explains this.

On the unanimous consent of the fathers issue: Steve Ray and your argumentation just don't fly with logic, reason, normal use of language; nor history. It is a modern attempt to escape the implications of this; for if your church is wrong on one thing; the whole thing falls. And it is wrong on many things, especially the Marian dogmas and the "unanimous consent of the fathers" statements -- these things fell your Infallibility dogma and the whole RCC system like a giant oak tree falling down.

To the contrary, Your Dictionary.com gives the following as synonyms:

unanimity Synonyms

n.

accord, unity, unison, concord, consensus, harmony, concordance, sympathy, congruence, conformity, correspondence, apposition, compatibility; see also agreement 2.

Antonyms disagreement*, discord*, dissonance.
Note that "consensus" is included: precisely as I have stated. Not every term must mean "absolutely every." Roget's Thesaurus gives similar synonyms:

unanimity (520.5; under general category, "Assent")

like-mindedness, meeting of minds, concurrence, consent, accord, general agreement, consensus, consensus of opinion, general acclamation. [partial list]

(New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 3rd edition, 1962, p. 339)
Steve Ray wrote another article on this topic in Envoy Magazine. The Latin phrase is unanimem consensum Patrum . Note St. Vincent of Lerins' famous passage:
In the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that Faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense ‘Catholic,’ which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one Faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

(Commonitory, 2)
See how he qualifies it at the end? This passage is often used polemically against Catholics. So if it is to be so used, then let our detractors at least understand its meaning properly. The same book is also the most explicit exposition of the notion of development of doctrine in the Church fathers.

Answers.com gives the same meaning:
Thesaurus: unanimity

noun

The quality or condition of being in complete agreement or harmony: consensus, unanimousness. See agree/disagree.
If one follows the link to "consent" one finds:
Dictionary:
consensus

n.

1. An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole: “Among political women . . . there is a clear consensus about the problems women candidates have traditionally faced” (Wendy Kaminer). See Usage Note at redundancy.

2. General agreement or accord: government by consensus.

[Latin cōnsēnsus, from past participle of cōnsentīre, to agree. See consent.]
Thesaurus.com offers the same:

Main Entry: unanimity
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: The quality or condition of being in complete agreement or harmony.
Synonyms: consensus, unanimousness
Source: Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition
by the Editors of the American Heritage® Dictionary.
Copyright © 2003, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Now, if we follow the same source (Dictionary.com) for the definition of "consensus", we get the following:
1.majority of opinion: The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month.
2.general agreement or concord; harmony.

[Origin: 1850–55; <>consent
(īre) to be in agreement, harmony (con- con- + sentīre to feel; cf. sense) + -tus suffix of v. action]
Many say that the phrase consensus of opinion is redundant and hence should be avoided: The committee's statement represented a consensus of opinion. The expression is redundant, however, only if consensus is taken in the sense “majority of opinion” rather than in its equally valid and earlier sense “general agreement or concord.” Criticism of consensus of opinion has been so persistent and widespread that the phrase, even though in common use, occurs only infrequently in edited formal writing. The phrase general consensus is objected to for similar reasons. Consensus is now widely used attributively, esp. in the phrase consensus politics.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
Perhaps someone wants to quibble with the meaning of the word synonym? That won't work, either, according to Dictionary.com:

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)

synonym
–noun

1.a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another in the language, as joyful, elated, glad.
2.a word or expression accepted as another name for something, as Arcadia for pastoral simplicity; metonym.
3.Biology. one of two or more scientific names applied to a single taxon.

[Origin: 1400–50; <>synōnymum
<>synnymon, n. use of neut. of synnymos synonymous; r. ME sinonyme < class="luna-Img" src="http://cache.lexico.com/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.png" alt="" border="0">]

Online Etymology Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This

synonym


1432 (but rare before 18c.), from L. synonymum, from Gk. synonymon "word having the same sense as another," noun use of neut. of synonymos "having the same name as, synonymous," from syn- "together, same" + onyma, Aeolic dialectal form of onoma "name" (see name). Synonymous is attested from 1610.


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

WordNet
- Cite This Source - Share This

synonym

noun
two words that can be interchanged in a context are said to be synonymous relative to that context [ant: antonym]

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.What was it you claimed again?: "Steve Ray and your argumentation just don't fly with logic, reason, normal use of language; nor history".

Nice try. I rest my case. Your negative characterization of this point falls flat. The meaning as used by Catholics is completely possible by the rules of etymology and definition, as I have just demonstrated. You want to quibble? Then go after dictionary and thesaurus; it's no longer my problem, but your war with established, documented usage.

* * *

I'm aware of that view which is why I didn't bring forth Irenaeus and some of his views on Jesus' age and millenialism. That's why I mentioned the numbers - what percentage comprise a "vast majority"? We have 6 listed so far denying it, however many affirming her sinlessness (though they may admit they are speculating or that it's a matter of pious opinion), and however many silent on the issue. Do you think the Assumption has the "unanimous consent" of the fathers then, given you would not be able to bring forth a "vast majority" of fathers writing on it (and Epiphanus admits he is mainly speculating) and in light of the Joussard quote *? Or, if you think that is sidetracking the issue from the IC, where are the critical responses from others to the writings of the fathers who did not hold to the IC if this was the general belief of the "vast majority"? (This is simply a reversal of the "argument from silence" that Ray promotes for the papacy).

