Response to the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel

"What it does is lay out a basic and fundamental set of principles for the discussion." - Hohn Cho (Pyro)

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Aaron Blumer's picture

At a bare minimum, perhaps the statement will help to do away with the Gnostic-like notion that only people of certain ethnicities (or even worse, people of certain ethnicities who agree with the "social justice" advocates' views) possess the "secret knowledge" that permits them to engage in the discussion and expound upon the Scriptures relating to these topics.

And...

...my hope is that after he's finished with both series, we can continue the discussion on a foundation of solid biblical truth that has been the hallmark of MacArthur's ministry for over five decades.

Joel Shaffer's picture

By the way, Thabiti Anyabwile, the person that MacArthur and the Pyromaniacs have called out, has called it a great statement although he probably won't sign it. 

My own frustration at this whole Social Justice kerfuffle is that lack of true listening to each other to really hear what people are saying.  MacArthur  (and Johnson and Cho) used Thabiti Anyabwili's article, “We Await Repentance for Assassinating Dr. King,” as his represented belief about repenting of the sins of one's ancestors, even though Anyabwile clarified that's not what he meant in a later article. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabiti-anyabwile/he-said-she-s...

So by misrepresenting Anyabwile's position, MacArthur, Johnson, and Cho have set up the strawman argument to bash.  This is just one of many logical fallacies (there has also been appeal to motive, slippery slope, guilt by association, and the list goes on) that they have used in their attack on those who see Social Justice as a vital implication of the Gospel.  I will not sign it, not because of what it says (the overwhelming majority conforms to what I believe), but because those who created it/promote it created a caricature of what people were actually saying, which borders on slander.  

As one person has summed up, "The statement remains in my view a cynical, misguided document that has been pitched by the wrong people, at the wrong time, in the wrong way, and with wrong ideas and understandings in the background."

By the way, I do not believe that they should not engage in conversation because of their ethnicity or what they believe, but rather their apparent lack of social ethics scholarship from a Biblical perspective (which makes it hard for me to take them seriously) and their borderline-slandering against the those they should have unity with. 

 

Bert Perry's picture

...would simply be to note that when someone suggests that "social justice" demands certain action on the part of the church, that the person calling for that simply justify each specific action desired Biblically.  With Joel, I am very leery of lumping it all together for the simple reason that some of it is eminently Biblical, some quite debateable, and some contrary to God's Word.   

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Joel, I can see how MacArthur and others came to the conclusion they did.  Although Thabiti wrote a disclaimer (I am not talking about repenting for the 50's and 60's), and he rightly argues that those same kind of sinful attitudes are always potential, he wrote:

Until this country and the church learns to confess its particular sins particularly, we will not overcome the Adamic hostility that infects the human soul and distorts human potential.

When you say a county and the church needs to confess particular sins, it sure sounds like groups to me.  If it were individuals within the church and some people in our country, that would be a different story.

So is he clarifying or backtracking?  It sounds like at least group repentance to me.

"The Midrash Detective"

G. N. Barkman's picture

So Adamic sinfulness can now be overcome by the confession of others?  Hmmm.  I thought it could only be addressed by the new birth, and would continue to remain as a partial problem until we are entirely sanctified in Heaven.  Methinks Thabiti, and too many others, are looking for ways to achieve the perfect righteousness that belongs to the eternal kingdom here in this present sin-cursed world.  Can't be done, and humanly defective attempts to achieve what only final redemption will accomplish can only bring additional disappointment.

G. N. Barkman

JBL's picture

I do think Thabiti went out way to far in framing his argument that society in general has never repented of the racial hatred of the past.  He's a smart guy, I don't know why he chose to do so.

However, I do think a valid question to ask is why, when the church has been so vocal about how the sins of abortion, homosexuality, alcohol consumption/drunkenness, divorce, etc. have permeated society, it has been relatively silent (really non-existent) on the issue of racism?

I believe a satisfactory answer to this question would go a long way to satisfy Thabiti.

John B. Lee

TylerR's picture

I think the Statement on Social Justice (and the Bible) is clear that racism is a sin, and that the only thing which can unite people is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which brings freedom from sin, perfect forgiveness and adoption into God's family to people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Joel Shaffer's picture

Joel, I can see how MacArthur and others came to the conclusion they did.  Although Thabiti wrote a disclaimer (I am not talking about repenting for the 50's and 60's), and he rightly argues that those same kind of sinful attitudes are always potential, he wrote:

Until this country and the church learns to confess its particular sins particularly, we will not overcome the Adamic hostility that infects the human soul and distorts human potential.

