“Reverend” Wright steps in it

First of all, according to WordWeb:

Noun: Reverend

  1. A title of respect for a clergyman.

Noun: reverend

  1. A member of the clergy and a spiritual leader of the Christian Church

This should explain the term in quotations in the article title. It is a title of respect and reverence for the position of a reverend, none of which are merited by this particular subject.

Now, on with the show.

Earlier, on this very site, an article was published with the title “Barack Obama is a blithering imbecile”. It explains why I hold to that opinion (and I highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already), but the crux of the article is that he’s a theological, as well as political, lightweight.

So the fact that he sojourned in Wright’s church for twenty years speaks pretty low of both of them, as well as the mission of the church. First, he learned nothing of basic Christian theological doctrine there, which is among the functions of the pastor. Second, it seems that the more peripheal and frankly undesireable teachings of Wright may possibly hold sway with Obama, based on some of his infamous associations.

Wright has advanced more than a few radical opinions and beliefs, but two recent statements have particularly stuck in my craw: his differentiation of things said by a pastor versus those of a politician, and his assertion of opposition not being directed at him but the “black church”. The latter one in particular earns my vehemence, but I will start with the first.

“I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.”

Translation: what he says are not to be taken as political statements to be discussed from a political standpoint, but as God’s own Word that is unchallengeable, particularly in the political sense.  This is bunk: the statements we’ve all heard over the past couple months (they stand on their own, no matter if you take them in context or out, as they mean the same things) were overtly political in nature. The only thing pastoral about them was the soapbox from which they were projected: behind the desk of the pulpit in a church sanctuary, which only makes the statements all the more heinous.

I’m not sure if his former church has tax-exempt status as a non-profit entity, but it shouldn’t any longer. Political speech that pushes political agendas has no place in the house of God, and it certainly has no business being exempted from due taxation. But that’s a wholly different matter which I hope is brought up by someone in the near future.

I suppose the most galling part of it to me is that he seems to imply that we are not to criticize what he said on the basis that it was said in the pulpit. Now, I know some churches believe (erroneously) that they may receive revelation afresh from God regarding what they are to preach that doesn’t necessarily have to be Biblically-based or supported. I don’t know if he sees himself in that way, and I’m not saying he does, but the words spoken by a pastor are always subject to review and investigation.

An ideal, not to mention Biblical, example of weighing the words of a preacher can be found in the Acts 17:10-12, with regard to the church at Berea, who listened attentively to what Paul taught but regularly checked what he said against Scripture to make sure he was on the up and up. These people were regarded as noble (KJV…other translations use “fair-minded”) due to their open-mindedness, diligence, and integrity.

So while he may have spoken as a pastor, that does not exempt him from scrutiny. In fact, what a pastor teaches his congregation should always be checked for soundness. But, in the end, it is not acceptable for him or any pastor to pronounce “God damn” anybody for any reason short of defiance of Christ and His gospel (as in Paul’s condemnation from Galatians 1:8-9). Regardless of the office from which he spoke, speaking thusly should be far from him. The first qualification of a pastor given in 1 Timothy 3 is that he must be “blameless” (KJV)…i.e., above reproach. He, most certainly, is not.

“…this most recent attack on the black church is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright; it is an attack on the black church.”

What he meant to say here was “black people”, because even the most secular-minded person ought to realize that a church is not merely the building in which people meet, but the people themselves who assemble there for the purpose of communion with God. He’s saying that everyone who comes out against him is coming out against black people as a whole: it’s a racist conspiracy! No, it’s people against the likes of YOU, Mr. Wright, and the reprehensible, irresponsible things you say from behind the pulpit desk.

I don’t have to be black to understand and recognize that there has been a lot of junk perpetrated against the black race for years. Nonetheless, I will not perpetually mourn over things that happened years ago and outside my ability to change. The whys are simple…the best example being slavery itself. Slavery was, and remains, an evil institution…but God showed that His providence can take the greatest evil and make the greatest good come from it.

The very fact that the descendants of those poor, enslaved Africans possess the freedoms and privileges they now enjoy proves that, in the end, slavery was the best thing to ever happen to blacks today. It’s an unpopular but honest truth. All those trials and difficulties and inequities have worked toward where we are today. It was a unfairly rough ride, but I don’t think there’s a single black person in this country who would prefer things be like they were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago…or that their forebears remained in Africa.

But I have issues with reference to the “black church”, as it portrays a difference that should not exist between “white churches” and “black churches”. True, all churches have particular missions, goals, focused doctrines, and of course different demographic makeups within the congregation (which are often referenced in their titles and denominational affiliations), and a number do focus on the black community that comprises it.

But what makes a church is a spiritual oneness. To illustrate, consider the root word for “church”, which is “ekklesia“, a Greek word from which we derive the term “Ecclesiastes” and “ecclesiastic”, and it means “a chosen or called-out assembly”. Called out or chosen…for what? These are people who are Christians, a word meaning “little Christs”…denoting people who have been saved by virtue of their faith in Christ and are on the way to becoming more like Him. By the way, He’s Jewish…neither black nor white, contrary to what Mr. Wright preaches.

So to reiterate: he backhandedly called those who disagree with and oppose him racists.

Mr. Wright, not only have you lied and slandered your nation, but you also harbor severely misshapen and erroneous beliefs concerning Jesus Christ and His Church that you must straighten out before you can lead others to this same knowledge. While I can’t judge (though God knows), it’s entirely possible that your understanding of the Gospel is so distorted that you’ve never truly come to know the Lord. If so, I hope you do before it’s too late.

But, until then, you need to keep your big mouth shut.

About Scott

This on-again, off-again, would-be commentator proves that attitudes are contagious, and that some can even kill. To this end, every written word is weighed carefully to ensure the precise delivery of the author's intent while inflicting blunt force trauma to the psyche of the reader.