* Now I have not read this work (so maybe context helps), but came across this citation which seems to gel with many non-RC concerns over Tradition (here with the Assumption, but could deal with the IC reasoning as well as many other RC teachings): Joussard cited in Carol's Mariology:
A word of caution is not impertinent here. The investigation of patristic documents might well lead the historian to the conclusion: In the first seven or eight centuries no trustworthy historical tradition on Mary’s corporeal Assumption is extant, especially in the West. The conclusion is legitimate; if the historian stops there, few theological nerves will be touched. The historian’s mistake would come in adding: therefore no proof from tradition can be adduced. The historical method is not the theological method, nor is historical tradition synonymous with dogmatic tradition.
Ken has produced six who denied the sinlessness of Mary. I have 61 fathers listed in my book on the fathers. I have documented for many of these, that they accepted Mary's sinlessness.

The Assumption was a very slowly developing doctrine and difficult to find at all in many fathers, but that gives me no pause over against Protestantism, since the two pillars of Protestantism, sola Scriptura and sola fide, are scarcely found at all among the fathers (I devoted over 100 pages to the utter lack of the first concept in my book), and the canon of Scripture is a completely "unbiblical" doctrine, where the Protestant has to inconsistently rely on the infallibility of Catholic Church tradition.

If you think 5-10% dissent in the fathers regarding particular issues is a problem for us, why is not 95-100% dissent in the fathers and complete absence in Scripture as well (canon, Bible alone) not a problem for you? Goose and gander.

See related papers:

Dialogue on Whether the Assumption and Immaculate Conception of Mary are Legitimately Part of Apostolic Tradition (Dave Armstrong vs. James White)
"Live Chat" Dialogue on Patristic Consensus (Particularly, Mariology) (Dave Armstrong vs. James White)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dialogue With an African-American on Rev. Wright and Racism (Including In-Depth Biblical Examinations of Complete Sermons and Speeches on Judgment)



This came about as a result of my post: Rev. Jeremiah Wright is Dead Wrong For All the Wright Reasons (the Old Testament Prophetic Tradition, AIDS, and Abortion). Amaryah is a 20-year-old African-American woman (see her blog, Not Like Crazy . . .). She responded in the combox for this post, and I counter-replied. She then made a second, fuller reply. This post is a response to her second comment. I wholeheartedly thank Amaryah for taking the time to interact with myself and my readers on this very important topic, and engaging in dialogue. I wish there were a hundred people with her opinions that would come here and talk, or that would be willing to dialogue with me on their own blogs. Few things would please me more, as I have been intensely interested in race relations issues for now more than 40 years. Her words will be in blue.

* * * * *

Here's a couple of links to some fuller sermons:

After 9/11 [ link to You Tube sermon: Part One ] [+ Part Two / Part Three / Part Four ]

I'm listening to this complete sermon. I'll comment as I see fit. At about the four-minute mark of Part One he is talking about Psalm 137, about Israel lamenting about its exile in Babylon. He made the remark that in all his years of preaching (since 1959, making it 42 years), he had never preached about the last three verses, and that these were rarely dealt with from the pulpit (although he did say a little bit later that he had taught on them in Bible study classes. For my part, I have heard (in evangelical congregations) several sermons or teachings on this subject matter (I can vividly remember one Bible study, because I made a comment), and have written about it myself.

For example, in my 1996 book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, in commenting on Revelation 6:9-10, I mentioned (pp. 112-113) the same concept:
Here the martyrs in Heaven are uttering what are known as "imprecatory prayers." These are not so much vengeful as they are a plea for, and recognition of, God's role as the wrathful Judge who will rescue and vindicate the righteous, either in this life or the next. Examples can be found particularly in the Psalms (Psalms 35, 59, 69, 79, 109, 139) and in Jeremiah (11:18 ff., 15:15 ff., 18:19 ff., 20:11 ff.).

(see also the same point made in an online article that I wrote for my own parish: under #2)
Here is an excellent article on imprecatory prayers, by Bob Deffinbaugh (Baptist, I believe), and another by Jeff Ziegler, and a third, from the excellent site (that I link to): Christian Think Tank. I'm simply noting that I am well familiar with the concept he is talking about, and I don't think it is quite as unknown in Christian circles as he implies. How he goes about interpreting the same biblical data may become problematic, too (since he is part of a denomination that is theologically ultra-liberal). I'll see what I think as I listen to the sermon.

At around 5:00, Rev. Wright compares the historic experience of black people in slavery and facing discrimination, with the strong feelings expressed by the Hebrews in captivity. I have no problem with that. It makes perfect sense to me. I would feel exactly the same. In the instances where I have experienced prejudice against myself (as a Catholic, or pro-lifer, or political conservative, or a male in dealing with extreme feminists, or as a white person, dealing with black racists: once, for example, I was not allowed to enter a room and listen to a free speech from folks who believed in some sort of "black liberation theology", at Wayne State University in Detroit), I felt outraged, too. I can't even imagine what slavery would be like. It is an unfathomable horror to contemplate.

At 6:00 he is talking about how 9-11 raised in some people feelings such as those expressed in Psalm 137. That makes sense to me too. Shortly after that he preaches on 2 Kings 25: the description of the fall of Jerusalem, to give the congregation a sense of what it felt like to be overrun by enemies. So far so good.

In Part Two he continues the narrative of the fall of Jerusalem, in rather striking analogy to 9-11. The man is (stylistically) a great preacher; no question about it. But the content, as we shall see, sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, and he leaves out crucial aspects that need to also be included, to present a fuller biblical worldview.

Around 4:00 he is talking about how the early part of Psalm 137 highlighted "reverence." Then at 5:00 he says that this theme turned to revenge in the latter part of the Psalm. This is true on a human level; however, imprecatory Psalms are more complex than that, because there is a multi-faceted aspect of divine judgment being executed as well.

