Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Great Struggles, Deep Irony, Significant Change

This past Sunday, April 6, 2008 marked the 146th anniversary of The Battle of Shiloh. This was the first major Civil War battle in the west, and opened the eyes of leaders on both sides of the War Between the States that the conflict would not be over quickly or easily. The battle commenced with a surprise attack by Confederate forces on Union soldiers under the command of Ulysses S. Grant encamped at Pittsburg Landing on the south bank of the Tennessee River in southwestern Tennessee.

Most of the soldiers who fought that day, on both sides, had little battle experience. They fought in the open field and exhibited remarkable steadiness and readiness to obey orders. The two-day battle was intense, bloody and costly. Eventually the Union soldiers held their battle lines and the Confederates withdrew. No pursuit was made or attempted. General Beauregard reported the Confederate losses at 10,699 captured, missing, wounded or killed. The loss of Union solders, according to Generals Grant and Buell were estimated at 15,000 killed, wounded, captured or missing.

Four things astound me about this battle. First, the battle is called Shiloh because of a little church in the open field, called Shiloh Church, around which the men fought and died. Second, Shiloh is a Hebrew word for "Peace," yet in this place of peace more men died than in all the previous United States wars combined. Third, a Christian officer and gentleman for the Confederates issued an order during a particularly gruesome slaughter of Union soldiers who were being led in a counter attack to thwart the Confederate advances on Union positions. The general cried about the gunfire, "Shoot them in the midsection so they can make peace with God." A soldier dies more slowly when shot in the stomach, and the General sincerely desired the Union boys to die "making peace with their Maker." Finally, Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston died at the battle of Shiloh, the highest ranking officer on either side to die during the Civil War. General Johnston was a Christian, an evangelical, and according to President Jefferson Davis, the finest man he had ever had the privilege of knowing. Johnston had been shot in the leg and bled to death. The wound, superficial in Johnston's mind, had nicked an artery. The General would have lived with simple medical procedures to stop blood flow - but this Christian man had sent his physican to care for the Union; that's right, the enemy soldiers that were wounded.

When people today make a big deal about brothers being against brothers and the loss of Christian civility, I am reminded that great struggles, which ultimately bring about significant change, often present the deepest ironies.

In His Grace,



Bob Cleveland said...

Now, THAT'll preach.

Anonymous said...

Just another reminder that His ways are higher than our ways and this paradox we live called Christianity. Thanks Wade

Kevin Bussey said...


Have you ever been to Shiloh. It is a cool place. I spent weeks there as a Boy Scout. Also, it isn't far from Buferd Pusser's place.

Only By His Grace said...


A couple things to consider when thinking about the Civil War.

No matter what it comes down to, as we look back from almost a century an a half later, the war was about one thing. I know the arguments well on both sides about it being about economics and so forth, but it remains being about whether we as a people can survive with the cancer of slavery in our heart and brain. The war was about slavery.

Another thing that astounds me, the primer for the Civil War was the Christians of the Northeast and most of them Baptist while the support for the Civil War in the South was the Christians and most of them Baptist.

I think in men like Albert Sidney Johnston, James Ewell Brown Stuart, Thomas Jonathan Jackson, Nathan Bedford Forrest (father of the Klu Klux Klan), Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis, we can see that both godliness and evilness can be predominant in the same persons at the same time.

Phil in Norman

John Daly said...

I’ve always been amazed how a Billy Yank and a Johnnie Reb could have a cordial discussion on the eve of battle and at daylight, fiercely attempt to slaughter one another. Some causes are worth going to war over, some may be won through peaceful negotiation which brings about reconciliation; and in some, both parties may agree to wish each other well and go their separate ways. Regardless of how the current subject at hand plays out, I agree that anything less than the highest degree of Christian civility is unbecoming for His Body. If we find ourselves acting in a way contrary to His character, then as one person said: “Christian, change your conduct...or change your name.”

John in the STL

ezekiel said...

One can take the irony of this particular scrap a whole lot further.

