"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Deconstructing the U.S. Using Critical Race Theory

This past Sunday's Oklahoman (06.20.2021) featured a front-page article on Critical Race Theory.  My friend Carla Hinton, the superb Faith Editor for The Oklahoman, wrote the article. 

Carla  correctly quotes me saying, "Critical Race Theory has nothing to do with Christianity." 

But the pastor of Oklahoma City's 5th Street Baptist Church, Byron Coleman III, is then quoted in response to my statement,  "Jesus was concerned with the lost, the least and the oppressed. How does it not fit in that? Because it doesn't fit in the narrative of white impunity." 

I am accustomed to Baptist pastors disagreeing with me. For example, I believe the Bible teaches that both men and women are qualified for leadership in the church and society because of the Spirit's giftings, and not a specific gender.  In addition, I have long taught that "to forbid" the speaking in tongues is a direct violation of the command, "Forbid not the speaking in tongues" (I Corinthians 14:39), even though I've never had the "gift of tongues." These and other issues have caused some Baptists to see me as a "liberal." But now, with Critical Race Theory at the forefront of our churches and our society, some (wrongly) think that I am a political right-wing conspiracist.

In reality, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of Christ is more important to me than any denomination or creed of man. I believe in what Christ teaches, just like Pastor Byron Coleman. We mutually agree that Christians should have a concern for the least, the littlest, and the lost. But Pastor Colemen and I disagree on the means by which Christians should relieve this oppression. I state clearly: 

Critical Race Theory is incompatible with true Christianity
I can assert this fact boldly by using the words of the founders of Critical Race Theory in comparison to the words of Jesus Christ (a special thanks to Ryan Chapman for the graphics). I will point out THREE major FACTS about Critical Race Theory (from the writings of its founders) that make CRT incompatible with Christianity. 

FACT #1: CRT PROMOTES RACISM, CHRIST REMOVES RACISM

Whereas a follower of Jesus Christ will be "color-blind" and see the value of a human being not "in the color of their skin, but in the content of their character" (Martin Luther King, Jr.), Critical Race Theory moves away from Christian character, conduct and Christian beliefs of the former Civil Rights Leaders by actually calling on people to SEE color.  All shadow boxes below with yellow highlights are the writings (and words) of the founders of Critical Race Theory. In their own words, they show they are anti-Christian, anti-American, and ultimately anti-Civil Rights. 





A Christian who follows Christ must be blind to the color of one's skin. The Good News of Jesus Christ drives the Christian to no longer "see color". Galatians 3:28 states: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

However, a proponent of Critical Race Theory calls on you to SEE color. Integration as a result of the Christian principle of "the brotherhood of all mankind" is anathema to proponents of CRT. To believe in a meritocracy based on achievement, regardless of the color of one's skin, is not possible if one promotes CRT.

CRT proponents ask you to see WHITE skin and then harbor animosity toward WHITES because they have inherent power in America. In other words, the only way to be ANTI-RACIST is to see WHITE people and to know them to be racists. Therefore, anything constructed by WHITES (the American Republic, the legal system, the police, and military, etc.) must be DECONSTRUCTED because they were built on shameful WHITE supremacy values, culture, and habits. For black people who oppose CRT (e.g. Candice Owens), they are racists as well because they have INTEGRATED their thinking with that of the WHITE racists. 




Fact #2: CRT DESTROYS; CHRIST TRANSFORMS

Critical Race Theory calls for the DECONSTRUCTION of American culture, government institutions (including the military and police), education, and capitalism because these are built on WHITE values and an inherent belief in WHITE supremacy.  Therefore, the United States of America - its culture, capitalism, Christianity, and customs - must be DECONSTRUCTED (a polite way of saying "Destroyed."). It's "okay" to riot and destroy businesses built on capitalism because capitalism is all about WHITE supremacy.



Fact #3: CRT is MARXIST; Christ Is KING.

