Hail Robert Dabney? Is This Reformed Presbyterianism Virginia Style?

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haildabney.jpg

Photo courtesy of our friends at Spirit, Water, Blood.

I keep trying to find the guys who are trying to route this juxtaposition out of American reformed circles for good--beyond the occasional document, comment, or lip service but the "grassroots" guys actually doing things on the "streets" in the South (or maybe on the golf courses). When I search I only seem to come across PC-USA stuff. Am I looking in the wrong places? Any ideas on where I can find the websites, sermons, or articles of the southern guys who are risking their own reputations and church political(power) ambitions on this issue? More PC-USA stuff here at the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns (ACREC). Any ideas?

Remember Dabney's A Defense of Virginia and The South

45 Comments

This might be a start, but remains to be seen. http://www.unc.ruf.org/GenericPage/DisplayPage.aspx?guid=3E982D35-D472-4FD8-B14B-ACCD937AFC55

In my context, I am working for the larger discussion to develop in our community. My great grand-father should come up for significant public opprobrium in the next 6 months here. He is a much beloved North Carolinian who helped with the 1898 Wilmington Coup as part of "The White Supremacy War" (his words). Rennovation of the University building named for him should be done sometime soon, and then the issue should crest.

I hope I can demonstrate that neither natural nor spiritual heritage is something to hold without some grief. None should be surprised nor blase about this. And, if we can catch up on a hundred years of untouched business, the stimulus might help us catch up with right here and now.

For my part, Dabney helped me back into older & better stuff. And, the back of half of his Defense of Virginia is horrifically prescient of what America's Christian Century did with the victory of emancipation. He was true Christendom at its most ugly. It is an encouragement to think that such sins can be forgiven and need not be hidden.

He is not ashamed to call us brothers.

Ben, thanks for link and for your courage to walk into this. You are a rare breed indeed!

Anthony, that photo is of Doug Phillips. He's not a Presbyterian by any stretch of the imagination. He's the head of an outfit called Vision Forum which is hugely popular with home schoolers. He's a big Confederacy fan, and he sells lots of racist books from the "old days", but he denies being a racist himself. Just FYI.

Also, he's in Texas, not VA. But he does have wide support from people in Reformed Presby churches, and makes a lot of money selling his Confederate nostalgia, racist books, and diatribes against Lincoln and the abolitionist movement to the folks you're talking about.

Phillips seems to be in the Rushdoony, North camp. I like some of the things Vision Forum offers, like the Henty Books, and other classics. And I take him at his word when he says he's not racist. But there are flaws in the North/Rushdoony framework.

As far as I can tell, they justify concentration of power in the hands of the state by insisting that the family is the foundation of society and that elements of Christian family life ought to be applied to political philosophy.

They tend to be a bit demeaning to women in my opinion.

Also, as far as I can tell, the RTP area is a good place to get involved in such work. Ben, above, is just down the road from me (I'm at NCSU, but a Duke fan...)

Dialogue with the other side is a must.

juris, good stuff!

Doug Phillips isn't a racist? That's news to me. From everything I've seen he most certainly is a racist. What about his poem to Robert Louis Dabney in which he says, "And so with joy we doff our hats and shout from every mouth: Hail Dabney, wise apologist, defender of the South!"

Doug Phillips' "Ode To Dabney" is a clear reference to Dabney's Defense Of Virginia and the South. That book was written by Dabney for one reason, and one reason only. To defend slavery. Even by the standards of his own day Dabney was widely considered to be a racist. He said that Africans were only fit for one station in life, to live in perpetual slavery to Whites.

Phillips is so enamoured with Dabney that he even wrote a book that he titled "Robert Louis Dabney, The Prophet Speaks."

But there's a whole lot more that shows that Doug Phillips is a racist. Just Google "Doug Phillips racist". See these links too:
Joe Friday On Doug Phillips and Matt Chancey
Whirled Views On Doug Phillips
Julie, Dabney and Myself On Slavery

Anthony, thanks to Google look at what I just found.

R.L. Dabney and Doug Phillips

Many other disturbing things on that blog too. I'm still reading.

This problem of racism in the church is just terrible, and it looks like Doug Phillips is a prominent racist mover and shaker.

When you Google "Doug Phillips racist" or "Doug Phillips racist church," one of the links you find is here:

http://racistchurches.wordpress.com

All I can say is WOW!

And from what I've read on WorldNetDaily, this White Supremacist just had thousands of Reformed homeschoolers attend his recent event at Jamestown, Virginia.

Ha! Heather and I were just talking about this. Didn't know she was going to post too.