The civil war we fight today amongst ourselves is very similar. The need for it "one nation under God" vs. "of one mind under Christ" and the destruction wrought by people attempting to impose their will on others are all very ironic. Let's just hope the number of the slain doesn't come anywhere close to approaching that of the civil war. I wonder how we count the dead and dying sheep driven to the woods and thickets today?

The need for men to impose their will on others and the willingness of them to commit all sorts of abominations to see it happen never seems to change.

Maybe we should all remember that we fight not flesh and blood but...

Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Rulers, authorities...IN Heavenly places. Can we tell which is which by a simple question? That question being "do you seek to serve or do you seek to rule"?

By the way, in the Civil war, the rallying point used by the north to mobilize the north was slavery. That isn't what the war was about, just what they used to justify it. One can draw the same conclusion about fundamentalism using the Innerancy argument to mobilize the troops for a fight to establish rule.

(The WORD is perfect and true). I just have to wonder about some of the interpretations that I see.

Steve said...

Imagine Abe Lincoln trying to navigate a war today with our politically poisoned media reacting to a single battle taking twenty-five thousand lives, when two GIs in a Humvee explosion can take the lead headline in the NY Times.

Gary said...


Almost 150 years removed and we still disagree on "why".

There is a wiki entry about the Battle of Shiloh (or Battle of Pittsburg Landing as it is also known) at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Shiloh

IMO there is no better or thorough description of this than Shelby Foote's "Civil War: A Narrative". I can hear his voice as I read. Shiloh is documented in the first volume, "Fort Sumter to Perryville", first published in 1958.

There was genuine belief that "God is on our side" on both sides of the line. This conflict should always make us pause when we are tempted to declare that "God is on our side".

God is on HIS side. We need to make sure that we are on His, not ours.

And that, my brothers and sisters, certainly applies to much more than armed conflict.


Lin said...

Ezekial, Excellent points!

Anonymous said...

My great-great-great grandfather's children settled in north Georgia and Tennessee. Those in Tennessee eventually moved to Indiana. At the same time my great-grandfather and his brothers were fighting with Company I, 60th Georgia, assigned to the Department of the Valley, Army of Northern Virginia, CSA, their cousins were fighting at Shiloh, where one of them was awared the Congressional Medal of Honor. As that implies, they were Federals. May not have quite been brother against brother, but it was close. I get all chocked up when I think of it. It would be insufferably sad had nothing good came out of the war, but it did: the end of slavery, eventually the civil rights movement, and a nation stronger and more united than it ever would otherwise have been.

greg.w.h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greg.w.h said...

According to the first paragraph of the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union (recall that South Carolina attacked Fort Sumter and thereby fired the first shot of the War Between the States):

The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

Some form of the word slave or slavery occurs 18 times in the South Carolina Declaration.

Additional resources on the subject:

Ordinance of Secession of South Carolina

Declaration of Causes of Seceding States (Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas)

Sentence in first paragraph of Georgia declaration (some form of the word slave occurs eleven times in that first paragraph):

For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery

In the Georgia declaration a derivative of the word slave only appears four times, but consider this second sentence of the declaration:

In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth
(bolded emphasis mine)

The Texas declaration waits until the third paragraph to dig up this gem before offering 22 uses of the word slave or derivatives.:

Texas abandoned her separate national existence and consented to become one of the Confederated Union to promote her welfare, insure domestic tranquility and secure more substantially the blessings of peace and liberty to her people. She was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery-- the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits-- a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non-slave-holding States, since our connection with them?

So what was the Civil war about:

slave, slavery, African slavery, the Republican party using anti-slavery for gain of political power, slavery being the great difficulty of the passage of the Constitution, the location of slavery, that the North is the primary supporter of anti-slavery sentiment, prohibition of the spread of slavery, the failure of non-slave-holding States to delivery up persons charged with crimes affecting slave property, the institution of slavery (which is declared to be of the greatest material interest in the world by Mississippi), a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization, the denial of the right of property in slaves and refusal to protet that right, the admission of new slave States, the nullification of the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, the carrying out of schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists, the intention of destroying the present condition of the slave without offering a better one, in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, consideration of the greater number of contracting parties who held slaves and the value of those holdings, etc., etc., etc.

