Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Was Jesus a Racist? Is Miguel De La Torre a Christian?

(HT: Dr. Thomas White for bringing this article to the blogging world's attention.)

File this one away with…OK, I admit that I don't even have a category in which to file this one. Under 'R' for Rank Heresy? Or, unfortunately, under 'A' for Associated Baptist Press? It's far less my business than it would be if this were in Baptist Press (and I'm thankful to say that I can't even imagine that happening), but ABP really needs to take down this tripe. I think we all know that there are false teachers and purveyors of heresy out there, but does ABP really want to be in the business of providing them with a platform? Until we left BGCT, our church was helping to fund things like this. It sure helps my conscience to know that now we are not at all responsible for the dissemination of the views of Miguel De La Torre and those like him.

You can read for yourself: Miguel De La Torre's latest opinion piece on ABP is entitled "Was Jesus a Racist?" His answer to the title question becomes pretty clear in the piece.

34 comments:

Les Puryear said...

Bart,

So Jesus was brought up to be a racist and the people of color shocked Him to such an extent that He changed His racist views and learned to be non-racist?

This is one of the most ridiculous articles I have ever read. I'm so glad that the SBC doesn't have this kind of foolishness to deal with.

Les

Steve Young said...

Bart,

As I read the article and Les' post above, I had to consider, "Where has Miguel's views diverged from the BFM?" I know he is not a SBC Seminary professor, but if he were, I am sure many would defend him. I am also sure that some would prefer that BP print his articles as part of the "big tent." I bel;ieve that is was Vance Havener who once replied in a situation "well, then, your tents too big."
Steve

Anonymous said...

Bart:

So many thoughts. Here is a brief summary.

1. Liberals often get tripped up this way because they believe that "Jesus was a man of his day", as I used to hear in religion class at Baptist college. Therefore, Jesus could end up being flat out wrong about the nature of scripture, the creation account, the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, and racism.

2. This is what happens when politics drives one's hermeneutic. The Bible becomes nothing more than a reference point to make the political point you are trying to make.

3. APB is really hurting in the editorial department. How'd this get through? Liberals used to never say stuff like this in a public forum. They would only say it in classrooms and such.

They could have run a "safe" article about racism. But they ended up with a professing Christian actually sitting in judgment of Jesus's character and accusing Jesus of being a racist. Unbelievable.

4. Liberals are usually quite proud of being logical and careful. This is the opposite. This author doesn't even consider possible alternate interpretations. The one he chooses requires him to guess about what Jesus knows, Jesus' moral state, and what Jesus learns. That is speculation on an exponential level.

5. Thank God for the CR! Let the ABP and the CBF eat this one - page for page, word for word, letter for letter! Just stay where you are, please, and don't try to bring this stuff back into the SBC.

I will take every stupid thing that someone in the SBC has said or done times 10 since the ABP was formed, rather than have this article attached to the SBC.

6. Steve, you're right. Some will defend this - "Priesthood of the believer" etc. But I still say that this is so bad for fundraising etc. that they are probably scrambling to figure out a way to get this one off the web.

Louis

msvoboda said...

Wow... Pathetic. I don't care where this guy comes from. If he was SBC I would be equally as hard on him. This man is a heretic who in one article denies the perfectness of Jesus, His Deity, and inerrancy. It is a sad day when ABP publishes this type of trash.

jmmath said...

I subscribe to the ABP in RSS. I am amazed at how much of this stuff is there.
As ridiculous as this is, it's not that far afield of other stuff they print.
I'm with you - glad my CP funds don't go there

Joe White... said...

This man’s sense of entitlement has led him to blasphemy. Am I missing something? Did the Lord owe this woman something? She had no claim on the Jewish Messiah. I for one am glad that I did not get what I had coming to me. If the Lord gave us what we deserved, we would all find our place in Hell.

I think what he would really like to say (but kind find the courage to); is that Euro-Americans are all racists, at least the ones who actually believe in obeying and enforcing the law.

Very thankful today for the CR.

Alan Cross said...

Horrible, horrible, horrible hermeneutics. Absolutely horrible.

Still, I am left with the idea that only 40-50 years ago, conservative Baptists would have at least agreed with the idea that Jesus was a racist, even though they would not have agreed with what this man does with Jesus here. They would have agreed that God separates people on the basis of race and they would have said that modern Southern society should likewise be separated by race. It appears that the difference between liberal and conservative is not nearly as stark as people claim when neither group reads Scripture correctly. We can make it mean whatever we want.

I am glad that Baptists have repudiated our hermeneutical errors of the past so that we can stand with integrity against this kind of tripe. May we never err that way again.

Ray said...

I was wondering if anyone was going to write about that article. I read it yesterday and was simply speechless. I have read a great deal of liberation theology but this was the worst.

