May Institutions Confess Sins of Persons?

The overture to the PCA General Assembly on racism continues to intrigue if only because this is conceivably a problem just as much for the OPC as for our sister denomination. After all, J. Gresham Machen was no integrationist but held a view of blacks (typical at the time) that anyone today would consider not simply micro but macroracist. So I wonder if the PCA adopts the following overture, will it also petition the OPC to repent for Machen’s sins (for starters):

Therefore be it resolved, that the 44th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of corporate and historical sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era, and continuing racial sins of ourselves and our fathers such as the segregation of worshipers by race; the exclusion of persons from Church membership on the basis of race; the exclusion of churches, or elders, from membership in the Presbyteries on the basis of race; the teaching that the Bible sanctions racial segregation and discourages inter-racial marriage; the participation in and defense of white supremacist organizations; and the failure to live out the gospel imperative that “love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10) . . .

One of the arguments made in defense of overtures like this one is that as the continuation of the Presbyterian Church US, the PCA is institutionally in continuity with the views on race that afflicted its southern Presbyterian forebears:

why should we confess for the sins of a church that we were not a part of? Frankly, I do not really understand this objection. The PCA is a continuing denomination; we claim to continue the PCUS. We must publicly confess and repent for sins of those whom we share a covenantal relationship with. God holds our covenant community responsible for our actions, even our sins, collectively. That’s how God works. We must confess for our failures as a church during the Civil Rights Movement and wherever we’ve sinned.

If you peel back the onion layers of institutional/covenantal ties, where do you stop? Why for instance do the overtures not include slavery since the PCUS and the PCUSA both had church members that owned slaves?

In fact, when it comes to institutional continuity, one could argue that PCA is good since the PCUS adopted measures to condemn segregation and approve integration. In his book on the origins of the PCA, Sean Lucas observes:

In 1954, the PCUS General Assembly adopted a report that affirmed “that enforced segregation of the races is discrimination which is out of harmony with Christian theology and ethics” and that urged southern Presbyterian colleges, campgrounds, and churches to be open to all, regardless of race. (For A Continuing Church, 121)

Of course, resolutions like this prompted conservatives in the PCUS who also eventually led in forming the PCA, to oppose the centralization of church power and ecumenism. Some of the opposition also came from sessions and presbyteries. But as for institutional succession, PCA officers could regard themselves as standing in line with the PCUS’s disapproval of racism and segregation.

In fact, throughout Sean Lucas’ five-part series on race and the roots of the PCA, the overwhelming examples of questionable views about race come not from the institutional church but from persons or periodicals. Here is how Lucas describes G. Aiken Taylor:

He told Nelson Bell, “I don’t like agitation on the social question from either side. I am not an integrationist, neither am I a segregationist. My position on this issue is that a view point of whatever kind should not be made the criterion for determining the place or the worth of a man…or a church paper.” In reply, Bell assured him that there was a range of opinions on segregation among the board of directors for the magazine and that he would not be required to hold to a particular party line. That said, the older man also counseled him not to push his more moderate racial views either: “I feel you would be utterly foolish to come to the Journal as editor and make race an issue–certainly at this juncture. There are so many more important things which need to be faced.” As it would happen, Taylor’s position on race, as evidenced in his writing and editorial practice, would largely harmonize with Bell’s own racial views: downplaying forced segregation, dismayed by outside agitators who stirred up the racial issue, and concerned not to let racial politics divert attention from the largely doctrinal and social issues of the day.

Sometimes presbyteries might weigh in but in one case the condemnation concerned rioting not integration:

In 1961, East Alabama Presbytery declared itself against the mob violence that engulfed the Freedom Riders in Birmingham and Montgomery: “We express our deep regret and emphatic disapproval of mob violence for whatever cause.”

Even then, only four years later the PCUS took action that would seem to give its Presbyterian successor cover from charges of racism:

When the 1965 PCUS General Assembly endorsed a range of Civil Rights activities, including peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins, over sixty commissioners filed a dissent. Nelson Bell presented it to the assembly, arguing that “some of the methods sanctioned in the document are ‘contrary to or go beyond the jurisdiction of the Church.'” Even if the church desired to support “worthy goals” like racial justice, Aiken Taylor noted, that did not mean that it could do so through “radical measures” or “extremism or vindictiveness.” Later in 1965, Bell worried again that peaceful demonstrations were a small step from civil disobedience and “the step from civil disobedience to riots and violence is even shorter.” Willfully breaking laws, even for a worthy goal, is wrong: “No nation should permit injustice and discrimination to be a part of its accepted way of life. But no nation can survive which placidly allows people to make of themselves prosecutors, jurors, and executioners–and this applies to all citizens.” Means do not justify the end: breaking the law, whether to support segregation or integration, was never right.

Yet, interesting to see is that opposition to General Assembly resolve was not premised on race but on the value of civil disobedience. Yet, when church bodies did engage in explicit forms of racial bigotry, the response of the PCUS and many conservatives (who went into the PCA) was to object:

Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee, drew national attention for its refusal to admit mixed-race groups to corporate worship services. One of several Memphis churches targeted in early 1964 by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for its “kneel-ins,” Second Church reacted the most negatively. The groups were refused admittance and church officers patrolled the narthex and the front of the church looking for those who would seek to “integrate” the services. The Second Church kneel-ins drew media attention not only because of their racial component, but also because the congregation was scheduled to host the PCUS General Assembly in 1965. As a result, several presbyteries and synods, along with the liberal Presbyterian Outlook, protested allowing the Memphis church to host the assembly; by February 1965, the assembly’s moderator, Felix Gear, a former pastor of Second Church, made the decision to move the coming meeting to the denomination’s assembly grounds in Montreat.

Lucas’ conclusion may be correct that the founding fathers of the PCA sinned, though his book and series show a lot more complications than simply the yes-no question of white supremacy (or not). But the theological question of institutional responsibility for personal sins is a theological question begged rather than answered. Lucas invokes the example of Daniel confessing Israel’s sins:

But his confession is strange–because he doesn’t confess his own private sins, but the sins of Israel and Judah that led to the judgment of the exile: “We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listed to your servants the prophets, who spoke in you r name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but us open shame” (Dan 9:5-7).

This wasn’t simply lip synching or going through the motions. Rather, Daniel recognized his own covenantal complicity in what his fathers and forefathers had done and in bringing about the exile. And he confessed those sins and repented: “We have sinned, we have done wickedly” (Dan 9:15).