The 1917 Revolution in Russia and the 1949 Revolution in China were both the result of principles advocated by Karl Marx. Marxism as a political philosophy seeks to rid a country of anything "old" - old customs, habits, culture, and ideas - by FORCING equality. Whereas Marxism sought to divide people by CLASS, Critical Race Theory seeks to divide people by race.

Jesus Christ is the great UNITER. Critical Race Theory is the great DIVIDER. 




As followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot advocate Critical Race Theory. It is diametrically opposite of the teaching, practice, and conduct of biblical Christianity. 

If CRT is successful in deconstructing the Republic of the United States of America, the United States will soon look like present-day China and Russia. We will be a country run by Big Brother, big government, and a totalitarian leader who removes personal liberties.

Do not let it happen in your lifetime.

President Andrew Jackson’s Conversion to Christ

Andrew Jackson is my favorite President of all United States Presidents.

Jackson eclipses Lincoln, Washington, and Reagan in my opinion, not so much due to his policies, but more for his life. In Jackson’s own words, “I was created for a storm. Calm does not suit me.” 

Americans today only hear the rightful criticisms of Jackson's Indian Removal Act and his lack of opposition to slavery, while never hearing the monumental things this founder of the Democrat Party accomplished on behalf of our nation.

Forgetting to appraise people according to their culture and times will sometimes lead us to mistakenly dismiss the worthy. Caution is in order before condemning ancestors, recognizing the general darkness of former days often tainted one's personal behaviors.

Enid, Oklahoma has some very strong connections to the life story of Andrew Jackson. A 1910 graduate of Enid High School, Marquis James, wrote an award-winning biography of our nation's 7th President. James' two volumes on the life of Andrew Jackson - Volume 1 The Border Captain (1933) and Volume 2 Portrait of a President (1937) - were combined into the 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Life of Andrew Jackson. To this day, it remains the most colorful and interesting biography of President Jackson.

When President Jackson pushed for the Indian Removal act in 1830, the greatest opponent to the President's ambition of moving all Indians to "Indian Territory" (Oklahoma), was the erudite Cherokee Chief, a man named John Ross. Chief Ross's great-great-granddaughter is an across-the-street neighbor and member of the church I pastor. Her family's story of how the Cherokees (and other tribes) were forcibly moved to Indian Territory is not one of the brighter chapters in American history, but any Oklahoman with a mixture of Indian blood is most likely directly connected with President Jackson through the land you now call home (Oklahoma).

The reason I feel a strong affinity for Andrew Jackson is the dramatic story of his conversion to faith in Jesus Christ during the latter years of his life. Though raised by a mother who desired him to be a Presbyterian minister and married to a woman devout in her Christian faith, both of these women died very early in their lives, leaving Jackson to serve as President of the United States (1829-1837) without their influence. Though known to defend the Christian faith as President, Andrew Jackson had no personal experience with it until he reached the age of 75.

The Scar of Abuse

Born on the Ides of March (March 15), 1767, Andrew Jackson came into this world just three weeks after his father died from injuries sustained attempting to move a log on their land near Waxhaw, North Carolina. Both North Carolina and South Carolina claim Jackson as a native son, but Marquis James says Mrs. Jackson gave birth to Andrew while staying in her brother's home in South Carolina, not far from Waxhaw, North Carolina.

Andrew's devout Christian mother taught him to read at an early age, and when The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, it was nine-year-old Andrew who stood on a chair and read the Philadelphia newspaper's account as the "town crier" to the inhabitants of Waxhaw. The Declaration of Independence meant war with the British.

An expert horseman,  young Andrew Jackson eventually became a messenger boy for the Revolutionary soldiers.  When Andrew was only 13 years old, he was captured by the British and imprisoned in Camden, South Carolina. While in prison, Andrew contracted smallpox. and he would have died had it not been for his mother coming to Camden to successfully negotiate her son's release. She nursed Andy back to health back, but a year later, Andy's mother would leave for Charles Town to assist in the care of other wounded Revolutionary War soldiers. While ministering to the wounded in Charleston, South Carolina, Andy's mom contracted cholera and died, leaving the future President of the United States orphaned at the age of 14.