For what the Psalmist expresses in Psalm 137 (even in the last part) reflects God's righteous judgment (and this is, after all, divinely-inspired Scripture; not mere words and emotions of men -- though it includes those things). This is quite clear in Scripture. Babylon is judged by God in passages such as Isaiah 13 (including "infants" who are "dashed in pieces" and "wives ravished" -- 13:16; cf. 13:18). The denunciation continues in Isaiah 14, including these words:

Isaiah 14:1-2 (RSV) The LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and aliens will join them and will cleave to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the LORD's land as male and female slaves; they will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.
Thus the agents of judgment were themselves judged, because it doesn't follow that the agent was therefore righteous, just because they were used by God for His purposes. I've written about this at length in my paper on the Judgment of Nations (with tons of Scriptural support).

The theme of judgment of Babylon continues in Isaiah 43:14-17 and chapter 47. God is the one who is vengeful, and He can use human armies to exercise His vengeance (and to maintain civil order: Romans 13: the "power of the sword"). Note how Babylon, whom God used to judge Israel, was herself judged by God:

Isaiah 47:3,6,9,11 Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your shame shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no man.

I was angry with my people, I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand, you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.

These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood
shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments.

But evil shall come upon you, for which you cannot atone; disaster shall fall upon you, which you will not be able to expiate; and ruin shall come on you suddenly, of which you know nothing.

Jeremiah 50 and 51 provide further prophetic denunciations of Babylon (and note how the main reason is how she treated Israel, including divine vengeance for having destroyed the temple):

Jeremiah 50:17-18,24,28 Israel is a hunted sheep driven away by lions. First the king of Assyria devoured him, and now at last Nebuchadrez'zar king of Babylon has gnawed his bones. Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria.

I set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon, and you did not know it; you were found and caught, because you strove against the LORD.

"Hark! they flee and escape from the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the LORD our God, vengeance for his temple.

Jeremiah 51:5-6,10-11,24,34-37,49-51,56 For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the LORD of hosts; but the land of the Chalde'ans is full of guilt against the Holy One of Israel. "Flee from the midst of Babylon, let every man save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance, the requital he is rendering her.

The LORD has brought forth our vindication; come, let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God. "Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields! The LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for his temple.

I will requite Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chalde'a before your very eyes for all the evil that they have done in Zion, says the LORD.

"Nebuchadrez'zar the king of Babylon has devoured me, he has crushed me; he has made me an empty vessel, he has swallowed me like a monster; he has filled his belly with my delicacies, he has rinsed me out. The violence done to me and to my kinsmen be upon Babylon," let the inhabitant of Zion say. "My blood be upon the inhabitants of Chalde'a," let Jerusalem say. Therefore thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will plead your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her fountain dry; and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant.

Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, as for Babylon have fallen the slain of all the earth. "You that have escaped from the sword, go, stand not still! Remember the LORD from afar, and let Jerusalem come into your mind: `We are put to shame, for we have heard reproach; dishonor has covered our face, for aliens have come into the holy places of the LORD's house.'

. . . for the LORD is a God of recompense, he will surely requite.
The Edomites (Ps 137:7) are also judged by God (Jer 49:7-22; Lam 4:21-22; Ezek 25:12-14, 35:15; Joel 3:19; Amos 9:12; Ob 10 ff.)

For further material about such judgments by God, including massacres, see my papers (including links to many other similar treatments): "How Can God [in the OT] Order the Killing and Massacre of Innocents?" [Amalekites, etc.] (+ Discussion).

Rev. Wright neglects to take into account all these things. He doesn't give his hearers the whole picture. He seems to reduce Scripture to a mere narrative of men; minimizing its divine inspiration, and the use of men with ordinary emotions, for the expression of divine purposes. Thus, the Psalmist in Psalm 137:7-9 expresses, by divine inspiration, God's own will for the later judgment of Babylon, as seen in several other passages, from God Himself, through the mouths of the prophets. It's not only human emotions over having been conquered and oppressed.

At 8:00 he appears to be moving towards a pacifist or semi-pacifist position, whereby it is wrong for the United States to militarily strike the terrorists who were behind 9-11. This is where he starts to go off: as if all military action flows simply from the unsavory and sinful feelings of revenge. This is not true. The Bible doesn't teach that (see my paper on pacifism, just war, and the Bible).

How ironic, that in sermons that have been sound-byted by the media, with context neglected (and I agree that that practice is generally grossly unfair, and we Catholics have often had our words taken out of context and distorted by those who passionately oppose our theology), Rev. Wright himself neglects all sorts of biblical context, and thus presents half-truths with regard to the motif of judgment in Scripture. He selectively offers what he wants to present, in order to further his political purposes.

This is altogether typical of theologically liberal preaching by political liberals. The politics overcomes the Bible and orthodox theology. The political ideology in effect becomes the new religion (to some degree, at least). It is ultimately a great abuse of the Bible. I've already noted the hypocrisy of Wright and many in the black churches, in never condemning abortion: the greatest evil by far of our time. This is yet more hypocrisy and neglect of the full message of Holy Scripture.

At 9:00 in Part Two, Wright is excoriating (at 9:16) the "hatred of unarmed innocents: the babies; blessed are they who dash your baby's brains against a rock, and that, my beloved, is a dangerous place to be" -- based on Ps 137:7-9. But as I've just shown, it is not necessarily the case that the Psalmist hates children! He is expressing (as an inspired writer of God-breathed Scriptural revelation) the completely justified divine wrath. Would Wright also condemn God for the sin of "revenge" when He expresses the same thing? If not, then why can't the Psalmist reflect that? The Bible is not mere human opinion.

Besides, how dare Wright condemn the murder of innocent children (in this case as ordained by God as part of particular judgment), while his own denomination upholds the legality of partial birth dismemberment, where a "doctor" pulls a child halfway from its mother's womb, inserts scissors into his or her brain, and crushes his or her skull, to deliver the child to our lovely, just world, immediately into the trash can or incinerator?

