Appendix VII: Jesus’ Justice, R. L. Dabney, and the Bad Inheritance of Racialism

The following articles have been written as a form of extended appendices for Jesus’ Justice

Appendix V: Jesus’ Justice, Racial Bigotry, and R. L. Dabney

Appendix VI: Jesus’ Justice, OT Slavery, and the Christian’s Warfare

In addition to the previous, online appendices (V & VI), I would like to supply yet another example regarding how Dabney’s racialism led to dangerous abuses of Scripture. The substance of this article came to mind when I was made aware of a stunning conversation between Jason Farley and the hosts of the CrossPolitic podcast in which Farley asserted that credobaptism “is the cause of” the transgender identity problem which currently plagues our society. Having watched the broader context of the 27 minute “backstage” program, it was quite stunning to find that his assertions were never refuted:

Gabriel Rench: “…let’s say I’m ‘Baptist Rench.’ And, you just said what you said. You came out and said that my view of waiting until my child is ready to confess faith in our Lord, and then baptize them, is related to the identity crisis found in transgenderism.”

Jason Farley: “Yeah, I didn’t say ‘related to’ I said ‘is the cause of’ [the identity crisis found in transgenderism]”

It would appear that Rench attempted to mitigate Farley’s assertion that credobaptism is the cause of the transgender identity problem (one would hope that this is the case). Despite this, Farley re-asserted his notion of causation and then attempted to support his views. Sadly, deficiencies in parental practices exist among credobaptists and paedobaptists and those who imagine that the problem is entirely on one side of the equation are caught in a strange fantasy. Moreover, there is a profound difference between saying that poor parenting opens the door to gender confusion vs. saying that it is causative of dysphoric thinking. Frankly, there is more error in Farley’s accusations than I have the time or energy to address.

But there is an important lesson to be gleaned from Farley’s public assertions. Over the years I have sensed a greater and greater need to refute what I call controversialism: the attempt to provoke controversy without need, warrant, or pedagogical benefit. In fact, in 2018 I wrote an entire book expressing such concern (Internet Inferno). Farley’s comments to the hosts of CrossTalk were that of a controversialist and nothing more. While I can say, “I get it: this is the internet, and this has become the norm for most,” I must also confess that such a societal norm should be rejected by the people of God. Farley’s unflinching conclusion that credobaptism is causative of things like transgender ideology represents the kind of leap of logic that is destructive to the body of Christ, and history supplies us with a long line of lessons regarding this problem.

This consideration brings us to the disburbing and unfortunate example supplied by R. L. Dabney. In his presentation “Against the Ecclesiastical Equality of Negro Preachers in our Church and Their Right to Rule over White Christians,” Dabney asserted that Africans were members of an “inferior and hostile race”[1] who, because of such presumed inferiority, could never serve as leaders in the church of Jesus Christ. In an effort to support his view, he advanced two incredible and dangerous arguments: one from the OT and the other from the NT. His argument from the OT was rooted in the priestly tribe/race of Levi:

“They quote for us also, such passages as these; that in Christ ‘there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all in all.’ Hence, they jump to the inference, that not only the blessings of redemption, but the privileges of church office and rule, are common to all believers, irrespective of caste, class, or condition. I shall show, Sir, beyond all cavil, that there is a vast, and an unbridged chasm between this premise and this conclusion. The argument is, that because the blessings of redemption are common to all classes and races of true believers, therefore it follows, of course, that every privilege and grade of church power must be made common to them. But the answer is, that several Bible instances themselves show that this consequence does not follow. None here will dispute that the Old Testament church had a gospel; nor will any deny that its saving blessings were common to all believing Hebrews, though not to all Gentiles. But lo! the priesthood, the clerical function of the day, was expressly limited to the tribe of Levi!”[2]

In the above text, Dabney only produces a small sliver of truth when he stipulates that Colossians 3:11 does not universalize the qualifications to leadership (i.e., despite a man’s spiritual condition). In the NT, the qualifications for pastoral leadership are not unbounded, but are indeed restricted to those men who meet certain character qualifications: without which, they cannot serve as leaders (Titus 1:6-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-7). However, Dabney makes a gargantuan leap of logic when he argues that race[3] serves as a restrictive criteria for leadership within the NT church. Clearly, his mention of the OT priesthood (as comprised of the tribe/genealogy/race of Levi) finds no parallel in the NT regarding the qualifications for leadership. Such a proposition as this is utterly decimated by texts like Colossians 3:11. This is yet another example of Dabney’s exegetical habit of heralding the law of Moses over and above the Gospel, as I mention in Jesus’ Justice.[4]

Yet Dabney didn’t stop at this point, but continued his vain effort to denigrate African brethren by means of another, unrelated text. Having argued against the “ecclesiastical equality of negro preachers” on the contrived basis of the OT priesthood, he then made an even greater leap of logic based upon 1 Timothy 2:12:

“In Galatians 3:28, (a passage parallel to the one quoted against me,) St. Paul says: ‘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.’ Blessed doctrine! Yet the same apostle says, ‘I suffer not a woman to teach;’ thus excluding from official privilege, on grounds of class, one half of the whole Christian world, which he had just declared to be ‘all one in Christ Jesus.’ So you see, gentlemen, that the apostle Paul evidently did not believe in your argument.”[5]

Remarkably, Dabney conflated his racialism with that of the scriptural roles of men and women in the church (1 Timothy 2:12-15; Titus 1:6-9, Titus 2:1-10; 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Unsurprisingly, similar arguments are found in Dabney’s Systematic Theology as well.[6] What is especially remarkable about his conflation of sex and racialism is that it yielded much confusion within a world that desperately needed scriptural clarity (much like our world today).

It is important to observe that the feminist and LGBTQ movements effectively rode the back of the black civil rights movement. Due to the advancement of feminism and gay rights, we now live in a society that denies the obvious distinctions between men and women; it denies the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman; and it promotes sexual licentiousness and child-grooming as normative, expected, and even protected behavior; and yet none of this has anything to do with the black civil rights movement which was a just and much needed cause. Fellow humans were being denigrated and abused simply because the color of their epidermis, and this had to be stopped immediately. However, a civil rights movement such as this has nothing to do with the gender-bending claims of feminism, the licentiousness demands of the LGBTQ community, nor does it have anything to do with the sad machinations of the “gender dysphoric” among us. Thus, it would be quite a leap of logic if I were to assert that Dabney’s conflation of racialism with that of the scriptural roles of men and women somehow caused the advancement of the feminist movement, along with its ideological sibling, the LGBTQ movement. More than a mere leap of logic, such an argument would be plainly foolish and unproductive. Those who live in defiance of God’s created order do so by means of their own volition and desire. No one else causes this but the individual.

However, Dabney’s twisted conflation of race and sex roles were certainly damaging to the church and this didn’t help society at large either. In fact, his teachings were remarkably problematic to a world that needed the kind of scriptural clarity that could destroy (καθαιρέω, kathaireo) the fortresses and speculations that were raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). But in all of this, it would be quite a stretch to argue that Dabney’s teachings caused the evil that we face in the present day.

Of course, as a credobaptist, my point is not to draw a parallel between credobaptism and Dabney’s caustic teachings of racialism. My overall point is that we ought to learn from such historical lessons, be on guard against making unscriptural leaps of logic, and forsake the temptation of becoming a “product of our times” no matter what our generation dishes out. Though it is currently fashionable to promote the racialism of Social Justice Ideology, we must resist becoming a “product of our times.” Though our world conflates gay and transgender rights with the black civil rights movement, we must resist becoming a “product of our times.” Though our culture promotes countless gender-bending ideologies and licentious conduct, we must resist becoming a “product of our times.” And though the Internet promotes the unaccountable and unproductive rants of controversialists, we must (again) resist becoming a “product of our times.” Rather than being a disciple of this world and its reasoning, may we grow as the disciples of Christ, being nurtured by His wisdom from above. And, when it comes to important discussions like race and gender, we must remember that the Gospel, and its resultant fruit (Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28), prohibits the people of God from making distinctions among men that are not prescribed by the Lord Himself.