Not to say that the entire Civil War wasn't about another subject, but I think the subtext suggests slavery was the MAIN subject.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. However, two corrections. Both sides of the Civil War knew that the war would be a long one after the First Battle of Bull Run in April 1861. Second, shiloh does not really mean peace but quiet or restful which is different than the concept of shalom (peace) which means wholeness or completeness. A better comparison would be to mention Shiloh as one of the Messianic terms from Genesis 49.

greg.w.h said...

Correction: In this statement:

In the Georgia declaration a derivative of the word slave only appears four times, but consider this second sentence of the declaration:

Georgia should be replaced with Mississippi.

Greg Harvey

Gram said...

stumbled on shiloh battlefield while driving across the bottom of tennessee on the way to north carolina from texas. it is a beautiful site and that part of tennessee is pristine!

Bryan Riley said...

I was recently told by a staunch 5-point Calvinist and learned theologian in a discussion on my blog that our enemy is more than spiritual but also humans. After I reminded him that our battle was not against flesh and blood he said this:

"There also must be a man of flesh that delivers it to men of flesh. Our weapons are not carnal, and yet, it is by foolish men preaching a foolish Gospel that God makes fools out of men.

Then we must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, wielding the sword not in vanity, but as a workman surgically striking at the heart, whether friend or foe, believer or no."

It's a bit cryptic, so i asked him what he meant and he told me that battles happen in real life and against real people who would stand against the truth. He then said plainly, "we war against people."

Anyway, I say all of this because it helps me understand a bit about people who seem to bludgeon others in the comments with regard to what they consider to be the truth.
And, I was curious if others might agree with the above or at least identify with it???

Only By His Grace said...


Thank you for your comment. I think it just about settles the matter as the words are from the actors themselves.

It was about slavery; everything else was a side issue; if there had been no slavery, there would have been no war.


Only By His Grace said...


Ask your friend to close his Old Testament for a moment; search his New Testament to back up with even with one verse where the New Testament tells us to do violence to any person for any reason whatsoever.

He cannot find one in context as far as I can tell. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood..."


Anonymous said...

What would happen if we all started singing about Heaven . . . ?

"A few weeks after the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 13, 1862), about 100,000 Federal soldiers and 70,000 Confederates were camped on opposite sides of the Rappahannock River in Virginia. The battle had been one of the bloodiest of the war so far. More than 12,000 Federals had been killed or wounded; Confederate losses numbered about 5,000. The two sides were still licking their wounds, each entertaining murderous thoughts about the other.

"As was customary in camp, at twilight the regimental bands on either side began their evening concerts. When they were bivouacked close together, as they were that night, the opposing bands would sometimes play at the same time, trying to drown each other out. On other occasions they took turns. Often the bands waged a musical contest, each playing their own patriotic tunes with as much panache and enthusiasm as they could muster, making many twilight concerts veritable ‘battles of the bands.’

"Toward the end of the evening concerts, the music typically became more poignant and tender. On one particular night, a Federal band was especially melodic in its rendition of the Civil War’s favorite tune. The slow, plaintive notes floated like feathers through the air, gently nestling into homesick hearts. Night was the time when men wrote home to their mothers and sweethearts, or held silent communion with themselves. The soothing notes sent the heartfelt words of the beloved song running through their minds:

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home!
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne’er met with
Home! Home! sweet, sweet Home!
There’s no place like Home!
There’s no place like Home.

"Almost as soon as the Union band began playing ‘Home, Sweet Home,’ Confederate bands took up the strain. One after another, every regimental band in both armies joined in. Everyone ceased what they were doing. Pens were put down; books were closed; games of tag stopped; cards drifted to the ground. There wasn’t a sound, except for the music.

"Then, in the words of Frank Mixson, a private in the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, ‘Everyone went crazy.’ Mixson had not witnessed anything like it before. Both sides began cheering, jumping up and down and throwing their hats into the air. Mixson had never seen anything to compare with the wild cheering that followed the song’s lingering notes. Had there not been a river between them, reflected Mixson, the two armies would have met face to face, shaken hands, and ended the war on the spot . . ."