When you say a county and the church needs to confess particular sins, it sure sounds like groups to me.  If it were individuals within the church and some people in our country, that would be a different story.

So is he clarifying or backtracking?  It sounds like at least group repentance to me.

My point is that Thabiti wasn't saying that we need to repent of our ancestors sins the way that Johnson and Cho said he was in several posts in Pyromaniacs and MacArthur's recent post on Social Justice.  They  made a strawman argument plain and simple  and either deliberately or unintentionally misrepresented Thabiti and need to be called out on it.  Whether he meant current group repentance is another issue and needs to be debated or whomever (hopefully without any more border-line slanderous fallacies by MacArthur, Johnson, and Cho). 

Joel Shaffer's picture

So Adamic sinfulness can now be overcome by the confession of others? 

So you actually think he is denying the essentialness of the new birth?  Do you think that he is emphasizing works as part of our salvation when it comes to racism?  You might want to be careful not to extrapolate one line from an article but rather look at his entire body of works (articles and sermons) that he has written.   

Bert Perry's picture

Now I'm going to admit that there are some portions of "social justice" that we can let slide, but in some others--race is a great example--we've got some "institutional patterns" that we ought to recognize and make extra effort to overcome.  We need to remember the roots of the SBC, the reason BJU lost its tax exemption, and the like.  A little bit of outreach in terms of culture might go over well as well.

Calling it "collective repentance" is probably unfortunate, but when you start to recognize the mistakes of the past, you're also far more likely to figure out the mistakes you're making today.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ed Vasicek's picture

When we began homeschooling in 1990, I refused to use Bob Jones curriculum because they forbade interracial dating and were out to keep the races separate.

While they were separating from others over this and that, some of us were separating from them, although they never were aware of it (I don't think).  Moody, where I went to school, was looked down upon by some because they made great efforts to educate African-American Christians in both their main day school -- and quite heavily in their night school. They had a legacy of Black teachers.  I think it is ridiculous to use the catchall "the church." I would prefer to know "which church?"  

Some churches and institutions made great efforts at social uplift.

So am I somehow responsible for the thinking perpetrated at Bob Jones back when?  No.

"The Midrash Detective"

Joeb's picture

I was recently on a family vacation and let’s just say a mid thirties family member, who is a Pastor in a IFB Church (GARB Trained) in the Midwest said to my face that our Country needed to focus on going back to like we were in the 1950s as a nation   This family member said we were more Godly as a nation at that time.  It’s was stated in a discussion of politics this family member jumped in on  

My response to the above statement was how can you say that when we were Lynching blacks in the street and half of the country practiced apartheid.  My family member responded “ Come On You Know That Was All Exaggerated”.  When my family member said that I was astonished and said no more.  

This is  not first time a GARB Trained Pastor made that 1950s statement to me but that was years ago when the GARBC and relates  institutions were still practicing racism undercover ie Interracial married couples could not be Pastors or Missionaries.  So Bob Jones was not the only group practicing racism right into the mid to late 1980s.

What surprised me was that those kind of thoughts were still being circulated in the church.  I can only surmise that a lot of these mid-western  rural and semi rural communities are only in the last ten years or so turning from Lilly White to being more diversified and they are not happy about it.  

What the Laura Ingram  say on Fox News that this diversification was being forced on the United States while showing a video of a rural area and we did not vote for it.  

I remember talking to my brother who was a Pastor down South without mentioning names regarding claiming that the abuse done to the African Americans in the 1950s was exaggerated.  My brother said he knew some Christian Southern Brothers who were into the Southern Heritage thing and they would not be unintelligent enough to make a statement like that.  

I can only surmise that in the Midwest these Christians be it Luthern Baptist Methodist whatever are not happy about their idea of America collapsing and are reacting to this change in a racist manner  

Note: I did confront this family member in a message saying I hoped he was only trying to get a rise out of his old broken down Uncle.  He never answered me back.  I did suggest that if he felt what happened to the blacks at the hands of whites in the US was exaggerated in 1950s and 1960s to say that to a young black male on the street and see what happens. I also told him to expect have a big dental bill after he made the statement.

