White Christian Nationalism for Urban Hipster Presbyterians?

Remember when some Presbyterians were quick to link a certain failed mass-shooter with theology in the OPC?

And remember also when critics of President Trump were quick to associate (in a fear-mongering way) the rhetoric of “the West” with white Christian nationalism?

Well, what do you do with someone who sits regularly under the ministry of a famous Presbyterian pastor in a major mega city and then writes this, for instance, about slavery?

the Times wants to reimagine the European version of America as founded on slavery and stained in every possible way by the continuing effects of slavery. This is a political project more than a historical one. Its unacknowledged goal is to taint all opposition to progressive political goals as rooted in the perpetuation of oppression, and perhaps to delegitimize America itself.

The 1619 Project overstates things a bit. Slavery does have lingering consequences, and the economic, cultural, and political history of the country does reflect the awful institution. But the 1619 Project also reduces the lives of African Americans to perpetual victimhood, and it ignores the glorious ideal of freedom in American history. It reverses the traditional conception of America as an exceptional land of liberty to conceive of it as an exceptional land of slavery and oppression.

Four centuries ago, almost every Englishman believed a piece of anti-Spanish propaganda called the “Black Legend.” It presented all Spaniards and all Catholics as uniquely, demonically evil, whose cruelty was proved not least by their barbaric treatment of the Indians. The 1619 Project creates a new kind of Black Legend, which casts America as uniquely, demonically evil.

The Times is calculating that Americans are already primed to believe this new Black Legend. They have been softened up by the pseudo-history of Howard Zinn, whose elaborately distorted vision in A People’s History of the United States has been swallowed whole by millions. (A nod of appreciation is due to Mary Grabar whose new book Debunking Howard Zinn is a long-overdue corrective to the Marxist storyteller.) Others are hoping the 1619 Project will flatten what is left of resistance to anti-American mythmaking in K-12 and college history courses. The new Black Legend is already comfortably ensconced in many of our high schools and colleges. The first book college students read very likely treats it as fact.

And what are we to make of the associations between preacher and worshiper when the latter writes this about Harvard University’s president’s failure to include western civilization as part of the institution’s academic mission?

What is completely absent is anything that connotes “civilization,” as in “western civilization” or “comparative civilizations.” Harvard once took this concept as central to its educational work. It has apparently fallen by the wayside, though it lingers in the names of some departments, as in “East Asian Languages and Civilizations” and “Archaeology and Ancient Civilization.”

There is food for thought in this observation. Why has civilization, especially Western civilization, slipped beneath the notice of Harvard’s current president? In considering the comings and goings of students across oceans and national borders, is “civilization” not a factor? Why do students from diverse parts of the “world” want to study in the West? In the United States? At Harvard? Might our civilization bear on their motives to travel so far and undertake the hardships of studying in a foreign culture?

Don’t be confused. I do not fault the author for these complaints about the direction of important institutions in the life of the United States. In fact, I believe he is right to raise these concerns.

What I do wonder about is why the #woke Presbyterians who think the United States is racist and Christian nationalist don’t take issue with the pastor and related congregation who would seem to be responsible for this conservative author’s sentiments? I mean, if you can connect the dots between the alt-right and Reformed Protestant covenant theology, can’t you also tie defenses of western civilization and the United States to urban hipster Presbyterianism?

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3 thoughts on “White Christian Nationalism for Urban Hipster Presbyterians?

  1. Nice comments by two black men and white woman. We were made in Gods image which is what unites us and why we love and don’t have and want the true gospel to be maintained and/or reclaimed.

    “One of the main challenges I see in the spheres of influence I am privileged to be a part of is the lack of “grace” and “love” when it comes to believers attempting to live out their faith in a headline driven culture. When dealing with any of the following buzzwords: social justice, black lives matter, all lives matter, racial reconciliation, woke-ness, systematic racism, white-guilt, white privilege, etc. we see an immediate wall of division thrown up, and people forgetting to love even those they disagree with.

    The concept of “woke theology” as I have seen it in praxis within the church has only served to create an us vs. them mentality that too often has left me as a black man, who finds his identity first in Christ as an outsider. At the core of what “woke-ness” infers is a deeper level of knowledge and those who don’t agree are still sleeping.

    As @julietteochieng stated about such a theology is worshipping other than Christ. Proponents of woke theology should beware of not allowing hurt, disappointment and anger become bitterness, and unwittingly making idols of their ethnicity and by proxy of themselves.”