[1] R. L. Dabney, Ecclesiastical Relation of Negroes: Against the Ecclesiastical Equality of Negro Preachers in our Church and Their Right to Rule over White Christians, Presented at the Synod of Virginia, Nov. 9th, 1867, p. 7.

[2] Dabney, Ecclesiastical Relation of Negroes, 11-12.

[3] By mentioning the race/tribe of Levi, the historic, denotative meaning of the word race is here preserved.

[4] “Throughout his book, Dabney consults passages from both the OT and NT, however, he leans most heavily on the Mosaic Law, to a fault, in a manner that was similar to many other pro-slavery advocates at the time. Just as the Galatian errorists infused the 1st century church with the root-rot of another Gospel (via their abuse of Mosaic law), those who promoted the continuance of 19th century slavery in America proffered similar abuses of Scripture to their generation.” Beasley, Michael John. Jesus’ Justice: A Critical Analysis of the “Social Justice” Movement in view of the Majesty, Dignity, and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ (p. 167). The Armoury Ministries. Kindle Edition.

[5] Dabney, Ecclesiastical Relation of Negroes, 11-12.

[6] Dabney’s Systematic Theology, p. 721, he stipulates the following regarding the Golden Rule: “[all are]…equal in their common humanity, and their common share in the obligations and benefits of the golden rule. All men are reciprocally bound to love their neighbors as themselves…Men have by nature, a general equality in this; not a specific one. Hence, the general equality of nature will by no means produce a literal and universal equality of civil condition; for the simple reason that the different classes of citizens have very different specific rights; and this grows out of their differences of sex, virtue, intelligence, civilization, etc., and the demands of the common welfare. Thus, if the low grade of intelligence, virtue and civilization of the African in America, disqualified him for being his own guardian, and if his own true welfare (taking the ‘general run’ of cases) and that of the community, would be plainly marred by this freedom; then the law decided correctly, that the African here has no natural right to his self–control, as to his own labour and locomotion.” Beasley, Jesus’ Justice, p. 171.

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Appendix VI: Jesus’ Justice, OT Slavery, and the Christian’s Warfare

The following articles have been written as a form of extended appendices for Jesus’ Justice –

Appendix V: Jesus’ Justice, Racial Bigotry, and R. L. Dabney

Appendix VI: Jesus’ Justice, OT Slavery, and the Christian’s Warfare


In my previous post, Appendix V: Jesus’ Justice, Racial Bigotry, and R.L. Dabney, I addressed the disturbing reality of Dabney’s overt bigotry against African-Americans. In addition to my citations of him in my book, Jesus’ Justice, I added sections from his address to the Presbyterian Synod of Virginia, Nov. 9th, 1867, titled: Against The Ecclesiastical Equality of Negro Preachers in our Church and their Right to Rule over White Christians. In this address he argued that there is an “insuperable difference of race (black and white)…made by God and not by man…[making] it plainly impossible for a black man to teach and rule white Christians” because Africans were (as Dabney asserted) an “inferior and hostile 9781935358190_covkindlerace.” Four years later, Dabney would advance a similar argument in his popular Systematic Theology where he insisted that “the low grade of intelligence, virtue and civilization of the African in America [made it necessary for the African to have]…no natural right to his self-control, as to his own labour and locomotion.”[1] This assertion was made, remarkably, amidst Dabney’s teaching on the Golden Rule. According to Dabney, his license to derogate, subjugate, and enslave African-Americans was rooted in what he deemed as a God-ordained inferiority via the curse of Canaan:

It [curse of Canaan] does in the first place, what all secular history and speculations fail to do: it gives us the origin of domestic slavery. And we find that it was appointed by God as the punishment of, and remedy for (nearly all God’s providential chastisements are also remedial) the peculiar moral degradation of a part of the race. God here ordains that this depravity shall find its necessary restraints, and the welfare of the more virtuous its safeguard against the depraved, by the bondage of the latter. He introduces that feature of political society, for the justice of which we shall have occasion to contend; that although men have all this trait of natural equality that they are children of a common father, and sharers of a common humanity, and subjects of the same law of love; yet, in practice, they shall be subject to social inequalities determined by their own characters, and their fitness or unfitness to use privileges for their own and their neighbours’ good.[2]

When simplified and distilled, Dabney’s argument was that “part of the race” of humans possessed “a peculiar moral degradation” and therefore required “bondage” for the welfare of the “more virtuous.” What is key to this viewpoint is that those who claimed the high ground of virtuous living believed they had license to enslave those who possessed a peculiar moral degradation. The pivotal point in all of this is that Dabney was defending one especially prejudicial license which is being replicated by the advocates of Social Justice Ideology (SJI) in the modern day:

The right to judge an entire segment of humanity as being uniquely defective; worthy of derogation and subjugation.

Thus, based upon Dabney’s two corrupt presumptions: 1. The inferiority of African-Americans and 2. The precedent of “the Curse of Canaan,” he confidently asserted a scriptural justification for domestic slavery in his book, Defense of Virginia:

…the cavils, objections and special pleadings of the Abolitionists teem like the frogs of Egypt, engendered in the mire of ignorance and prejudice, so numerous because so worthless…Whatever may have been the leniency of the [O.T.] system [of slavery], the state of the Gentile slaves showed the essential features of slavery among us, the right to the slave’s labour for life without his consent, property in that labour, the right to buy, sell and bequeath it; the right to enforce it on the slave by corporal punishments, which might have any degree of severity short of death. (See Exod. xxi. 20, 21.) Virginians had no interest to contend for any stricter form of slavery than this.[3]

My initial response to the above quote from Dabney’s, Defense of Virginia (1867), in Jesus’ Justice is as follows:

This particular passage from Dabney’s Defense is both stunning and telling. The thought of seizing fellow human beings against their will, compelling their servitude by force (theirs and their progeny), and beating them just short of death, all in the name of Jesus Christ, surpasses credulity.[4]

At the time I wrote this I recall thinking of the potential retorts and protests that might follow, especially from those who seek to herald the Law of Moses above its station and purpose. Similar to the pro-slavery advocates of yesteryear, there are some today who see Israel’s historic license and practice of slavery as providing a scriptural grounds for the continuance of the practice, in colonial America as well as the present. It is this form of reasoning that Granville Sharp repeatedly refuted in his own day. His argument was that there was no sense in which “the Israelites, under the dispensation of the Law, either in killing, dispossessing, or enslaving…should justify our modern acts of violence and oppression, now that we profess obedience to the Gospel of Peace.”[5] The simplicity and brevity of his point deserves further attention, especially when we consider the differences between the OT and NT instructions regarding slavery. There are, in a sense, three key points that must be considered in order to understand the subject of slavery, especially as it relates to America’s historic practice of slavery: 1. The unique commands and prescriptions given to ancient Israel; 2. The categorical distinction of British and colonial slavery; 3. The commands and prescriptions given to the church in the NT.