But the event that kept Andrew Jackson from "following Christ" occurred on the day he was captured by the British soldiers. It filled his heart with hate.

Marquis James recounts the event:
The British officer in command "in a very imperious tone" directed Andy to clean his boots. 
"This order he very promptly and positively refused, alleging that he expected such treatment as a prisoner of war had a right to look for."
The officer lifted his sword and aimed a violent blow. The boy threw up his left hand. It was cut to the bone, and a gash on his head left a white scar that Andrew Jackson carried through a long life that profited little to England or any Englishman." 
Biographer Marquis James is known as "the unqualified master of understated metaphors."  The phrase "the white scar...profited little to England or any other Englishman" is an understated way of saying Andrew hated the English people and England in general. The scar on his cheek, which turned whiter as the years progressed, served as a visible reminder of this hatred.

Jackson was fueled by this hatred in his amazing defeat of the British in New Orleans to end The War of 1812. He would often skip British protocol with diplomats while President because he despised courtesy to the British. Andrew Jackson's abuse as a boy at the hands of a British officer kept him in a state of perpetual resentment towards all things British.

Until his conversion.

The Conversion of Andrew Jackson

Jackson came to faith in Christ in 1842 at the Hermitage. He had invited  Rev. John Todd Edgar, the renowned pastor of First Presbyterian Nashville to lead a week-long series of meetings on the Hermitage property. Henry Clay, the man Abraham Lincoln once called 'my ideal of a great man,' once said of the Nashville pastor: "If you want to hear eloquence, go hear John T. Edgar preach." 

The Hermitage outside Nashville
During the last of the revival meetings, on a Saturday, the guest preacher noticed the former President was paying particularly close attention to the message. Dr. Edgar, on the spur of the moment, decided to give a very personal illustration of God's providence. 

The preacher sketched the life and career of a Tennessee pioneer who had "escaped the perils of the wilderness, the wiles of the Indian. the dangers of war, the conflicts of politics,  and the attempts of the assassin." This was Andrew Jackson's life.

Then the preacher asked, "How can such a man pass through such scenes as these unharmed and not see in it an Omnipotent Hand?

At the close of the service, the former President asked the preacher for a personal visit. However, Dr. Edgar could not do so until Sunday morning. 

The former President spent the greater part of Saturday night reading the Bible and in prayer. When the preacher came to the Hermitage the next morning, Andrew Jackson announced to the preacher that he had given his life to Christ and would like to "join the church." Dr. Edgar asked Jackson a series of questions about his faith, and the conversation concluded with the following dialogue.
General there is one more question which it is my duty to ask you. 'Can you forgive all your enemies?' 
Jackson was silent for a good while. At length he said, "My political enemies I can freely forgive, but as for those who abused me when I was serving my country in the field, and those who attacked me for serving my country doctor that is a different case.
Dr. Edgar, however, insisted that the forgiveness must be entire and embrace the whole family of man.
After a considerable pause the candidate got so far as to say that he thought he could forgive even the men who had made his defense of his native land a pretext for assailing him.
The scene in the little church that morning was never forgotten by any who witnessed it.
Besides being crowded to the very uttermost the windows were darkened by as many black faces as could get near enough. At length the former President and his daughter stood up to make the usual public profession.
He leaned heavily upon his walking stick with both hands and his face was wet with tears. When finally he was pronounced a member of the church, the feelings of the congregation, which had been restrained during the ceremonial, burst forth in sobs and cries, and the clergyman himself was unable to speak. Some one started a familiar hymn, and in singing this the feelings of the excited company at last found both expression and relief. (General Jackson: Hero of New Orleans by Oliver Dyer, pp. 361-363).
In Andrew Jackson's conversion, I am reminded that the mark of genuine Christianity is the ability to forgive even one's enemies. 