In addition who in their right mind as a Pastor or Instructor would teach what was done to African Americans by Whites in the 1950s and 1960s was exaggerated.  I personally know one of the FBI Agents who dug those boys out of the dam in Mississippi in 1960s ie Mississippi Burning.  The FBI also found a hidden graveyard containing numinous unmarked graves of bodies that had signs of death by hanging.  I’m sure Emitt Tillson’s  Family would not be happy about such talk 

dcbii's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

...even though Anyabwile clarified that's not what he meant in a later article. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabiti-anyabwile/he-said-she-s...

He may have given an attempt to clarify when he tried to explain this statement away:

“My white neighbors and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and this country are complicit in murdering a man who only preached love and justice.”

But it was not at all believable.  If he really meant that some were complicit, he should have said so.  He was either extremely careless formulating it this way, or it was what he intended.  Either way, his "clarification" of this statement was condescending, and it's clear he wasn't apologizing for saying it.

I can try to read the other things he said, some of which were helpful, but when you know his thoughts on a statement like this, it's entirely too easy to ignore the good things he's trying to get across.  You know, many of us would like to learn how we can avoid things that were clearly wrong in the past, so we don't commit them ourselves, but speaking for myself, I will definitely be listening to others who aren't so inflammatory rather than subjecting myself to a constant diet of statements like the one I quoted.  IMO, statements like the MacArthur one are much more what we need.  You don't have to sign it.  I haven't decided myself.  I do know I lean much closer that way than to the evangelical SJWs.

Dave Barnhart

Joel Shaffer's picture

You know, many of us would like to learn how we can avoid things that were clearly wrong in the past, so we don't commit them ourselves, but speaking for myself, I will definitely be listening to others who aren't so inflammatory rather than subjecting myself to a constant diet of statements like the one I quoted.  IMO, statements like the MacArthur one are much more what we need.  You don't have to sign it.  I haven't decided myself.  I do know I lean much closer that way than to the evangelical SJWs.

So Dave, are you fine with MacArthur, Cho, Johnson's and others inflammatory rhetoric who were the initial creators of this document and their continual pattern of misrepresenting statements on their blogs, their guilt-by association rhetoric with accusations of critical race theory, cultural Marxism, and Intersectionality, accusations of having a pragmatic motive (to be accepted by the culture and/or bring in more people in the church), and accusations of the inevitable slippery slope towards a social gospel? 

Even your rhetoric, calling them evangelical social justice warriors, has shown your negative bias towards some of the most evangelistic, church planting people that I've gotten to know.  Eric Mason (who is about to release his book "Woke Church") has been constantly criticized by many of the signers, pastors Epiphany Fellowship and they are all about spreading the gospel and forming local churches (have started 4 churches in the past 7 years and will be starting 3 more soon)   https://epiphanyfellowship.org/connect/church-plants/ They are also very passionate about Social Justice as a vital implication of the gospel and have received unwarranted criticism for it by signers of the document.   Thabiti is far from being a social justice warrior.   As to his complicit statement, I am not as positive as you are when it comes to white Christians back in the 1960's.  When Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, Dolphous Weary (who was discipled by John Perkins) writes that his entire floor erupted in cheers at LABC (now Masters College).  I have personally talked to several elder civil rights generation Christian blacks that went to Christian colleges (where they were overwhelmingly the minority) and that was a common thread story among all of them.   There's alot of hurt among black Christians and when they voice them they are accused of being inflammatory.  My advise to you if you are really serious about not making the same mistakes from the past is to be empathetic rather than defensive and be slow to listen.     

Also, I would save the Social Justice Warrior rhetoric for those who actually pride themselves as being so (Shane Claiborne, Jim Wallis, and the many other progressive evangelicals).  They are the ones that are actually compromising the gospel and have embraced secular sociological theory on race and social justice. 

Joel Shaffer's picture

One of my problems with this document is the lack of apparent serious scholarship that is represented when it comes to the subject of Social Justice and the Bible.  Only 1 of the 13 initial signers/creators is a scholar in Biblical Ethics (his specific focus is economics and the Bible)  The rest are pastors, writers, and a couple that have apologist/discernment ministries.  I seriously doubt that the other 12 have devoted a lifetime of serious studies and scholarship to actually deal with the topic of social justice and the Bible.  Have any of them written a Thesis or Dissertation or even serious journal articles on social justice and the Bible?    Rather it comes across that they are using their credibility from one area (such as expository preaching) to pontificate about another area where they haven't really engaged the source material going back all the way to the 1840's where the term Social Justice was first used.   Instead what has been presented are short articles coming from social media sites and blogs that are filled with strawman arguments. 

