Georgia Baptist bicentennial: Lamenting a heritage of racism and slavery

"It is generally known that Baptists in Georgia enslaved people. In fact, the Georgia Baptist Convention has acknowledged and repented of racism and slavery with resolutions in.... not so well known is how actively and extensively Georgia Baptists were involved in slavery and convict leasing." - BPNews

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RajeshG's picture

AndyE wrote:

There is literally nothing in Psalm 149 or Psalm 150 that suggest the type of music, beat, or dance that God approved of is anything like the erotic dance or the beats or music associated with it that we see in today's rock culture.  We use percussion and cymbals nearly every single morning worship service at our church in a traditional classical way, fully in line with what it says in those Psalms.  There are lots of types of "dance" and things that fall into that rubric that don't have anything to do with modern erotic dancing. Not really sure how that would be incorporated into a NT worship service, but the point is that there exists sensual/erotic dance that is wrong and other types of dance that is perfectly fine. Just because a Psalm promotes dance doesn't mean it promotes every type of dance without exception.  These Psalms in no way promote or allow for any type of percussion, beats, and music, any more than texts that highlight preaching promote every sort of man-centered emotional crazy preaching style.

Well said. The nonsense notions that God approves of all kinds of dance and all kinds of music do not have any biblical basis at all.

Bert Perry's picture

...except for a couple of Psalms, the consistent witness of celebratory dancing in the Old Testament, and the like, I guess, Rajesh.

I guess you guys can use guilt by association fallacies to ignore the clear testimony of Scripture if you like, but I don't know that I'd want to come before God with that record when my time on this side of Jordan ends. 

Reality is that if we applied guilt by association consistently, we'd find that pretty much every genre is implicated.  Majesty Music draws very significantly from things like big band in its style, and if we doubt that has its issues, look at Syd Charisse's dance from Singin' in the Rain.  Or, really, pretty much any of the musicals that guys like Bing Crosby and Donald O'Connor did.  

Ballet was (e.g. Fr. Anna Sacher in Vienna) all too often a nice looking brothel for the ruling classes, and the same goes for opera, the orchestras for the ruling princes, and the like--so if you're going to say "classical is OK", not so fast. Country & western or bluegrass?  Steve Pettit aside, if you're going to sing approvingly about moonshining and killing revenuers (e.g. "Rocky Top"), along with murder with lost love and the like, I'm not quite sure you're going to be able to persuade me that this is somehow superior to Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

Once again, guilt by association is a suicide pact, because (Romans 3:23) everybody is linked to sins that would result in an eternity in Hell.  For those who might say "But Majesty Music!", anybody ever read the GRACE Report?

Really, again, most of the "classical music only" or "hymns only" movement is simply the theological heir of the invective levied against blues, ragtime, and jazz before it was levied against rock & roll and now rap, and it was, historically speaking, made in very racial terms, and it has been, again, levied predominantly against the music of the black man.  Don't think for a minute that our African-American brothers and sisters fail to pick up on this.  It's a big part, IMO, of why our churches are so darned segregated.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

AndyE's picture

Bert Perry wrote:
It's a big part, IMO, of why our churches are so darned segregated.
And yet my very conservative-music church has many diverse families, not only in the congregation, but also involved in our music program -- choir, piano, violin, woodwind, and voice. One guy even brought his double-base to our after church Christmas singspiration, we had piano, violin, and double-base and cello.   It was fantastic.  I guess you need to come down and tell them how terrible we are and that they would be better off going somewhere else.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Really, again, most of the "classical music only" or "hymns only" movement is simply the theological heir of the invective levied against blues, ragtime, and jazz before it was levied against rock & roll and now rap, and it was, historically speaking, made in very racial terms, and it has been, again, levied predominantly against the music of the black man.  Don't think for a minute that our African-American brothers and sisters fail to pick up on this.  It's a big part, IMO, of why our churches are so darned segregated.

While the fatherless teens and young adults I reach out to don't know about the white fundamentalist churches that long held this view, their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents encountered this type of racial prejudice 20-60 years ago. And it is one of the many barriers for a white urban missionary like myself to gain trust within black families, especially with the grandparents (who are very devout Christians). 

As I've mentioned before, many of the racial misunderstandings on Sharper Iron take place because we define racism differently than each other. While the prevailing progressive view wrongly sees racism in every social problem and every single inequity, many Christian conservatives narrowly define racism so that it only refers to overt public KKK type of racial acts of prejudice.   Racism, Biblically defined, is the sin of partiality based on a person's skin color or ethnic background.  This can manifest in our thoughts if we believe certain race/ethnic groups are inferior or sinful due to their DNA or culture (which might even include music styles) Of course, it manifests in our actions, which is the most common way people think of race. But it can also manifest in what we don't do as well when a person or group is being discriminated against (due to their ethnicity and/or race) in our churches, communities, and spheres of influence if we fail to speak up on behalf of them.

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Joel Shaffer wrote:

Racism, Biblically defined, is the sin of partiality based on a person's skin color or ethnic background.  This can manifest in our thoughts if we believe certain race/ethnic groups are inferior or sinful due to their DNA or culture (which might even include music styles) 

I can agree with you if you are saying that judging people from other ethnic groups to be inferior based on their cultural music style(s) is racist.

I cannot agree if you are saying that judging certain musical styles to be inferior to others is de facto racist.

Dave Barnhart

Joel Shaffer's picture

I can agree with you if you are saying that judging people from other ethnic groups to be inferior based on their cultural music style(s) is racist.

I cannot agree if you are saying that judging certain musical styles to be inferior to others is de facto racist.

I'm not saying that a Christian can't judge aspects of different ethnic group's cultures (music, dance, etc...) as sinful or inferior but sadly fundamentalist Christians don't have a great record of doing this without attaching racial stereotypes, historical revisionism, logical fallacies and bad interpretations of Scripture to justify their cultural beliefs.  