1. The unique commands and prescriptions given to ancient Israel: As already mentioned, Sharp spoke of Israel’s unique authority “under the dispensation of the Law…in killing, dispossessing [and] enslaving,” and rightly denied that such authority can be claimed by other nations in the present day. When we consider the unique commands and prescriptions given to ancient Israel, we must remember that the very land which God had promised to Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 15:18-19) was to be conquered and dispossessed by the power of God for His chosen people, Israel: “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess [יָרַשׁ, yarash] from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite.” (Joshua 3:10). This English term, dispossess, is a solid representation of the Hebrew word yarash, which, objectively speaking, points to the idea of impoverishing, destroying, or making someone/something destitute. Subjectively speaking, it points to the resultant enrichment that comes through the impoverishment of another. As such, it is a term that points to the spoils of war that were Israel’s rightful inheritance through her instrumental conquest of the Promised Land. According to Joshua 3:10, it is ultimately God who is the active agent of this dispossession of the nations and Israel was called to be the instrument of this conquest (Deut. 7:1-3). Therefore, the nation was to obey Joshua as he led them into battle, or be executed for their rebellion against God (Joshua 1:18). It is against this important backdrop that we see the uniqueness of Israel’s permission to make use of Gentile slaves (Lev. 25:44-46). Slavery was a merciful alternative to death. However, though Israel was enjoined by God to conquer and dispossess the nations, those Gentiles who would be utilized as slaves were never classified as mere chattel as was the habit of the neighboring pagan nations. Instead, a man who killed his slave was murdering a human being and was to suffer retribution/vengeance [naqam] for the act – Exodus 21:20: “And if a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished [naqam].” Unlike the pagan nations which viewed slaves as nothing more than chattel, the nation of Israel was prohibited from descending to such a dehumanizing standard, as John Calvin rightly observes, “Although in civil matters there was a wide distinction between slaves and free-men, still, that God may shew how dear and precious men’s lives are to Him, He has no respect to persons with regard to murder; but avenges the death of a slave and a free-man in the same way.”[6] But the very next verse in Exodus 21 has been abused by some in order to suggest that Israel was to view the slave as mere chattel: Exodus 21:21: 21 “If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.” To begin with, we must contemplate what the slave has experienced from the hand of his master in this passage. Most translations employ the English word “survives” for the Hebrew term, amadstand. By this we have a situation in which we find that the slave stands as evidence that no serious injury was given. In this case, no retribution should be given to the master, as Calvin asserts: “For that the slaves should ‘stand for one or two days,[7] is equivalent to saying, that they were perfect and sound in all their members; but if a wound had been inflicted, or there was any mutilation, the smiter was guilty of murder. None, therefore, is absolved but he who only meant to chastise his slave; and where no injury appears, it is probable that there was no intention to kill him. Whilst, then, this law prohibits bloodthirsty assaults, it by no means gives greater license to murder.”[8] This then leads us to wonder about what is meant by the concluding, qualifying clause, “for he is his property.” This elliptical expression raises the question as to whether it is asserting the essential or instrumental value of the slave. Walt Kaiser rightly points to the latter connotation: “The point is not that men are mere chattel (which the NIV rendering tends to suggest) but that the owner has an investment in this slave that he stands to lose either by death (not to mention capital punishment as well) or by emancipation (vv. 27-28[9]).”[10] Calvin underscores the concluding expression in Exodus 21:21 as follows: “The reason, which is added, must be restricted to the private loss; because a murderer would never be absolved on the pretext that he had purchased his slave with money, since the life of a man cannot be so estimated.”[11] Though Israel was given many unique commands and prescriptions to dispossess the nations, none of them included the dehumanizing notion of chattel slavery.

2. The categorical distinction of British and colonial slavery: Though Israel was given unique authority to dispossess the seven nations of the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites, such authority has never been given to any other nation. Uniquely, Israel was God’s servant (ebed, Lev. 25:55) through which the Messiah would come to into the world and die as the sinner’s righteous substitute. As such, the nation of Israel, like the Messiah Himself, represents a singularity in human history. It is in this sense that Sharp rebuked those who falsely asserted a license to “killing, dispossessing, or enslaving”[12] Africans on the grounds of the Mosaic Law. Moreover, as was mentioned in Jesus’ Justice, “the key nations involved in [the transatlantic slave trade] (the Portuguese, British, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Danish) were not at war with any of the nations within the African continent, nor were Africans seized by these nations on any pretext of penal retribution. Instead, those foreign nations that engaged in the African slave trade were clearly involved in the act of man-stealing (securing and kidnapping humans as mere chattel for profit).” Those who tried to use the OT Law to justify their actions of “killing, dispossessing, or enslaving” clearly ignored the stark penalty prescribed in Exodus 21:16: 16 “And he who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” The fact that death was the prescribed penalty for this crime reveals the dehumanizing nature of the act in which victims are treated like mere chattel, a word that is derived from the word, cattle (property, goods, money). Those who were kidnapped, enslaved, and forced to labor against their will were victims of piratical criminality; and those who sought the continued enslavement of these kidnapped souls and their progeny did so without any justification, scriptural or otherwise.

3. The commands and prescriptions given to the church in the NT: As reviewed in Jesus’ Justice, the 1st century church faced a complex world of slavery within the Graeco-Roman world. Three main categories of slaves existed in their day: a. War captives; b. Criminals; and c. Children of slaves. Unlike the present day, the Roman Empire did not have long term prisons or correctional facilities with which to house domestic criminals and war captives, and for this reason such slaves lived among the population, typically, as penal slaves. A lengthy treatment of these details is supplied within the seventh chapter of Jesus’ Justice, but it is important to stipulate that one’s understanding of the applicability of the NT instructions regarding slavery are strongly aided by such historical context. Slaves were enjoined, where possible, to seek their freedom (1 Cor. 7:21b) or serve as the Lord’s freedman where such earthly freedom was not possible (1 Cor. 7:21a). However, nowhere in the NT scriptures do we find the promotion of slavery as it was sustained in the transatlantic slave trade, along with its related institution of domestic slavery. Instead, the NT’s clear and repeated refutation of chattel slavery, along with its denunciation of kidnapping (1 Timothy1:9-11), reveal how the NT Scriptures became the death knell to the systems of slavery as promoted from the 16th to 19th centuries.

All of this offers a broader context to my response to Dabney in Jesus’ Justice, where I said: “The thought of seizing fellow human beings against their will, compelling their servitude by force (theirs and their progeny), and beating them just short of death, all in the name of Jesus Christ, surpasses credulity.”[13] The thought of doing this as a NT Christian and disciple of Christ is incredulous, and should be. When James and John asked Jesus for permission to make an ash heap of those Samaritans who refused to offer support to Jesus (Luke 9:51-54), they were likely operating from the OT precedent established by Elijah in 2 Kings 1:1-16 where two squadrons of fifty men and their captains were consumed with fire from heaven for their rebellion against a prophet of God. If the disciples had Elijah in mind, they were right to remember that God is just in the execution of such judgment, and that He has used prophets like Elijah to carry out such judgment. However, as the messengers of the Gospel of Peace, they were given a very different mission and priority: “He [Jesus] turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:55-56. A moment such as this supplied a crucial lesson to the disciples, reminding them [and us] that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). It is for this reason that the Christian’s armor in this battle is not physical and frail, but spiritual and powerfully made by God, consisting of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes made of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:14-17). Rather than seeking to dispossess the nations by means of bloodshed, war, and enslavement, it is the Christian’s calling to take up the divinely powerful weapons of warfare that can destroy human speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, while taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Such a war as this can only be won by means of the powerful message of the Gospel of God (Romans 1:16) which is to be proclaimed until Jesus is seen and known as the as the King of kings, Lord of lords, and supreme Despot (δεσπότην, Jude 4) over all the nations.


[1] Golden Rule: [all are]…equal in their common humanity, and their common share in the obligations and benefits of the golden rule. All men are reciprocally bound to love their neighbors as themselves…Men have by nature, a general equality in this; not a specific one. Hence, the general equality of nature will by no means produce a literal and universal equality of civil condition; for the simple reason that the different classes of citizens have very different specific rights; and this grows out of their differences of sex, virtue, intelligence, civilization, etc., and the demands of the common welfare. Thus, if the low grade of intelligence, virtue and civilization of the African in America, disqualified him for being his own guardian, and if his own true welfare (taking the “general run” of cases) and that of the community, would be plainly marred by this freedom; then the law decided correctly, that the African here has no natural right to his self–control, as to his own labour and locomotion. Robert L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, electronic ed. based on the Banner of Truth 1985 ed. (Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation, 1996), 721, italics mine.

[2] Dabney, In Defence of Virginia, 1068-1073, Kindle.

[3] Robert Lewis Dabney, In Defence of Virginia (Kindle Locations 1318-31). E. J. Hale and Son. Kindle Edition.

[4] Beasley, Michael John. Jesus’ Justice: A Critical Analysis of the “Social Justice” Movement in view of the Majesty, Dignity, and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ (p. 167). The Armoury Ministries. Kindle Edition.

[5] Sharp, The Just Limitation of Slavery, 166-176.

[6] John Calvin and Charles William Bingham, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony, vol. 3 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 40.

[7] A. V., “continue for a day or two.” Ainsworth, in loco: “Heb., stand, which the Greek translateth live.”

[8] John Calvin and Charles William Bingham, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony, vol. 3 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 41.