 

TylerR's picture

So many people are talking past each other. So many people from the "SJW side" (not trying to be pejorative; just looking for a quick identifier!) aren't clearly explaining what they're saying. What they say sounds incomprehensible and un-biblical to me. Every attempt to clarify only confuses me more. I don't, for the life of me, so what is controversial in the Statement on Social Justice. Any Christian ought to be able to affirm it with enthusiasm.

i think this is fundamentally a clash of worldviews, which is why nobody understands the other. I don't think the SJWs have a biblical worldview. I think they have a secular worldview that's uniquely influenced by contemporary American culture. I would be interested to know how well this same approach would be received by Christians in, for example, South Africa or Ukraine. I'd be interested to see how Boer Christians would do by calling for repentance from British Christians, or the Ukanians likewise from Russian Christians ...    

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

dcbii's picture

First off, I'll agree that my rhetoric about evangelical SJWs was shorthand, and probably should have been explained better.  I don't really think of those compromising the gospel as "evangelical" so my term was specifically for those I consider mostly orthodox, but not in agreement with me on this point.  And maybe they are not exactly SJWs, but statements like Thabiti's certainly fall pretty closely in line with that philosophy.

Second, in a group like this where we discuss issues in fundamentalism, I'm going to speak less carefully than I would outside it, since my goal here is less about being careful how what I'm saying may be perceived and more about getting to the core of matters.

Third, I admit I haven't read all the blog posts from MacArthur and others that might be inflammatory on this topic.  I was specifically speaking about the Statement itself, which I have read, and which I don't see as inflammatory.  In my opinion, trying to tie a statement that you admit is one that even Thabiti calls a great statement to "background" information is like trying to judge a law that is specifically constitutional in its language by other things those who agree with it have stated.  I refuse to do that.

Finally, on the "complicit" statement, I can state the following:

1. Let's say I accept that the meeting you described actually happened in the way you describe it.  If so, that's sad, and sinful, but it's in no way representative of all of "white" Christianity at the time, orthodox or otherwise.

2. While I can never know someone's thoughts, my parents are not racist in any way in their speech or actions, and as much as I can determine about my grandparents (some I knew, some were dead before I could speak to them), they weren't racist either, and I've never heard anything to indicate anyone in my family would "cheer" King's assassination.

3. None of my family was at that meeting.  So, that meeting is not actually germane to whether or not my family was complicit.

4. Therefore, I can say with confidence that Thabiti's statement is false, since it doesn't actually apply to my family.  So no admissions are necessary or will be forthcoming.  And I haven't changed my mind that his stating things in the way he did was unhelpful, and not going to lead to a solution to the problem he wants to solve.

I happen to hold the now out of fashion belief that the best way I can fight racism is to NOT be racist, rather than trying "race-sensitive" things (which actually end up being racist in fact, since they treat one race different from another) in a vain attempt to make up for things that happened in the past that I had no hand in.  Not to mention, I don't believe in race anyway.

Dave Barnhart

Jim Welch's picture

Read the Statement one day.  

Prayed and thought about the truthfulness of it for one day.

Signed it the next day.

Racism is sin.  I am a white man, son of Arkansas sharecropping cotton farmers, who as a teenager wept with my two white sisters when MLK was assasinated.  We did not cheer.  We grieved.  Too assume that all white Christians were guilty of racism over MLK's death is very racist.  

 

Joel Shaffer's picture

i think this is fundamentally a clash of worldviews, which is why nobody understands the other. I don't think the SJWs have a biblical worldview. I think they have a secular worldview that's uniquely influenced by contemporary American culture.

It might be hard for you to prove since the majority of "SJW evangelicals" that we are talking about were influenced by people like John Perkins (friend of John MacArthur) or Tony Evans who were writing books about Justice and Racial Reconciliation far before today's secular current tide of critical race theory and intersectionality came on the scene.  Its more about Interpretation of the Scriptures than anything.  Ideas such as group repentance didn't just emerge in the past 20 years.   Perkins was talking about in the late 1960's and early 1970's from his reading of the book of Nehemiah and Acts. Do you know Thabiti's background, influences and writings enough to come to the secular worldview conclusion?  How about Eric Mason's?   

I would very much agree that people are talking past each other in this conversation, but the clashes of the worldviews between Biblical and Secular seems quite a surface-level observation, unless you were making the comparisons between someone like MacArthur and someone like Jim Wallis or Tony Campolo or Rob Bell. 