In Heaven, whites and blacks and other races--and Baptist moderates and conservatives and Fundamentalists and in-between--will not live in isolation from each other; we all will be gathered around One Throne (Revelation 7). Someone, start singing about Heaven and home . . . so that our Baptist fussing and fighting will come to an end now--at least for a little while.

(Read the remainder of Ernest L. Abe's terrific article "‘Home, Sweet Home’: A Civil War Soldier’s Favorite Song" here: http://www.historynet.com/home-sweet-home-a-civil-war-soldiers-favorite-song.htm)

John Daly said...


And his 5-points relates to his comment how? Why couldn't you have simply made the statement without mentioning his theology? He could have been Arminian but would you have prefaced your comment with that? Or maybe you're trying to paint a picture that 5-pointers "bludgeon others?" Of course his comments are silly but they would be silly regardless of his theological leanings.

And yes, I hold to the doctrines of His Marvelous Grace and make no apology for it. (I don't call it Calvinism because that would mean by definiton I hold to all his teachings.)

"TULIP"ing in the STL,

ezekiel said...

"So what was the Civil war about:

slave, slavery, African slavery, the Republican party using anti-slavery for gain of political power,"

That is what I thought I said. Must not have come across that way.

The war was about political power. That and resources the North needed. The slavery issue was only used as a rallying point for the north. The commoners, the public was incited to support the war via the anti-slavery propaganda. The average northerner couldn't have cared less about the slavery issue till the federal politicos made it an issue.

The whole war was about power, control and a group of people set on telling another group of people how things were going to be done. Slavery was the gas on the fire, not the fire itself. Put another way, the north couldn't justify taking property or resources from the south, that would be called theft. But doing it under the cover of a great moral blanket was quite effective.

The hard right turn of the SBC as it relates to women and inerrancy is much the same and that is my main point. Not re-fighting the civil war.

The powers that be, the politicos, scream inerrancy at the top of their lungs to motivate the masses to support the grab for power and control. Inerrancy is the gas, the fire is control and power. It has been burning long before this. Jesus refers to them as Nicolaitans in Rev 2-3.

So the masses, many of whom have never bothered to read the WORD much less try to abide in it join the fray on the side of the politicos. Just like folks that knew nothing about slavery suddenly became major supporters of the civil war based on what their leaders were telling them. Not what they knew.

Don't misunderstand my comment. I am a firm believer in the inerrancy of the WORD and don't condone slavery in any way. Either that of African Americans or....WOMEN.

But to justify the relegation of Women to inferior status isn't any more just than putting the torch to the southern states because a few folks owned slaves. There were a bunch of folks that didn't.

Just my opinion.

Only By His Grace said...


I did not take Brian's comment as you took it. I am a Six Pointer. I just took it that the guy goes out of his way to let Brian know that he is a Five Pointer and in the context of saying that, he made his statement to Brian.

I do not think Arminian or Calvinist are any more war-like than the other or more than the average Joe out on the street.

I was a Five Pointer until too many Five Pointers came across to me as being so very self-assured in their theology that I was turned off by their arrogance.

The Red Tulip is the symbol of Five Pointers. I say I am a White Tulip. I use my sixth point to drain all the red hot anger out of my Five Point position, and I hope some of my arrogance.

Phil in Norman.

Bryan Riley said...

I am sorry it came across that way. I was pretty much a 5 pointer most of my life, and that not because I knew what it was. I grew up around people and teachers who were generally more Arminian but in reading the scripture all I ever saw was an emphasis on God's sovereignty and authority.

I actually used it not as an offense but becasue I knew that many on this blog, especially Wade, are 5 pointers and wanted to see how such an attitude floated here. I didn't think it would.

I asked the question because I wanted to test the waters on a blog where I "speak the same language" - i was beginning to question if I was making sense. I had quite a time communicating with people over at the Pyromaniacs blog.