It's exactly what is described in Psalm 137, that he is preaching against! The only difference is that in the old days the baby was thrown against a rock. Now we have educated doctors (just as the Nazis who designed the Final Solution were highly educated and scientifically sophisticated) slaughter them by ripping them limb from limb, or burning them, or crushing their skulls (see the pictures of these perfectly legal "procedures").

What sort of man would condemn one thing out of one side of his (very loud) mouth and ignore the same outrageous injustice right beneath his nose? He condemns the ancient Israelites who felt an urge for revenge, while he ignores his own society; his own denomination, probably within a few blocks of the place he preached this very sermon NOW: with the murder of the innocent unborn child occurring every day, day and night, year in and year out, legally upheld (just as slavery once was), to the tune of over 50 million now murdered. And he thinks he is the one who is preaching all of this wonderful biblical justice and righteousness, with this sort of manifest Pharisaical blindness and hypocrisy on his own part?

At 1:30 of Part Three, Rev. Wright notes how America is guilty of the sins of taking the Indians' land, and of slavery ("terrorism"). Quite true, and I agree. He cites some white ambassador who was on Fox News and claims that he made the statement, citing Malcolm X: "America's chickens are coming home to roost." Fox News, however (i.e., Sean Hannity) has pointed out the last two nights that this person never made the statement that Wright attributed to him. He misquoted him. Isn't that interesting?

Then he goes on to condemn various bombings (Grenada, Panama, Iraq), as if they were all equally immoral and designed to kill innocents. I highly doubt that this was the case. I do, however, condemn with him, the nuclear bombings in Japan in 1945. Now, with some of these points (if we set aside the blurred distinctions for a moment) are valid. We have done acts of evil and have called them good, many times. We tried to justify the slaughter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it can't be done. I don't object (in the main) to Wright making these observations, nor to the notion of American possibly being judged or being subject to the biblical principle of "what you sow, so shall you reap."

What I object to primarily is his astonishing blindness concerning abortion. He is neck-deep in justification of that. He winks at it while condemning these other outrages. He's a moral hypocrite. I can sit here as a despised "white conservative" and agree with much of his analysis of America's historic sins, but Rev. Wright won't agree with me that abortion is a grave evil and ought not be legal in any civilized nation. I am on record stating that America is the most wicked nation of all time, by biblical standards.

I can put Wright to shame in excoriating America's sins. I hold that all of us are complying with the abortion holocaust, by letting it continue, when we could stop it in a month, legally-speaking. We're all neck-deep in baby's body parts and blood. I've even agreed (shortly after 9-11, on my website) that America played a significant role in stirring up Muslim resentment, and thus having some contributing indirect cause in the tragic events of 9-11.

At 4:28 of Part Three, Wright asks: "what should our response be right now?" [to 9-11]. He said that he "asked the Lord" that question four days in a row. At 5:50 he starts talking about three things he says God told him. At 6:05 he gives #1: "this is a time for self-examination." Amen! Let's get America to start thinking about abortion. That's how I reacted to 9-11. When I heard of 3,000 deaths in the twin towers, I immediately thought of the 4,000 or so innocent preborn children who were also murdered on that same day, with legal sanction, and every day since January 1973. And I thought about how we don't care about that as a country, simply because those victims are so small, and unseen.

At 6:20 Wright said that this was a time for him to examine his relationship with God. Good. At 7:00 he noted how prayer and church services were filled right after 9-11. Normal human behavior there . . . God often has to wake us up. This is good stuff. Catholics are big on self-examination. We have a thing called "examination of conscience" that we do before another thing that we call confession. There's plenty of self-examination in our tradition. So I find this particular motif quite "Catholic." He went on to reflect on family relationships. I have no objection to any of this. It is good teaching. He said that we need to love each other in our church relationships. Amen.

Part Four continues this theme. I would add "how about loving the unborn child too?" How about liberals, who claim to be for the oppressed, the "little guy" start extending this care and compassion to the smallest among the family of human beings? At 3:20 he starts talking about "social transformation." Now we're back to the political. He describes America as "an arrogant, racist military superpower" (4:05). He urges that America shouldn't try to declare war on terrorists, but rather, declare war on racism (4:20). "Maybe we need to declare war on injustice" (4:25). Amen! How about starting with the defenseless unborn child? And we gotta declare war on "greed".

Rev. Wright lives in a $10,000,000 house, and drives a Mercedes-Benz. As usual, the liberal exempts himself from the advice and moralizing of his own sermons. At 4:53 he says: "maybe we need to declare war on AIDS". Like we haven't done so? This is so asinine that it doesn't deserve any rebuttal. We've virtually cured the thing already after many millions of dollars poured into the effort.

Then he hits on the truth again: lambasting the government for neglecting the health needs of the poor and public education. Liberals fight at every turn any educational reform. They despise home-schoolers like my wife and myself, precisely because we have rejected this same overwhelmingly liberal-run public school system as grossly inadequate and amoral. But when Wright says the same thing we have been saying for years, he is lauded and applauded. He ends the sermon on the usual spiritual themes of thanksgiving to and praise of God.

The other sermon I have been given a link to is the one where Wright says "God damn America . . ." (well, 6:48 of it, anyway). America should be judged. I wholeheartedly agree, and have said so for many years. God would be perfectly justified, in my opinion, to reduce the entire country to a pile of ashes tomorrow. But judged for what? That's the question. If politically conservative Christians say it should be judged for abortion or homosexuality, we are written off as nuts and fanatics. But if a (usually liberal) black preacher says we should go down for militarism and imperialism and racism, that is a profound pearl of truth that no one could doubt (because it's fashionable left-wing polemics).

