In GunnerQ’s most recent post, he writes about an evangelical statement against wacism. (Yes, racism is Bad, yes it is a sin, no it isn’t prevalent in modern America -except by people weaponizing it).
The statement is by the Evangelical Theological society, which is a conglomeration of denominational ministries and seminary professors within the southern Baptist convention. The statement was signed by people as famous as Al Mohler (as this is coming from the new and confused Calvinist/The Gospel Coalition camp).
The statement says in part
Scripture does not discriminate by color, and, on the most common understanding of Acts 8, the first Gentile convert may have been Black and from Africa.”
The statement is obvious pandering, a lame attempt at being winsome, and downright inaccurate. In fact, their claim is so inaccurate that it can only be described as a damnable lie about what is shown to us in the Gospels. Every man- to a man, who signed the statement is a charlatan who has demonstrated they do not know their bible.
Let’s start off with the most obvious refutations.
About twenty verses before the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, Philip evangelizes in Samaria.
Now to go back in time:
Pilate’s wife says to her husband “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” Matthew 27:19.
Later, at the cross, “When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47
In Matthew 27:54, the Roman tomb guards acknowledge that Christ was the son of God upon them opening of the tomb. Sure, one may argue they only said this, but why is it in scripture?
In John 4, Christ confronts the woman at the well (a Samaritan). The Samaritans (see Luke 10) were a mixed society that was part Jewish and part gentile. They were viewed by the Jews of the day as gentiles (actually, as dogs). read more here.
Christ said to the woman, speaking of her people: “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews” John 4:22
At the end of the exchange, the woman acknowledges that the messiah is coming. Christ identifies himself as the messiah. So she runs into the town to tell the people of this man “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ” John 4:29.
“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”
Joh 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.
Joh 4:41 And many more believed because of his word.
Joh 4:42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
But wait, there is more!
In Mark 7, a gentile woman asks Christ in faith to heal her daughter from demonic possession.
Going even further back in time, the wise men (no mention of them being Jewish or from a Jewish land) in Matthew 1 journeyed a great distance to worship the king of the Jews, after they recognized a sign from heaven. On their return journey, God spoke to them in their dreams.
So, in order to believe the ETS statement, one would have to believe:
- The statement only refers to belief in the post-resurrection Christ, after Pentecost.
- One could not have faith in Christ until after Pentecost.
- No gentile was saved on Pentecost or beforehand
- The Samaritans were not indeed gentiles- the Jews were just mistaken in calling them non Jews, and mixing with gentiles only resulted in the growth of Jewish Israel
- Or that all efforts to evangelize Samaritans before the eunuch were unsuccessful- and that the gospels were unreliable in saying that many believed in Christ while he walked
- That Pilates wife didn’t have faith, and only thought of him as righteous, and other nonsense explaining away this portion of text
- That the wise men were either Jews, or that unbelievers who remained unbelievers were able to see signs of god, properly respond, worship and acknowledge Christ, receive dreams and messages from the father.
- Or I just plainly don’t know scripture, am a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and am employed by an SBC institution.
The burden is on ETS to make their case. Doing so would require an interpretation of scripture more flexible than Gumby.
I believe there is a very clear and cut case that gentiles were able to have faith in Christ and did recognize his identity long before the latter portion of Acts 8. Indeed, I believe a strong case can be made that the first non Jews to worship Christ as the messiah did so when Christ in the flesh was an infant.
I believe that ETS’s statement is a giveaway that many men in the SBC who head their teaching and ministry institutions are willing to ignore and sacrifice vast portions of scripture in order to gain the favor of the world. I believe that is apostasy. I believe the men who signed the referenced statement are compromised, in serious error, have evil and wicked motives, and ought to be rebuked and removed from their positions. However, I also believe the SBC left the faith a long time ago, and is more than comfortable with yoking itself to doctrinal error and worldly causes. As such, I cannot acknowledge the institutions as being part of the Church.
This trend is not unique to the SBC- every denomination Has been affected by error, and we are seeing an age of church schisms not seen since the reformation. The rebuke of the church of laodicea describes our era- indeed, every rebuke of churches in Revelation 1-3 perfectly describe the American church. “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17.