Monday, July 20, 2015

Is God A Racist?








By
Lonnie C. Hendrix/Miller Jones



The Church of God International has posted a new "web chat" entitled "Revisiting the Biblical Origins of USA and Britain" with Pastors Bill Watson and Wayne Hendrix (this blogger's father). For those interested, you may see the video at this address: http://cgi.org/armor-of-god-web-chat/2015/7/8/revisiting-the-biblical-origins-of-usa-and-britain

This production seeks to rebut the argument that the church's teachings with regard to the physical ancestry of the English speaking peoples are inherently racist. In their attempt to make the doctrine of British Israelism more palatable, they seek to distance themselves from the teachings/writings of Herbert W. Armstrong and the various proponents of it over the last almost four hundred years. Mr. Watson and Mr. Hendrix insist that God only segregated the Israelites because "He" is a jealous God and didn't want "His" people to be worshipping other gods. They point out the fact that Ephraim and Manasseh were themselves the product of an interracial marriage (between a Hebrew and an Egyptian) as proof that God didn't really care about the physical ethnicity/ancestry of the folks in question. Of course, the entire discussion is based on the premise that the Bible is an infallible account of God and "His" purposes and plans for mankind.

However, for those of us who do not share this view of Scripture, several objections immediately come to mind regarding their defense of this obnoxious doctrine. There are numerous statements within the Bible that make plain that the Israelites were regarded as God's special people - above all of the other nations on the face of the earth. The Israelites were instructed in numerous places not to intermarry with other folks (pagan, heathen, uncircumcised Gentiles). In fact, they are instructed in several places to annihilate non-Israelites - to completely destroy the people and their culture. In numerous places, God is portrayed as fighting on behalf of "His" people and against other people. Interestingly, the Israelites often enslaved the people they conquered, and there are numerous provisions within the Torah which outline the proper treatment of those slaves.

One could argue that the whole Bible is a book about Israel. Moreover, even in the New Testament, we find much evidence that the Jews looked down on the Samaritans, Greeks and Romans. In fact, the context makes quite clear that the Jews regarded themselves as being superior to those other folks - not even worthy for a Jew to associate with them. The Israelites themselves are often described collectively as being a "stiff-necked" and sinful people.

Google defines racism as "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior." Clearly, based on the evidence of the scriptures themselves, we would have to conclude that the human authors of Scripture were mostly racists.

There is, however, another view of race expressed within the pages of the Bible. It is a view that American Abolitionists found to be more compelling and believable than those noted above. This view is presented in numerous places where God's care and concern for all of the peoples of the earth is made clear. This view is found in the places where it is made clear that God chose the Israelites for a special mission - to be an example to the other nations - to tell the other folks about "Him." John the Baptist told the Jews of his day not to rely on their physical descent from Abraham. He went on to tell them that God could raise up offspring to Abraham from the stones at their feet. This view is found in Christ's parable about the Good Samaritan, and in his instructions to his followers to make disciples of all nations. It is made clear in the vision that was given to Peter about what (who) should be regarded as clean or unclean. Finally, it is also made plain in the ministry/writings of the Apostle Paul that God does not regard one people over another - that Christians lose their Jewish or Greek designation when they are baptized into the Church. Paul went on to say that God considers Christians to be Abraham's descendants, and the proper heirs of the promises made to him.

And if all of that is not enough to convince us, we would still have the very plain statements of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians and the author of the epistle to the Hebrews to completely discredit this teaching. Paul wrote: "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but 'and to your seed,' meaning one person, who is Christ." (Galatians 3:16, NIV) Likewise, after recounting the stories of many of God's faithful people down through the ages (including Abraham), the author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us: "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:39-40, NIV) In other words, there doesn't have to be any fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham in this life! And, when those promises are finally fulfilled, they will be fulfilled through those who belong to Jesus Christ (from all nations)! Likewise, Christ is the fulfillment of the promises made to King David. Christ is the one who will sit on his throne forever and ever. It is ridiculous to suggest that the British royal family has any role to play in fulfilling that promise!

Hence, there is legitimate reason for Christians of good will to say that God is not a racist. Nevertheless, for those who cling to this pernicious doctrine, you are stuck with defending a teaching that is racist at its core. It is unfortunate, but the Church of God International (along with all of the other descendants of the Worldwide Church of God) cannot escape the baggage that this doctrine carries with it, no matter how hard they may try to do just that.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...