By that same exegesis, isn’t the PCA righteous for the way its parent body, the PCUS, condemned racism and segregation?

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91 thoughts on “May Institutions Confess Sins of Persons?

  1. I’m not in national Israel. I have no charter. Shouldn’t this be part of NT theology 101? And if we turn to the NT, I don’t see Paul’s condemnation of slavery. No worries, I’m a modern, and chattel slavery and racial discrimination is reprehensible to moi. But what right do I have to read my modern ethical sensibilities back into NT prohibitions? I thought we were against adding to the word. So, how is Lucas going to call me to repentance? Based on what? My father wasn’t a vociferous enough proponent of 1960’s civil rights legislation? Really? You’re gonna try to get me to ‘repent’ of that? Go fish.

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  2. Sean,

    I’m pretty sure chattel slavery was detestable to Paul as well, being that he was Jewish and chattel slavery was based in large measure on kidnapping, a capital crime in the Mosaic code.

    That being said, one of the difficulties with this measure is the argument that the PCA is a continuing church. I agree with that, but if we are going to introduce motions like this and base it on the fact of a tie to the past, then we need to keep going back. Should we not also have to repent for the Crusades? After all, isn’t one of the Reformation’s points that we are a continuation of the true church that goes back through the Crusades to the first century.

    Seems like a fishy reason to support the measure even if the measure itself may or may not be proper.

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  3. Why doesn’t TKNY advocate confession of sin and repentance?

    Another area where Christians can bear witness in an anxious age is by committing to the work of racial justice. Despite the many failures of white-majority churches to take action in this area, the gospel has tremendous resources for seeking justice and peace across racial divisions. The death and resurrection of Jesus has broken down cultural barriers throughout history—no other major religion has spread as far and across as many cultures as Christianity.

    For many people of color, frustration has outpaced hope. Yet Christians, as Thabiti Anyabwile notes, can resist “the temptation to hopelessness,” even in the “thick fog of despair that settles on entire blocks of families mangled and maligned by mass incarceration.” The consequences of mass incarceration are enormous, as are the ongoing realities of neighborhood and school segregation, education inequity, and employment and health care disparities. Christian hope is not blind optimism. But neither is it utter despair.

    Christians of all races can learn how longstanding policies and practices around housing, education, and criminal justice disproportionately harm some of their neighbors. We can take the time to listen to the pain of our neighbors without presuming either easy solutions or insurmountable challenges (and sometimes we will need first to learn how to listen). Instead of walking away from challenges that seem “too big,” Christians who confront the barriers of race and class disparities can draw near to their affected neighbors through the power of the gospel. Suburban churches can engage in the hard work of understanding the personal and structural consequences of generational injustice. Through a posture of reconciliation and humility (not merely a vision of “community service”), they can engage urban communities through volunteering with early-stage literacy programs, partnering with ministries in underserved neighborhoods, and investing financial and human capital in local urban businesses.

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  4. Darryl,

    I can’t tell if you’re being funny or trying to poke holes in my comment about chattel slavery. I will say that slavery to Christ isn’t equivalent to slavery practiced in the American south and that kidnapping is a rather poor and unbiblical metaphor for redemption.

    But I still love you.

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  5. Robert, just seeing if you can parse slavery a little more than including “chattel” in your condemnation. I don’t think you’d be willing to defend slavery that wasn’t chattel. Or am I wrong?

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  6. So in a licensing/ordination exam the new answer to the question “How many imputations are there?” is not three?

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  7. Robert, what’s also fishy is trying to equate our mystical union with Christ by faith with our identification and, apparently, mystical union with our ancestors as equivalent ground for our need to repent on our behalf and theirs? Lucas lost me on the covenantal-generational iniquity equated with our union with Christ. Really reaching.

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  8. Darryl,

    I’m pretty sure that slavery in the form that the OT prescribes/regulates is not wrong. Not necessarily mandated or ideal, but not necessarily sin. Otherwise it would have been condemned and proscribed, I think.

    And then the NT doesn’t command slaveowners to release their slaves, so evidently there is some kind of slaveholding that is not necessarily incompatible with Christian faith. Now, I also think the NT lays down some principles that make slavery unworkable in a Christian context in the long run, but that’s different than saying all forms of slavery are equal and all are sin.

    So if slavery means some kind of indentured servanthood bounded by the regulations in Scripture wherein slaves can obtain their freedom, I don’t think Scripture is opposed to it even if it would not necessarily endorse it as evil. When the entire system is based on kidnapping people in Africa, separating families, and providing no means for slaves to secure their release, we have another issue. Scripture explicitly condemns all of that.

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  9. Robert, do you think that all Southern slave owners and Northern (and English) slave merchants believed the system was based on kidnapping? I ask only because some people think my consumption of meat is premised on wickedness. Obviously, I don’t think it is. So do we have a duty to try to represent what those who participated in the system thought? Maybe it’s so evil that such fairness is impermissible.

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  10. Curt, since racism is hard wired into the U.S. (according to some), aren’t we all victims (though not to the same degree)? Who of us truly has agency? Aren’t we all caught in a web of circumstance and contingency? Or do only some people escape that prison?

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  11. D.G.,
    Like I said, wouldn’t it add to the conversation and discussion more if we included victims of racism? And in reference to your comment, wouldn’t it add to the coversation and discussion if there was greater diversity in group of victims we are listening to? After all, we might have been all caught in the web of racism, but there were multiple ways in which we were caught. Shouldn’t we listen toall of them?

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  12. No, Curt… bringing into the conversation those who have been affected by “present racism” wouldn’t add to the discussion. It would simply import the political discussion/contention in the civil realm on this matter into the question of whether this overature is well thought out and a good thing for the church. You miss Darryl’s point that to judge these things rightly we must view the past with a lens of historical context. You seem to want to use your “Law of the Present” as the rigid measure of the past. Not necessarily charitable and may risk being what C.S. Lewis termed ‘chronological snobbery.’

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  13. @ DGH:

    I recently read through both Thornwell’s and Dabney’s defenses of slavery. To their credit, both men refute the notion that the black man deserves to be enslaved based on inferiority.

    But to their discredit, both argue that one person may not own another *person*, everless a man may own a title to another man’s *labor.*

    So far, so good – ish. There’s a niggling question of wages, but the basic distinction is valid.

