The state of the modern church

M King at Highlander Folk School Jan 2016The South would not be what it is without its historic adherence to the Christian faith. We are not called “the Bible Belt” for nothing. The League of the South, though certainly not the Church and with no Test Oath for membership (we do have some non-Christians among our ranks), is made up mostly of Christians–Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant, all. Moreover, our “Core Beliefs Statement” says:

“The South still reveres the tenets of our historic Christian faith and acknowledges its supremacy over man-made laws and opinions; that our Christian faith provides the surest means of securing the welfare of all mankind; and that our primary allegiance is to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Church.”

Our statement, very general in nature, is meant to uphold 1) God’s law over man’s law and 2) the supremacy of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords over all the earth, among both God’s people and His enemies. Justice and mercy will attend to the general welfare of all men.

Thus, the South we seek to uphold and advance has deep roots in the historic Christian faith and is out of place as part of the current godless American Imperial regime.

But as traditional Christians, most of us find ourselves perplexed at the state of the modern churches, even those within the Bible Belt South. As a Reformed Protestant, I cannot speak with any authority about the Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches; therefore, I will limit most of my comments in this article to Protestantism. However, my general complaints will apply to one degree or another to all branches of the modern Christian “Church.”

The Church is supposed to hold fast to the Word of God no matter what the world might be doing. Surely, the Church is not supposed to seek favor with the world by conforming itself to the latter’s secular disposition. But a cursory examination of the Church in our modern age shows that it has indeed sought to make peace with the dominant secular ideology of our time—Cultural Marxism. And a main plank of Cultural Marxism (aka Political Correctness) is the idea of Equality, racial and otherwise. Not surprisingly, the modern Church, even in the conservative South, has latched onto the Cultural Marxist worldview. To understand where this is leading, let’s look at perhaps the most “conservative” of churches—the Presbyterian Church in America, the PCA.

A long-time friend and fellow League member, Greg L. Durand, has recently published a book entitled Ex Uno Plures: Traditional Southern Presbyterian Thought on Race Relations (2015, The Institute for Southern Historical Review). In his introduction, Durand responds to a resolution introduced at the 43rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America—formed in 1973 as the direct descendant of the old Southern Presbyterian Church– in June 2015 in which the PCA was encouraged to “confess our complicity and involvement in racial injustice during the Civil Rights era up until the present day.”

Now this is not the first time the PCA has played footsies with the Cultural Marxists. The 30th General Assembly (2004) adopted a resolution that confessed “covenantal, generational” sins connected with “unbiblical forms of servitude” but did not deal with so-called “sins” of the more recent Civil Rights era. Two years later, the 32nd General Assembly adopted something called a “Pastoral Letter” on “the Gospel and Race,” but stopped short of “acknowledging our sins against African-Americans that many of our founding leaders and churches displayed during the Civil Rights period . . . .” (from “Overture of Confessing Covenantal and Generational Sins during the Civil Rights period”).

As the PCA heads into its 44th General Assembly this June, the question remains will it officially resolve to “recognize and confess our church’s covenantal and generational involvement in and complicity with racial injustice inside and outside of our churches during the Civil Rights period” and also confess “our continued sins of racism and failure to love brothers and sisters from minority cultures in accordance with what the Gospel requires . . . .” (from “Overture . . .) If indeed it does, the PCA will have descended into full-blown apostasy and conformation to “the world, the flesh, and the devil.”

For years elements in the PCA have sought to distance themselves from the old Southern Presbyterian divines of the 19th century such as Robert Lewis Dabney, James Henley Thornwell, Benjamin Morgan Palmer, and others, who are considered “racists” by modern standards. Of this, Durand writes: “The unspoken assumption here, of course, is that the present generation is more enlightened than, and thus in a tenable position to pass judgment on, those of the past. We Christian in the twenty-first century are advantaged in having the social justice of Brown v. Board of Education, the transcendent wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the speech-craft of modern hucksters of ethnic neuroses to raise our consciousness . . . .” He continues in defense of Dabney, et al: “However, with very few exceptions, there is no one in the Presbyterian world today—the PCA included—who is qualified to even stand in the shadow of such men as these.” But because the Cultural Marxist worldview considers them “racists,” they are quietly pushed aside in favor of men who push racial reconciliation resolutions.

Because the modern church has incorrectly applied the idea of “universalism” to its worldview and mission, it has found itself in bed with the Cultural Marxists—its old enemy, the Serpent. The church is universal mainly in the sense that the truth of the Gospel is to be carried to every corner of it—whether it is accepted or not—and when Christ returns He will rule the entire world and make all His enemies His footstool. Universalism does not mean that God loves everyone and everyone is going to be saved; remember Jacob He loved and Esau He hated. Nor does it mean, as the Dispensationalists argue, that man, whomever he may be, can earn his way into Heaven by “being good” and choosing Christ. On the contrary, God has chosen His Elect, identified them in Scripture, and been faithful to them (though they not always to Him). In other words, God has specifically—not universally—chosen to send His Son to gather “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) And, by the way, this has nothing to do with the modern, secular state of Israel.

The Bible speaks often of “the nations.” That of course means specific, discrete people groups based on race and ethnicity, language, culture, and shared history. In fact, universalism was condemned and nationality approved by God in the story of the Tower of Babel and its aftermath. He dispersed the various “nations” and set their bounds and habitations. He does not wish to see his marvelous creation “bleed into one.” If indeed there is “sin” being committed, as alleged by the PCA, it is being committed in this direction!

To deny the legitimate concept of nationhood and replace it with a false, secularized gospel of universalism based on the equality of all peoples and cultures in the sight of God is to deny the teaching of the Bible, the Church, and her greatest minds for the last 2000 years. More specifically for our purposes, the triumvirate of Dabney, Thornwell, and Palmer.

Durand explains the common view of Southern Presbyterians (and other denominations) in the antebellum era. The governments of the several States of the South “had declared the Negro unfit for social or political equality with the White man, and had prescribed a system of servitude suited to his nature and conducive to the order and peace of the community. Absent clear Biblical condemnation . . . it was firmly believed that the Church as an institution had no right to declaim any existing institution of the State . . . . The apostolic instructions of Romans 13: 1-7 and 1 Peter 2: 13-17 were taken seriously by Southern Christians . . . .”

While the antebellum South encouraged the Negro in the direction of spiritual reformation, Durand tells us that “It was understood that Christianity works a moral change on the soul, but does not . . . alter one’s genetic characteristics. Southerners knew the propensity of the Negro mind to enthusiastic excess, and oversight was deemed necessary . . . . At the same time, it was considered detrimental to the White congregations to be hampered by the necessity to tailor instruction to the needs of those at a lower level of religious development.”

Of course the War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights movement destroyed this Southern position and in its place put one of equality across the board. Over the past half century, the worldview of the Cultural Marxists—assuming in the first place that they really believe in equality—has proven a disastrous failure. All one need to do to ascertain this is to use his experiences and common sense. Why then, is the PCA so doggedly determined to fly in the face of their ancestors’ wisdom and of hard experience and common sense in order to placate the Cultural Marxists?

When we can answer this specific question, we may then be closer to answering the larger one of why the Church in general has destroyed itself by surrendering to the world.

Michael Hill

Categories: Commentary

About Author

Michael Hill

Dr Michael Hill is President of the League of the South. He is a retired university professor of history and author of two books on Celtic warfare.