I don't want to sound Postmodern, something that some people begin attacking immediately regardless of who our enemy is supposed to be, but I am much less certain of my understanding of the interplay of God's sovereignty and free will today. I do not think I hold to limited atonement at all, for example. As for the rest of it, I just want to rest in the fact that God is God and I really don't have to understand how it works - I just want to trust Him fully and know that He is in control and I will obey Him wherever He leads and whatever He says. I trust His authority comnpletely and pray that I will consistently come under it. It seems often a source of pride to have a label for one's theology.

John Daly said...

Bryan, Phil:

Brothers, I agree with both of you. Some do tend to where their theology as a badge of honor. I have two goals whenever I meet folks: I try not to tell them what I do for a living, and for the Believer, I try not to tell them my specific theology. I would much rather talk about what Christ has done for sinners than the nuances of how it happens (which we must confess our ignorance). Frankly, what in the world does any Christian have to be arrogant about? I have a label for my theology: He is Risen!

Thanks for the clarification and Phil, I like the White Tulip approach.

greg.w.h said...


I admit that power was involved as it always is. But the specific struggle of the Civil War was about slavery. The entire focus of the four documents of secession was slavery and retaining it as an institution. And that was the Southern documents, not the Northern ones.

The people who led the effort for emancipation were generally convicted Christians. They weren't doing it for power. They truly believed slavery was wrong. I disagree that the Republican party did it for power. I was summarizing arguments from the South. That didn't make those arguments true.

You're a pretty stiff-necked person who is exactly like the people who crammed inerrancy down people's throats. You only accept your only interpretation and you're very harsh in dealing with others. I'd argue that such behavior is no more helpful to YOUR cause and YOUR viewpoints than your unwillingness to admit that the MAIN topic of the Civil War was not power but slavery.

Because to claim it was about something else is do deny history The white South has those who have adhered to that form of denunciation, that form of denial since the Civil War. They look exactly like Holocaust deniers to me. Repent brother.

Greg Harvey

ezekiel said...


Take a look at what you are writing. I have stated clearly that it is my opinion. And just as you are entitled to your opinion, I am mine.

As to the personal attack here, why don't you go back up in this thread and show me where I have been harsh toward you, called you stiff necked, or crammed inerrancy down your throat.

As to my helping my cause or my viewpoint, I don't need to, bro. Arguing about it with you though is going to be very unproductive and a waste of time.

I would only suggest that before you start attacking me for my behavior and accusing me of acting like a Holocaust denier that you look at what you are writing and see if it doesn't apply to you just as much as you think it applies to me. Does denying that the SBC is enslaving women make you a holocaust denier? You seem pretty stiff necked and willing to accept only your view points yourself.

"You're a pretty stiff-necked person who is exactly like the people who crammed inerrancy down people's throats. You only accept your only interpretation and you're very harsh in dealing with others. I'd argue that such behavior is no more helpful to YOUR cause and YOUR viewpoints than your unwillingness to admit that the MAIN topic of the Civil War was not power but slavery."

Now the real question that we should be asking is why you are so intent on making this thread an argument about the Civil war rather than addressing points I have raised about the similarity of our current SBS effort to enslave women. What christian banner do you wave in the support of those that would do this? Inerrancy? Fundamentalism?

Let' take a look at your claim that the Civil war simply boils down to a bunch of good christian folk fighting against slavery and compare it to the civil war in the SBC that has been going on for years. What moral wrong do you wish to right by denying women equal access to worship and serve God. What moral wrong are you willing to commit to see your will imposed on women?

Do you not see the irony in your argument that the Civil war was fought by christians to abolish slavery in the nation while lacking the ability to see that today, good christian men seek to enslave women with all this stuff we see happening. Maybe we need to look at exactly what slavery is. Define it if you will. Is it denying a person her freedom to practice her religion as she feels lead by the spirit? Is it creating a second class system complete with separate facilities, maybe another room for them, another worship service. A separate sanctuary? What is next on the list of things to do to them. Maybe we can start with separate drinking fountains.....How bout Burkas?