    BUT

    Here’s where they run off the rails. What if the title to labor is defective because of its origin in kidnapping? Both argue IIRC that defective titles can still be made good. In other words, even if A kidnaps B and has no valid title to his labor, if that title is purchased in good faith by C, then C still has valid title.

    This argument is frankly angering because of its obvious (hence self-serving) flaw: if it is wrong to defraud B of wages and freedom of person, it is wrong period, regardless of title. If B owes no rightful labor to A (as in payment of debt), then he owes no labor to C either.

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  14. @Jeff, were either Dabney or Thornwell family members slave owners? And (truly wondering), were they possibly just deferring to this to the civil realm? Not to say B hasn’t been defrauded, but that this was a civil kingdom hot mess for the church to deal with back then.

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  15. Darryl,

    My simple answer is that for the system, it doesn’t matter what the individual slaveholders believed as to whether the system was evil. If American slavery was based on kidnapping, breaking up families, etc., and it undoubtedly was, then the system was sinful. Individual slaveholders will be more or less guilty of sin depending on their knowledge of the system.

    We’re not dealing with a simple you have freedom to eat meat here. Meat isn’t made in the image of God, and as far as I know there was no prohibition in the law about eating meat sacrificed to idols, though I could be wrong.

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  16. Robert, don’t go there to “system.” There goes the United States and the Constitution. This isn’t a bad sector on a floppy disk. As the college kids are saying/observing, slavery was baked into the United States. Making the slave owners scapegoats just won’t work.

    What might work is recognizing that society and politics in a fallen world are sinful. So let’s act like we’ve thought about the fall before.

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  17. Robert, if political systems can be ascribed what really is a human condition–sin–then maybe Curt is right about national sin, which means maybe there really is something to this notion of social and political gospel? In which case, institutions really can confess the sins of persons. How they actually repent on behalf of persons seems dicey.

    Maybe you aren’t wild about those implications. If not, then maybe dialing it down to simply saying some systems are better than others and those that are worse could stand some reform might be the better way to speak. But as long as the rhetoric stays at the level of “sinful systems,” it sure seems to me we’re still dabbling to greater or lesser degrees in that culture warriorism you regularly bemoan. One of the dangers, as Darryl seems to note, is to believe some are on the right side of righteousness and others are the devil’s own minions. Not exactly a recipe for humility.

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  18. Zrim,

    If we can’t say a system that legitimizes kidnapping is an evil system, I don’t know what to tell you. And I’m sorry, but simply to say one system is better than another isn’t sufficient when Scripture is clear on a subject. It’s like saying the Nazi system of addressing the Jews was worse than America’s, but the system of planning and executing the extermination of an entire people wasn’t evil. Really?

    What the institution can do is say, You know what, the system was screwed up and it never should have been that way. The level of an individual’s participation in it is person variable, so what repentance might look like on an individual case is going to vary from person to person.

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  19. Darryl,

    Robert, don’t go there to “system.” There goes the United States and the Constitution. This isn’t a bad sector on a floppy disk. As the college kids are saying/observing, slavery was baked into the United States. Making the slave owners scapegoats just won’t work.

    I’m not making “slave owners” scapegoats. The degree to which a slaveowner was guilty of sin was person variable. But if the church cannot at least say that the slaveowner who violates the regulations on slaveholding in Scripture is guilty of sin, then we’ve got real problems.

    Yeah, it was baked in, and to the extent that it was, it was evil. The parts in the Constitution about some people being only 3/5 of a person are evil statements. It’s hard for me to find any way to justify a Christian signing a document including such things. Perhaps the best he could say was “I really don’t endorse this, but in light of the situation it was the best that could be done and I’m going to do all I can to change it.” That seems to be a political way to acknowledge sin.

    But then again, there was no mandate for the United States to stay united. There was no mandate for any Christian to participate in the process or then to sign the Constitution. Also, no one was forcing anyone to own a slave, or to refuse the slave the opportunity to buy his freedom, or to separate the slave from his child. So while I’m not making a slave owner a scapegoat as if he was the only one guilty, I’m also saying that the slave owner had certain responsibilities as a Christian. But were Christians slaveowners known for giving slaves the real opportunity to purchase their freedom and striving to keep slave families together? If they were, I’m unaware of it but I’m certainly willing to be corrected.

    What might work is recognizing that society and politics in a fallen world are sinful. So let’s act like we’ve thought about the fall before.

    Yeah, they’re sinful. And I recognize that sometimes the “solution” creates other problems. If you are born into an existing system, there are limits on what can be done. If indiscriminate manumission would make a bad situation worse, you take that into account. If you are a Christian slaveowner born into the system and that’s all your family has ever known, and you don’t know the underpinnings of the system, you have different levels of culpability and responsibility than the “Christian” who kidnaps the slaves in Africa. But if a system that approves of kidnapping, splitting up families, and working people to death can’t be called evil, I don’t know what evil is.

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  20. Robert, so why did Paul recommend submission to an evil empire? This is where we likely lose each other. Maybe you only declare Nero evil and then submit. But in today’s context (post-1960s), to call a government or social system wicked is to advocate rebellion.

    What say you? (Is your wife evil? Do you still love her?)

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  21. Robert, is the point to get something accomplished or simply to fan the flames? Systems generally only see real change when there is a realistic approach to reforms. Inflated rhetoric doesn’t usually get much done, except to give the speakers chills.

    But the implication of your reasoning here is that it was sinful to wear a brownshirt and jack boots in WWII Germany. Really? But then you make room for personal variations and singular experiences. So maybe simply being a member of the SS or Hitler Youth isn’t per se sinful, more questions could be asked and sorted out? But when we talk about “evil systems,” it sure muddies the waters and non-guilty persons all of a sudden get branded guilty.

    ps “What the institution can do is say, You know what, the system was screwed up and it never should have been that way.” But isn’t this as dialed down as what I’m suggesting?

    pps isn’t hindsight always 20/20? And isn’t overly easy to prescribe persons behavior across time and place? Maybe you think that’s weak-wristed, but it could be that some of us would rather emphasize the frailties and foibles of human beings than emphasizing what is and isn’t righteousness (and condemning the guilty from afar). After all, what you don’t think much of today could be condemned by future generations. But isn’t patience closer to Christian virtue than condemnation?

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  22. Darryl,

    Paul didn’t advocate participating in everything that the evil empire did. And like all empires, Rome was a mixture of good and evil. I’d say the same thing about the U.S. in 1776 and the U.S. in 2016.