I have agreed with large chunks of Wright's analysis, but again, he won't agree that sodomy and slaughter of innocent children are also fit for judgment? His denomination supports same-sex "marriage" and abortion, including partial-birth infanticide. WHY? Why can't he see this? Why are sexual sins exempted from the list of things that God might judge a country for? But let's see what he says in this sermon:

He decries slavery. I don't know a single reputable person today who defends slavery or denies that it was a huge national sin (only nuts and neo-Nazi types and however many KKK are still around, do that) . So there is no argument there whatsoever. At 0:50 he mentions the Dred Scott decision of 1857, that denied the personhood of black people. We pro-lifers have been using that example for years, as a parallel to Roe v. Wade, that denies the personhood of preborn babies. But that is off the radar screen for Wright. He apparently thinks that preborn African-Americans are not people and have no rights. He's the one who is, therefore, upholding the racism and the Dred Scott mentality today.

Every mother owns her preborn child and can do with him or her what she wills, including the most cruel forms of torture and murder. That's slavery. No one owns another human being. I want those children to live! But Wright dehumanizes them and allows them to be slaughtered and won't say one word of condemnation against that unspeakably evil outrage. He is more concerned about an unjust and outrageous 1857 Supreme Court Decision than a far worse 1973 decision and the slaughter of black children (and all other colors of children) today, every day. He'd rather lecture us about 1857 and the abominable history of race relations in this country.

Thankfully, he allows the possibility that "governments change" (1:20). Great. Yet he thinks that today's government would plant AIDS to target black people for genocide? Huh? He praises Bill Clinton at 2:10, but then "government changed" again and evil George W. Bush came in. "The election was stollen. We went from an intelligent friend to a dumb Dixiecrat: a rich Republican, who has never held a job in his life" (2:20).

He then preaches about how God doesn't change. He's against slavery now as he was before. "Governments fail" (4:30). They sure do, don't they? Ours can't even provide the most fundamental right to the preborn child: the right to life. And professed Christians like Rev. Wright can't even see the injustice of that. Folks like Clinton, Gephardt, Gore, and Jesse Jackson can understand this and then reject it simply because they are running for political office and because the Democrats won't tolerate rights for the unborn. Lord help us.

At 4:40 he goes after the British Empire and its practice of colonization. A very fair and justified critique . . . He attacks the treatment of the Indians at 5:15. I couldn't agree more. He decries the internment camps for the Japanese-Americans in WWII. Virtually no one would disagree with the wrongness of that, either. He returns to the theme of slavery. We all agree it was wrong (except for fanatics and extremist nuts)!

At 6:10 he claims that "the government gives then [black people] the drugs . . ." Now, government is responsible for every drug dealer in the ghettoes? It's all the government's fault? yet another conspiracy? Where is the fault of the actual criminals, for heaven's sake? Then at 6:20 he gets to the famous line, and it continues: ". . . for killing innocent people" and treating certain citizens as "less than human." (all except babies, of course, as usual). How can one be so blind?

So once again, it is the moral hypocrisy of not including abortion in all his social denunciations which is the primary problem.

And now I return to Amaryah's comments. She provided a link to an article: Toxic Sludge Being Marketed as Fertilizer Utilizing Low-Income Americans as Guinea Pigs, noting that "things like this are still happening." I agree that things like this still take place, and that it is an outrage. It's still a far cry, however, from the claim that the government planted AIDS as genocide against black people. I'm not arguing that government (whoever is running it) is saintly. I'm contending that some claims about it are ludicrous and unfounded.

Its not completely outside of the realm of possibility to believe the government capable of such a thing. While I don't agree with the Rev. Wright's assertion, I don't think he should be labeled a kook, . . .

Okay, so we agree that the claim is quite disputable; our disagreement is how relatively kooky or nutty it is to make such a claim. I can handle that. At least you disagree with the assertion. I would even agree that, because of things like what the above article describes, and the Tuskegee experiments that went all the way to 1972 (!!), that there is some small degree of plausibility. But I do not agree at all that it is likely, let alone factual, that (white, government) folks actually plotted to have AIDS destroy an entire race of people.

The targets of genocide today are children in the womb, not African-Americans. But black people are, strangely enough, in league with the pro-death mentality. They vote 90% for the folks who uphold that genocide. They have disproportionate numbers of abortions. Because of the overwhelming politically liberal position of black people, they buy (on the whole) this feminist / pro-abortion mentality hook, line, and sinker. This is what I find so amazing. Black folks, of all people, should be attuned to injustice being perpetrated against others with no cause.

especially when more white people in America believe Elvis is alive than believe that racism is still a serious problem [link].

Now this is very interesting, and I agree with you. The poll would depend on how "very serious" problems of racism are defined. I don't deny for a second that racism is still around. My main point there is that laws have vastly changed. Attitudes have changed to a large extent, too, but people's hearts still have the same old problems. There are all sorts of subtle racist feelings. How about, for example, letting your daughter marry a black man (no problem whatsoever for me)?

Things are a lot better than they were, but we still have a long way to go. That is my opinion on the matter. Some of the things in the survey are a bit subjective. 40% of blacks think they are treated equally in their communities, too. So are 4 out of 10 black people nuts (and like us blind white people who are dense about the black experience) because they don't see what the other 6 out of 10 view as an obvious truism? People have different experiences and perceptions. We know these are not just black conservatives because there aren't that many, by a long shot. I don find it an informative and interesting article, and I would agree with it for the most part. If I am asked whether I think white people underestimate the problems that black people continue to experience in a dominant white society, I readily agree that this is the case.

I believe Rev. Wright said things are better now in his PBS interview.

Good.

Also, the excelling of one African America does not prove that things are "far better now."

That's not the point. It isn't just one person making good money, but a person being the likely Democratic candidate for President. That is a huge change (along with, for that matter, a woman being the other possible candidate), because (I think it can safely be said) that would not have been possible even just a generation ago. This is real progress, and it can't be dismissed so easily.