    “As an African (Black, born and bred in Africa) who by the grace of God has the privilege of living in Atlanta, I am always amazed by how African Americans say or hear the words racism or prejudice and immediate think “white man”. If everyone especially African Americans started the conversation with seeing that they too are racists, the conversation especially the one we are uncomfortably trying to have in the church would go a lot better.

    How can we accuse our white brothers of unconscious racism without 1st having to see that if it is true for them, it is also true for us.

    The same lack of grace and defensiveness many claim the white brothers have is as a result of black brothers not sharing in the mutual responsibility of the sin of racism. Partly because of the crazy idea that if your white brother is privileged and you are the victim, he is to bear the full burden.

    We are all sinfully racist…. but we can work together by casting off our fleshy tendencies and remembering our bond is the blood of Christ.

    I am honestly tired of my white brothers bowing to the ridiculous white privileged guilt, a burden not placed on them by Christ but by misguided worldly ideologies and I am tired of the whole woke theology being spewed by African Americans. I just want to go to church and worship God without being weighted down by these, just keeping in mind my blood bought connections to my brothers in Christ.”

    “I am a middle aged white woman. I’m part of a small church whose goal is to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We had the exciting privilege to attend a conference in Philadelphia put on by a predominantly black church community. It was such a strong gospel time of instructions and worship. It was wonderful to be immersed in a culture that was different in so many ways and yet gospel centered thereby proving the power of the gospel. Our local community is mostly black and Hispanic, so we learned all we could to better relate to those who were culturally different from us. In 2017 the Philadelphia conference theme was “urban apologetics” with a sub theme of #wokechurch. I had no idea what that meant. Throughout the 2 day conference we heard about white privilege, black lives matter among other things. We heard that white people were not able to minister or relate to black people because of this “white privilege”. The final plenary session was given by a man named Soong Chan Rah. It was all about the oppression of blacks by whites through out history and how lamentation for white behavior in the past was necessary. White people needed to repent of their white privilege. I will say I was never more confused. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I could not reconcile what I understood about biblical teaching on repentance and forgiveness with what was being said. I felt palpable distance between myself and others after that session because I was white. I left that conference feeling trapped by my “whiteness” but not knowing how to fix it. I’m a counselor at a pregnancy center and was almost paralyzed in thinking… “how am I going to talk to women with black skin if they think of me like this”. I have felt a wedge pushed between myself and black individuals in a way I have not felt my whole life. I can not say how thankful I am for this gospel centered article and teaching. I feel like I might not be crazy after all. I’m a faithful follower of your blog and new podcast. You put the Gospel front and center with confidence and eloquence. Be strengthened and encouraged as you teach to the praise of the one who alone is worthy.”

    Read More at Just Thinking….

    https://justthinking.me/2017/07/21/how-woke-theology-is-weakening-the-black-church/

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  2. As for the synagogue shooting, that had nothing to do with Reformed teaching and much to do about a certain strain of conspiracy theory that misapplies and lazily generalizes ‘the Jews’ of an agenda, which is something I never understood. A deep state or shadow government has nothing to do with Orthodox or religious Jews and has everything to do with elite pagans in high places. I always challenge the view that there is any kind of grand conspiracy aligned with the interests of a Jewish nation. There is a movement toward globalization but that is no conspiracy, that has been communicated quite publicly as far back as President George H. Bush and Christianity has to high a view of the sanctity and dignity of life despite the depravity of our sin to not be in the way of such an agenda. Regardless, we are a peaceful people, we don’t want war and suffering, we want God’s glory and mercy to prevail.

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  3. “The final plenary session was given by a man named Soong Chan Rah. It was all about the oppression of blacks by whites through out history and how lamentation for white behavior in the past was necessary. ”

    The first slaves brought to the New World were poor whites, often sold into slavery by their own parents. Black slavery picked up later. Often, white and black slaves would run away together and formed mixed-race gangs in the same way there are mixed-race gangs in the cities and prisons today. The United States has, in many ways, always been a slave plantation. In fact, the whole world is the Babylonian captivity of the Church. We’re not going to find historical justice this side of the eschaton because we’re here in a big prison. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to offer a plan of salvation outside of God’s plan of salvation for the world, namely Christ. This was the goal of the first Babylon: Babel. Look how that turned out.

    So many of the SJW moralizers in these compromised churches and academia are just trying to make a buck and get their name up in lights. It’s easy money with the right target audience.

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