I'm Working on a Series Arguing that Racist Belief and Confession is Heresy

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Brad Mason, Feb 12, 2018.

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  1. Brad Mason

    Brad Mason Puritan Board Freshman

  2. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    A commendable effort. A couple of first impressions...

    The human nature taken up by Our Lord was not a fallen human nature. I did not see that explicit in your article.

    Also, racism is prejudice in action. That action bit directly applies to our fallen human natures. Our prejudices may be sinful or not sinful depending upon circumstances.

    You might also want to explain your idea of heresy, too.
     
  3. Brad Mason

    Brad Mason Puritan Board Freshman

    I was mainly arguing that if races can differ by superiority/inferiority, then that necessitates a distinction of substance, given that race is minimally defined in terms of common progeneration, "substance does not admit of greater or less," and the "like begets like" principle (as built into the Creeds). Yet Christ bore complete human nature by bearing a specific race. So either races cannot differ by relation of superiority/inferiority, or Christ did not bear the nature of all men.
     
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  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Good luck finding an objective, agreed upon definition of racism:
    *Marxists define it not only as white males, but also Western social structures rooted in imperialism.
    *The Gospel Coalition defines it as voting for Trump
    *Eastern Orthodox define it as limiting church membership to national jurisdiction (though the Phanariot obfuscated the situation.
    *The media defines it as anyone who didn't vote for Hillary.
    *And connected with Russia.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  5. Brad Mason

    Brad Mason Puritan Board Freshman

    Agreed. I attempted to address that in the blurb at the beginning of the post.
     
  6. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Have you ever read The Bell Curve? Are you going to call me a heretic because I like to deal with facts, not wishes?
     
  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Racism as heresy is a stretch. Different races and cultures are superior or inferior in a number of ways, even though their value before God as souls is the same.

    How do you define race, racism, inferior/superior, and heresy?

    Why, there was even a movie a few years ago proclaiming that "White men can't jump" - are those folks gonna get excommunicated?
     
  8. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    No. That was an edgy movie laden with missional potential.
     
  9. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. This testimony is true." (Titus 1:12)
     
  10. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
     
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    But we can't take that in a physical sense, otherwise there would be no physical difference between male and female.
     
  12. koenig

    koenig Puritan Board Freshman

    I would say that this is more likely to be talking about generational sin. If it was a racist thing, Paul would see the Cretans as only a waste of effort. But the following verses disprove that: Paul commands that they be sharply rebuked, because he thinks that it will actually work, making them "sound in the faith".

    Put in Proverbs terms, they are the simple, not fools (or worse, scoffers). "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" Wisdom cries out, and sometimes they will listen.
     
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    The problem is Paul made a very hurtful and regressive statement about a group of people tied to a specific nation.
     
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  14. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    You know, after taking some time to think it over and cool off, I have decided I don't like the way you think. Now, I don't know your race, but if it is anything other than White, you'll probably use that to call me racist (oh, wait, that doesn't have enough sting any more - correction, call me a heretic.) But if you are White, you are flat out of cards to play.

    Are you bucking for a job at a seminary in St. Louis?
     
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  15. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    I am wondering if you are a young earth creationist or a theistic evolutionist with millions of years of men evolving. I hope you are the former.

    The reason I ask is that I know one (unsaved) white supremist who without any hostility whatever will explain how over millions of years the white line had evolutionary advancement to a far superior degree than the black race, which barely made it past primate stage. And in the same way you can breed a line of dogs to be easily vicious; the Jews were bred to be exceptionally cunning and easily wicked. Hitler did not go far enough and the world needs another Hitler.

    (This person is very nice to blacks and Jews, the way you would be nice to a pet or a horse or smile at the tigers in the zoo. You don't hate them and they have their place in the world, but they are essentially subhuman even if they can mate with whites).

    When millions and millions of years of Darwinian evolution enters the equation, I don't think Christians have a leg to stand on to protest racism. Seriously, over millions of years, who is to deny the blacks barely got past the primates while the whites had many advantageous and superior mutations? Who can be Darwinian while also protesting white superiority as racism?

    Since I know we all came from Noah 4,000 years ago, and I know white skin is a gift to make more Vitamin D in northern latitudes, and dark skin is a gift to prevent melanoma in more tropical latitudes, I have no problem regarding all races as equal in essence. But frankly I wish the Biologos people would remove themselves from the discussion. If we came from primates, then there can certainly be extremely varied degrees of development the last few million years. I can't figure out certain people who think Adam lived millions of years ago, and then decry racism. Where would the heresy be if Biologos is correct about human evolution?
     
  16. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Well ..... that is true of Galatians 3:28
    "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
    But not of the previously quoted Colossians 3:11, where gender isn't mentioned.
    "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."
    On the other hand, from my mid twentieth century mindset your point, applied to Galatians 3:28, is well taken, but from the 21st century mindset of some people, a minority I hope, there truly is 'neither male nor female.' :)
     
  17. SavedSinner

    SavedSinner Puritan Board Freshman

    In this case you should identify your race. And not as Obama, saying he is black, instead of saying he is half-white and half-black but identifies as a black, or as a perverted man saying he is a woman (but really a man).
     
  18. SavedSinner

    SavedSinner Puritan Board Freshman

    Both Jesus and Paul would certainly be classified as racists.
     