He describes himself in his bio as specializing in "applying a postmodern/postcolonial social theoretical approach to U.S. marginalized spaces to construct a theological and biblical ethics that challenges structures of oppression. This liberationist approach to ethical thought from the periphery provides a unique perspective to the normative discourse."

What was oppressive was his forced hermeneutic upon that text.

onepilgrimsprogress said...

A better example of the necessity of the CR can hardly be imagined.

debbiekaufman said...

Steve Young: You would be wrong in that I am against this and would not want this type of "tripe" as Bart rightfully calls it anywhere near the SBC. I agree with most of the commenters here in that he is speaking of Jesus Christ in a most slanderous and heretical way. I'm angry just reading it. I would gladly lock the door of Miguel De La Torre and definitely question his Christianity.

volfan007 said...

Bart,

Wow! All I can say is, "Wow!"

Can anyone come in here and deny the need for the CR after reading this trash? Can anyone deny the need for encouraging and exhorting the SBC to stay strong on the clear teachings of Scripture after reading this inexcusable, heretical trash?

Wow!

David

PS. Let's hear Rex and Robert and Big Daddy and some of the other moderate/liberal fellas come in here and try to defend that and try to tell us that the CR was all about power and politics.

Wow!

Bart Barber said...

I posted this one pretty quickly as I was on the way out to do some studying in the SWBTS library. On the way into the library, I had the pleasure for the very first time of pressing the actual flesh of Greg Welty—a very gracious gentleman, and I was privileged to meet him.

Greg (agreeing with us entirely) suggested that someone exegete the passage correctly. I think he's onto something. A proper exegesis of the passage needs to appear in Baptist Press poste–haste.

Now, back to my books.

Ron Phillips, Sr. said...

Bart,

I agree with several others here that every Bible believing Southern Baptist ought to ardently give thanks to God for the CR!

Is Dr. Welty volunterring? If not, I will nominate him to write the exegesis for BP. :)

Blessings,

Ron P.

Todd Benkert said...

"Where has Miguel's views diverged from the BFM?"

In answer to your question: Article II B -- racism is sin (see also article XV), Christ was sinless

Your question appears to compare this article to our current internal debate in the SBC. If that is your intent, that truly bothers me. Those of us who argue for adherence to the BFM (e.g. those of us who voted for the Garner motion) are PRO conservative resurgence and just as appalled at this kind of heretical teaching as you.

There is a huge difference between wanting the IMB to not exclude someone who uses a PPL or was immersed in a church that doesn't believe in eternal security (two issues clearly NOT in the BFM), and someone whose article questions the sinlessness of Christ. Such a correlation is a low blow and clearly without merit.

CB Scott said...

May God have mercy on this poor man's demented soul. He is not unlike Simon the Sorcerer having his soul in jeopardy.

cb

Todd Benkert said...

This ABP article was my facebook link for the day. Attached to my link, I noted:

"This is not a recommendation but an example of our need to use discernment when we read authors whose views are claimed to be "Christian." I am absolutely FOR fellowship and appropriate levels of cooperation with other believers, regardless of our agreement on secondary issues. It is one thing to disagree about non-essential issues. It is another to disagree on fundamentals. This article, by implication, calls into question the sinless nature of Christ. Folks we need to use discernment when we listen those that call themselves Christian or even Baptist. This is blatantly false teaching. (On a side note, I am glad we are past the day we would ever see such an opinion piece on Baptist Press.)"

Big Daddy Weave said...

First, note that Miguel's article is no longer prominently displayed at ABP. The featured op-ed at ABP is on God and Guns written by Ben Cole. I think ABP usually leaves a featured Op-Ed up longer than 24-hours...

I'm not going to defend Miguel De La Torre because I definitely don't agree with this particular article.

My question is this - Do you believe that such questions as "Was Jesus A Racist?" are appropriate topics of discussion in an academic classroom at one of your seminaries?

At the end of the day, it is what it is, an opinion.

Bad theology and it's probably a question best reserved for the classroom. But I get the feeling that most of you would be equally outraged if such a discussion was taking place behind closed doors among students and a professor in a graduate seminar....

As a side note, before assumptions are made - relevant or not, Miguel is not a professor at a moderate Baptist-related seminary. He works at a UMC school in Denver.

Dave Miller said...

I was so glad to read that this woman's wisdom helped Jesus come to terms with his latent racist tendencies and break through to be better than he had been.

(I hope my sarcasm is coming through).

We spend a lot of time arguing over issues on blogs. Maybe we need something like this to unite us in true disgust of liberalism and its effects on faith.

Todd Benkert said...

Big Daddy,

I'm not afraid of the question, But no professor receiving my CP dollars should ever answer the question "yes."