    And no, calling a system wicked is not necessarily to advocate open rebellion any more than the book of Revelation’s labeling of Rome as an evil empire was to advocate open rebellion.

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  23. Zrim,

    But isn’t this as dialed down as what I’m suggesting?

    Problem is, I don’t know what you are suggesting. Are you suggesting that the church had no responsibility to preach against kidnapping and breaking up families and that the system was adiaphora? Because that’s what it seems.

    If you’re suggesting that corporate repentance for something that individuals and individual churches may or may not be guilty of seems stupid and probably doesn’t accomplish much except to signal virtue on an issue that really won’t cost the church anything in terms of its cultural mojo, then I agree.

    But when we talk about “evil systems,” it sure muddies the waters and non-guilty persons all of a sudden get branded guilty.

    Well that’s the danger. But you honestly can’t call a system evil when it is founded on an ideology that says some people aren’t really made in God’s image? Individual participation in an evil system may or may not render an individual guilty, but the system itself isn’t thereby made adiaphora. Paul said sacrifices to pagan gods were sacrifices to demons, and plainly that’s an evil system, though the individual Christian’s participation in it insofar as it involved only buying the meat for food wasn’t.

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  24. Robert, I’m suggesting it’s easy to be hard and to reach across time and place and declare with such moral certitude what shoulda happened because we here and now have it all righteously sorted out. Are you suggesting the church had no duty to stick to declaring law and gospel alone to sinners but also preach law against the state? Probably not, but that’s what it seems.

    But I’d call a system that declares some human beings sub-human problematic and need of reform. I’d call a human being who treats another one as sub-human evil. The difference is not only that between political systems and human beings but also a reluctance to easily cast stones.

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  25. Robert, I still haven’t heard how I can be called to repentance for institutional racism or my father’s lack of support for 1960’s civll rights legislation. What about all the products I now buy that are the product of sweatshops and in violation of child labor laws? What about my fossil-fuel burning car that’s destroying the ozone and is participating in the eventual erosion of coastal cities(killing, displacing and destroying other’s property and persons) due to rising seas? I’m aware it’s going on and I participate every day. Your/our outrage seems awfully convenient.

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  26. Zrim,

    Your concern about being so certain about the past is duly noted. But I’ll say that Jesus says that the works of the world are evil (John 7:7), the only reference the makes sense is “the world system” because obviously not every work of everyone living in this world is evil en toto.

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  27. Zrim,

    Robert, I still haven’t heard how I can be called to repentance for institutional racism or my father’s lack of support for 1960’s civll rights legislation.

    I’m not calling for that. Institutional racism was evil, but if you had no part in it, there is nothing to repent of. And there’s nothing for you to repent of in the civil rights legislation if you aren’t racist.

    Which is why I question the wisdom of the PCA overture, at least as it was originally written. If it were merely to say that “many of our churches that are now in the PCA but weren’t during the Civil Rights Era erred in adopting racist policies and committed evil in doing so” that would be fine. If the church as a whole wants to apologize, I could even support that. But I don’t see how I or my PCA church founded in 1998 need to repent for what a church in Mississippi did in 1965 when I was born in 1975, grew up Lutheran, and then came into the PCA circa 2012.

    What about all the products I now buy that are the product of sweatshops and in violation of child labor laws? What about my fossil-fuel burning car that’s destroying the ozone and is participating in the eventual erosion of coastal cities(killing, displacing and destroying other’s property and persons) due to rising seas? I’m aware it’s going on and I participate every day. Your/our outrage seems awfully convenient.

    Perhaps. Or perhaps you don’t actually know the specific conditions of the sweatshops where your clothes are purchased and so forth. Perhaps refusing to buy clothes from such sweatshops would make it worse for the children involved given the circumstances of their country and family and so you do other things insofar as you are able to ameliorate the condition. But that doesn’t mean a system in which children are forced to work 24 hours a day with no food, etc. isn’t evil.

    Like I said, a system can be evil but an individual’s participation in it may or may not be, and guilt is going to be person variable. I’m not sure why that is so controversial or it is so hard to say a system is evil. I’m pretty sure the Apostles viewed the worship of pagan gods as evil and yet Christians could “participate” in that system in some way without being guilty of sin.

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  28. Robert, though you make some helpful distinctions in places, you still hold on to the notion of systemic and institutional evil and I’m left wondering what I wonder with Curt: If a system or institution is evil then there must be room for it to repent. How does a system or institution repent? I know how people within an institution repent, and I know how people within an institution reform it, but how does IT repent?

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  29. Robert, I’m not following. Are you now making a distinction between the system being evil but not sinful? Because if not, then repentance still comes into play. And we’re back to covenantal and generational and institutional repentance and we’re back to Lucas’ baseless biblical grounds to bind my conscience based on some far fetched equivalent identification, correlating to my mystical union with Christ.

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  30. D.G.,
    You left an implied answer to your question to Robert. But is that answer the same as Paul’s answer? For what was Paul’s mission in life after he was converted? Wasn’t it to spread the Gospel?

    But unlike the days of Paul, the Gospel has been spread. And with is presence thoughout the world, it has been dishonored because it has been associated with evil in two distinct ways. It has been associated with evil by the active support Christians have given to evil and it has been associated with evil by silent complicity when Christians have said nothing in the face of evil.

    Like Paul, we are living under New Testament times. However, not all New Testament times are identical. And it is clear to see that there are some distinct differences between Paul’s time. And some of these differences necessitate us using different ways of honoring the Gospel. To deny that is to require that we wear the shoes of our ancestors when walking in the world to spread the Gospel. If that is the case, then shut down your blog because neither Paul nor the other apostles had blogs.

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  31. Zrim,

    If a system or institution is evil then there must be room for it to repent.

    No. Satan is evil and he has no room to repent.

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  32. Sean,

    I’m saying that a system can be evil/sinful but not everyone’s participation in it is evil. Again, the example is meat sacrificed to idols. Seems to me you have to call the system/religion of paganism evil. Priests participate it in by sacrificing meat to idols. Christians participate in it by purchasing the meat that was sacrificed. Perhaps “participate” isn’t the best word for the Christian’s actions; choose another if you like. Fact is, the funds used go to the system. And yet Paul says it is not evil for the Christians to buy and eat the meat that is sacrificed. Hmmm.