  19. SavedSinner

    SavedSinner Puritan Board Freshman

    Correct me if I am wrong. I have not heard this in a sermon. In my interactions with individuals and generalizations of groups of people I try to remember to treat each individual neighbor as someone who is better than I am; to be polite and kind—to love my neighbor. And, of course, we all know the lazy Cretans. Intelligent people analyze and do make generalizations. In this world there are inferiors and superiors, individuals and groups. But if some Cretan should sit next to me I should love him (my neighbor) and treat him as someone who is better than I am---and I add---he may in fact be a more faithful, good and kind person. A few generations ago this was the Golden Rule, but today this thinking is labeled White-Out racism. I think the new White-Out policy in reformed churches is similar to the strict group think of the communists regarding “social justice” and always labeling every citizen as either a farmer or a worker. The person who gets to define the terms and control the language decides who gets to live or die. And that is how this paper starts off, refusing to define the terms.
     
  20. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Moderator Note:

    Now that some steam has been blown off, let's all take a step back.

    While the article in question pays some attention to recent debates and political goings on, I took its key intent to formulate some position based upon Christology. If I am mistaken and the intent is to draw in all the goings on in the PCA or elsewhere, the author can set me straight and I will move the thread...at a minimum.

    Accordingly, I would like the thread, if it is to remain open and/or not just moved to church polity related forum, to focus upon the logic being proposed therein leveraging the Incarnation and not be seasoned with infelicitous commentary outside that realm.
     
  21. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The article states.
    "To say that races can differ by superiority or inferiority necessarily implies that they differ in nature (substance)."

    Yet the author never defines inferiority or superiority. A race can statistically suffer a higher incidence of certain diseases and yet have their substance unchanged. Races also differ in average intelligence. Thus, I reject the author's first proposition. Viewed ontologically and as images of God all of mankind are equal in the eyes of God. But in a variety of different areas such as disease incidence, hormonal levels, even blood values, the different blocs of mankind differ a bit. This can make them superior or inferior in many ways even though they are equal ontologically.

    Example A: Jews are genetic carriers and suffer a higher incidence of many genetic diseases. This is medical fact. Jesus being born a Jew means he is born into a people who are medically inferior with respect to these select diseases. Yet, it does not make a Jewish person ontologically inferior because he is more likely to have Tay-Sachs.

    Example B: Kenyans are built to run marathons better than eskimos. This does not make ekimos ontologically inferior but only inferior at marathons. It certainly would be strange if I were ever excommunicated as a heretic because I refused to pick an eskimo first on my cross-country track team.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  22. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Sophomore

    I have a suspicion that the genetic makeup of modern Jews is rather different from that of 1st-century inhabitants of Judaea.
     
  23. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The point still holds.
     
  24. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    It is in the fallen nature of men to despise those that are different from themselves. We all put ourselves on pedestals and say "This is the standard - be like me." Even in Job we see: "In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune" (Job 12:5). The problem of serving the tables in the early church (Acts 6) just highlights this perennial problem and the sensitivity surrounding it. It's sin. Plain and simple. Racism is just another manifestation of it.
    Heresy? I don't think so.
    If someone is proclaiming a sinful view of the Gospel as truth, it should be labelled heresy, but if you are proclaiming the gospel from a wrong motive, it does not make the Gospel less true. Paul says in Philippians 1 that the Gospel is proclaimed by people with wrong motives and he rejoices in it. He does not say that those that proclaim it are heretics, for then it would make their gospel heretical.
     
  25. Von

    Von Puritan Board Freshman

    Oh, and this is old news for us in South Africa.
    Go and read up on the Belhar confession and the controversy surrounding it. In 1978 the Dutch Reformed Mission Church of South Africa declared that "apartheid and the moral and theological justification of it, is a ridicule of the gospel and a theological heresy." So someone beat you to it!;)
    Since then the local churches have been fighting and debating about this controversial document and whether this was just a knee-jerk response to Apartheid (and the politics surrounding it) or a real theological issue, etc, etc.
     
  26. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm just not sure why Jesus had to be mentioned in that particular point.
     
  27. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think this is true. Concerning in particular the issue of racism, I would say that the human brain categorizes things because it is necessary to. You could say that most babies are "racist" because most babies are raised in a family of the same skin colour, and when they encounter a person of a different skin colour, they often appear wary. (I have observed this in my own son.)

    I am fairly sure such things have well been documented by psychologists. A friend of mine is a psychologist who has studied emotional responses to other-race faces. Typically, people find an other-race happy face to be less happy than the same sort of expression on their own face. Also, we are likely to see an angry expression on an other-race face to be angrier than an angry expression on a same-race face.

    I think that, basically, we are wired to respond differently to what is unfamiliar. That in itself is not bad. But human nature is sinful, and, as has been said, racism is a manifestation of a trait of fallen man.

    I do not justify any racist attitudes, but I think that they are to be expected from sinful man.
     
  28. Brad Mason

    Brad Mason Puritan Board Freshman

  29. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    So what is actually being claimed? I saw this

    No one is saying that the fact that Kenyans are better distance runners, or all Cretans are liars, or Italians look better than most as they get older, implies ontological distinctions; therefore, the Christological parallel doesn't obtain.
     
  30. Brad Mason

    Brad Mason Puritan Board Freshman

    What is being claimed is that if one wants to claim that races can be superior or inferior, then one is stuck with the logical implication that races differ by nature (substance). And if one believes something that logically implies the division of natures, then one corrupts the fundamental doctrine of the Incarnation. It is an RAA. Assume the premise that races can be superior or inferior as such, then work out the logical implications, then show how it deals a blow to the Ecumenical Creeds.

    This clarification article was written because so many read the original argument (somehow) to imply that statements like "Kenyans are superior marathoners" would thereby be considered heretical on the terms of the article. What I want to show here is the difference between making statistical comparisons between individuals and claiming superiority/inferiority among races as such. The former does not lead to the same error as the latter.
     
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