As an MDiv student, I attended Southern during the transition years. I took both liberal and conservative professors. Both asked the difficult questions but the answers were quite different. Neither was afraid to ask "why is there evil in the world?" but only the liberals suggested that God was not sovereign. Both asked "what about the bushman who has never heard?" Only the liberals told me they would go to heaven if they were sincere in their false beliefs.

As a Garrett Fellow (teaching assistant) at Southern, I moderated more than one discussion in which the question of inclusivism vs. exclusivism came up. Not every student agreed with the (biblical) position of exclusivism. You better believe, however, that I defended the exclusivity of the gospel as did the professor.

Big Daddy, Conservatives are not afraid of such questions or the discussions that follow. What we object to is our mission dollars being spent to influence future pastors to embrace false doctrine. We object to professors raising questions in such a way that destroys faith in the one true God rather than boldly addressing hard questions with biblically sound answers.

So go ahead and ask away. But don't come to me with a liberal less than divine, frail, sinful, mealy-mouthed Jesus or a Paul who must be corrected by Jesus.

Ask away, but don't give me unbiblical answers that appease the culture but offend a holy God.

Ask away, but answer questions with orthodox, conservative, biblically sound answers and give students the exegetical, hermeneutical, and apologetic skills to rightly divide the word of truth and defend the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

So feel free to ask "Was Jesus a racist?" The answer is emphatically NO!

Blessings,
Todd

CB Scott said...

Big Diddy,

Did you like Ben's article? I was his weapons consultant on that little article.

I hope you enjoyed it.

cb

R. L. Vaughn said...

Brother Bart, thanks for calling our attention to this -- though after reading it I feel like I need a bath. It makes me sing the louder the chorus of a song I've been listening to and singing over the past week:

O, how charming! How charming! How charming is Jesus;
He is my Redeemer, my Lord and my God.

Anonymous said...

Big Daddy Weave:

I predicted that ABP would be scrambling to get this off the web.

I do not know enough about ABP and their inner workings to know if they have done their best by moving it prematurely off the front page. Is that what your comment implied? This is a serious question, and I am trying to discern if what you wrote was a statement that ABP was reacting to this. I just wasn't sure.

This is definitely the type of issue that should be discussed in seminary.

Mr. Torre is not the first person to make this accusation. Some liberal theologians have said this for years. So, it would really be irresponsible for educated pastors not to have heard this issue discussed in their theological training.

Todd answered the question, however.

Let me add that SBC schools are seminaries established and paid for to train ministers for the propagation of the Gospel and to serve the SBC churches that pay for those seminaries.

SBC schools are not university type "divinity schools" where issues are debated and every viewpoint is treated equally as an option to be embraced by the inquiring students.

There is a "right" or "correct" answer to such a question. Most smart liberals would leave this question vaguely unanswered in the classroom. That's what's so amazing about Torre's article. He answers it forthright - against Jesus.

That is the difference between a conservative view of what a seminary should be and what most liberals or many moderates (they are not the same) believe a seminary should be.

And the way that plays out is that moderates can never figure out what to do in situations like this.

They NEVER take any direct, strong action against this type of thing because they are truly paralyzed by the implications of the priesthood of the believer, academic freedom and other such considerations.

So, they obfuscate or change the topic.

I predict that there will be more about this article and writer, and that it will follow a historical pattern with these type of statements and actions:

1. Mr. Torre is a good man. He is the most dedicated Christian I know. He is married, has kids, has taught Sunday School in such and such Baptist Church for 200 years etc. Fundamentalists should stop attacking this fine man. (Never addressing his theology, of course)

2. Too much is being made of this. Conservatives keep talking about all of the problems with ABP. This article is less than .001% of the articles ABP runs. There is no problem with liberalism at ABP.

3. Everyone knows that the people at ABP are good Christians and Baptists, and we all know what they believe.

4. Even though fundamental Baptists might disagree with him, Mr. Torre is not a "classical liberal" (Moderates love this defense. I think that I have heard it abot 10,000 times. It really is a meaningless statement).

5. This entire debate is really about control. The Fundamentalists are trying to take over ABP. That's their real goal. They are just blowing this out of proportion to get control.

I think that we should all wager which of the following defenses will be used and in what order.

We can do it like the horse races - win, place and show. Someone could hit the trifecta!

Of course, ABP may see that there is no good way out of this because it would require an actual theological discussion in the light of day. That is not the moderate strong suit.

So, they may just take the post down as soon as no one is looking, and we may hear that Mr. Torre has stopped writing op-ed pieces for ABP.

But then, Mr. Torre will show up on the platform at the next New Covenant confab, he'll land a job with the Baptist Joint Committee for Public Affairs or maybe Americans United for Separation of Church and State - or even better - he ends up teaching a faith and journalism class at Mercer or some other CBF promoted and supported school.

We shall see.

Louis

Anonymous said...

CB:

Kudos to you on the consultation with Mr. Cole on his gun article. It is a good article.