Yes, it may take time. Yes, it isn't always easy. Forgiveness requires the power of God.

But the evidence of God’s presence in your life is the ability to give the same grace to others that God has given to you. (Adapted from my original article on President Jackson's conversion, written in 2016). 

Rachelle and I at Jackson's Hermitage Home (Nashville), June 17, 2021


President Andrew Jackson's bedroom where he died Sunday, June 8, 1845, at 6:00 pm




How a Generation Z'er Named David Bumgardner Illustrated the Prerequisites for Real SBC Revival

The 2021 SBC Convention in Nashville will be remembered for a large number of messengers, messes, and motions.

And not surprisingly, there were the obligatory calls for "revival in the SBC." 

I hear calls for "revival" every year, but the SBC seems to be in a perpetual decline. What does it take to bring about genuine revival? 

A young messenger named David Bumgardner deftly illustrated today what it takes to unite a Convention in mission and purpose. David works at Cornerstone, my friend Dwight McKissic's church in Arlington, Texas. David had applied to be an intern at Emmanuel Enid, Oklahoma, a couple of summers ago, but our positions were filled. I imagine this is David's first Southern Baptist Convention. Listen to David address the SBC. 


Notice the situation that illustrates the FOUR STEPS TO REAL REVIVAL:

1. Thousands of people were in unilateral misery and they knew it.
2. An unknown stranger persisted in providing everyone a message of mercy.
3. This messenger identified with those around him, not as one above them.
4. Those with the keys to bringing coolness to the room responded to the pleas.

I am convinced that the reason revival has not yet occurred in the churches and in America is because we are not yet in real, heartfelt misery. 

As Joan Rivers used to say, "Why would I want to go to heaven when I live in the Hamptons?"

I think misery and pain are coming soon to America and the Southern Baptist Convention. All of us will experience it. We must be ready with a message of mercy and hope in Christ Jesus and be persistent and creative in our cries for His mercy on our souls. The LORD will bring revival to the hearts of thousands when thousands plea (pray) for the movement of His Spirit in our midst.

So thank you, David Bumgardner, for illustrating the prerequisites for real revival. Revival IS coming. I can FEEL it in my bones.

Misery is right around the corner.

A Nation Collapses by First Removing Belief in God

People ask me often, "Why are you a Baptist?" My short answer surprises most. "I believe in the separation of church and state." But you must be careful to understand what I'm saying.

A nation must have citizens with primary allegiance to God or that nation will lose its merit. 

Our Founding Fathers believed that the best American citizens, institutions, and leaders were only those who believe and teach that every individual is ultimately accountable to God.

When I say "separation of church and state," I mean that we must keep the government out of religion, but religion must be in our government or America will collapse (as I'll show below).

"But," you may ask, "what about the First Amendment?"

Wake Up! Critical Race Theory, a Tool of Marxism

Xi Van Fleet Speaks to Virginia School Board
A Chinese mother,  Xi Van Fleet, who endured Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution before immigrating to the U.S., and whose children attend a Virginia public school, ripped her children's Virginia school board at a public meeting Tuesday, June 8, 2021, over its stubborn support of the controversial critical race theory.

"I’ve been very alarmed by what’s going on in our schools,"
Xi Van Fleet told the Loudoun County School Board members. "You are now teaching, training our children to be social justice warriors and to loathe our country and our history."

She likened CRT, which critics deride as a form of "neo-racism," to China’s Cultural Revolution, a Mao-led purge that left between 500,000 and 20 million people dead from 1966 to 1976. 

Let that sink in.  Critical Race Theory as implemented in China during the Mao-Zedong Revolution led to the deaths of nearly 20 million people. CRT is racism in reverse. 

You may not believe me when I tell you that CRT is a death-rot for the United States of America, but I hope you will at least believe Xi Van Fleet who lived under a CRT purge in China during Mao Zedong. 