Anthony, you should check out Doug Phillips and Vision Forum. I'm not exaggerating when I say his influence on home schoolers all over America is huge. He just held an event in Jamestown, VA and over four thousand of his followers and fans showed up. Newsweek magazine even wrote Phillips up after the Jamestown event, which you can read about if you go to his blog:

http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/blogs/dwp/

Phillips is a kinder, gentler kinist. He's smart enough to speak in code, so that those "in the know" understand exactly what he means when he writes "Hail Dabney, wise apolgist and Defender of the South", while those who are in the dark about these things have the hidden message go right over their heads. He's always pushing the Constitution Party, which is run by his dad. It's considered a hate group by the SPLC and other observers. And small wonder. The party is full of Christian Identity wackos, racists, anti-semites, conspiracy theory, etc. I think the Constitution Party even had a state chairman who was only a few years before the head of his local KKK. In 2000, Doug's dad was the presidential nominee of the party. And guess who he hand picked to be his VP candidate? Joseph Sobran. He used to write for National Review magazine until he got fired for being anti-semitic. He was the keynote speaker one year at the conference for the Institute for Historical Review. Their name might sound innocuous, but the IHR is the world's biggest and most powerful group dedicated to holocaust denial. That's the party that Doug Phillips encourages Christians to vote for.

If you look into Phillips and Vision Forum, you'll be shocked. You think the kinists are bad? Nobody pays any attention to them. Doug Phillips can get 4000 people to pay hundreds of dollars and travel across the country at one of his events, and he's being written up in Newsweek. You should expose him. And don't be fooled by his PR. When you go to his website, you'll see lots of pictures of black people from his events. You'd think the crowds he draws are really multiracial. But they're not. Out of the 4000 people at Jamestown, there probably weren't 50 African-Americans. Hardly any people of color ever show up at his events. But Phillips likes to post pictures of the few who do to cover his rear end. If you want to know the kind of people he prefers to be around, check out one of pictures of his staff. They're all nice white people. How does a non racist in San Antonio, which is about 70% non-white, end up with an all white staff?

Wow!

"Out of the 4000 people at Jamestown, there probably weren't 50 African-Americans."

Tim, that's true, but even 50 is way too generous. There weren't even 10 African-Americans there, and I have to wonder if they weren't brought in by Phillips as paid actors.

Check out all the trouble Doug Phillips goes through to be sure that lots of photos get snapped of anyone of color at any of his events. I've never seen anyone go so far out of his way to do that. Then he makes sure to prominently feature the pictures of the one or two African-American families that ever show up. I find that very demeaning of Black people. It's as though Phillips is saying, "See, I'm really not a racist. This one colored family showed up! That means I'm not a racist. And just to prove I'm not a racist I'm going to plaster pictures of these few coloreds all over my blog."

"How does a non racist in San Antonio, which is about 70% non-white, end up with an all white staff?"

If you go to Doug Phillips' home though you will see someone of color. Phillips' nanny is Hispanic. Phillips doesn't pay her anything though, even though she's been raising his children for years.

Doug Phillips isn't just a White Supremacist. He's also a misogynist. He hates not only people of color, he hates women too. The guy is a real throwback. He was born 150 years too late.

"That's the party that Doug Phillips encourages Christians to vote for."

Phillips doesn't just "encourage" Christians to vote Constitution Party, he even says that it's a sin to vote Republican. If you're a member of his church (he pastors Boerne Christian Assembly) and you don't agree with him that it's a sin to vote GOP you might just get excommunicated.

"The guy is a real throwback. He was born 150 years too late." Considering the paganish autocratic way he wields power, I'd say he was born about 2000 years too late. Phillips would have fit in well as a prefect in ancient pagan Rome. Doug Phillips talks a good line about "Christian world view" but it doesn't take much effort to figure out that he's actually got an "Ancient Pagan Rome" world view, complete with a love for autocracy, racial slavery, patriarchy, and women as property.

"Hail Dabney"? What about "Hail Caesar"?

At least Phillips is aware that associating orthodox Christianity with being a republican is silly, indefensible, and odd, given the moral and economic views of most of the party. The Christian-as-Republican people need to read David Kuo's book "Tempting Faith." However, I'm not sure that Christian allegiance to simply another political party is any better or a good idea at all.

Especially a party which has a "former" KKK leader as a state chairman, and a VP nominee who's a holocaust denier, personally selected by the head of the party, who's also Doug Phillip's dad. By the way, Doug Phillip's favorite 20th century theologian was also a holocaust denier. He claimed that the 6 million figure was a wicked lie, and that only 200,000 Jews died in concentration camps. And be sure to visit a website called Stormfront. It's the biggest white supremacist forum in the world, getting tens of thousands of visitors every day. Over at Stormfront, the favorite party of the white supremacists is the same Constitution Party. All of Doug Phillip's heroes were racists, his favorite 19th century theologian, who he actually wrote an ode to, was a rabid racist who said blacks were only fit for slavery. His favorite 20th century theologian said the holocaust is a lie. He champions a political party that is also championed by open white supremacists, and whose VP nominee in 2000 was a holocaust denier, personally selected by the head of the party, Phillip's own father. He sells books - books aimed at children - that say things like this about black people:

"“the utter incapacity of the Negro race to evolve, or even maintain, civilisation without the example and the curb of a white population.”