“Is God A Racist?”


God created everything and determines what is right and wrong. He tells us for our own good. He does as He pleases to carry out His great purpose on earth.

Some of the people God created have gone bad, got wrong ideas in their heads, become perverse, and like to spew their venom about how God is wrong, bad, intolerant, racist, homophobic, has abhorrent laws, etc.

We'll see who wins that argument in the end.

Anonymous said...

Being the chosen ones make s EVERYONE ELSE unchosen

Anonymous said...

A racist? I dunno, maybe more like a petulant 7 year old.. the god described in the old testament always seemed more like the kid from the Twilight Zone episode who would make all the villagers play his dumb games, torture the ones he didn't like and then make them disappear in the cornfield after he'd had enough.

Anonymous said...

Well....anon 11:23. If you read the bIble as written, God does come across as bad, mean, intolerant,homophobic with abhorrent laws.....

Byker Bob said...

What we've found, time and time again, is that in Armstrongism, they get the members referring to everything pertaining to the church as being "God's". God's church, God's ministers, God's people, God's holy sabbath, God's tithes, God's "truth", God's college, God's hymnal, God's TV program, etc., etc., etc. So, if anyone happens to want to open anything up for discussion, or interpretation, they are made to feel as if they are actually going against God, rather than addressing an issue in such a way as to arrive at a deeper understanding, or greater truth. And, you can recognize the zombies around here, because that is their basic approach to any challenge of Armstrongist doctrine. HWA said it, they believe it, and so far as they are concerned, that settles it for all eternity.

Armstrongites also tend not to believe in dispensations, despite the further growth and evolution of mankind and civilization. In their world view for the millennium, conditions are going to revert to a basic pastoral or agrarian society, as being the optimum, so the views and values held in ancient Israel, or apostolic times are rigidly preserved. Speaking of apostolic times, these Armstrong type dudes seem to forget all about Peter's vision. They are darned sure that it had nothing to do with clean or unclean meats, but they miss the deeper meanings of their own interpretation!

God was not a racist, but then, the people who do not believe in unconditional love will never accept that. In their minds, certain ethnicities are naturally of lesser character, intelligence, culture, stability, or overall ability. And, they do not believe in the power of cumulative education or environment to change these things. They even publish ridiculous prophecies that certain ethnicities will stage unpredictable riots for no apparent reason, and will probably end up starting a race war sometime before the end. They even want to be able to call people "pickaninny"!

And, what of differences? The way to deal with them, and to rise above, is to find common ground, not to draw a fighting line in the sand and call it God's.

How do you determine what is racist? You allow the victims to determine that, from their perspectives, and the things that happen to them in their daily lives that somehow never affect the supposedly favored ones. You listen to them, and try to improve and refine the status quo.

BB

Miller Jones said...

Anonymous 7/20 @ 11:23, What about addressing the points raised in the article? What about a defense of the doctrine in question? It seems to me that such a response would be more constructive and interesting than a backhanded attack on the character of those who are willing to challenge the teaching.

Anonymous said...

11:23, look up hyperbole -- then try hard not to delight so in the prospect of punishment and torment for them thar' bad guys.

Anonymous said...

all of judah's children were by two canaanite women and canaan was the child of ham...

interracial relationships are nothing new: i was once married to a russian woman and i am the product of cherokee, scottish and west african heritage, so what?

meredith implies he is of anglo heritage and therefore israeli heritage, but meredith is a celtic name, as is mcnair and winnail.

my surname, translated johansen, has nordic roots.

go figure...#somuchforpurerace

Anonymous said...

I was the child of ham and bacon.

I guess that explains everything.

Sweetblood777 said...

Much a do about nothing. Those that don't believe it, call it racism. Those that do believe it, consider it a huge responsibility.

Because of some that do believe it, consider themselves special, and others not so, is no evidence that it is not true. For those that come back with 'Well DNA proves it isn't true' I ask how in all logic can DNA prove it or disprove it? One would have to have the DNA samples from all the main parents involved, which is impossible, as they are long dead and no one knows where they are buried.

They only true evidence is to consider the traits and characteristics of the prophecies given by Moses as written in Genesis 49 and see which nations, if any, have those traits today.