Bert Perry's picture

dcbii wrote:

 

Joel Shaffer wrote:

 

Racism, Biblically defined, is the sin of partiality based on a person's skin color or ethnic background.  This can manifest in our thoughts if we believe certain race/ethnic groups are inferior or sinful due to their DNA or culture (which might even include music styles) 

 

 

I can agree with you if you are saying that judging people from other ethnic groups to be inferior based on their cultural music style(s) is racist.

I cannot agree if you are saying that judging certain musical styles to be inferior to others is de facto racist.

It's a matter of history, the pattern, and the lack of Biblical argument.  As Joel noted, most African-Americans middle age and older are very familiar with the original arguments, which were stated in unambiguously racist terms.  It's my view that Garlock et al basically sanitized these arguments in the 1960s and 1970s, but you can see the original arguments if you're familiar with them.  Then you've got the pattern--if it's always the black man's music that is being proscribed--and finally you've got the simple fact that we're not really dealing with any solid Biblical reasons for the proscription, but rather mostly guilt by association.  

And if your racial group has been the victim of organized discrimination for over 400 years, you are going to pick up on these patterns.   If your church's music policy can be summarized as "white man's music prior to Elvis is OK, everybody else's, not so much", you are basically putting a sign in your church saying "you are not welcome here" to racial and ethnic minorities.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

...except for a couple of Psalms, the consistent witness of celebratory dancing in the Old Testament, and the like, I guess, Rajesh.

I guess you guys can use guilt by association fallacies to ignore the clear testimony of Scripture if you like, but I don't know that I'd want to come before God with that record when my time on this side of Jordan ends. . . .

Once again, guilt by association is a suicide pact, because (Romans 3:23) everybody is linked to sins that would result in an eternity in Hell. 

Yawn. None of this changes anything about the categorical divine prohibitions against the occult that you completely refuse to acknowledge. Nor does it establish anything about divine acceptance of all kinds of dancing and all kinds of music.

Using Romans 3:23 as a basis to support denying the applicability of divine prohibitions against the occult is theological nonsense and promotes the interests of the kingdom of darkness. You will answer someday to Christ, the God-appointed Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42), for your statements that do so.

Bert Perry's picture

Maybe, Rajesh, but considering that dozens of people have taken you to task for your interpretation of Exodus 32 and such, you might do well to consider the possibility that you're signing up for some judgment for seriously reading some things into the text that simply aren't there and using basic logical errors to "support" your conclusions.

For my part, I'm going  to stick by the fact that guilt by association is a basic logical fallacy that implicates all of sinful man, and hence any "theological" position like Garlock's or Brennan's that relies heavily on guilt by association arguments is fatally flawed and (given the obvious targets of the association)  will reasonably be seen as bigoted against those who share that association.  You can't say that the white man's music prior to Elvis is OK, but other peoples' not so much, without other people (here especially blacks) catching on and being offended.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding the notion that there is "nothing" to Psalms 149 and 150, and that my interpretation is that "all" forms of dance and percussion are permissible, not so. My position is that the text clearly says--as do various places in the Old Testament--that dance was a permissible and encouraged way of celebrating things, secular and religious, and the presence of percussive instruments like cymbals and tambourines suggests that (as the same instruments are still prevalent in Middle Eastern music today) similar musical cues were present back then as you'd see today.

Doesn't mean that we are going to bring some of the nastier hip-hop artists or "liturgical twerking" into the church--basic moral positions with being lewd or obscene still apply--but it does mean that positions like Brennan's claiming that the Devil enters through the use of drums, or Garlock's positions about how a rhythmic beat is wrong because it supposedly resembles African rhythms, are out of line with Scripture. The Old Testament clearly allows and encourages people to celebrate the goodness of God with some forms of dance and rhythm.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Maybe, Rajesh, but considering that dozens of people have taken you to task for your interpretation of Exodus 32 and such, you might do well to consider the possibility that you're signing up for some judgment for seriously reading some things into the text that simply aren't there and using basic logical errors to "support" your conclusions.

No one has legitimately established anything biblically about my supposedly "reading things into the text that simply aren't there" in Exodus 32. You and many others have refused to take seriously what God says in all the passages concerning the GCI.

There are no "basic logical errors" that I use to support my conclusions. You have used many false statements to attack me concerning those conclusions. I have documented those false statements and refuted your claims repeatedly about my supposedly committing "basic logical errors" to support my conclusions.

RajeshG's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Regarding the notion that there is "nothing" to Psalms 149 and 150, and that my interpretation is that "all" forms of dance and percussion are permissible, not so. My position is that the text clearly says--as do various places in the Old Testament--that dance was a permissible and encouraged way of celebrating things, secular and religious, and the presence of percussive instruments like cymbals and tambourines suggests that (as the same instruments are still prevalent in Middle Eastern music today) similar musical cues were present back then as you'd see today.

Doesn't mean that we are going to bring some of the nastier hip-hop artists or "liturgical twerking" into the church--basic moral positions with being lewd or obscene still apply--but it does mean that positions like Brennan's claiming that the Devil enters through the use of drums, or Garlock's positions about how a rhythmic beat is wrong because it supposedly resembles African rhythms, are out of line with Scripture. The Old Testament clearly allows and encourages people to celebrate the goodness of God with some forms of dance and rhythm.

Yeah, sure, Bert. Your total refusal to address both the divine condemnations of the occult and the divine categorical prohibitions against the occult shows just how unbiblical you are in formulating your views.

You also wrongly and tragically exalt your own very faulty and exceedingly limited human knowledge, experience, judgments, and understanding to make dangerously wrong claims about what is "out of line with Scripture."

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