Madame CJ Walker was the first female millionare in America and this happened in the early 1900's. If we followed your logic, her success should prove that racial problems we're "far better" than slavery . . .

Not at all, because that's not my logic. There are always exceptions to the rule, in any event. But if she was a serious presidential candidate, that would be my logic. But that didn't happen (for either a woman or a black person) till the year 2008, did it?

. . . and possibly a little bit, but always when talking about race it has been easier for whites to look back and see the magnitude of the problem later than when they're currently entrenched in it.

I think that's true. And black people are able to be blind to the abortion holocaust that is all around them, and not see the parallels to both slavery and Nazi Germany. I find that equally as amazing and inexplicable, I assure you. There is more than enough blindness and moral hypocrisy to go around.

However, blacks and other people of color who continue to fight against racism are labelled as kooks and troublemakers, stirring up divisions.

They are considered kooks when they say goofy, false things. Al Sharpton, for example, is not liked much by white folks, not because he is black, but because he is a demagogue, and deliberately tries to stir up racial tensions. You're not even old enough to remember the Tawana Brawley incident, that turned out to be a hoax. I remember it very well. This kind of nutty stuff is what white people despise as trumped-up exploitation (often for personal gain and/or fame) of existing race problems.

This is why we don't care for folks like Sharpton: the facts of the matter: not merely because he may advocate racial justice. I do that myself, and have my entire life. And that is what we object to in remarks like Wright's, that the government invented AIDS to kill African-Americans. It's kooky and wacko. It doesn't help advance race relations one iota to spew ridiculous falsehoods like that.

In fact, I would argue that it literally exacerbates racial tensions (a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy), because then white people of a sort inclined to be racist, will reason, "man, if a seemingly intelligent black preacher like this can believe such a silly thing, then black people must be pretty stupid and gullible." The prejudiced mindset will jump from the particular instance, to the generalization about the whole group. And so in this fashion, polemics like Wright's increase and promote the very racism and prejudice that he wants to oppose and lessen.

Furthermore, if you think black people are having children out of wedlock because they've bought into "sexual freedom," I think that's highly simplistic and seems to ignore how the creation of ghettos, and by consequence their extreme poverty which feeds a lot into out of wedlock births (because the same thing happens in extremely poor white areas as well), came to be a major part of the problem.

This is a naive analysis (I'll trade criticisms with you, since you said my belief was simplistic) that doesn't take into account many relevant factors and variables. I majored in sociology in college (the very field that studies things like formations of ghettoes and racism). I grew up in inner-city Detroit and went to all Detroit public schools (my high school was 80% black) and even to college in Detroit (Wayne State, which had about a 20-25% black population when I was there in the late 70s: far more than the University of Michigan or Michigan State University had). I know a little bit about these things.

First of all, you have to understand that the black family survived slavery intact. Black families have historically been very strong. That is not the case today, with African-American communities in virtual collapse, family-wise. Something changed. I say it is the Sexual Revolution and LBJ's Great Society. That has destroyed the black family structure, as it was historically. I won't pull out actual figures now, but I have seen them, and would be more than happy to produce them again if you wish to challenge what I assert.

About 40 years ago or so, illegitimacy rates in the black community were higher than in the white community, but not significantly higher. Today they are at 75% or so, which is a socially alarming statistic. Something caused that. You can't say it was slavery, because it wasn't there a hundred years ago, or even 30 or 40 years ago. So what caused this? You can't say it was merely racism, if you acknowledge that things are better at all than they used to be. The causes have to lie elsewhere. You can't say it is simply poverty.

It's true that if you control for the factor of poverty, poor whites and blacks have very similar situations, in illegitimacy and other social ills. But there is more going on than that. The African-American community (in far greater numbers than for whites) is plagued by fatherless families. You know it; I know it. No one can deny this. We can only argue as to cause. If you want to maintain that racism alone caused this, and only in the last 30-40 years, feel free, but I think it falls flat. That is truly naive and simplistic . . .

This stuff has to do with welfare and how it decimated black communities by enshrining lack of work and irresponsibility, and what that did to marital relations, with the husband not being needed, since Uncle Sam was providing income (and poor black men often being unemployed). Yet Rev. Wright blasted Bill Clinton's welfare reform as a bad thing. He obviously doesn't understand these variables, either. It was, in my opinion, backed up by statistics and sociological analyses, that welfare mentality along with the sexual and feminist revolutions that are the cause of the present astonishing decline of intact black families. The historic and continuing racism ties into that, too, of course, but not as primary cause in this instance.

Not every bad thing in the African-American community is because of racism. Some people (like Bill Cosby) get this and are trying to get the message through, but it is a slow process, because liberals are not big on personal sexual responsibility. They fight against it at every turn (and we see it in their lives: such as Jesse Jackson fathering children out of wedlock, or Coleman Young, former mayor of Detroit: and they are applauded for doing so).

Also, Barack Obama's calling Rev. Wright "ludicrous," is coming from a black man trying to run for president. His having to distance himself from comments that discomfort the majority of white America doesn't prove that he's "ludicrous," simply that white America and black America are on two different wavelengths and Barack has to cater to the majority.

I agree with the political realities of such a situation; however, I don't think we have to assume that Barack Obama is lying through his teeth. I think he truly believes what he is saying. Are you saying he is a liar, and doesn't really believe his current statements? He already claimed in his Philadelphia speech that he disagreed strongly with Rev. Wright's statements.

Secondly, you claim that this is simply a matter of different perceptions of whites and blacks. That is quite simplistic as well. It isn't just white people who think Wright is a kook and extremist. Plenty of black folk do too. You cited polls. I will do so as well. I like polls. They can provide a great deal of objective information.