    But I don’t see where that gets you to generational sin, which is why the PCA resolution as originally worded was questionable. If specific churches want to repent, that’s one thing. But it makes no sense for First Presbyterian in Maine that was a leader in the abolition movement and who didn’t even come into the PCA until three years ago to claim some kind of culpability. The Bible specifically says that children are not held to account for their father’s sins when they don’t continue in them. So it’s odd for a churchwide resolution calling for an entire denomination to repent of sins not everyone is guilty of. And the whole mystical union as a grounding is bogus because then why is the entire church not responsible for my sin of speaking harshly to my wife three hours ago?

    So I’m with you on questioning the whole virtue signaling, but I’m not sure how calling a system evil means that you are obligated to repent for it, particularly when you had no involvement in it.

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  33. Curt, I’m not spreading the gospel – ya think?

    According to Frederick Douglas, if the Bible countenanced slavery it dishonors the gospel. You may be satisfied that Paul’s off the hook. But others are not. So get in the silent complicity with the rest of us. Social justice warriors won’t like you either.

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  34. Robert, “I’m saying that a system can be evil/sinful but not everyone’s participation in it is evil.”

    So how does that not apply to a master who bought his slave at a fair price and treated him humanely?

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  35. Robert, if there is no room for the “evil system” to repent then what hope is there? Yes, it’s true that Satan is beyond repentance, but how that dot connects to a worldly system being satanic isn’t so clear. I say this as a born, bred and buttered Yankee–slavery bad. But the “evil system” stuff just doesn’t land easily. I mean, if you really want to get something done, as in reform a system, it’s hard to imagine the other side of the table is going to be meaningfully persuaded with all that righteous indignation.

    Or put another way, it’s not very Calvinist to blame bad systems on Satan because it’s human beings that are the problem. Shouldn’t you be appealing to sinners who can personally repent and reform systems? Just seems like if you saw that you’d be less inclined to this “evil system” jazz.

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  36. Zrim says Or put another way, it’s not very Calvinist to blame bad systems on Satan because it’s human beings that are the problem. Shouldn’t you be appealing to sinners who can personally repent and reform systems? Just seems like if you saw that you’d be less inclined to this “evil system” jazz.

    good point; we should probably agree that along with the world, believers participate in the sin of partiality in their hearts, not reflecting the Lord in that regard, for which a call for repentance seems appropriate?

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  37. D.G.,
    Don’t know. I do know that each one of us needs to look at our practices and views to see if they cause any sabotage to the spreading of the Gospel. And I think the Regulative Principle mindset does just that by how it antiquates our interpretation of the Scriptures. And why the Regulative Principle fails us is because it does not allow enough versatility in responding to the different historical contexts and many different changes in situations from what were faced by the Apostles. And though you didn’t explicitly mention the Regulative Principle, my gut feeling says that that is a key difference between us when we discuss how the Scriptures apply today.

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  38. Robert, the conversation has moved along and we’re making more distinctions but I still see a conflation of categories when we label common-temporal endeavors as sinful. The emperor’s cult is an example of a government sanctioned cultic rival to which we would be required to resist for the sake of Christian fealty. I’m not at all sure that slavery rises to that level. And I don’t think parsing OT conditions and qualifications as to what is acceptable and unacceptable slavery is much help to the determination. One, because OT theocratic Israel is no more(charter had a beginning and end date) and two, there’s still no NT proscription against engaging in it. You may beg to differ, but the evidence is scant. I’m not sure how you can employ the term, ‘sin’, without engaging it’s correlative concepts; condemnation, repentance, reconciliation, salvation and judgment, even final judgment.

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  39. I’m not so sure that “systems” or “institutions” can’t sin. They can be come synagogues of satan right? Further, institutions aren’t just the collection of what the people believe and do. There is a difference between what the institution believes or prescribes and what the people in the pews believe (sometimes that difference is vast for better or worse). But this is where I have a problem with the PCA “repenting”. If the PCA had added to the BCO that “churches shall be segregated”, then the PCA should repent of that. It would have been wrong to add such an instruction to the BCO. The way the PCA repents would be to take out such an instruction and stop segregating churches. But that isn’t what is happening here. The PCA seems to be repenting because of what some PCA members did (I’m setting aside the fact that the it wasn’t the PCA but rather a precursor) most of whom are either dead or have one foot in the grave. How can I repent for the sins of someone else? According to various reports the overwhelming majority of evangelical men have viewed porn in the past month. Should I repent of their behavior? What does that even mean? Now if the PCA encouraged it, excused it, etc… then the denomination would need to repent of that. Perhaps the PCA should repent of letting the FV stuff slide, being lax on the regulative principle of worship, etc…

    Outside of churches, I don’t know what repentance means – can an unbeliever repent of sins while remaining an unbeliever? How does the US “repent” of putting Japanese-Americans into internment camps during WWII? I suppose the government can apologize and pay retribution, but is that really repentance as believers understand it – can a secular government “hate” their sin? Somehow I think we are talking about something else. Besides, not all harm one inflicts on someone else is immoral, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make restitution. The OT talks about what to do when someone is harmed accidentally for example. Given our pluralistic society, it seems to me that reform doesn’t make a lot of sense even if restitution does.

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  40. sdb, but Robert’s suggesting sinful systems and institutions can’t repent, in which case the “synagogue of Satan” has no hope. So why does he continue polemics against her? He must actually think institutional repentance is possible.

    Which brings us to asking what it looks like, and part of what this discussion also seems to reveal is the confusion between regret and repentance. The way the PCA seems to be speaking it is meaning regret but saying repentance. Repentance is to change behavior. What churches are barring blacks from them, etc.? Regret can make some sense (though not without some lingering problems). Repentance? Seems over-wrought.

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  41. Darryl,

    So how does that not apply to a master who bought his slave at a fair price and treated him humanely?

    You’d have to parse that out more. Why was he in slavery to begin with? But aside from the many complications that can go into that, I’d say this: The master who bought the slave as part of treating him humanely would give him the possibility of purchasing his freedom.

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  42. @zrim I agree. Institutions can repent, but that involves changing institutional behavior (and perhaps making restitution if applicable). Regret for what someone else has done is just cheap grandstanding.

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  43. Sean,

    And I don’t think parsing OT conditions and qualifications as to what is acceptable and unacceptable slavery is much help to the determination. One, because OT theocratic Israel is no more(charter had a beginning and end date) and two, there’s still no NT proscription against engaging in it.

