The PCA is ready to repent of its sins again. It was almost ten years ago that I commented on this masochism, and even then, it had a four year history.
Now, Resolution #4 from Missouri Presbytery states, “many of our founding denominational leaders … actively worked against racial reconciliation in both church and society through sins of commission.”
1. The list of “specifics” is actually not very specific, and withal question-begging. Consider this specific sin for example:
failing to support efforts to secure access to basic human rights
What is a “basic human right” according to Scripture, Missouri? And is not the phrase “efforts to secure access to” not just a trendy modern notion? What does that even mean? And “failing to support” this trendy idea is a chargeable sin, to be publicly browbeaten over?
failing to speak out against state-supported segregation
but why is legal segregation bad while voluntary segregation not worthy of mention? Northern cities were far more segregated than Southern ones, but without passing any laws. Answering this question would force Missouri to answer the more basic question that the “state-supported” qualification allows them to ignore, namely: why is segregation per se bad, or even undesirable?
2. The truth is that most Whites — including, I daresay, the majority of those posturing with these noisy declarations of self-righteousness — would rather live on the Arctic Circle than in an all-Negro city like Detroit. Consider: they could all get much more house for their money by living in an all-Negro neighborhood in their own town. But they won’t do it. They voluntarily segregate, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
3. There are portentous allusions to “the Civil Rights period” as if these “sins” were particularly prominent then. But why would one think so? Why would not the entire period between slavery and the Civil Rights period be drawn into the ring? Clearly, this resolution intends to be a sly ratification of the Civil Rights movement per se, without saying so in so many words — since then, the thesis could be attacked.
The Civil Rights movement was widely opposed by Christians, and should continue to be so. The moral character of the leaders was deplorable. At the professing Christian side of the movement, the theology was the very stuff over which the PCA seceded from the mainline to begin with! The movement was heavily infiltrated by communists, many probably front groups for a national enemy. It was coincident with the abolition of school prayer, the legalization of pornography, and the other depredations of the Warren Court. The immigration reform act opened up the floodgates for Americans to be replaced by the Third World. The movement took into its wings the sexual revolution, pushing free sex (and therefore, which is a necessary concomitant, free contraception) and aiming at the legalization of abortion that it finally got in 1973. The movement used extortion — the threat of violence — to achieve its demands. It recruited criminal street gangs to intimidate opposition. (I will document all these claims in a subsequent post.) The push for housing opportunity meant that Poles and Irish were no longer allowed to live in their own neighborhoods — and what does that have to do with the gospel? The continual riots showed any right-thinking person that the “non-violence” rhetoric was just that — as should have been obvious to anyone that gave two minutes thought to the rhetoric of “non-violence.” King’s “I have a Dream” speech is anti-Christian, proffering a brotherhood based on neither blood nor the gospel, but merely on the mutual embrace of liberalism.
In short, the meta-narrative of the Civil Rights movement was not about sharing drinking fountains and allowing illiterates to vote. It was the opening salvo in a full-scale assault on America which continues full throttle to this day.
No Christian can support the meta-narrative of the Civil Rights movement in good conscience.
4. The Resolution is a serious charge. A complete list of the “founding denominational leaders” could presumably be gotten up, “many” of whom are being slandered.
Get specific, then, Missouri Presbytery. Bring your charge, and set up a court. Name names. Give dates, and events. Allow the right of self-defense, and implement rules of evidence. Define your terms, and show how they violate the law of God.
They won’t do this of course. That would be too much work. The plot would start to unravel the minute they started defining terms, starting with “racism.” It couldn’t be done. They would rather engage in public posturing.
5. On the subject of sins of the founding fathers of the PCA, how about mentioning sins that actually are sins, like taking part in the demonic secret societies such as the Masons, for which there is definite proof of participation by PCA men?
6. There is the ominous hint of affirmative action coming, but I have not heard of any of these men offering to step down from his own well-compensated position to have it filled by a Negro right now. No, it is future unknown and unnamed Whites that might otherwise occupy certain positions that are to be excluded. It is hypocrisy; it is wickedness.
Let Ligon Duncan and Sean Lucas offer to step down from their lucrative positions with the condition that the posts be filled by Negroes. But let the offer not be yet another layer of feel-good posturing, knowing nothing will come of it. No, set it up to be legally binding and non-revocable, like Wittgenstein did when he renounced his vast inheritance.
7. There is something particularly wicked in uncovering the nakedness of their fathers. They should read the story of Noah and Ham for starters. Never mind, that they haven’t even shown that their fathers actually were naked. But that only adds to their culpability, it doesn’t subtract from it. As if Ham actually went out and mocked his father’s nakedness to his brothers, when it turned out he was lying to boot.
There are three silver linings to all this.
1. On the one hand, Dabney already pointed out the problem of the PCA over 100 years ago. In a well-known diatribe against Northern “conservatism,” he said
This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. . . . Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always when about to enter a protest very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance: The only practical purpose which it now serves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy, from having nothing to whip. (Robert L. Dabney, Discussions, vol. iv [Harrisonburg: Sprinkle, 1979 ], p. 496)
On the other hand, we have what I will call Gary North’s Corollary: when once neo-evangelicals fully embrace a leftist position, you can rejoice that the real Left has probably just abandoned it.
They finally get to their hidden agenda, which is to sell Christians a discarded ten-year-old box of powdered humanist milk, “ready for mixing.” Just pour in the package’s contents – various humanist political fads that were abandoned a decade ago by their original promoters as either unworkable or unsalable to the voters – into fundamentalism’s watered-down social ethics, stir, and serve to your whole family!
So we can rejoice that according to North’s Corollary, there is reason to hope that our real power-brokers are about to give up all this racial hectoring.
2. Having turned over every possible pebble in respect to these pseudo-sins (proven to be such even in their own minds by their unwillingness to perfect real charges), perhaps we will have peace for a while. And above all,
3. The PCA evidently doesn’t take their pronouncements seriously anyhow. If you are in the PCA and still hold sane opinions on these matters, not to worry — they won’t take positive action against you.
Nevertheless, such tempests are valuable to show who has courage. There is a strong minority in the PCA that still desires to obey the Lord. Will they have the backbone to take a stand at this year’s GA? Or will they cower in timid and culpable acquiescence? In particular, I am interested in what the Greenville Seminary brothers are going to do, since they have publicly embraced the Southern Presbyterian tradition. They talk the talk at private fund-raisers. Will they now actually put their necks out? Or is it just talk, to gobble up yet one more otherwise untapped sector for fund-raising?
Godspeed brothers. I hope for the best.