Over the last week or so the issue of Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s remarks from the pulpit have dominated the coverage of Barack Obama’s campaign for President. While it has come to light that the controversial remarks of Pastor Wright were quotes from U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck, they were not condemned when Wright used them in his message.
It is well known in advertising that the strongest advertising method existent is personal favorable reference. The next strongest is impersonal favorable mention, and negative mention follows shortly thereafter. The best way to not advertise, or validate something is to not mention it at all. Thus, when someone is referenced in a message, the speaker has basically three options:
1. They can state they agree with the person quoted.
2. They can state they disagree.
3. They can remain silent and let everyone guess.
However, it is implicitly understood: unless you specifically state your level of disagreement with the person you are quoting, it means that you agree with them to a certain extent, even up to and including total agreement. Otherwise, why do you find their statements valuable?
So it is with Pastor Wright and his quotation of Edward Peck. The pastor did not see fit anywhere in the sermon to specifically distance himself from Edward Peck and his statements. Instead, according to a blog that supports Pastor Wright, the Pastor’s comments were:
“We are indignant that the stuff that we have done overseas is brought back into our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism. A white ambassador said that y’all, not a black militant. Not a reverend who preaches about racism. An ambassador whose eyes are wide open and who is trying to get us to wake up and move away from this dangerous precipice upon which we are now poised. The ambassador said the people we have wounded don’t have the military capability we have. but they do have individuals who are willing to die and take thousands with them. And we need to come to grips with that.”1
No, whether America is doing everything right or not, there are some specific things that the ambassador stated that are strictly unscriptural and should have been qualified in some way. Instead, the statement “And we need to come to grips with that.” does indicate an approval of all the statements quoted. However, the greater problem is this: Pastor Wright’s concern was not that Americans are not obedient to the gospel and should be, as that would radically alter this nation for the better. No, Wright’s concern was for “social justice.” The clarion call was for this nation to fight racism, AIDS, provide better healthcare, etc.
“We have got to change the way we have been doing things as a society,” he said. He then said we can’t stop messing over people and thinking they can’t touch us. He then said we may need to declare war on racism, injustice and greed, instead of war on other countries. “Maybe we need to declare war on AIDS. In five minutes the Congress found $40 billion to rebuild New York and the families that died in sudden death, do you think we can find the money to make medicine available for people who are dying a slow death? Maybe we need to declare war on the nation’s healthcare system that leaves the nation’s poor with no health coverage? Maybe we need to declare war on the mishandled educational system and provide quality education for everybody, every citizen, based on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay. This is a time for social transformation.”2
As I pointed out in the first post, this is the specific problem with Pastor Wright and the UCC in general. Where, just where in the Bible does it state that we are to focus on social issues? Feeding the poor, caring for the sick, infirmed and elderly are all adjuncts to preaching and teaching the word of God. After all, even a well-fed, healthy person dies, and when they die, if they are not prepared to stand in judgement before God, they end up in Hell – for all eternity. Plainly, unless one is born-again in Christ, through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, all the “social justice” in the world won’t do them one iota of good.
What we have here is a clear intent to advocate for things that really don’t change hearts, and thus the behavior of men. Rather, it appears that the reason the social issues are used, are for the specific and express purpose of bludgeoning those who appear to be enfranchised and demand that the playing field be leveled. Plainly, this is what Ambassador Peck is about as his name appears prominently in socialist circles. In searching further, it is also plain that the UCC is deeply involved in the socialist movement as well. This comes as no surprise as a blog article from UCCtruths3 highlights the successful efforts of the United Church of Christ to obtain pardons for two FALN criminals who were convicted of carrying out bombings in New York and Chicago back the late 70’s and early 80’s. The UCC is also deeply involved in the Interfaith Alliance, which is a left-oriented (socialist) political organization wrapping itself in the guise of religion.
The real problem with this whole mess is the deception that continues daily within the UCC about its true intentions. Whether the average UCC member realizes it or not, the leadership of that denomination is really not interested in promoting the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, what they are interested in is the promotion of Communism, all the while wrapping it in the banner and blanket of Christianity. Otherwise, they (including Pastor Wright) would be far more concerned with the state of men’s souls than they are. I am hard pressed to find anything that solidly preaches the gospel in the writings I have seen. Rather, what I do find is the usage of some (one or two verses) scripture to front a rant about the unfairness in American society, and how the “government” ought to be used to make everything more equal. The evidence of this is plain in the partial transcripts of Pastor Wright’s sermons posted on CNN’s Anderson Cooper Blog:45 and in the continuing focus of his messages until his retirement.
Unfortunately, Pastor Wright and the UCC are not alone in this endeavor, and neither is it restricted solely to the liberal “churches” and denominations that exist in this country. No, there are a considerable number of conservative, even fundamental, Bible-believing churches that have allowed themselves to be caught up in the political and social issues of the day, much to the detriment of preaching the Gospel. We would all do well to heed the apostle Paul’s stated focus, as it really is the only way any society ever changes for the better. What is amazing is that history does attest to this fact, if only we care to look. What was the apostle Paul’s focus? It’s quite impossible to miss:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (I Corinthians 2:1-2)
After all, why validate what you don’t agree with?