    So Paul would think that the restrictions on mistreatment of slaves in the OT law doesn’t apply? That doesn’t seem to be reflective of how he uses the law. If he can draw a moral principle from oxes regarding the payment of ministers, we can’t draw moral principles from the law for the treatment of slaves.

    And I agree there is no NT proscription against engaging in slavery, which is why I told Darryl that I don’t think you can say, Scripturally speaking, that all forms of slavery are bad or sinful. For example, if you have a huge debt and the only possible way to pay it is to become a slave/indentured servant, I don’t think Scripture condemns that arrangement as long as the slave actually has the possibility of working off his debt, buying his freedom, getting the same rest prescribed for others, etc. I’m not saying it’s ideal or workable in the context of modern economics, but that’s different than saying it’s sinful or not sinful.

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  44. Zrim,

    We are called not to love the world? Is that talking about people? No, because we are commanded to love our neighbor. It’s talking about the world system. So we are not called to love the world because it is adiaphora? No, because if it is adiaphora, then there’s freedom. So we are commanded not to love the world system. When I connect the dots, it seems pretty obvious to me that you don’t love the world’s system because it is evil and opposed to God.

    And, systems are collectives of people which are evil or not evil. So it is correct that systems can’t repent. But people can. And part of repentance is setting aside evil systems, ameliorating them, etc.

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  45. You guys, are really debating if the bible( God wrote the bible) condemns slavery?
    Here’s how it works: Some institutions are man made and will hold differing opinions. The parts make-up the whole so the parts should come to meeting and do penance( and stop) for sinful thoughts( ie. “It’s okay to own others, since Paul never condemned the practice) and dreadfully sinful practices.
    I am pained for the sins of my ancestors because they all are actions and attitudes against the love and majesty of our adorable Savior who loves the whole world. I am responsible for my own sins for which I shall give an account.

    Matt 22:39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

    There you go. No slavery allowed! Unless you would like being someone’s property.

    The Catholic Church( as an institution created by Jesus)doesn’t wrestle with slavery being permissible. There are a couple of Nigerian priests in my parish( and many in the diocese). The mixture of people is beautiful.

    “all the senses are founded on one—the literal—from which alone can any argument be drawn, and not from those
    intended in allegory.” St Thomas Aquinas

    The people of Israel were brought out of *slavery* in the literal sense which has a *further* signification. The spiritual sense is allegorical( including typology) AND the tropological(moral), as well as the eschatological sense( WARNING: Don’t be like Pharaoh!).
    So if any institution large or small already has or entertains the permissiveness of ownership of another human person that institution is nefarious.

    “You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns. 15″You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you.”

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  46. “So we are commanded not to love the world system. When I connect the dots, it seems pretty obvious to me that you don’t love the world’s system because it is evil and opposed to God.

    And, systems are collectives of people which are evil or not evil. So it is correct that systems can’t repent. But people can. And part of repentance is setting aside evil systems, ameliorating them, etc.”

    No disagreement from me. Amen:)

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  47. Robert, repentance is to stop DOING evil in one’s person, not to reform systems. So it’s one thing for a man to steal and enslave another, another thing to ameliorate a system that fosters enslavement. Same with abortion (since the debates are often intertwined for effect). It’s one thing to have or provide an abortion in one’s own person, another to abide and tolerate a jurisprudence that allows for it. But the way the “evil system” speakers talk, to abide and tolerate a system that allows for evil acts to go unfettered is to be personally complicit in them. Fubar.

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  48. Robert, Well, if you have to ask about the origins of slavery you begin to pull on a thread that starts to unravel any form of slavery, including the OT’s. Again, that’s okay. I’m not advocating slavery. I am advocating precision about objections to it.

    Do you know the origins of Onesimus’ slavery? If not, why not since I bet you accept most of what Paul writes, including his instruction that Onesimus return to his master.

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  49. Susan, your selectivity sometimes makes me wonder:

    “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money. (Exodus 21:7-11 ESV)

    Your version fails utterly to grasp why slavery might have been a difficult matter to resolve. It’s a different order of question than indoor plumbing.

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  50. “But the way the “evil system” speakers talk, to abide and tolerate a system that allows for evil acts to go unfettered is to be personally complicit in them. Fubar.”

    Do you believe that we experience a judgement of sorts as a community when certain sins grow and become more permissible, affecting(hurting) more and more individuals?
    Isn’t it still true that we reap what we sew? That those who live by the sword, die by the sword?
    If they come for the baby in the womb, the elderly, the disabled, the unwanted, they come for me and mine….they come for my neighbor,who is myself.
    The love of many will wax cold.
    So we help as we can. We pray, act and if the system allows, we vote.

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  51. Susan, it’s inspiring rhetoric, but is it responsible? There are those among us who say that to refrain from picketing certain clinics is to be culpable, even faithless. That’s irresponsible. Don’t you care?

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  52. “Your version fails utterly to grasp why slavery might have been a difficult matter to resolve. It’s a different order of question than indoor plumbing.”

    Hmmm. Okay. I agree that it is a difficult matter to resolve since how to deal with it is so meticulously spelled out in the OT. This must tell us that God cares about the way we treat each other( inside and outside the community).
    The problem really comes when people look for justification from the bible to do harm to others and society by advocating for polygamy, divorce, same sex union, chattel slavery of people because they are seen as subhuman( racism).

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  53. “Susan, by reading accounts of what it was like to ensure slaves were obedient. who wants to live the way masters did?”

    That’s your answer??

    Is the bible clear on slavery?
    How do you know it’s wrong?

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  54. Robert, let me muddy the waters up a little more, Paul has license with OT application that I don’t get to access or take to myself. I have written cultic norms in the NT I get to follow where Paul has given definitive interpretation to OT moral law coming forward into the NT or NC. I don’t get to add to them. But since you brought up indentured servitude, to give a modern example, the Dubai developers are pretty sure their Indian workers are legally indebted to them for fees and debt incurred and have pulled their passports to make sure they don’t skip the country fleeing the monetary debts they owe. So, Paul would be good with that, right? How about poor white coal miners who owe money to the company store( I sold my soul to the company store….), Paul’s good with that? This is why it gets difficult. We’re pretty sure our modern sensibilities are superior to prior generations. We’re pretty sure we’re much more sanctified on race, religion and creed, enough to call what prior generations participated in as sin. I have enough divergent generational contacts to call a lot of that chronological superiority into question. And I’m not ready to assign to prior generations sinful activity or support of sinful institutions without biblical warrant.