[9] Exodus 21:27–28: 27 “And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.28 “And if an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished.

[10] The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol 2, Ed. Frank El Gaebelein, Walt Kaiser Jr., (Michigan: Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1990), 435.

[11] John Calvin and Charles William Bingham, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony, vol. 3 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 41.

[12] Sharp, The Just Limitation of Slavery, 166-176.

[13] Beasley, Michael John. Jesus’ Justice: A Critical Analysis of the “Social Justice” Movement in view of the Majesty, Dignity, and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ (p. 167). The Armoury Ministries. Kindle Edition.

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Appendix V: Jesus’ Justice, Racial Bigotry, and R. L. Dabney

The following articles have been written as a form of extended appendices for Jesus’ Justice –


Appendix V: Jesus’ Justice, Racial Bigotry, and R. L. Dabney

Appendix VI: Jesus’ Justice, OT Slavery, and the Christian’s Warfare


The contents of my most recent book, Jesus’ Justice, represent the culmination of years of research and preaching since 2012 – the 9781935358190_covkindlesame year that I heard Tim Keller advance the heterodoxical doctrine of generational guilt via Social Justice Ideology’s central tenet of “white guilt.” At the time, I was far too busy to address the matter, but I knew that this venomous teaching would eventually spread throughout many professing churches. The reason why I was so confident that this teaching would spread over time is because of the modern church’s grotesque infatuation with Evangelical celebrities in addition to its Athenian craving for novel doctrines, and Keller’s 2012 presentation clearly satiated both appetites. Of course, Keller isn’t the only modern Evangelical promoting such theological wares, but I believe that he has played an important role in the church’s acceptance of this most recent Trojan horse. As such, much of modern-day Christendom is subjecting itself to the secularism of Social Justice Ideology (SJI) rather than to the unmitigated authority of God’s Word, and this dangerous procedure sullies the church’s Gospel witness to a lost and dying world.

Yet, the bulk of my labors that contributed to Jesus’ Justice began in 2019 when I started a sermon series on the book of Philemon. This also marked the 17th anniversary of our family’s move to the South (North Carolina) where one will find some very strong opinions about the history of slavery and the Civil War. As I prepared for my series in Philemon, I consumed a wide variety of books that would aid me, including several works dealing with the transatlantic slave trade. One title that I secured for my studies was Robert Lewis Dabney’s book, In Defense of Virginia. Over the years I had been aware of Dabney’s popular Systematic Theology and had consulted it on several occasions, but I knew nothing about his views on slavery. As I mentioned in Jesus’ Justice, I was surprised and stunned to find Dabney’s derogating treatment of Africans based upon several manipulations of Scripture. Because of this I decided to research his views further. To my surprise, I discovered an odd use of the Golden Rule in his Systematic Theology wherein he sought to justify domestic slavery because of the “low grade of intelligence, virtue and civilization of the African” [1] in America:

Golden Rule: [all are]…equal in their common humanity, and their common share in the obligations and benefits of the golden rule. All men are reciprocally bound to love their neighbors as themselves…Men have by nature, a general equality in this; not a specific one. Hence, the general equality of nature will by no means produce a literal and universal equality of civil condition; for the simple reason that the different classes of citizens have very different specific rights; and this grows out of their differences of sex, virtue, intelligence, civilization, etc., and the demands of the common welfare. Thus, if the low grade of intelligence, virtue and civilization of the African in America, disqualified him for being his own guardian, and if his own true welfare (taking the “general run” of cases) and that of the community, would be plainly marred by this freedom; then the law decided correctly, that the African here has no natural right to his self–control, as to his own labour and locomotion.[2]

Dabney’s argument bears several contradictions which would demand far more attention than is needed for this article, but it is quite remarkable that he first affirms the common humanity of all, but then concludes that the African has no natural right to his self-control, as to his own labour and locomotion. Clearly, his conclusion overrides his premise because of his faulty assertion of the natural inferiority of the African; a natural inferiority which results in no natural rights of self-determination.[3]

Some who read this may wonder if the above excerpt represents a momentary shortcoming of Dabney’s, one which fails to represent his overall views concerning Africans. However, it is important to remember that Dabney’s Systematic Theology was first printed in 1871, four years after he publicly confronted the Presbyterian Synod of Virginia on November 9th, 1867, in order to oppose a motion which would allow qualified African-Americans to serve in leadership in the Presbyterian church. His presentation is disturbingly, yet fittingly, titled, Against The Ecclesiastical Equality of Negro Preachers in our Church and their Right to Rule over White Christians:

This overture demands that the Assembly shall declare that “ordination shall be given to all those called of God to, and qualified for the work, without respect of persons.” Now, sir, there is a sense in which every one in this house will assent to this as a general proposition. But in which meaning is it to be taken? Does it imply that we may properly decide that the evidence of God’s call and qualification is fatally defective, where an insuperable difference of race, made by God and not by man, and of character, and social condition, makes it plainly impossible for a black man to teach and rule white Christians to edification? If so, I adopt it. Or does it mean, that it is right to ordain a black man possessed of the piety, integrity and learning required by our standards, (if we have any such,) to preach to black Presbyterian congregations, if we have any? Then I adopt it. Or, does it ask the General Assembly to enact, that I shall help to ordain a negro to teach and rule white people, and make him a co-equal member with myself in West Hanover Presbytery, to sit in judgment on the affairs of white churches and members? Is this its end? I see one and another boldly and defiantly nod their assent. On this point, gentlemen, I am utterly opposed to you; and I can only account for hearing a proposal so astounding, from such gentlemen as I know you to be, by these two motives; an overstrained and quixotic magnanimity, and the stress of a supposed necessity of logical consistency, under which you have fallen by means of a sophism.[4]

I call the title of Dabney’s presentation fitting because it well summarizes Dabney’s overall argument throughout. Dabney’s use of the possessive pronoun (Against The Ecclesiastical Equality of Negro Preachers in our Church and their Right to Rule over White Christians) exposes a key component of his tragic error and reveals a man-centeredness which belies much of his other writings. However, his grotesque supposition that the African possesses a natural and disqualifying inferiority was clearly asserted in his address to the Synod:

I oppose the entrusting of the destinies of our Church, in any degree whatever, to black rulers, because that race is not trustworthy for such position. There may be a few exceptions; (I do not believe I have ever seen one, though I have known negroes whom I both respected and loved, in their proper position) but I ask emphatically: Do legislatures frame general laws to meet the rare exceptions? or do they adjust them to the general average? Now, who that knows the negro, does not know that his is a subservient race; that he is made to follow, and not to lead; and his temperament, idiosyncrasy, and social relation, make him untrustworthy as a depositary of power? Especially will we weigh this fact now, unless we are madmen; now, when the whole management to which he is subjected is so exciting, so unhealthy, so intoxicating to him; and when the whole drift of the social, political, and religious influences which now sway him, bear him with an irresistible tide, towards a religious faction, which is the deadly and determined enemy of every principle we hold dear. Sir, the wisest masters in Israel, a John Newton, an Alexander, a Whitefield, have told us, that although grace may save a man’s soul, it does not destroy his natural idiosyncrasy, this side of heaven. If you trust any portion of power over your Church to black hands, you will rue it. Have they not done enough recently, to teach us how thoroughly they are untrustworthy? They have, in a body, deserted their true friends, and natural allies, and native land, to follow the beck of the most unmasked and unprincipled set of demagogues on earth, to the most atrocious ends. They have just, in a body, deserted the churches of their fathers. They have usually been prompt to do these things, just in proportion to their religious culture and to our trust in them. Is not this enough to teach us, that if we commit our power to that race, in these times of conflict and stern testimony, possibly of suffering for God’s truth, it will prove the “bruised reed, which when we lean upon it will break, and rend all our side, and cause all our loins to be at a stand?”[5]

One of the reasons why I wrote Jesus’ Justice is because I saw that many within the SJI movement were replicating the grave and unbiblical errors of the Antebellum South. SJI advocates make broad and sweeping judgments against “whites” today in a manner that is similar to those who vilified “blacks” in the past. For Dabney, he commits several errors in the above excerpt, all of which are addressed in Jesus’ Justice:

1. He commits the error of seeing humanity as being comprised of differing races, rather than recognizing the singularity of the human race (Acts 17:16-31).