If we keep fighting this thing like we are, we are going to wind up with the same results. One group is going to stand up and claim victory after committing all sorts of violence and the other group is going to feel oppressed. Resentment and constant struggle are going to be the end result. Whether you want to assign North and South to that or Fundy/moderate to that is up to you.

Rex Ray said...

My wife’s great grandfather fought at Shiloh for the South. He was captured, escaped, recaptured, and in a prisoner exchanged; faked his name to a prisoner to be exchanged but had died.

My great grandfather was also a Confederate. He was an officer and at Shiloh found a sentry asleep. Instead of having him shot, he took his place and was killed.

When looking for names at Shiloh, only Union names are in the records. Thus some history is only recorded by stories told from one generation to the other.
Otherwise how did Paul know: “…and not as Moses did, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelis could not see the glory fade away.” (2 Corinthians 3:13)
Can you imagine people saying: “Look under the edge of the mask, his face is not glowing anymore…he has so much pride; that old faker!”

Wish I could remember the poem: ‘Once, I had two brothers. One wore a coat of blue; the other wore grey.’

Gary, your statement is true and old as the hills when you said, “There was genuine belief that ‘God is on our side’ on both sides of the line’.”
One such example is Peter asking:
Are you going to correct God by putting a burden on the Gentiles? and James saying because of tradition (Acts 15: 21) it was the Holy Spirit’s decision to put a small burden on the Gentiles. (Acts 15:28 Holman)

Years ago, our church swapped pastors for one Sunday. The Black preacher said, “Every Christian is in a battle, just left a battle, or is going to a battle.”

At that church the pastor gave me the greatest compliment I’ve received about doctrine, but he also told me, “This church ran before you came and it will run after you’re gone!” (I had asked him if he had made the decision for the committee.)

So, I agree with ‘your theologian’ saying: “We war against people.”

When Phil challenged his statement, I think he took the wrong meaning of “war” as shedding blood.

Ezekiel, Exekiel,
You hit the nail on the head! Both on the Civil War, and the takeover by fundamentalists in their battle cry for inerrancy or ‘The Battle for the Bible”.

I’m glad Bryan, Phil, and Native Vermonter got things worked out.

Greg Harvey,
I usually agree with you, but on telling Ezekiel “you’re very harsh in dealing with others” and to repent, I fear you’re guilty of what you’re accusing him.
You said, “You only accept your only interpretation…”
How many interpretations do you accept? Hmmmm

On the other hand when you told him: “You’re a pretty stiff-necked person who is exactly like the people who crammed inerrancy down people’s throats”, I believe you got in a pretty good lick for both of your beliefs.
You could add my name also. So thanks for being a ‘double agent’ in using ‘the ends justifies the means.’

Lin said...

Greg, I have to disagree with you on a few points. You have a 'romantic' view of the Civil War that has been perpetuated by many.

First of all, the whole thing started years before with expansion and territories becoming states. Whether they be slave or free had economic implications and of power in DC. Read accounts of congress in those days. It is shocking.

The John Brown types were rare, which is why he became so famous. Those like William Lloyd Garrison were rare and not respected in those years. Those opposed for Spiritual reasons were a small group leading up to the actual war.

Economics was a big part of this. Almost all new immigrants settled in the North and whites were leaving the South in droves for jobs in the North. The South needed new slave states for representation and economic growth. It was obvious how fast the North was growing economically compared to the South. The industrial revolution played a bigger part in this than we understand. It started out as a power and control issue.

Most Southerners did not own slaves but saw it as a states rights issue as Robert E Lee did.

Most Northerners had been ignoring the Abolitionists for years (even pelting them with tomatoes during their speeches) until Ft. Sumter was fired upon. Even then, it was NOT easy for the North to raise an army in the early years. People forget that Grant...our great general... was given a choice of court martial and resignation (rumor was he was found drunk at a post) from the army seven years before he raised a regiment for the union. He failed at everything in between army days. He was a democrat and even had slaves from his wife's family and owned one himself he freed. He supported Stephen Douglas for president even though he did not vote that year.

Such were the varied positions of our side.