Rachelle and I are heading to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Critical Race Theory will be an issue at this Convention. I will oppose ANY and ALL support of CRT. Several of my black friends have said they will "leave the SBC if a resolution against CRT is passed."  I want my friends to know in advance, I am not voting for the purging of all things CRT-related because I am a racist. No! I am voting against CRT being taught in our schools, supported in our churches, and ingrained in our children because I AM NOT RACIST, and my understanding of history leads me to believe that CRT is the Trojan Horse within the United States to bring about the downfall of the greatest nation in the history of the world.

I am opposing CRT precisely because I believe racism is a sin and supporting CRT is a racist means through which the United States of America will be demolished. 

Listen to Xi Van Fleet (transcript): 
"I've been very alarmed about what's going on in our school, you are now teaching, training our children to be social justice warriors and to love our country and our history growing up in China all this same very familiar. 

They are a communist regime, used the same Critical Theory to DIVIDE people. The only difference is they used class instead of race during the Cultural Revolution. 

I witnessed students and teachers can turn against each other. We changed school names to be politically correct. We were taught to denounce our heritage.

The Red Guards destroy anything that is not communist statues, books, and anything else. And we were also encouraged to report on each other, just like the Student Equity Ambassador Program and the Biased Reporting System. 
This is indeed the American version of Chinese communism, the Chinese Cultural Revolution. 

The critical race theory has its roots in cultural Marxism. 

It should have no place in our schools.

Amen, Xi Van Fleet. 

Amen.  

The video of Xi Van Fleet speaking is below:

Hope in the LORD and Soar on High Like a Vulture

"Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall
run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
                                                               Isaiah 40:39


A Griffin vulture in Israel
The Hebrew word is רֶ שֶׁנ - nesher  - and it is usually translated “eagle” in most English Bible translations, but it is a word that most often refers to a vulture in Hebrew cultures. 

I think the typical Christian would prefer to be compared to an eagle rather than an ugly vulture.

However, there are three facts about Israel's largest bird, the Griffin vulture, that properly describe the life and work of those who trust in Christ. 

Isaiah compares those who "wait" (hope) in the LORD to a Griffin vulture. What does that mean?

First, Griffin vultures must wait before they work. 

The Griffin vulture flies higher than any other bird on earth. The vulture doesn't flap its wings to get so high. Rather, the vulture waits for the warm thermal air that rises up from the earth as the sun heats the ground. The Griffin vulture is the king of soaring on the thermals. It waits, and then at the appropriate time, it spreads its massive wings and rides the air. Most birds fly below 200 feet. But the Griffin vulture can glide effortlessly above 5,000 feet. In fact, in 1973, a griffon vulture collided with a commercial airliner over Africa as the plane flew at 37,900 feet. That is the highest altitude ever recorded for a bird. From a perspective in the highest of the heavens, the Griffin vulture can see farther and clearer than any others. If we desire to fly high, we must learn to wait on the Spirit of God to move before we work. Religion has a lot of people flapping their wings to get things done. The Kingdom of Christ must have people who wait on the LORD and glide effortlessly as they move to do amazing things for Christ. 

Second, Griffin vultures are bold more than they are beautiful. 

Vultures’ heads are often disproportionately small compared to their bodies. They sit hunched up with their heads sunk between their shoulders. Compared to an eagle, there's not much beauty in a vulture. Isaiah 53 tells us that our Kinsman-Redeemer "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." The Apostle Paul tells us that "not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God" (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). 

Third, Griffin vultures enter the realm of death and it disappears. 

Vultures gather around death and make it disappear. Most creatures have to kill to eat, but not vultures. With rare exceptions, their food has either died by natural causes or been killed by some other creature. So, the vultures’ job is to act as nature's vacuum cleaners. They clean up and cleanse the mess of the natural world. They are nature’s death eaters. They rid the earth of the toxicity. I wonder whether that isn’t an appropriate metaphor for God too. When John saw Jesus walking towards him he said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). So too, when Christians do their work, spiritual decay and death disappear. 

It might not be the image you prefer, but you and I are like Griffin vultures of Israel.