2. He commits the error of corrupting the universal nature of sin, thereby failing to uphold the reality that no member of the human race has an advantage over the other (whether Jew or Gentile, Romans 3:9).

3. He commits the error of undermining the transforming power of God’s grace in the life of a Christian by asserting that God shows partiality to one “race” of humans over another. This is a clear violation of Scripture (Acts 10:34). Similarly, Emerson and Smith belittle salvation and sanctification, calling it the “miracle motif” and inferring that it is ineffectual for yielding societal change. For Dabney, he believed that the African could be saved, but not adequately sanctified in order to serve in leadership because they were, as he insisted, “a subservient race.”

4. He commits the error of concluding that an entire spectrum of the human race (by any superficial distinction) can be justly derogated and forcefully subjected by human judgment and determination.

Dabney’s lack of restraint, when belittling Africans as an inferior and hostile race, is difficult to fathom from a man who had so much knowledge of Scripture:

But our brethren, turning heartsore and indignant from their secular affairs, where nothing met their eye but a melancholy ruin, polluted by the intrusion of this inferior and hostile race, looked to their beloved Church for a little repose. [6]

Like Thomas Jefferson, who was more informed by secular ideology than the Bible, Dabney warned the Synod against the dangers of mixing the blood of the inferior and superior “races” of mankind:

Yes, sir, these tyrants know that if they can mix the race of Washington, and Lee, and Jackson, with this base herd which they brought from the pens of Africa; if they can taint the blood which hallowed the plains of Manassas, with this sordid stream, the adulterous current will never again swell a Virginian’s heart with a throb noble enough to make a despot tremble. But they will then have, for all time, a race supple and grovelling enough for all the purposes of oppression. We have before our eyes, in Mexico, the proof and illustration of the satanic wisdom of their plan. There we saw a splendid colonial empire, first blighted by abolition; then a frantic spirit of levelling, declaring the equality of the coloured races with the Spaniard; and last, the mixture of the Castilian blood—the grandest of all the Gothic—resulting in the mongrel rabble which is now the shame and plague of that wretched land.[7]

Only recently did I discover Dabney’s address, Against The Ecclesiastical Equality of Negro Preachers in our Church and their Right to Rule over White Christians. But having already completed Jesus’ Justice, it seemed most fitting to include it here in order to underscore the importance of addressing the realities of history: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Having spent much time and energy combating the grave errors of SJI, I have become convinced that those who choose to whitewash the errors of the past are inadvertently shoveling fodder into the cannons of the Gospel’s sworn enemies within the SJI movement. What Dabney taught concerning the enslavement of Africans in America is disturbing, to say the least, and the fact that he has supporters and advocates in the present day is difficult to grasp. When I began writing Jesus’ Justice I didn’t know that I would have to address and expose a someone such as Dabney, but this became necessary when I discovered his degrading judgments against fellow members of the human race. Yet, there was a strange trade-off in all this. Not only did I lose my previous regard for Dabney, but I also discovered valiant servants like Granville Sharp. Additionally, my respect for C.H. Spurgeon grew further in light of his uncompromising stand on this issue: “…although I commune at the Lord’s table with men of all creeds, yet with a slave-holder I have no fellowship of any sort or kind. Whenever one has called upon me, I have considered it my duty to express my detestation of his wickedness, and I would as soon think of receiving a murderer into my church….as a man stealer.”[8]

Finally, there is more that needs to be said in view of my critique of Dabney in Jesus’ Justice, especially in light of his attempt to justify domestic slavery based upon Exodus 21.[9] In a subsequent article, I will address the unique prescriptions and commands given to the nation of Israel and how this differs from the mandates given to the New Testament church.[10] In a sense, Dabney over-ruled the prescriptions of the New Covenant via the Mosaic Law, which is a grave error that some repeat in the modern day.


[1] Robert L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, electronic ed. based on the Banner of Truth 1985 ed. (Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation, 1996), 721, italics mine.

[2] Ibid.

[3] It is interesting that Dabney felt the license to issue his broad generalizations, qualifying his comments with this parenthetical: “taking the ‘general run’ of cases.” This seems to suggest that there might be exceptions to what he believes is a viable determination of the “low grade of intelligence” of the African. However, he transitions to a conclusion that offers no such exceptions, saying “the African has no natural right to his self control.” Such a conclusion, without qualification, yields a universal judgment on what he called Remarkably, Dabney’s apparent effort to offer some measure of nuance of judgment against Africans is finally destroyed by his universal pronouncement against all Africans in general.

[4] Dabney, Robert. Ecclesiastical Relation of Negroes (pp. 5-6). Storied Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[5] Ibid., 9-10.

[6] Ibid., 12.

[7] Ibid., 14.

[8] Godfrey Holden Pike, The Life and Work of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (UK: Banner of Truth Trust, 1992), 333

[9] Robert Lewis Dabney, In Defence of Virginia (Kindle Locations 1318-31). E. J. Hale and Son. Kindle Edition.

[10] In his book, In Defense of Virginia, Dabney expends significant energy trying to justify slavery in America. He attempts to distance himself from the charge of kidnapping through a number of arguments, including that of domestic slavery. A more detailed analysis of his efforts is covered in the eighth chapter of Jesus’ Justice.

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Jesus’ Justice

Jesus’ Justice – A Critical Analysis of the “Social Justice” Movement in view of the Majesty, Dignity, and Power of the Lord Jesus Christ

9781935358190_covkindleSo many of the discussions that we hear today about “Social Justice” are missing the centerpiece of everything: Jesus’ justice. This is not a trivial observation. Those who try to define justice apart from the One who is holy, righteous, and just may as well try to build a sky-scraper without a blueprint or engineer. History reveals that when mere mortals contrive their own definitions and standards of justice, grave atrocities often result, and it may be that such troubling history is about to repeat itself. Many today are proceeding as the torch-bearers of a new pathway to justice, fully arrayed with an army of academics, conference speakers, and New York Times best sellers. They are also armed with a unique, Social Justice dialect in which they dispense broad accusations of “white supremacy” and “systemic white racism” against modern society and even the church of Jesus Christ. Because of this movement’s enormity and repeated accusations, it would be highly dangerous to imagine that this ideology will go away anytime soon. For this reason, this book compares and contrasts the standards of Social Justice ideology (SJI) with that of Jesus and His holy justice. By this comparison, we will discover that the modern ideology of Social Justice blasphemously contradicts the Lord’s justice by heralding the wisdom of man above God (chapter 1); by seeking to remedy past injustices with present day injustices (chapter 2); by seeing oppression (whether real or perceived) as establishing personal merit and innocence (chapter 3); by promoting faulty views of God’s creation of the human race and therefore advancing an abundance of ignorance and racial bigotry (chapter 4); by advancing its own doctrinal creed and religious system of atonement that supplies no real solutions or true hope (chapter 5); by fostering bigotry, hatred, and resentment against others on the basis of their epidermis (chapter 6); by mutilating history to such an extent that the triumphs of the Gospel, both past and present, are grotesquely obscured (chapter 7); by replicating a racial bigotry that is comparable to some of the worst expressions of bigotry from the past (chapter 8); and by falling short of any comprehensive understanding of universal sin, systemic evil, and God’s sovereign providence over all (chapter 9).

By this comparison, we will discover the bankruptcy and dangerous nature of this man-made philosophy which has become a religion for many.  This comparison will also reveal what Scripture describes as the greatest contest in human history in which “the nations rage against the Lord and His Anointed” King (Psalm 2). And who is this Anointed King? He is Jesus Christ, the exalted  Redeemer (Psalm 110:1) and “King of Righteousness” (Psalm 110:4) who will someday judge the living and the dead in His perfect and holy justice (Psalm 110:5-6).

In the end, without a serious consideration of Jesus and His justice, nothing else really matters.

“Over the past decade or so, lots of half-baked, highly controversial notions about justice and social equity have been proposed, Tweeted, sloganized, mindlessly embraced, and endlessly echoed by evangelical thought leaders. Michael Beasley takes time to consider the biblical definition of justice with meticulous care in this extremely helpful and eminently readable work. If you are confused by all the current rhetoric about ‘social justice,’ woke ideology, and the drift of the broad evangelical movement, you must read Jesus’ Justice.”

Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You

Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-935358-19-0
Hardback, ISBN: 978-1-935358-20-6

Release date: 4.10.2022

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Sondland’s Perilous Presumption

At the end of over 21 hours of arguments presented by Democratic house managers, it has become evident that the substantive basis for the impeachment of President Donald Trump amounts to nothing more than presumption. This is not my personal opinion, it is the actual testimony of the Democrats’ key witness, Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Perhaps the most stunning moment in Sondland’s testimony before the house was delivered in this exchange with Congressman Michael Turner:

Turner: “So you really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations.”

Sondland: “Other than my own presumption.”

Turner: “Which is nothing!”

I would like to draw the reader’s attention to an important detail regarding this exchange between Sondland and Turner. When representative Turner called Sondland’s presumption nothing, he was no more than half right in his assertion. I say this because, on the one hand, Sondland’s presumption does in fact offer nothing in terms of actual evidence and facts. Because of this, Sondland’s testimony is a blatant admission that the Democrats’ impeachment articles are founded on nothing – no actual evidence at all. On the other hand, presumption, by definition, is not nothing, it is something. By definition, presumption is the assertion of one’s over-confident opinion, and is rooted in arrogance, pride, and effrontery (shameless audacity, unblushing insolence). By this latter consideration, I would suggest to the reader that Sondland’s testimony unveils more than an absence of evidence, it reveals the darkness of what is taking place in our nation’s capital. This is something.

Sondland’s use of the word presumption should have triggered more alarm than it did. Perhaps this is due to the slanted reporting of the leftist media, the political polarity of our nation, or possibly even the illiteracy of many who don’t think carefully about words and their actual meaning. For myself, I tend to think that it is a twisted blending of all three issues, a subject of which I have written elsewhere. When I heard Sondland’s testimony, it sounded more like a confession in view of the wisdom of proverbs:

Proverbs 13:10: Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel.

Those who have studied the book of Proverbs are well aware of the fact that many verses in this book deal with contrasting, antithetical truths. Consider our verse under review. In the latter statement we have the presentation of wisdom: a wisdom that comes through the helpful counsel of others (…wisdom is with those who receive counsel). In the former section of this verse, we have wisdom’s antithesis: the dark reality of a presuming and insolent heart, which can only lead to strife. The contrasting thoughts in this verse convey its entire message: The polar opposite of wisdom is strife-producing presumption. The Hebrew word that is translated as presumption is zadon, which means insolence or pride. Translators vary on the connotation of this word: pride (ASV), presumption (NASB), insolence (ESV), and vanity (YLT). In the end, they all capture the core essence of this Hebrew term rather well. This Hebrew word zadon expands our understanding of the overall message of this verse. Antithetically, a heart of zadon (pride, insolence, vanity, presumption) will lead an individual to speak and act without the helpful counsel of others. This actually gets to the heart of the meaning of the term presumption. A presumptuous person forsakes outside counsel because he possesses an over-confident opinion[1] due to pride and arrogance. Wisdom humbly seeks counsel and facts (Proverbs 4:7); presumption requires neither, but is rooted in an unblushing insolence and arrogance. And what does such presumption produce? Nothing, our verse says, but strife. The inclusion of the word nothing (H. Raq) reminds us of the exclusivity of presumption’s yield. As Jesus said, a bad tree cannot produce good fruit (Matt. 7:18). And so it is that human presumption (pride, insolence, vanity [zadon]) has just one outcome and no other: strife. The word strife (H. matzah) requires little exposition: strife, contention, fighting. We are taught that the one who loves transgression loves strife (Proverbs 17:19).Thus, the contrast presented in our verse is rather clear and is affirmed as a principle throughout the Scriptures: The good fruit of peacemaking requires true wisdom (James 3:17-18), whereas infighting and strife are the perpetual bad fruits of the insolent (James 3:13-16). I say perpetual in view of the core verb which governs our verse in question: “Through presumption comes [H. yiten] nothing but strife.” The verb here employed is an imperfect verb which speaks of incomplete action and is often translated as a present verb in the English. This brings to mind the reality of unconstrained, continuing action. In view of the overall context of the verse, we could say that presumption yields nothing but strife, without end.

The reader should know that I am not claiming to have knowledge regarding the thoughts, motives, or intentions of Ambassador Donald Sondland. I am simply taking his own testimony at face value. Assuming that he comprehends his own words, his testimony reveals a particularly stark confession. And for those who wish to take issue with my sole examination of the word presumption, please keep in mind that this is not the only term used by Sondland to represent his fact-deficient testimony. As argued by Mike Purpura (Deputy White House Counsel to the President), ambassador Sondland used various forms of the words assume, presume, guess, and speculate over 30 times throughout the course of his testimony before the House. None of these terms lead us to an ounce of empirical evidence. It only supplies fodder in the canons of those who wish to weaponize impeachment as a deadly political weapon.

Finally, by presenting the teachings of Proverbs in this article, it is important to remember that our focus of study is not about any one individual, per se. Instead, when considering any principle of scripture, our first priority must be to examine ourselves to see how we (as individuals) fall short of God’s standard, and how we can improve in our obedience to what He has commanded. The sin of presumption is a ubiquitous disease. All of us therefore need to mortify this ugly beast on a daily basis.


[1] OED: The taking upon onself of more than is warranted by one’s position, right, or (formerly) ability; forward or over-confident opinion or conduct; arrogance, pride, effrontery, assurance.

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Isaac Watts: Trinitarian or Unitarian?

I was recently made aware of various questions and concerns regarding Isaac Watts’ views of the Trinity. The charge that is most commonly circulated is that Watts, the man who is often called the “father of English hymnody,” is said to have abandoned an orthodox view of the Trinity for that of Unitarianism towards the end of his life. When I first heard this charge, I began researching the matter for myself. It didn’t take long to realize that this entire matter would require a significant amount of time to evaluate. Thankfully, I came across an excellent article (and video, below) produced by Dr. Scott Aniol which surveys the matter very well:

Dr. Aniol serves as the Associate Professor and Chair of Worship Ministry at Southwestern Seminary, and has written extensively on the subject of worship and church hymnody. I believe that his summary of Watts is sound, reasonable, and effectively vindicates Watts in the end. In view of his careful treatment of this matter, I would like to offer some additional observations and warnings:

1. The Dangers of Celebritism, Past and Present: In 2015 I wrote a book entitled, My Banner is Christ, in which I address the grave dangers of “celebritism.” It should be noted that celebritism is merely an invented word that I use to describe the toxic realities of Evangelical-celebrity worship. Not only must we avoid the sin of exalting Evangelical leaders in the present day, but we must shun such celebritism with respect to the renowned saints of yesteryear. The sin of exalting the creature above the Creator is the same whether that creature is in glory, or still here on earth. I must confess that, when I first heard about the controversy regarding Watt’s view of the Trinity, I was filled with incredulity over the matter. This was primarily so because of my familiarity with the excellencies of Watts’ hymns, but there was also a tinge of personal deference towards Watts which made me want to disbelieve the matter immediately. Yet such personal deference must never stand in the way of the pursuit of objective truth. In view of this, I found Aniol’s mention of Douglas Bond’s cursory treatment of the controversy surrounding Watts quite interesting. Whatever can be said about the thoughts and intentions of Bond in the matter, he did his readers no favors by saying so little. We are called to exalt Christ, not mere men. If our careful examination of the celebrated saints of yesteryear leaves us with disappointment and disgust, then so be it. In the case of Watts, a deeper investigation by Bond would have issued a more cogent vindication of this father of English hymnody. In any circumstance, we should apply diligence when exploring the details of church history as best as possible, even if our discoveries are discouraging. Such experiences should remind us of our own creaturely frailty and, therefore, our great need to be watchful and vigilant guardians of our own life and doctrine on a daily basis.

