The online musings of Bart Barber
I enthusiastically recommend to you Russell D. Moore's MLK Day post. I am thankful for his insight demonstrated in this post. Click the link now; don't miss it.
Moore said--"And it is a shame that sometimes it took theological liberals to remind us of what we claimed to believe in an inerrant Bible, what we claimed to be doing in a Great Commission."Surely Liberals can never teach conservatives anything can they?Even when Liberals do something well they get slammed by Conservatives.
Tom,The interesting part of the post for me was Moore's explanation of why conservatives have been persuaded by the case for racial equality but have not been persuaded by other portions of the liberal agenda. I think that Moore has given a helpful bit of information here—useful both for conservatives and for liberals.Useful for liberals because they seem to struggle at times with making sense of how conservatives have moved so far on the question of race without moving much at all on other questions. This struggle manifests itself sometimes either in the presumption or false allegation that conservatives really are racists (even if they cover it better these days), simply because they have not embraced other liberal concepts.Useful for conservatives because recognizing and understanding a clear framework for differentiating between liberal ideas accepted and liberal ideas rejected can only improve conservatism, protecting us from the ill-advised practice of rejecting all that liberals say simply because liberals say it.
I also recommend Dr. Richard Land's article on Racism in "Theology in the Service of the Church" edited by Timothy George.Rick Garner
I do want to say something. I was trying not to say it, because I know that some people will accuse me of being a racist, when I'm not. God knows my heart. But, even though I celebrate that racism has been killed in conservative Christianity, and I rejoice in all the good things that MLK did for our country in racial issues; I cannot get beyond his theology. He was a minister, and he claimded to be a minister of the Gospel. Yet, I heard him say...on TV...during an interview, that men earned thier own salvation by living for a good cause, or even dying for a good cause...like Jesus did. He preached a works salvation, and he was into liberation theology.So, I find it very hard to celebrate the man. I do celebrate the good he did for our country.
David,I know that you are not a racist. I also know that you and I grew up in the same culture, and that racial tension was a part of our upbringing. I want to offer you a couple of things to consider.1. Heroes often become more heroic after they've been dead a while longer. In the generation following someone's death, people are still alive whose personal interactions with a famous person interfere with any sort of a detached historical analysis of the person's contributions overall.2. By the standard you are applying to MLK, how many people whom you might regard as true heroes could stand scrutiny? Thomas Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemings, his slave. George S. Patton believed in reincarnation and had a volatile, foul-mouthed temper. Martin Luther King, Jr., was no more flawed than the Reformation hero whose name he bears—Martin Luther authored horrible anti-Semitic sentiments. W. A. Criswell supported segregation. Christopher Columbus was an aggressive Roman Catholic whose ideas about evangelism would be offensive to the both of us.3. It is one of the hurdles that I faced and tried to overcome in becoming a historian: You learn the flaws and errors of heroes. Do their flaws obliterate their accomplishments? Really, this is the mistake of the revisionists who are attacking Columbus and Jefferson and the other heroes of American History—a decision to ignore the accomplishments and focus upon the flaws.4. A healthier alternative, I believe, is to acknowledge the flaws of historical figures and yet to emphasize the distinctive contributions of historical figures—the things that they did that set them apart from humanity at large.MLK was a philanderer. He was a plagiarist. He was a minister of the gospel whose major contribution of his life was something other than the conversion of people to the gospel. He was, in my opinion, wrong about Southeast Asian Communism.And yet, how many philanderers lived in the 1960s? How many plagiarists? How many ministers not preaching the gospel? How many pacifists? These things are neither remarkable in MLK nor the reason for the day that celebrates his life.The distinctive attribute of the life of MLK is the fact that American racism changed in the aftermath of his life explicitly because of leadership that he gave in the civil rights movement. He did what others did not do. This one thing—this unyielding confrontation of racism without falling into the angry, militant mold of someone like Malcolm X—is the one thing that made him famous. In this one thing he has become a hero, in spite of his flaws. For this I celebrate his life.But if I'd been his doctoral supervisor, I would have flunked his little self.
Bart,What you say makes sense to me. And, I do celebrate the accomplishments of MLK. I guess, I just have a really difficult time celebrating the MAN, due to his false teaching. I mean, I dont and wouldnt celebrate Joel Osteen for having the largest Church in America. I dont celebrate Benny Hinn; no matter how much good he does in foreign countries. I dont rejoice in Mother Theresa, no matter how much good she did for people on a humantarian scale. I guess I'm just having a hard time celebrating a man, who calls himself a Christian, and a Minister of the Gospel, who preached a works salvation. It's not because He's black. I dont care if he's black, purple, green, or red. It's what he taught, as a Minister of the Gospel. That's what I have trouble with.But, I do see what you're saying about the flaws and shortcomings of the heroes of the past. They all had them, just like we all have them today, as well. I just would hate to see someone idolize MLK as a great Preacher, and then read his works salvation, liberation theology teachings; and be influenced by them.David
Bart,On a similar note, I guess I do understand what you're saying. I love the Rev. Al Green, the singer. I dont know about his theology, though. So, I love his music and voice, but his theology? ??http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COiIC3A0ROMHere's a Youtube of the Rev. Al Green singing one of my favorite songs that he sings.David :)BTW, Bart, this song would be to my wife...not to you. :)
David,I hear you, brother. Thankfully, MLK is not really celebrated as a great preacher. Many people will observe MLK day who hate preachers as a category. We honor Martin Luther King, Jr., for leading the Civil Rights Movement.Your warnings against his theology are well-taken. Thankfully, most MLK Day celebrations will not move at all beyond his contributions to racial reconciliation.
007:Moore said--"And it is a shame that sometimes it took theological liberals to remind us of what we claimed to believe in an inerrant Bible, what we claimed to be doing in a Great Commission."Surely Liberals can never teach conservatives anything can they?Even when Liberals do something well they get slammed by Conservatives.I would tend to believe by your writings that nothing good could ever come from your word a "Liberal." But it is just not true.I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on your not being a racist, but you sure are an exclusionary person and minister.BTW many people who claim to be a minister fall short in their theology and their practical application of it.Harm is done by ministers who do not preach the true gospel and those that are so obnoxious they run others away from Jesus.
Tom Parker said: "Even when Liberals do something well they get slammed by Conservatives."Bart Barber says that even when Conservatives write something acknowledging where Liberals have been right, they get slammed by mean-spirited and bitter SBC Liberals.
Tom,Falling short in theological understanding, and someone denying the essentials of the faith and preaching a false Gospel are a long, long way apart. There's a huge difference in the two. If you cant see that, then you are in a world of hurt.David
Bart:You said--"Bart Barber says that even when Conservatives write something acknowledging where Liberals have been right, they get slammed by mean-spirited and bitter SBC Liberals."Don"t know about the mean spirited and bitter SBC liberals but, thanks for acknowledging where those "Liberals" were even once right.
007:I assure you with your attitude you are turning more away than to Christ and if you can not see that it is truly sad.I'm through, because you are blind to your own faults.
Tom,Who have I run away from Christ? Who? Name one. Who has Bart caused to turn away from Christ? Name someone. Tell us, please.Tom, the simple fact is that you dont like our conservative, Bible believing faith. That's the tall and short of it. Thus, everything that we say is "bad" in your opnion; and you make these ridiculous claims about us running people off.BTW, Tom, how far from God is a lost man? Can he really go any farther than he already is?David
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