I would also agree with you that some of Thabiti's writings has caused more confusion.     When you have to write a long article to explain what you didn't mean probably shows that you weren't very clear in the first place.   

 

TylerR's picture

My general disagreement with this line of interpretation is that it appears to be a uniquely American interpretational grid, influenced by American experiences, informed by American contexts, and shaped by American life. That is, I suspect it's an echo chamber. I am very, very skeptical about whether this approach will even be coherent or practical to, for example, the situation I referenced with the Boers and the British Christians, and the Ukranians and the Russian Christians.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Bert Perry's picture

There is a huge problem with pointing to "inflammatory rhetoric" as a reason for not hearing someone out; often, what we consider "inflammatory" is what others see as "what I'm really thinking but am not willing to say publicly yet."  I remember one woman  I used to work with more or less saying some fairly nasty things about one portion of my work, but it turned out that she was merely mouthing what a lot of others were thinking--that that portion of my work (ionizers with blowers and without heating coils) were freezing their hands.  Sometimes the person you instinctively think is obnoxious is actually your best friend.

In this case, I think we need to remember that in our churches, our cultures developed largely in a society where racism was enforced by custom and law, yes, even North of the Mason-Dixon.  We are therefore, even after repentance from things like BJU's interracial dating policy and BJ Jr's overt support of segregation, going to have some major blind spots.  Might as well sit tight and listen when the father of some of the kids in AWANA, a local BLM activist, starts talking.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

I think I asked you something like this before (or maybe not), but what one book would you recommend I read on this issue to better understand? I'll grab it from my library and listen to it.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Joel Shaffer's picture

Dave and Jim and others,

Do you think it was wrong for Stephen to say to the Religious Elders and Scribes, "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”    Was it wrong for Stephen to make all of their ancestors complicit in the sin of persecuting the prophets?  If not, what would be the difference between Thabiti's use of ancestors that were generally guilty and Stephen's use of ancestors that were generally guilty? 

By the way, I feel very grateful to converse on Sharper Iron with men like you who abhor racism and have done so for many many years. 

Also, I think we are overlooking the cultural differences between whites and blacks when it comes to speech and even preaching.  My black brothers use much more figurative speech and allegory in their preaching and in normal conversation than my fellow white brethren who are much more propositional in their preaching and speech.  Thabiti has already admitted that he meant it more figurative so I think part of talking past each other is not seeing the cultural differences and assumptions that all of us brings to the table on an issue like this.   

TylerR's picture

Stephen isn't making them complicit in their father's crimes. He's simply saying they're doing the same thing their fathers did. Their fathers persecuted and killed prophets, and now they (Stephen's current audience) have persecuted and killed the Righteous One. The pattern repeats. There is nothing there about being personally responsible for their ancestor's crimes.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Ed Vasicek's picture

Instead of pretending we agree and that everything is semantics, I would suggest we simply agree to diasagree.

I think  Thabiti and MacArthur are both capable of saying things that, when confronted, are obviously wrong. Rather than humbly say "Oops, I guess I was wrong, sorry," they feign being misunderstood.

I am displeased when people overstate cases or set up straw men arguments and put words in the mouths of others.   But I am not willing to bend over backwards and say any of these guys are always right about everything.

Logical fallacies are part of life, and they are used by people we agree with and respect and people we detest.  What matters is the remaining substance.

We disagree. Thabti is not a bad communicator, nor is MacArthur. They just are both sometimes WRONG.

Tyler R said:

My general disagreement with this line of interpretation is that it appears to be a uniquely American interpretational grid, influenced by American experiences, informed by American contexts, and shaped by American life. That is, I suspect it's an echo chamber. I am very, very skeptical about whether this approach will even be coherent or practical to, for example, the situation I referenced with the Boers and the British Christians, and the Ukranians and the Russian Christians.

Tyler, you nailed it IMO.

"The Midrash Detective"

Joel Shaffer's picture

Tyler,

No.  I didn't say that.  You misread what I said.   Maybe I need to explain what I meant better.  Stephen broad-brushed all of the Jewish elders, leaders, and people's ancestors as being complicit to the crime of persecuting the Prophets.  Not just the certain leaders of the ancestors that were primarily responsible for persecuting the prophets.  All of their forefathers were guilty.   I didn't say anything about the audience of Stephen being complicit for their ancestor's crimes, which doesn't follow the text at all.