According to a Rasmussen Report (national phone survey), reported on March 17th, 73% of voters said that Wright's comments were "racially divisive). Now, of course, in such matters, we always have to break the data down into black and white. And so, doing that, we find that 77% of whites felt that way, but also 58% of blacks, which is a significant majority, that would be considered a landslide in an election. So now, what do you do? Say that 58% of black people don't know that racism continues to exist in America?

The one-cause-for-all mentality doesn't work in this case. There has to be something in play besides unwillingness to face, or ignorance about racism. Black people think he is extreme, too. You're in the minority on this one, even among your fellow African-Americans. And that was before the current fracas. I suspect that his "negatives" will rise much higher now, because blacks will choose Obama over Wright (if they are forced to choose who to believe) in a heartbeat.

18% of African-Americans said they would be less likely to vote for Obama because of his association with Wright. That's less statistically significant, but still indicative of a strong "negative" for Wright. One out of five of a huge constituency group is highly relevant in politics, though. 16% also said Obama should leave Wright's church. So it ain't like only rich white suburbanites (I'm a fairly poor white suburbanite) or red-necked hicks think these things.

A Pew Research poll from March 27th reports that 29% of blacks were offended by Wright's sermons, while 43% of Democrats were, and even 33% of Obama's supporters (59% of Clinton's).

In my previous paper on Wright, I cited (at the end) three surveys as to black opinions on the AIDS conspiracy theory. They showed that only 27% (twice) or 35% believed this. That means, of course, that 73% and 65% did not, which are huge majorities. So it can hardly be deemed white blindness on racism alone when a white guy like me merely agrees with what 65% or 83% of black people also think, where goofy notions like the AIDS conspiracy are concerned.

I've also read the complete transcription of Rev. Wright's remarks at the National Press Club (4-28-08). I'll comment on a good amount of that now (with his words in green):

. . . . this most recent attack on the black church is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright; it is an attack on the black church.

He wraps himself in the Great Tradition, in order to escape the responsibility for his imbecilic remarks and (now, increasingly) behavior. This won't fly, because, as I have shown, a majority of black people do not agree with his goofy remarks. He can certainly claim to be a preacher in the tradition, but not in line with the best of the historic, venerable tradition.

Maybe now, as an honest dialogue about race in this country begins, a dialogue called for by Senator Obama and a dialogue to begin in the United Church of Christ among 5,700 congregations in just a few weeks, maybe now, as that dialogue begins, the religious tradition that has kept hope alive for people struggling to survive in countless hopeless situation, maybe that religious tradition will be understood, celebrated, and even embraced by a nation that seems not to have noticed why 11 o’clock on Sunday morning has been called the most segregated hour in America.

I'm doing my best to participate in such a dialogue. I hope more African-Americans will engage in it with me on this blog, or invite me to theirs, and I'll be more than happy to come talk, if cordiality and lack of personal insults are the order of the day. I love the black churches (the last time I attended one was to see Aretha Franklin sing in a Detroit church. We had a glorious time there). It is because of the love I have for them that I am so saddened to see the historic message they have brought soiled and corrupted by the mess of pottage that is the political far-left (that ultimately derived from a lot of Dead White Guys).

As for being segregated at church, I have worshipped with far more African-Americans as a Catholic than I ever did as a Protestant. Our dearest friend at our parish (where we've been for 17 years) was a black man who died in the last year. We visited his home, his wife in the hospital, and went to his funeral. Most of the evangelical congregations I used to attend were lily-white. Just an observation . . .

Maybe this dialogue on race, an honest dialogue that does not engage in denial or superficial platitudes, maybe this dialogue on race can move the people of faith in this country from various stages of alienation and marginalization to the exciting possibility of reconciliation.

Amen! But I'll guarantee that political liberalism is not the answer to racism or problems in the black community. The principles of biblical Christianity are the answer and solution. I'd say the same about political conservatism, by the way, to the extent that it departs from biblical and historic Christianity (as it, too, sometimes does, though a lot less than with liberalism).

. . . [I am] a pastor and a professor who comes from a long tradition of what I call the prophetic theology of the black church.

Except where that prophetic, biblical theology deals with the slaughter of babies . . . somehow that can be overlooked, just as racism has often been overlooked by the dominant white culture.

Now, in the 1960s, the term “liberation theology” began to gain currency with the writings and the teachings of preachers, pastors, priests, and professors from Latin America. Their theology was done from the underside.

Their viewpoint was not from the top down or from a set of teachings which undergirded imperialism. Their viewpoints, rather, were from the bottom up, the thoughts and understandings of God, the faith, religion and the Bible from those whose lives were ground, under, mangled and destroyed by the ruling classes or the oppressors.

It's warmed-over Marxism, which has never helped anyone in the long run . . . Historic "black theology" was not Marxist. Black people were rather conservative. They were Republicans from the time of Lincoln till FDR, then they started to increasingly adopt more liberal social and political views. But of course the southern Democrats in the 60s were largely racist segregationalists. It was the northern Republicans who allowed the Civil Right Act to be passed in 1964. Not what we usually hear, is it? But it's documented fact.

In the late 1960s, when Dr. James Cone’s powerful books burst onto the scene, the term “black liberation theology” began to be used. I do not in any way disagree with Dr. Cone, nor do I in any way diminish the inimitable and incomparable contributions that he has made and that he continues to make to the field of theology.

Yeah; we noticed . . .

The prophetic tradition of the black church has its roots in Isaiah, the 61st chapter, where God says the prophet is to preach the gospel to the poor and to set at liberty those who are held captive. Liberating the captives also liberates who are holding them captive.

It frees the captives and it frees the captors. It frees the oppressed and it frees the oppressors.

Except now the new oppressed slaves are children in their mother's wombs (including 14 million slaughtered African-American children).