In my mind the proof is there for all to confirm. Those that deny it, will no doubt, deny the scriptures and Yahweh Himself. To those I say, why not be at least truthful to yourself and come and state outright that you don't believe in God, neither His Bible.

Miller Jones said...

Sweetblood777, I'm ashamed to admit it now, but there was a time when I believed this stuff. Over the years, my knowledge of history, science and the Bible grew. As a consequence, I can now see very clearly how wrong I was to accept this teaching of Herbert W. Armstrong (I've learned that a few of his other teachings were also incorrect).
You are misinformed about the DNA evidence. The paternal, Y chromosome, DNA is very stable and extends back several thousands of years into antiquity and is able to tell us which groups of people share a common male ancestor (In other words, we do not need a sample of that ancestor's DNA - It is already present in all of his male descendants).
For instance, although my Autosomal DNA shows that the majority of my DNA is Western European in origin, my Y DNA shows that my ultimate male ancestor was Scandinavian/Viking/Northern European. When Jews and Palestinians are tested, there results often demonstrate a common haplogroup (in other words, they descend from a common male ancestor). This haplogroup is different from the ones which are common to people of European, Asian or African descent. My own Autosomal results indicate a small amount of Middle Eastern Ethnicity. Hence, in my case at least, one could say that I am a descendant of Abraham with a semi-straight face; but for the majority of Americans and Englishmen this is NOT the case.
And, just for the record, I believe in God and the Bible. I do not, however, believe in the HWA teaching that everything in Scripture is the word of God. The book was a joint venture between man and the Divine. Hence, some of those words are simply not "His." For instance, you are probably one of those folks who reject I John 5:7 as being a legitimate part of Scripture. It just so happens that I do too, but I also think that there are a few more candidates for rejection or skepticism.

Anonymous said...

"For those that come back with 'Well DNA proves it isn't true' I ask how in all logic can DNA prove it or disprove it? One would have to have the DNA samples from all the main parents involved, which is impossible, as they are long dead and no one knows where they are buried."

The typical sort of retort you can expect from the ignorant and self-satisfied who are committed to remain blissfully so. They don't have to lift a finger to figure out what we're talking about, or consider the underlying logic that has caused (and is causing) the research grants to be written, funded, and the research completed because they already "know" *everything* they will ever need to "know." It's hard to keep factoring in that people like this consider everyone else in whole world besides their own backwards fundamentalist compatriots to be either blinded by god, deceived by satan, or both. They can perform feats of logic such as sending men to the moon and probes to every planet in the solar system, and yet aren't given enough credit to perform the simple task of logically thinking through the inheritance of the Y chromosome. This kind of self-congratulatory bias and ignorance is staggering.

"They only true evidence is to consider the traits and characteristics of the prophecies given by Moses as written in Genesis 49 and see which nations, if any, have those traits today. In my mind the proof is there for all to confirm."

LOL! How can you argue with such a "cart before the horse" approach? In the words of Bill O'Reilly, "Tide goes in, tide goes out. You can't explain that." In a word, gravity. What can you say in the face such resolute, impenetrable, incorrigible ignorance? Moses, most likely did not exist, and if he did, it's virtually impossible for him to have written much, if any, of Genesis or the other 4 books commonly attributed to him.

"Those that deny it, will no doubt, deny the scriptures and Yahweh Himself. To those I say, why not be at least truthful to yourself and come and state outright that you don't believe in God, neither His Bible."

Oh, I make no bones about that. Neither gods nor holy books have any evidence to commend them. In fact, there is so much evidence against the authenticity or supposed "truths" of the bible that one has to be dabbling with insanity to consider the bible to be either "evidence" or "truth."

Anonymous said...

Miller Jones wrote: "For instance, you are probably one of those folks who reject I John 5:7 as being a legitimate part of Scripture. It just so happens that I do too, but I also think that there are a few more candidates for rejection or skepticism."

You're referring to corruptions, not the autographs. HWA believed that, too. And I'm sure your dad does, as well. That really does not contradict the concept of the Scriptures as God-breathed, as both Paul and Jesus believed. Many fundamentalists fail to discern the different literary genres used in the Hebrew texts, and they hold the biblical writers to modern journalistic standards, not permitting hyperbole, colloquialisms, or anthropomorphisms, often not even recognizing these things. And for them, truth cannot be conveyed through mythical cosmologies or selective genealogies and narratives. What's interesting is that liberals approach the texts the very same way but for a different purpose.