Arminian Today

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The Horrible Sin of Racism

Frederick Douglass wrote the following about American Christianity before the Civil War:

The Christianity of America is a Christianity, of whose votaries it may be as truly said, as it was of the ancient scribes and Pharisees, “They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. All their works they do for to be seen of men.– They love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, . . . and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.–But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers; therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.–Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides! which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but within, they are full of extortion and excess.–Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Dark and terrible as is this picture, I hold it to be strictly true of the overwhelming mass of professed Christians in America. They strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Could any thing be more true of our churches? They would be shocked at the proposition of fellowshipping a sheep-stealer ; and at the same time they hug to their communion a man-stealer, and brand me with being an infidel, if I find fault with them for it. They attend with Pharisaical strictness to the outward forms of religion, and at the same time neglect the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. They are always ready to sacrifice, but seldom to show mercy. They are they who are represented as professing to love God whom they have not seen, whilst they hate their brother whom they have seen. They love the heathen on the other side of the globe. They can pray for him, pay money to have the Bible put into his hand, and missionaries to instruct him; while they despise and totally neglect the heathen at their own doors.

Such is, very briefly, my view of the religion of this land; and to avoid any misunderstanding, growing out of the use of general terms, I mean, by the religion of this land, that which is revealed in the words, deeds, and actions, of those bodies, north and south, calling themselves Christian churches, and yet in union with slaveholders. It is against religion, as presented by these bodies, that I have felt it my duty to testify.

I agree with Mr. Douglass in many ways.  However, a couple of points are worth mentioning.  First, as I pointed out before, the Bible does not condemn slave owing.  It does, however, condemn many aspects of ill-treatment of slaves that we see in the United States regarding slavery (see Ephesians 6:9 for example).  The ill-treatment by slave owners should have been condemned and those in the Church should have been rebuked for such practices.  Secondly, Mr. Douglass fails to see the racism that was breeding the practice of slavery in the United States.  While the Bible did not condemn slavery, it did condemn racism.  By condemning the institution of slavery, Mr. Douglass set up the next 100 years of racism that was to follow (and still continues to this day).  The heart of the white man was full of racism in both the North and South and this was not preached against enough.  Dr. Martin Luther King would preach against racism but this would not be for another 100 years.  Sadly, Dr. King’s reforms, just as the Civil War reforms, turned the federal government and not the Church into the one who would do the work by starting social integration programs and affirmative action programs that in turn bred more resentment from whites toward people of color.

I see the horrible sin of racism as the dark sin of American slavery and not the practice of slavery itself.  Again, both the Old and New Testament did not condemn slavery but it does condemn racism.  Racism is what gave power to the practice of slavery in both Europe and the New World.  Racism still produces the Arabs hatred for the Jews, the Hispanics hatred for the Mayans, the Africans hatred for the white.  Racism is what gave us the Holocaust.  Racism is what gave rise to the wars against the American Indians.  Racism is what still divides the people of God today.  I did a missions trip once to the Dominican Republic and there the light skin people of the DR hated the dark-skinned people of Haiti.  We had an African-American girl with us and they despised her until they found out she was from the US and not Haiti.  This was occurring even among the Christians!

Racism is a destroyer.  Racism destroys cultures.  Racism starts wars.  Racism is found in every culture in the world.  The Europeans didn’t struggle with the African question like the people of the United States because in European nations, all races were secondary to the Anglo-Saxons.  The British are now having to deal with racism as they are having large sections of Muslims enter into their nation.  Same is true for France and Germany or Sweden.

The cure for racism is not government.  The cure is the gospel.  The gospel can take white sinners and black sinners and sinners from China and sinners from Israel and make all them one in Christ Jesus.  Jesus brings humans together unlike social programs or affirmative action.  The gospel deals with the heart of racism which is our sinful hearts (Ezekiel 36:25-27).  The gospel unites us together by God’s grace in one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6).  The Spirit of God baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) and He makes us new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This and this alone will break the walls of racism that have been with us since the Fall of mankind into sin.


Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/21/2013 at 9:47 AM

Posted in Culture, Racism

Tagged with ,

18 Responses

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  1. Arminian’s seem to have a low view of the born again experience as an actual change in nature that took place at a specific point in time (Col.3:3 – we died with Christ – past tense) – by saying

    faith is present continuous tense – but several scriptures like the one above definately have a past tense finality about them..?


    Dale Jackson

    06/22/2013 at 5:46 AM

    • Low view? In what way? The Arminian position of being born again in the same as all Reformation Christians. We hold that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:1-7) and that when we are born again, we are new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are justified through faith (Romans 5:1 and yes in the present tense). We are kept through faith (1 Peter 1:5 and again in the present tense).

      The point of Colossians 3:1-3 is to seek those things which are above (sanctification). Notice Paul says “if” in several places in Colossians including Colossians 1:21-23. He even warns the believers not to fall into errors (Colossians 2:8). If we are dead in Christ to this world (Colossians 2:20-3:4) then we must live like it is his point. Sanctification is to be worked out (Colossians 3:5-10).

      • Seeking disciple: this is the question;

        According to scripture, eg. Rom.6:6 Col.3:3 etc – was there a time in history when a person put their faith in Jesus, and then was immediately changed into a new creation, participated in the co-death and co-resurection with Messiah.?

        “..knowing this our old man WAS crucified..” past tense
        “..for you DIED …” past tense

        Scripture tells us to look back on a reality that has already taken place once we put our faith in Jesus.