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  55. Susan, it’s like my opinion, woman. The Israelites had slaves. Jesus healed the children of slave holders. Paul tells a slave to go back to his master.

    Oh, I forgot. You don’t believe the Bible any more.

    P.S. The papacy approved of slavery and then CHANGED when they THOUGHT about it.

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  56. The following was approved by the PCA General Assembly by a vote of 861-123, with 23 abstentions:

    That Overture 43 be answered in the affirmative, as amended; and answer all racial reconciliation overtures with reference to this action:

    Therefore be it resolved, that the 44th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of corporate and historical sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era, and continuing racial sins of ourselves and our fathers such as the segregation of worshipers by race; the exclusion of persons from Church membership on the basis of race; the exclusion of churches, or elders, from membership in the Presbyteries on the basis of race; the teaching that the Bible sanctions racial segregation and discourages inter-racial marriage; the participation in and defense of white supremacist organizations; and the failure to live out the gospel imperative that “love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10); and

    Be it further resolved, that this General Assembly does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of past failures to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures in accordance with what the Gospel requires, as well as failures to lovingly confront our brothers and sisters concerning racial sins and personal bigotry, and failing to “learn to do good, seek justice and correct oppression (Isaiah 1:17);” and

    Be it further resolved, that this General Assembly praises and recommits itself to the gospel task of racial reconciliation, diligently seeking effective courses of action to further that goal, with humility, sincerity and zeal, for the glory of God and the furtherance of the Gospel; and

    Be it further resolved, that the General Assembly urges the congregations and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church in America to make this resolution known to their members in order that they may prayerfully confess their own racial sins as led by the Spirit and strive towards racial reconciliation for the advancement of the gospel, the love of Christ, and the glory of God.

    Be it further resolved, that the 44th General Assembly call the attention of churches and presbyteries to the pastoral letter contained in Overture 55 as an example of how a presbytery might provide shepherding leadership for its churches toward racial reconciliation; and

    Be it finally resolved, that the 44th General Assembly remind the churches and presbyteries of the PCA that BCO 31-2 and 38-1 provide potent and readily available means for dealing with ones who have sinned or continue to sin in these areas.

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  57. D.G.,
    You’re right that it doesn’t matter what RPW says. But as for what the Bible says, people use RPW to determine that for situations that were never directly addressed by the Scriptures. So RPW can hinder how we apply the Scriptures today.

    IN addition, if RPW wasn’t followed in the NT, why follow it today?

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  58. I’m happy to report I wasn’t able to be cognitively engaged in 1960’s civil rights legislation, so, I’m all good. The rest of you need to submit yourself to such as I for examination, evaluation and reprogramming. You all are some racist bastages. I’ve read any number of black theologians, so, again, I’m good. I have brown and black friends some of which refer to me as, “bro”. Again, I rock. My church has a West African family and officiated the marriage of a Sudanese man and Liberian woman. You can’t touch this. I’ve read and LISTENED to a black, female sociologist outline Slavery Induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the behest of Leon Brown. I’m so golden, I might as well have lived at Paisley Park. I employ a black man in a managerial position over elderly white people. Take that Jim Crow. I regularly devalue boomers and their deleterious affects upon society. They remember Jim Crow and they did far too little to affect change, a clear violation of the sixth commandment. Please report to the office, you racist scum. I don’t wear bow ties, seersucker suits, boater hats or white nubucks. I’ve never been part of a southern fraternity at Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Miss St., Tennessee, or any other SEC school. I am the par exemplar. Send me money and I will be put it to use to TRY to change all that you died in the wool southern prots have gotten wrong.

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  59. -the PCA General Assembly approved Overture 43 on racial reconciliation with an 85% vote of the commissioners
    -the CoC considered this proposal and voted 31-7 to recommend that the General Assembly answer the proposal in the negative.

    interesting to watch and pray about as always
    may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus; standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel ;maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (Rom 15:5 ; Phil 1:27, 2:2)

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  60. Sean,

    Robert, let me muddy the waters up a little more, Paul has license with OT application that I don’t get to access or take to myself. I have written cultic norms in the NT I get to follow where Paul has given definitive interpretation to OT moral law coming forward into the NT or NC. I don’t get to add to them.

    Who says anything about adding to them? I would think that since we aren’t dispensationalists, the principles of the law remain in force unless we’re told otherwise.

    But since you brought up indentured servitude, to give a modern example, the Dubai developers are pretty sure their Indian workers are legally indebted to them for fees and debt incurred and have pulled their passports to make sure they don’t skip the country fleeing the monetary debts they owe. So, Paul would be good with that, right?

    Well all I have to go on is the letter to Philemon, where Paul expressly sends a slave/servant back to his master and offers to pay the debt in his behalf. So evidently, Paul though Philemon had some sort of right to the money he was owed, though to be fair it seems Paul also thought his own service to Philemon would count toward the debt.

    Now whether or not pulling passports would be countenanced by Paul, I don’t know. But it certainly seems based on what I just said that Paul didn’t think people could just blow off their debts willy nilly. Would he have sent them back? Perhaps. He sent Onesimus back. Of course, Philemon was a Christian. Seems we would have to know how the Dubai contractors treat the Indians. Like you said, it’s complex. I’m not denying that. I’m just questioning why we can’t call a system evil when it’s predicated on denying the full humanity of one group of human beings and wrapped up with kidnapping and separating families?

    How about poor white coal miners who owe money to the company store( I sold my soul to the company store….), Paul’s good with that?

    I’m fairly certain he would call the coal miners to pay their debts, but I would need more information. Was the company store deceitful? Does the company store beat the coal miners? Are the company store owners Christian? All those are mitigating factors. And there are more.

    This is why it gets difficult. We’re pretty sure our modern sensibilities are superior to prior generations. We’re pretty sure we’re much more sanctified on race, religion and creed, enough to call what prior generations participated in as sin. I have enough divergent generational contacts to call a lot of that chronological superiority into question.

    Sure.

    And I’m not ready to assign to prior generations sinful activity or support of sinful institutions without biblical warrant.

    So the Christian slave owner who sold the children of one of his slaves to another master in another state, thereby breaking up a family, wasn’t sinning? Did something change under the new covenant that made dividing families virtuous? What about making it impossible to buy freedom? What changed under the new covenant that dismissed that requirement? You have to remember that as far as I am aware, slaves in the Roman system had at least the possibility of buying their freedom.