God’s desire is for positive, meaningful and permanent change. God does not want one people seeing themselves as superior to other people. God does not want the powerless masses, the poor, the widows, the marginalized, and those underserved by the powerful few to stay locked into sick systems which treat some in the society as being more equal than others in that same society.

God’s desire is for positive change, transformation, real change, not cosmetic change, transformation, radical change or a change that makes a permanent difference, transformation. God’s desire is for transformation, changed lives, changed minds, changed laws, changed social orders, and changed hearts in a changed world.

AMEN! How this applies in particulars is, of course, where the controversy arrives. When Wright tries to make out that Holy Scripture teaches a half-baked Marxist, pro-death, unisexist, feminist worldview, then those of us who are students of the Bible and who have devoted our lives to promulgating its message (as I have, just as Wright has) must protest.

These two foci of liberation and transformation have been at the very core of the United Church of Christ since its predecessor denomination, the Congregational Church of New England, came to the moral defense and paid for the legal defense of the Mende people aboard the slave ship Amistad, since the days when the United Church of Christ fought against slavery, played an active role in the underground railroad, and set up over 500 schools for the Africans who were freed from slavery in 1865.

Good for them. Now the same denomination thinks that slaughter of a full-term baby (and those at any stage of development) should be legal, and that same-sex "marriage" (i.e., sodomy) is fine and dandy. Wright preaches about how "governments change!" So do (obviously) denominations.

[then follows a list of various social charitable work that his church has done: which I think is great, but of course -- as always -- it includes just about everything except opposing the genocide of abortion and things like teaching chastity and sex within marriage: a message sorely needed in the African-American community with its astonishing family breakdown]

Jim Wallis [a famous white politically liberal evangelical, that I've long known about] says America’s sin of racism has never even been confessed, much less repented for.

That's sheer nonsense . . .

The God to whom the slaveholders pray as they ride on the decks of the slave ship is not the God to whom the enslaved are praying as they ride beneath the decks on that slave ship.

This is profoundly true. Funny how so much truth and folly can exist side-by-side in Wright.

We root out any teaching of superiority, inferiority, hatred, or prejudice.

Except, I guess, when talking about conservatves and Republican presidents, so that Bill Clinton is "intelligent" but George W. Bush is a "dumb Dixiecrat."

On November the 5th and on January 21st, I’ll still be a pastor. As I said, this is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. It has nothing to do with Senator Obama. It is an attack on the black church launched by people who know nothing about the African-American religious tradition.

And why am I speaking out now? In our community, we have something called playing the dozens. If you think I’m going to let you talk about my mama and her religious tradition, and my daddy and his religious tradition, and my grandma, you’ve got another thing coming.

Yeah, and in my community, we have something called "biblical Christianity," and if Wright thinks I’m going to let him lie about and distort my "Mama" the Bible, and her religious and prophetic tradition, and my Daddy, God, and His religious tradition, he's got another thing coming.

Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls, Huffington, whoever’s doing the polls. Preachers say what they say because they’re pastors. They have a different person to whom they’re accountable.

As I said, whether he gets elected or not, I’m still going to have to be answerable to God November 5th and January 21st. That’s what I mean. I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do.

Wright is every bit as "political" as he says Obama is. He wouldn't dare speak out against abortion at his church because a good half or more of the liberal women who attend it would flee, and then passing the plate wouldn't work as well and he wouldn't be able to afford his $10 million house, would he? He wouldn't dare speak out against same-sex "marriage". He can't, because this is what his denomination has just voted to support. He wouldn't dare condemn premarital sex, or divorce, or unisexist feminism. How many would leave his church, then? He couldn't even say that a black person can be a good conservative or Republican, without being branded as an Uncle Tom or an Oreo, as someone like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is habitually treated by black liberals.

That's politics, folks. That's kissing up and desiring the accolades and popularity of [liberal black] men, not God. That's not the biblical and prophetic tradition of speaking the truth, no matter how unpopular it is. There are things he can't and won't say, just as there are things Obama and any other politician, of whatever stripe won't say, and other things that they must say. He has to play his game of being a theologically and politically liberal preacher in one of the most liberal denominations in the world. I sure don't see much difference.

And there is no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done. That doesn’t make me not like America or unpatriotic.

That's right. I agree. Just don't ignore the very greatest evils done by the nation you are critiquing . . .

I offered words of hope. I offered reconciliation. I offered restoration in that sermon, but nobody heard the sermon. They just heard this little sound bite of a sermon.

I heard the whole sermon. And I think it had some profound truths, alongside a number of falsehoods and distortions. And I have explained exactly what I disagree with, and why.

Well, there are many white churches and white persons who are members of churches and clergy and denominations who have already taken great steps in terms of reconciliation.

In the underground railroad, it was the white church that played the largest role in getting Africans out of slavery. In setting up almost all 40 of the HBCUs, it was the white church that sent missionaries into the south. . . . white Christians have been trying for a long time to reconcile, that for other white Christians to understand that we must be reconciled is to understand the injustice that was done to a people, as we raped the continent, brought those people here, built our country, and then defined them as less than human.

And more Christians, more of us working together, not just white Christians, but whites and blacks of every faith, ecumenically working together.

Good. I give the guy his due when he says true things and stuff that goes against a notion that he is profoundly prejudiced against white people. No; reality is more complex than that. He's a mixture of good and bad and truth and falsehood, like all human beings are.

Again, some of you do not know United Church of Christ, just found out about liberation theology, just found out about United Church of Christ, . . .

Not I. I'm quite familiar with both.

Now let's continue to have that "dialogue" that Rev. Wright and his denomination call for. Or is it already too late because I have strongly disagreed with some of his positions, and with you, and have written hard-hitting, critical things, and cited the Bible in favor of my positions?