If anyone was responsible for highlighting the inhumanity of the slavary issue, it was Harriet Beecher Stowe whose book was even popular in Europe! As Lincoln said when he met her: So you are the little lady that brought us this big war.

Lincoln's own cabinet was not in total agreement on the EP!~

So, yes it was about slavery but not really about the inhumanity of slavery from a Christian perspective but the political power and economics of the slave system.

We forget that blacks were segregated in most Northern states after the civil war. Lincoln understood people's hearts. That is why he wanted to resettle emancipated slaves in Liberia. Even though it was impractical, he was still considering this when he was assassinated. He really did not see how they could be assimilated into society based upon people's attitudes (even in the North!) and he had great concern about this.

His concern was prophetic.

greg.w.h said...

My view of the South's own documents isn't romantic. I read them in detail and assembled those details for others to read.

The reason for the Civil War was that the North was slowly strangling slavery and the South was willing to go to war over that. State's rights were the excuse for continuing an institution that divided everything the nation touched.

Posturing it as PRIMARILY a state's rights issue is roughly akin to posturing the right to prostitution as a "state right" issue. It remains a form of slavery and primarily an issue of not only morality but--more importantly--of righteousness. It essentially enslaves women.

We could even make the argument that there might be a certain amount of economic and behavioral freedom in the life of a prostitute (aka the "romanticized" view of Pretty Woman.) But realistically those involved in prostitution have an objectified view of who women are and sell that objectified view for money. The argument for race-based slavery was precisely the same one.

The opinion of the nation turned not on whether the states had a right to slavery but on whether slavery was right or wrong. The Civil War was fought because those in the North intended to strangle slavery as an institution for moral reasons.

I am a Southerner (native Texan). And I understand the arguments because I was taught them. I was taught that it was "really" a fight over state's rights. But those documents put the lie to that fiction. And, no, I hadn't read them when I was taught it was a state's right issue. Someone delicately forgot to teach THAT part of the discussion.

Read them and weep at our insolence as a nation that continues in our heritage not only of racism but of the same kind of discrimination that you mainly complain about, Lin.

And telling me I have a romanticized view is condescending. And I find it offensive you'd frame your argumentation that way. I've shown precisely as much dedication to reason-based argumentation as you do. Don't fall back on fallacy-based rhetoric now. That's just pandering.

Greg Harvey

Gary said...

More than any other battle, the Battle of Shiloh is in a manner representative of what we as a 'church' should be about. I have had more than one Pastor say that "our church should be a place of healing for the members and the community when necessary".

The battle raged all around the little church. Wounded were brought to the church to 'be healed' by the Army surgeons. It was noted above that General Albert Sydney Johnston of the Confederate Army sent his personal surgeon to the church to tend to wounded from both sides all the while he was bleeding to death from his wounds.

I myself have been ministered to on many occasions from the wounds of my life...several of which were self-inflicted. I cannot think of even one of "my" churches which have not ministered to me in such a manner through my life.

Yet, we look at what is going on today, and at times it seems that we as a church go out, pronounce to the wounded that "you must believe as I do or I will not treat you". When the "wounded" do not renounce what "we" believe is heresy, we either shoot them again or just leave them by the way to bleed to death.

Shame on us!

Jesus met folks where they were and ministered to their physical and emotional needs first. If you present to me a scripture which indicates that Jesus said, "you must believe and profess that I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God before I will heal your issue, twisted limbs, blindness, or leprosy", then I will happily have my beloved Bible truly for breakfast without the benefit of anything to wash it down.

We need to be giving cups of cold water, feeding the poor, caring for the widows, the broken hearted and hurting, then worry about their souls.

If we continue to cherry-pick how we are to treat our fellow man, much less those who are even one of us, then God will move on to a people who will follow his New Testament commands.

I'm not telling you to throw away your belief system, I'm saying that we need to be God's hands and feet and worry about the theology, doctrine, millennial viewpoint, etc, ad nauseum, way, way down the list.