    I’m not denying that the issue is thorny. I’m not denying that a lot of the judgments and overtures are influenced by misplaced guilt from wealthier white people that they are wealthier white people. I’m not denying that the overtures seem pointless in large measure and no one knows what they will accomplish. I’m not denying that the theology put forth in support of corporate repentance for generational sin is dubious. I’m not denying that we should question why a northern PCA church that was never involved in slavery or racism at all should have to repent?

    I’m simply wanting to know why we can’t consider a system to be evil when it is predicated on denying the full image of God in another person and that was sustained by kidnapping and breaking up families.

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  61. Curt, you mean that the NT church had pipe organs? Sway babes? Looks to me like word, sacrament, prayer, and offering were all the elements of NT worship.

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  62. Robert, which priniciples? After all we already changed the sabbath day as an inaugurated part of the NC and radically changed the initiatory sacrament AND made it accessible to women(of all people) and non ethnic Jews. Talk about reversals. Robert, some people say capitalism is predicated on denying the FULL image of God. Is it evil? Work stress(see Bezos at Amazon) is directly linked to the breakup of families. As regards indentured servitude(I have a mortgage too) I’m pretty sure the Indians feel kidnapped and their families torn apart. Btw, as we peel this onion back, I’d like to lay at the feet of rival African tribes the whole institution of chattel slavery. Where’s the reckoning for the progeny of those tribes? Are you ready to bring chapter and verse to bear on those injustices? I’m pretty confident that Roman law securing one’s possible freedom was about as effective as the inalienable rights of poor white coal miners and Indian laborers in Dubai. Finally, as regards the FULL image of God, that’s already been dramatically eclipsed by the fall and subsequent corruption. Nobody and no system has regard for the FULL image of God. This whole enterprise is akin to the joke, “well, we’re tired of all your sinning, so, we’re gonna draft legislation to rehabilitate it right out of you”. Good providence with that. It’s certainly not my fault that the PCA has made a joke of racial reconciliation and the possibilities available to remedy that situation. Don’t shoot me for being authentic. I’m trying to do justice to ALL the social conditioning.

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  63. Darryl, I’m gonna do that 23 and me DNA test, and we’ll see just how white I am. I’m betting on a half of a half of a half of a percentage that’s outside the spectrum of a pasty gangster. And then I’m gonna leverage that scientific evidence to secure a government contract. #Winning

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  64. Besides the absurdity of gentrified southern men constituting the vanguard of racial reconciliation, I’m now trying to imagine, in accord with the pastoral letter of Overture 55 from the MISSISSIPPII presbytery, getting hauled in by a predominately white session to deal with my unacknowledged white privilege and the need to repent of it without biblical warrant. Are we going to be funding denomination wide White Privilege training seminars? Good times.

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  65. D.G.,
    Is having Pipe Organs the only way of not following RPW? Why not go through the Gospels and read about the different Jewish events Jesus attended and see if all were prescribed in the Old Testament. Were Word, Sacraments, Prayer, and offerings the only elements of NT worship?

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  66. How can it be a U-turn when the PCA is the successor to the PCUS which already repudiated racism?

    Although there was a variety of opinions on the topic of covenantal, or corporate, repentance during the Civil Rights era, the assembly voted 861-123-23 to approve overture 43 on racial reconciliation. 2016 was an historic year for my denomination–yes, my denomination–to make a U-turn. We acknowledged our need to “recognize, confess, condemn and repent of corporate and historical sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era, and continuing racial sins of ourselves and our fathers such as the segregation of worshipers by race; the exclusion of persons from Church membership on the basis of race; the exclusion of churches, or elders, from membership in the Presbyteries on the basis of race; the teaching that the Bible sanctions racial segregation and discourages inter-racial marriage; the participation in and defense of white supremacist organizations.”

    As Roman Catholics know, this continuity discontinuity thing is tricky.

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  67. We won’t get beyond race not because being Color-blind is impossible but because Leon and crew can’t let the bone go. It’s doubly difficult when it’s your entry and maybe your niche money maker? Everybody keeps ignoring the dominant color in the game, it’s green. You impoverish the 800lb gorilla and see how much corporate solidarity goes on. At this point it’s more marketing ploy than anything resembling contrition.

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  68. So new Princeton seminary and the PCUSA are going to be the theological vanguard of CTS and the progressives in the PCA. This is little more than finding new ground for failed social engineering and with some old styled carpetbagging on southern whites easily taken by false guilt. The underpinnings of which are almost 60 year old radical racial politics, rewarmed protestant liberalism, a far fetched sociological theory on PTSD and a Covenant college grad who’s in a state of perpetual adolescence but nevertheless someone gave her a bullhorn and a title. Now I just need for someone to tell me if I read the proposals in Latin, I’ll truly understand. And ust like with the Vat II group, no actual exegesis of relevant texts

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  69. When corporate confession makes sense:

    More than 50 years ago, in the middle of the Cold War, Grove City College tossed out a left-leaning history and political science professor, telling him he was incompetent, hard to work with, and a harsh grader.

    Worried about salvaging his teaching career, the professor, Larry Gara, took his case to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and asked for a “neutral evaluation” of his work. The AAUP determined that the administration didn’t follow due process and promptly slapped Grove City onto its censure list, which calls out those “not observing the generally recognized principles of academic freedom and tenure.”
    This month, the AAUP lifted its disapproval, following Grove City’s procedural changes and apology to the now 94-year-old Gara.

    Grove City, a “broadly evangelical” liberal arts college with Presbyterian roots, is among a handful of religious schools that have conflicted with the AAUP over tenure issues.

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  70. Confession? psshaw. Be ye perfect:

    Although Johnson is a member of Black Lives Matter, he still considers himself to be somewhat conservative. Before joining PCA, Johnson held a theo-political view of “Democrat Only.” But after the terror attack on Sept. 11, 2001, he began to embrace more conservative nationalistic views.

    However, Johnson left the PCA in 2015, an 80-precent white denomination, after seeing how churches were not responding to racial issues and the string of shootings of unarmed black Americans at the hands of police officers that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

    “I kind of thought that was a trend that churches were more concerned about what was going on in their own building and their own mission and mandate, preaching the Gospel but not living it out in these particular ways,” he said. “I still consider myself a conservative but a more progressive than an extreme conservative.”

    After leaving the PCA, Johnson now runs his own home ministry called Church for THUGS (Those Helpless Until God Saves), which seeks to bring faith to gang members, prisoners, and others in urban areas who don’t go to church.

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