I think, however, that he should give you some credit.

Maybe Congress should consult you when they go to write gun related bills.

Also, I think that his description as a former pastor who works on public policy issues in Washington is so nondescript as to almost be meaningless.

Louis

Alan Paul said...

I wouldn't censor him. We need to know when heresy is being taught so we can educate people people to it's presence and why it's heresy.

As an aside: my word verification was "exicutme"
Not feeling the love!

Alan Paul said...

BTW: In my opinion, BP Press is not really a free press - it's a PR rag for the SBC. You are not free to offer dissenting opinions in that publication like you obviously can in the ABP.

Pastor Clark said...

Why limit the discussion? - reprint this article in BP, AP, USA Today, Newsweek - get it out!!

Paul wrote, "for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." - 1 Cor. 11:19

(LOL: Word verification "yomess" it certainly is....)

Bart Barber said...

Alan Paul,

Neither ABP nor BP are a "free" press. Each is quite expensive. ;-)

And thus, this is not about censorship. It is about whether money given by people to their church and consecrated to God belongs to the business of disseminating heresy.

D.R. said...

I have to add this;

I wonder how De La Torre reconciles his views on Jesus and the statement,

"The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ."

I'll let everyone else speculate and hold my opinions to myself.

D.R. said...

BTW, I am actually preaching on this passage on Sunday. This will make for a good illustration of how not to interpret this text. Thanks Miguel!

Rex Ray said...

David (007),
On Wade’s blog, I hit “here” and here I am.
I’m going to let someone else speak to this subject from Wade’s blog.

A word of caution less they might convince you to agree with them.
1. They did not come through the CR.
2. They are not even Baptists.
3. They are not a man.


Christiane said...
Dear GREG HARVEY,
As you have done, I read the article by Mr. De La Torre in a different light: it has layers of meaning for me also.

How is it that Christ holds up a mirror for us to see our own prejudices so clearly?

Can the reader not see that Christ lays out the problem confronting all of us: who are 'we' and who are 'they': the others, the 'dogs', the rejected, the lepers ?

What is the difference, if any?

And what is it that may we have in common that He values far above our differences?

And what is our obligation to help the 'others' ? Must they always be 'sent away' unaided?

Nothing in this incident was 'incidental'.

All was planned by God and set in motion to teach us something, if we will quietly look at it without our 'prejudices' and without our 'self-righteous reactions'.

The Canaanite woman did not come to Christ by chance:
she was directed to that place by a faith that she would receive healing for her child.

In some part of all of us, we know that every mother would go to hell and beyond to get help for their suffering child.

This woman came to the Lord Christ.

And she came to Him confidently.

Do His Words to her not reflect what many in the crowd thought?

And therein lies the irony.
He is wisely, once again, holding up a mirror, using His Words to reflect the crowd's rejection of this Canaanite woman.

And in doing so, He teaches, in a way that is unmistakably His:

DID he send her away unaided, as they might have done?

No.
He did not.

And therein lies the resolution of the irony.

She, one of the 'others',
had great faith, and so her daughter was given healing by the Lord Christ 'from that very hour'.

Nothing in this story is without meaning.

I disagree with De La Torres' interpretation, as well as the 'indignation' of any who react to De La Torres.

The story is a lesson that ALL the despised and rejected of this world, who are of strong faith, may confidently come to the Lord Christ for healing, not to be turned away by Him.

WE are the ones doing the rejection of the 'others'.

Not Him.
L's
Wed Feb 25, 01:59:00 PM 2009

Rex Ray said...

D.R.,
Other than ‘high-jacking’ the post, I don’t know why you brought to question:
“The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

But I’ll reply:

To me in layman’s words, it means:

'To interpret the Bible through the eyes of Jesus’.

D.R. said...

Rex Ray,

As I showed in my post over on Wade's Blog at the end of the comments on his post, "The Problem of Authoritarianism in the Conservative Pulpits of America"
(stamped Mon Jan 26, 06:01:00 PM 2009), which you did not respond to, the language of criteria was used by Hobbs not to mean what you claim it means, but rather that the OT stories that Jesus claimed to be true (Jonah and Adam and Eve) were indeed true. The documentation is over there, as well as a first-hand account from one on the committee.

And as I said, I would like to see how De La Torre views that statement in accordance with how he (mis)interprets it and how he additionally (mis)interprets this story and makes Jesus the goat for his politically-charged tirade.

Rev. said...

That was definitely tripe. Tripe is the nice way of saying it, of course.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Bro. Bart, you and Ron suggested Bro. Greg Welty write an exposition of the passage. Do you know if any move has been made toward this by him or someone else?

I was hoping to see something more on blogs, but haven't. I put a few rambling thoughts together for my blog that will appear tomorrow morning (Sun. 8th).