What does this have to do with women chaplains? Plenty. These folks have answered what to them is in many cases an audible "call" to minister. It just so happens to be in a place of ministry for which many of us have strong opinions one way or the other. Who are we to sit in judgment of their call? If we as a Convention make a statement that we will not endorse, ordain, and have anything to do with women chaplains, I will be sad. It will be saying "sorry lady, but you have misunderstood your calling". We will be inflicting hurt and sending some of those who could help in healing the hurts elsewhere.

Sorry for the vent. My opinion. Phil may dress me down for it later. But if we are not in the business of healing hurts and feeding people as Jesus commanded in some form or other, then we are in the wrong business.

Gary Skaggs
Norman, Oklahoma

Lin said...

"Read them and weep at our insolence as a nation that continues in our heritage not only of racism but of the same kind of discrimination that you mainly complain about, Lin."

Greg, I very much agree with you on this. I certainly did not mean anything as an insult. It is strange how people can read even the same history and come away with conflicting opinions. I read how small groups of Abolitionists beat their heads against the walls for years and how hard hearted most people were about this issue UNTIL it started affecting economics and power. Isn't that the way it always is?

I am so grateful for the Abolitionists that did not stop speaking out no matter what was thrown their way. Some even had their businesses destroyed and homes burned.

Please accept my apology for my offense and bad choice of words in my comment.

ezekiel said...

" Don't fall back on fallacy-based rhetoric now. That's just pandering."

Some might call that "harsh in dealing with others"....

Greg, You don't have a monopoly on being from Texas. When you get a chance come on over here to Memphis and we will go out and talk to some of our brothers as I did just this morning.

One of the comments struck a particular chord. It was "heck, we all know it (civil war) was never about us. It was all about power and money. They had slaves up there too."

Gary Snowden said...


Let me begin by saying I like your name. I really resonate with your comments about what the church is to be about--like that field hospital that is treating the wounded irrespective of the color of their uniform. I wonder that at one of your comments. You state, "If we as a Convention make a statement that we will not endorse, ordain, and have anything to do with women chaplains, I will be sad."

That decision has already been made--at least in a de facto way--as the NAMB decided that the SBC would no longer endorse or ordain women chaplains. The result of that is that women who have sensed a call of God on their lives to serve in that capacity have been forced to look elsewhere for endorsement and they have found it in groups like CBF and the BGCT that don't have hang-ups in this area about women in ministry.

Lin said...

The result of that is that women who have sensed a call of God on their lives to serve in that capacity have been forced to look elsewhere for endorsement and they have found it in groups like CBF and the BGCT that don't have hang-ups in this area about women in ministry.

Wed Apr 09, 03:30:00 PM 2008

Uh oh. this only perpetuates the myth that they were always 'feminists' and 'liberals' or they would NEVER join THAT group.

See how that works? (sheesh!)

Tom Parker said...


The sad part is if women leave the SBC to go elsewhere to live our their God given call too many are glad to be rid of "them".

Gary Snowden said...


I appreciate your comment, but I hope you didn't think that I viewed their participation in CBF or the BGCT as a negative thing, for I do not. Our church has hosted the annual meeting of CBF of MO as well as the annual meeting of the BGCM here in Missouri, so we would undoubtedly be classified as moderates by the kinder critics and liberals by those who use that as an epithet to brand anyone who disagrees with their own interpretation of Scripture. I would simply say that I have a very high view of Scripture in terms of its authority and inspiration, and believe that our view of the Bible ought also to strongly influence our personal ethics and the way we live out our convictions.

John Daly said...

Hey guys,

I'm trying my hand at this for the first time. I never thought I would but well, here goes...please don't hesitate to give any pointers as you have the experience and wisdom (well there's always Crowder :) Just kiddin'


Anonymous said...

I am an SBC, NAMB endorsed military chaplain serving with the US NAVY. Over the years I have been privileged to witness the gifted and annointed ministry of evangelical chaplain-colleagues who happen to be women. If I were ever to have a daughter and she were to say to me "Dad, God has called me to preach," my response would very simply be: "Then you better do it!" May the Lord grant our denominational leaders wisdom because we keep shooting ourselves in the foot.