Bert Perry's picture

If we take Deuteronomy 24:16, Jeremiah 31:30, and Ezekiel 18 seriously, we would find that Stephen cannot be claiming that the current Jews were guilty of their fathers' sins--one could say he was making a huge mistake, but given that he appears to have been amazingly under the control of the Holy Spirit at the time, I can't quite go with that, either.

Why he brings it up, I think, is that he was pointing out that the same cultural factors that made it thinkable to kill the prophets then were operative at that point, too--they could protest that "we've changed" until they were blue in the face, but the sad reality was that the Pharisaical mindset, while excluding overt idolatry, had institutionalized yet further the tendencies that led to murdering prophets.  

In other words, they had blind spots that only outsiders could help them to see.  Sound familiar?

I really appreciate Joel's comments on the differences between black and white rhetorical styles.  I am all for the proper handling of propositions, say via Aristotelian categories and such, but that can and does make us rather weak in handling the huge portion of Scripture which is narrative--the places where metaphor and the like replace hard propositions.  That's one strength, really, of historically oral societies.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

I believe you're trying to drive a freight train into the white space between Stephen's words. He's addressing the Sanhedrin. All their fathers (i.e. the Jewish leaders from past generations) persecuted the prophets and rejected God's revelation. This is a generalization about how apostate leadership has continually doomed Israel and Judah, because they wouldn't listen to the prophetic warnings. The Jewish leadership of Stephen's day has repeated the mistake by killing Jesus. That's all Stephen is saying.

Tyler Robbins is a pastor at Sleater-Kinney Road Baptist, in Olympia, WA, and an Investigations Manager with the State of Washington. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Joel Shaffer's picture

I believe you're trying to drive a freight train into the white space between Stephen's words. He's addressing the Sanhedrin.

That could be.  Sometimes (such as this) I argue to learn.  To see if what I am saying is right or wrong and I appreciate the push back because I don't know if I actually believe it.    I am with Kevin DeYoung who said, "We need more work in the years ahead—exegetical, historical, and doctrinal—on our theology of apology."  Actually DeYoung's approach to Corporate Repentance is what I believe is most faithful to the scriptures.    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/toward-theology-a...

Ed Vasicek's picture

Joel said:

 Actually DeYoung's approach to Corporate Repentance is what I believe is most faithful to the scriptures.    

Thanks, Joel, for this link.  You are right, it is an excellent article.

I especially appreciate these words:

We can also be held responsible for sins committed long ago if we bear the same spiritual resemblance to the perpetrators of the past.

Regarding the issue of taking responsibility as a group, we need to understand that the Bible does not always distinguish between a a group and members of a group.

Much to the disappointment of some pulpit pounders, "all" very often does not mean "everyone regardless of distinction."  We find stereotypes and many generalizations (even exaggerations) in Scripture.  I believe we (in English) use the word "all" in the same way that the Biblical authors did.  [Mark 7:3-4, John 5:18, Acts 19:10, Acts 26:4).

All of this means that the stronger the ties that bind, the stronger the argument for corporate identification. 

Although in the very early church, some Jews persecuted Christians, the by-and-large behavior over the centuries has been extreme persecution of the Jews by Christians over centuries.

Although much of this was done by Roman Catholics, you need to remember that Luther's rants against the Jews were used by Hitler to bolster his case.  From a common Jewish perspective, the Nazis were Christians (many, were in fact, Lutherans and Catholics).  

No people have been so persecuted for so long by so many nations as the Jews, but, by and large, those nations and persecutions were in the Name of Christ.  It seems to me that this international wrong was both theologically based wrong and extended over a millennium. It is a greater blot on the church. Yet, for some reason, we hear little about this from our pulpits and in articles.

I think, while we are on the subject, that we need to be aware of our corporate shame in this instance more than any other.

As Americans, however, we have little to be ashamed of regarding the Jews. As members of the professing church, we have much.

And so that is perhaps another issue: our national shames (Native American genocide, Slavery, Land-grabbing from the Mexicans) and the shame is that is a longstanding (nearly) worldwide shame of Christendom, the treatment of the Jews.

To me, the theological and position papers require us to do both, because as Christians, we are also to be good citizens of the nations in which we hold our citizenship. Unfortunately, I don't see much done with the Jewish issue. The squeaky wheel.

 

 

"The Midrash Detective"

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