2. The Dangers of Unjust Deconstructionism: As the reader already knows, the Internet can oftentimes be as helpful as it is dangerous. As it relates to the subject of history, some of the more dangerous elements of online media have recently surged via the Social Justice movement, replete with its Critical Theory deconstructionism of the past. Today, historic memorials are being toppled, and once respected theologians are readily vilified as madmen by a generation that has been led to believe that “the system” is out to get them, however one defines “the system.” This procedure is typically carried out without the requisite aid of historical context. The regular production of such “history” has effectively dulled the senses of many, such that any dark discovery from the past (whether real or imagined) is now the new, expected, daily norm. Within such a pessimistic environment as this, it becomes much more difficult to offer careful and nuanced analyses of history without sounding like an advocate of archaic thinking; especially when your presentation of history doesn’t square with what is deemed as vogue at the time. As this relates to Watts, I would suggest that a more careful analysis of the world in which he lived would help us understand his struggles over the use of creeds in explaining the Trinity (to which Aniol alluded). In Watts’ day, there were some who placed a stilted emphasis on historic creeds, thereby adding fodder to non-conformists who were concerned about retaining fidelity to Scripture. These pendulum swings have existed throughout church history, and they offer an important context to our comprehension of the various contests that arise in the church, past and present. In the end, neither celebritism nor unjust deconstructionism will help us in our pursuit of history. Instead, we are to seek out what facts are available to us objectively, without the intent of buttressing or demonizing those whom we evaluate, all the while heralding the authority and glory of Christ above all that is evaluated.

3. Church History is Fallible History: If you want infallible history, read your Bible. Everything else is subject to serious scrutiny with varying degrees of uncertainty. We often speak with such certitude about the saints of yesteryear, and yet this often belies the extent of our actual knowledge. By contrast, even the people we know personally we can only know within the context of our human frailty and personal limitations. As for individuals from the past, whom we have never met, all we can say is that we know of them by means of various historic texts that are available. Moreover, not everyone’s recorded history is necessarily as robust as we would prefer. In all of this we are left with an important principle as it relates to assessing the lives of historic figures: First, we must remember that “…the Lord knows who are His…” (2 Timothy 2:9) in a manner that we cannot. We cannot claim to know people (spiritually or otherwise) to the degree that Lord knows them, and thus we should be guarded with humility when seeking to describe the spiritual condition of others. Second, we are enjoined not to “exceed that which is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6) in Scripture, and such wisdom has its application in the use of extra-biblical history. We humans are often tempted to fill in the blanks of what is not plainly revealed (whether in Scripture or otherwise) because we don’t like having unanswered questions. Yet the plain reality of life is this: God knows all things, and we do not. Such an obvious confession isn’t always easy to make, especially when we pridefully think we are on the cusp of connecting the dots between two unknowns. Like many things in life, our observation of church history must never exceed the written record of it, remembering that such history is fallible and subject to scrutiny itself. Wherever we find uncertainty in life (whether in Scripture or otherwise), we can leave the matter in the hands of God who fully knows all things and will reveal all things in the end.

For most years of my life in pastoral ministry, to varying degrees, I have actively been involved in leading music before God’s people. It is a most serious task which must uphold and buttress the ministry of the word and prayer when the saints assemble for worship. As I contemplate these priorities, I often find that there are songs in our hymnal that are worthy of enthusiastic promotion, while others are used minimally or not at all. There are also hymns that are generally sound, but might require a simple redaction or modification. Some hymn stories, regarding the hymn and the hymn writer, may be encouraging and uplifting for the flock; whereas others are best left alone. And as for Harry Emmerson Fosdick’s hymn, God of Grace and God of Glory (The Christian Life Hymnal, #337), I refuse to sing it in view his horrific mockery of Scripture and the glorious Godhead. These are the choices that fallible men must make when sorting through a fallible hymnal, written by fallible people. There will always be choices to make regarding a hymnody which exalts the Lord most, seeing that it is our calling to give Him those gifts of praise (Hebrews 13:15) which honor and magnify our great God.

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500th Anniversary of the Reformation

reformation2

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we are introducing a new book entitled, Internet Inferno for just $0.99 in addition to 5 Kindle books for free from Sunday October 29th to Tuesday October 31st:

Here are the 5 free titles:

9781935358022medcov1. Indeed, has Paul Really Said? – A Critique of N.T. Wright’s Teaching on Justification: It was Martin Luther who said that the doctrine of justification by faith is “the doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” In reflection of this reality, Indeed, has Paul Really Said? is set forth as a modern-day defense of the crucial doctrine of justification against those who seek to undermine it by means of the theological innovations of men like N. T. Wright. In particular, Indeed, has Paul Really Said? is a directed critique of Wright’s own work: What Saint Paul Really Said (Eerdmans Publishing, 1997). But rather than perusing every nuance of Wright’s position, this book simplifies matters by revealing the Achilles’ Heel of Wright’s teaching regarding the expression – the righteousness of God – through four comprehensible and reproducible evaluations regarding: 1. A Lexical Analysis of the terms – righteousness, justification, and the expression – the righteousness of God; 2. The forensic [judicial] connotation of these terms; 3. The relevance of Paul’s background as a Pharisee; and 4. The manner in which justification is revealed within the whole counsel of God’s Word. The appendix contains five critical responses from N.T. Wright, including his statement of having “significantly” influenced John Piper’s work, The Future of Justification, before it was published. From beginning to end, Indeed, has Paul Really Said? clearly reveals that the doctrine of Justification requires the strongest possible defense that can be afforded by those who seek to herald the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Anything less than this will prove to be a great danger to the church. This is true for our generation, just as it has been in every generation. Copyright Year: © 2008

mbicsmall2. My Banner is Christ: An Appeal for the Church to Restore the Priority of Solus Christus and to Mortify the Idols of Celebritism and the Fear of Man: The church is called to be the pillar and support of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), not the pillar and support of Evangelical celebrities. Unfortunately, this plain and obvious truth has fallen on hard times within modern Evangelicalism.
When the church becomes more enamored with popular individuals, or things that are deemed as “trendy,” she enters into a dangerous flirtation with man-centered priorities. The church is not called to imitate the world which demands that it have its various celebrities and idols (professional athletes, pop icons, movie-stars, internet-idols etc.). Instead, she is called to a much different standard – the higher standard of exalting Christ and His authority alone (Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura).
Modern Evangelicalism has a great need to be restored to the priorities of Solus Christus and Sola Scriptura. The Reformers heralded these priorities for a very important reason – if Christ is not the church’s first love and sole authority, then all is lost. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea of celebrating God’s grace in the lives of godly individuals and their ministries, there is everything wrong with the idolatry of celebritism: the act of exalting men in a way that diminishes the glory and sole authority of Jesus Christ. It is important to recognize that the sin of worshipping the creature rather than the Creator is as natural to human nature as is breathing (Romans1:25). In light of such human frailty, the church must mortify the temptation of heralding mere men above their station, whether by fear or fawning devotion. In order to accomplish this goal, God’s people must remember that they are called to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ, alone (Ephesians 5:21). We can be sure that, wherever such reverence and adoration for Christ waxes hot, man-centered idolatry will wane and die. In the end, the church is called to exalt and magnify the risen and returning Savior, while raising the very banner of truth which He has entrusted to those who adore and fear Him (Psalm 60:4).

