Monday, May 05, 2008

Wright is Wrong

"Christians should oppose Wright, not because of his statements against the country...but because he is the prophet of a false Gospel."

By James Pittman

How does a Christian respond about the Jeremiah Wright issue? There seem to be four issues on the table that those who call themselves Christians must consider. Wright put forth three points of view that seem to contradict the bible. He touches upon the issues of The Black church and it's Liberation Theology, views on the God of the bible, and the bible itself.

Wright's concept of a "black church" seems to be wrong on many bases. Wright began the speech at the Press Club by saying that the recent attacks have not been on him, but instead “an attack on the black church.” What does that mean? What is the "black church," as opposed to the church of which the bible speaks? When Wright speaks of the African-American church no longer being "invisible” and “the prophetic theology of the black church,” it seems that he is speaking of some “church” that is different than the one that emerged in the Book of Acts as recorded in the bible.

This "black church" has a theology that he terms “liberation theology” which began gaining currency in Latin America in the 1960's. He stated, “Liberation theology started in and started from a different place. It started from the vantage point of the oppressed.” In saying that, Rev. Wright clearly admits that his theology started from some place other than with the apostles and the recorded events in the Book of Acts. This theology started from the vantage point of man, rather than the vantage point of God. He later tries to merge this Liberation Theology with the church of the bible by stating that he “traced the theology of the black church back to the prophets in the Hebrew bible and to its last prophet...Jesus.” He is clearly unsuccessful and demonstrates that his understanding of the scripture is vastly different than what is revealed in scripture itself.

This becomes even more apparent when he states that this theology sets the “slaveholders free from the notion that they could define other human beings.” As he explains, it also sets “African-Americans free from the notion of second-class citizenship.” He goes on at length talking like this, but never comes close to language suggesting that the theology of the black church is to give eternal life through belief and trust in God's Christ who is named Jesus!

This theology has two foci: liberation and transformation, both of which are rooted in the black experience, which includes Malcolm X. He also states, “Black worship is different from European and European-American worship.” This black theology is different. It is different from Biblical theology!

In addition, Wright said something else at this press conference that was quite troubling: “If I see God as mean, vengeful, authoritarian, sexist, or misogynist, then I see humans through that lens.” By listing attributes that are character flaws he attempts to show that if humans see God as having these character flaws, then they will emulate God and thus have those same character flaws, suggesting that God does not have those character flaws. However, as one looks at the list of attributes, the attribute of authoritarian stands out. Is Wright saying that God being authoritarian is a character flaw? Is he saying that his understanding of God is that God does not exercise authority in the universe that he created? Being that he equates the attribute of authoritarian with misogyny, it would seem that his God is not authoritarian. I also remember something in the bible along the line of “vengeance is mine, I will repay.”

But probably the clearest rejection of the god of the bible came when the moderator asked Wright about the famous scripture, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father but by me.” She asked him, "Do you believe this?" And do you think Islam is a way to salvation?" Wright responded, “Jesus also said, "Other sheep have I who are not of this fold." Wright has mangled and distorted a passage of scripture to suit his own purposes. The passage of scripture he tried to quote is from the Gospel of John 10:1-16. Jesus starts off the passage by using an analogy of sheep and a sheepfold, where the sheep represent God's people and the sheepfold is where God's people congregate. Jesus says that anyone who tries to gain access to the fellowship of God's people without first going through the door of the sheepfold, but instead climbs in another way, is a thief and a robber. Jesus goes on to say that he himself is the door - thus affirming that he is the only way to God and his people.

In verse 16 Jesus continues by making the statement that he has other sheep that are not of this fold but, “I must bring them also” into the fold. Jesus said "I", not Mohammad or any other religious figure. The passage that Wright tried to quote, clearly affirms that Jesus is the only way to the Father and not that Islam is another way to salvation.

Bible believing Christians should not oppose Wright, because of his statements against the country - although they are ridiculous (as one prominent politician recently said.) We should oppose him because he is the prophet of a false gospel. He is a false prophet, with a false “black church,” a false “black theology,” and a false god that has a different Christ than the one revealed in the bible. I am saddened that I have not heard the church of Jesus Christ tell the world that Jeremiah Wright does not speak for the real Jesus Christ!

-James Pittman has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Seminary and is currently serving in leadership at New Hope Community Church in Palatine, Illinois