        When I say ‘low view of born again experience’ – i mean Arminians’s hardly ever reflect on the past tense of the Justification that already happened when our natures WERE changed when we CALLED ON THE NAME OF THE LORD TO BE SAVED ” Rom.10:10 –

        Dale Jackson

        06/22/2013 at 11:21 PM

      • I agree. We died with Christ. I have no problem there nor does any Arminian. I don’t see your point.

        The faithful disciple of Jesus should look back, present, and ahead in regard to salvation just as Paul did. We are only saved in Christ Jesus and in Jesus alone (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is no salvation apart from Jesus (John 15:1-11).

        The Puritans had it correct when they asked one another whether they were NOW abiding in Christ. This is the assurance of our salvation, that we are in Christ Jesus by faith (1 Peter 1:5). If we are in Christ by faith, nothing can separate us from His love (John 10:27-29).

      • Seeking disciple :

        Your / arminian mistake is that you try to compare “abiding ” which is a continuous reality of walking in the Spirit ; with having “already died ” with Christ , which is a once off past tense finished reality …. These are 2 different things !


        06/27/2013 at 6:48 AM

      • Your / arminian mistake is that you try to compare “abiding ” which is a continuous reality of walking in the Spirit ; with having “already died ” with Christ , which is a once off past tense finished reality …. These are 2 different things !


        06/27/2013 at 7:52 AM

      • How are you saved? By grace through faith. Jesus died for our sins and how are we justified through His blood? By faith. How do we remain in Christ? By faith. That Christ died saves no one. None were saved when Christ died. We are saved when we appropriate His work in our lives (Romans 3:21-31; 4:4-5).

        Paul wrote in Romans 6:11 that we are to consider ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. We are dead to sin in Christ. This is the point of Colossians 3:1-5. We are to be dead to sin otherwise the sin can destroy us (Galatians 6:7-9; James 5:19-20). Through the grace of God we can overcome sin (1 Cor. 10:13; Titus 2:11-12; Jude 4). We are justified THROUGH FAITH (Romans 5:1).

      • Seeking disciple : the faith to remain in Christ , is based on the fact that when put our faith in the gospel , in Christ , we co- died with Him – this is a past tense reality , based on a past tense union and regeneration that took place from a past tense faith . It is only because WE DID DIE with Christ already (once and for all) – that Paul can say “reckon it so “!


        06/27/2013 at 10:55 AM

      • When were you saved? How are you saved now?

      • Seeking disciple: the real question is : when were you justified? When i put my faith in Christ’s atonement , i was immediately justified. All sins + sin nature removed . Col.2:12. I co-died with Him. Col.3:3

        Based on that fact / reality – my sins are not being counted against me – so if i died , i would go to be with Christ , accepted . If i keep living on earth i continuously reckon myself as already having died in Him – and experience His saving power .

        Point : i am not “reckoning” my self to be dead in Christ in order to get saved – i already am justified – i reckon myself justified / dead in Christ because Im already so .

        All who already called on the Name of The Lord will be sAved from God s coming wrath!

        I dont call on Him every day to save me – no i called on Him once , and He justified me , and joined me to Him (in His death)

        Understand ?


        06/27/2013 at 11:16 AM

      • Are you saved apart from faith in Christ? Is faith required for salvation?

      • Yes we are saved by the faith we put in Christ that justified us – past tense


        06/27/2013 at 11:57 AM

      • Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

        We are saved by faith and kept by faith (1 Peter 1:5). Christ died for our sins (Galatians 1:4) as He died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2) but we are only justified when we place our faith in Christ Jesus (a point you agree with). There is no justification apart from Christ (John 15:1-11; Romans 1:5; 5:1). We remain in Christ not by works but by faith in Him who prays for us (Hebrews 7:25). Our salvation is based completely on Him and Him alone (1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:24; Colossians 1:21-23; Ephesians 3:17; Philippians 2:12-16; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 4:10; 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:12-13; Hebrews 2:1-4; 3:6-19; 5:8-9; 6:4-20; 10:19-39; 11:13-16; 12:1-39; 1 John 2:3-6; 3:4-10; etc.).

      • Seeking disciple : its one with thing to agree with me now – that its faith alone in Christ that saves . But my original comment was in reference to you and other Arminians that commented on David Wilkerson comment about Christ only coming back for a “holy church”; as if christians have to do something more than believe in Jesus to be justified , and thus ready for heaven


        06/27/2013 at 1:20 PM

      • When did I comment on this? It is true however that Christ is coming back for His holy bride (Ephesians 5:25-27). But all Arminians believe we are justified before God through faith and we are kept by faith. Holiness is a natural overflow of our justification (Romans 5:18-6:23).

        Just curious though, you sound as if you are an antinomian. Do you believe a person must be holy or can a person abide in sin and still claim Christ?

  2. “While the Bible did not condemn slavery, it did condemn racism.”

    Hi Roy, I would like to draw your attention to 1Timothy 1:10, where slavehandlers are mentioned together with smiters of fathers and smiters of mothers; to murderers, fornicators, sodomites, liars, perjurers. All this is very similar to the list we find in 1. Cor. 6:9 (things that ban someone from the kindgom of God). On this background I think slavery is a terrible sin too.


    06/23/2013 at 4:34 AM

    • Enslavers (ESV) were those who take someone captive in order to sell them into slavery. The Bible does condemn this and even pre-Civil War Southern theologian R.L. Dabney acknowledged that slave traders were wrong and in sin. The CSA also banned the slave trade in their Constitution.

      But I agree, slavery is best gone. I simply could not stomach placing someone else in service to me without pay or without hope of freedom.

  3. Reblogged this on dalejack101's Blog.


    06/27/2013 at 1:34 PM

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