9781935358138 _covRGBFLATSMALL3. The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism – An Analysis, Critique, and Exhortation Concerning the Contemporary Doctrine of Fallible Prophecy: This book examines Wayne Grudem’s controversial teaching on fallible prophecy in view of various lexical, exegetical, and historical points of analysis. It also addresses the teaching’s popularity and continuing advancement through many charismatics within the “New Calvinism” movement. The doctrine of fallible prophecy is neither benign nor harmless, rather it constitutes a troubling strange fire for the body of Christ and continues to spread through the advocacy of popular continuationists like Wayne Grudem, D.A. Carson, John Piper, and Mark Driscoll:

“Not only does fallible prophecy have no real value, it is dangerous and can lead the gullible to take very unfortunate actions…since Grudem is the Neo-Calvinist theologian leading the charge in attempting to develop and defend the position of fallible prophecy, Beasley primarily interacts with his writings. His carefully presented argument leads to the conclusion that Grudem is reasoning from both ignorance of New Testament times, as well as from silence. Beasley has done the church a wonderful service by producing this volume. My hope is that many will read it and absorb its contents.” Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel, Springfield, Il

tfponcespLRG4. Los Profetas Falibles del Nuevo Calvinismo: Un Analisis, Critica y Exhortacion a la Doctrina Contemporanea de La Profecia Falible: Este libro examina la controversial enseñanza del Dr. Wayne Grudem sobre la profecía falible considerando los diversos puntos de análisis léxicos, exegéticos e históricos. También se ocupa de la popularidad de la enseñanza y su progreso continuo a través de muchos carismáticos dentro del movimiento del “Nuevo Calvinismo.” La doctrina de la profecía falible no es ni benigna ni inofensiva, sino que más bien constituye un fuego extraño inquietante para el cuerpo de Cristo y continúa propagándose a través de la promoción hecha por los continuistas populares como Wayne Grudem, D.A. Carson, John Piper, y Mark Driscoll. Al reestructurar el significado y la definición de un concepto tan central como la profecía, la enseñanza de la profecía falible crea una serie de problemas doctrinales y puntos de confusión dentro de la iglesia, que plantea interrogantes sobre la naturaleza de Aquel que promete que Su palabra revelada no volverá a Él vacía sin haber realizado lo que Él desea ( Isaías 55:11 ).
—–
“La profecía falible no solo carece de algún valor real, es peligrosa y puede llevar a los incautos a tomar acciones muy desafortunadas….puesto que Grudem es un teólogo Neo-Calvinista que encabeza el intento de desarrollar y defender la posición de la profecía falible, Beasley interactúa principalmente con sus escritos…. Beasley ha hecho a la iglesia un maravilloso servicio mediante la producción de este volumen. Mi esperanza es que muchos lo lean y absorban su contenido.” Gary E. Gilley , pastor – maestro de Southern View Chapel en Springfield, IL.

aauad5. Altar a un Amor Desconocido: Rob Bell, CS Lewis, y el Legado del Arte y el Pensamiento del Hombre: En marzo de 2011 el libro de Rob Bell, Love Wins (El Amor Triunfa), suscitó una gran polémica entre los evangélicos. Sin embargo, esta polémica no fue una simple molestia, sino que continúa ofreciendo una oportunidad crucial para la iglesia. Hay una historia muy importante y no contada detrás de todo el debate de Bell que se debe tratar por el bien de las generaciones futuras. El misterio y la singularidad de este conflicto han puesto de manifiesto un problema sistémico – uno que es mucho mayor que las protestas prematuras que rodean a Bell. La cuestión central que se plantea en Altar a un Amor Desconocido es la siguiente: si las opiniones de Bell son problemáticas, entonces ¿qué vamos a decir de su mentor teológico sobre el tema del infierno: CS Lewis? –
“Love Wins (El Amor Triunfa) de Rob Bell : Un libro sobre el Cielo, el Infierno y el Destino de Cada persona que Ha Vivido, ha sido condenado por los evangélicos que son, al mismo tiempo, admiradores declarados de autores de quienes Bell ha sido atraído, a saber, George MacDonald y CS Lewis. Beasley cuestiona la consistencia de este procedimiento, y si su libro se toma en serio – como se merece – debe promover más controversia, porque MacDonald y Lewis son figuras muy respetadas. Una presentación reconstruida del amor de Dios – que se puede encontrar en todos los autores que Beasley está criticando – produce una enseñanza que no lleva una ofensa al hombre natural. ¿Qué es más ofensivo para el hombre natural que la verdad en relación con la justicia de Dios y su ira contra el pecado? Pero esa ofensa se elimina por la enseñanza subjetiva y centrada en el hombre que se revisa aquí. Sin embargo, en lugar de comenzar con la Escritura, Lewis creía que tener en cuenta el amor en el hombre puede ayudarnos a entender el amor de Dios. Una parte importante de Altar a Un Amor Desconocido es una refutación de este error. El amor que se encuentra en el hombre no regenerado es el amor propio – el amor centrado en torno a la búsqueda del placer e identificado por los griegos (y por Lewis ) como eros . Pero el amor de Dios (nunca llamado eros en el Nuevo Testamento) es totalmente diferente, y no se conoce hasta que una persona ha nacido de Dios ( 1 Juan 4:7-10 ) . A nuestro juicio él demuestra el argumento de que Lewis es ahora tan ampliamente aceptable en el cristianismo estadounidense, debido a que las ideas no bíblicas no están siendo reconocidas como lo que son. Una destreza en la escritura, una narración efectiva, con una mezcla de ‘referencias y pensamientos bíblicos desconectados,’ son capaces de alcanzar gran éxito en un día en que la discriminación ha cedido el paso al gusto popular.” Reverendo Iain H. Murray, Ex Director Editorial y co-fundador de The Banner of Truth Trust

Here is the newest book on the Kindle format, available now for just $0.99:

9781935358152SMALLERInternet Inferno – A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth, “The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity, and is Set on Fire by Hell” James 3:6. Here is a summary of its contents:

While the Internet is a helpful tool in many ways, it has also become a cesspool for all forms of gossip and malicious slander. Many who use electronic media today seem to have little regard for the damage that can be done to the reputation of others through the issuance of lies and deception. What is especially troubling about this problem is that few today are aware of the divine judgment that awaits all those who bring about such destruction by their words (Proverbs 6:16-19, Revelation 22:15). Whether you are a Christian or not, this subject should give everyone serious pause regarding their conduct, thoughts, motives, and their every typed or spoken word. Though men may think nothing of slandering another human being, who is made in God’s image (James 3:9), the Creator does not share such indifference. One day His justice will come and everything that has been said in secret will be made known before His holy tribunal (Luke 12:2-3). Thus, Internet Inferno has been written in order to issue a contemporary warning and reminder of this ancient truth:

James 3:6: “…the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.”

What James sets forth in this passage is quite grave and sobering. By it he seeks to awaken us out of the dangerous indifference that often prevails in our communication. Of course, the tongue is merely a vehicle of communication and nothing more. In the end, the tongue is not the principal danger, it is the human heart that has the dark capacity to unleash hell, or, as Jesus said: Matthew 15:19: “…out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19, 12:34). It is for this reason that all communication provides us with the opportunity to consider the motives and thoughts of our hearts, to the end that we might also contemplate the eternity of our souls.

May these titles be a help and encouragement to you all. Soli Deo Gloria

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Internet Inferno – Coming November 3rd, 2017

Internet Inferno
A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth –
“The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity,
and is Set on Fire by Hell”
James 3:6

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhile the Internet is a helpful tool in many ways, it has also become a cesspool for all forms of gossip and malicious slander. Many who use electronic media today seem to have little regard for the damage that can be done to the reputation of others through the issuance of lies and deception. What is especially troubling about this problem is that few today are aware of the divine judgment that awaits all those who bring about such destruction by their words (Proverbs 6:16-19, Revelation 22:15). Whether you are a Christian or not, this subject should give everyone serious pause regarding their conduct, thoughts, motives, and their every typed or spoken word. Though men may think nothing of slandering another human being, who is made in God’s image (James 3:9), the Creator does not share such indifference. One day His justice will come and everything that has been said in secret will be made known before His holy tribunal (Luke 12:2-3). Thus, Internet Inferno has been written in order to issue a contemporary warning and reminder of this ancient truth:

James 3:6: “…the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.”

What James sets forth in this passage is quite grave and sobering. By it he seeks to awaken us out of the dangerous indifference that often prevails in our communication. Of course, the tongue is merely a vehicle of communication and nothing more. In the end, the tongue is not the principal danger, it is the human heart that has the dark capacity to unleash hell, or, as Jesus said: Matthew 15:19: “…out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matthew 15:19, 12:34). It is for this reason that all communication provides us with the opportunity to consider the motives and thoughts of our hearts, to the end that we might also contemplate the eternity of our souls.

Available on the Amazon Kindle format, due out (Lord willing) on November 3rd, 2017.

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The Nashville Statement: Why I Didn’t Sign

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Some Thoughts on Brannon Howse, Janet Mefferd, & James White

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