And:

" They are just like children. They are always either laughing or quarrelling. They are good-natured and passionate, indolent, but will work hard for a time; clever up to a certain point, densely stupid beyond. The intelligence of an average negro is about equal to that of a European child of ten years old. A few, a very few, go beyond this, but these are exceptions, just as Shakespeare was an exception to the ordinary intellect of an Englishman. They are fluent talkers, but their ideas are borrowed. They are absolutely without originality, absolutely without inventive power. Living among white men, their imitative facilities enable them to attain a considerable amount of civilisation. Left alone to their own devices they retrograde into a state little above their native savagery."

But he's not a racist, wink, wink, because a few black people attend his conferences.

Wow! I've been aware of Phillips for a few years as my brother and sister and I were homeschooled, but never deeply enough to notice these absolutely ridiculous ideas. We mainly just liked the cool gadgets and things in his catalog. And the Henty books, which are interesting (though some are definitely reflections of their time). The comments Tim mentioned are absolutely disgusting. But a natural outcome of thinking that "civilization" must look exactly like Europe. Amazingly, there were several very powerful and magnificent civilizations in Africa long before European colonization. They just didn't look like European civilization. This is beyond ignorance. And it's absolutely inexcusable. I would agree that there is much to be said--indeed the Constitution agrees--about the importance of State power as opposed to Federal power, but I'm rather ashamed to have someone like Phillips speak for that, now. No more cool gadgets for me. I certainly don't want him to have my money anymore.

"At least Phillips is aware that associating orthodox Christianity with being a republican is silly, indefensible, and odd, given the moral and economic views of most of the party."

So how is being a prominent promoter of a known racist political party defensible? If the Constitution Party weren't full of White supremacists, League Of The South members, former KKK members, etc. I might be able to join myself. But I could never in good conscience join a party that's full of race bigots.

Anthony, I'm not great fan of the GOP. But is it really a sin to vote for GOP candidates? Doug Phillips would say "Yes, it's a sin." Notice how he condemns not just the Dems but also the Republicans, and he does it in a very dishonest way:

"The first candidate makes the following promise:

"Ladies and Gentlemen of Baal, our nation is plagued with two problems. The first is that we are suffering from gross overpopulation. Second, the gods of pluralistic relevance are angry with us. The only answer to our problems is to take our children and pass them through the fires which will have the beneficial net affect of addressing both crises. If elected I will require that four out of five children eighteen and under be consumed in the fire.

"The second candidate rises to the platform:

"Dear friends, I recognize the problem with overpopulation, and my record demonstrates that I have deep concerns for the gods of pluralistic relevance. However, unlike my opponent, I support the right to life of all children eleven years of age and over. If elected President of Baal, I promise that only four out of five of the children ten years of age or under will actually be sent through the fire and burned alive...

"And what if a vote for Candidate B [the GOP] would mean that only your six month old baby Susie, your three year old son Johnny, your five year old Joshua, and your nine year old Ann would be torturously murdered in the ovens, while the rest of your children would happily enjoy the full protections of free society. Isn't it better to vote for the man who will only kill some of your children, as opposed to the man who will kill most of them?"

Talk about "tortured." This is "tortured" logic and totally dishonest.

Just to let himself off the hook he also says, "(By the way, to be crystal clear, the above example is definitely not meant to be a comparison of President Bush and Senator John Kerry, Michael Peroutka, Ralph Nader or any specific candidates or elections -- it is a principled evaluation of an individual's theory of voting ethics.)" But that's not a "principled evaluation" at all. A "principled evaluation" begins with using an honest comparison, not inflammatory and outrageous accusations. Phillips wrote all that on October 28, 2004, long after the 2004 Primaries, so he wasn't talking about Primary election choices, he was talking about the 2004 election itself. Even though he tries to deny that he's talking about Bush and Kerry, isn't it obvious that's who he really means?

The GOP platform has always had a decidedly pro-life platform. I would agree that they've often been less than effective. I would also agree that George Bush hasn't been as effective at turning back the tide on abortion. But is that entirely the GOP's fault when they have to expend so many of their resources constantly battling the pro-aborts (and make no mistake, they do battle the Dems over that constantly). To represent that the GOP and George Bush are pro-life only in the case of children "ten years of age or under" is a blatant lie. Phillips has a serious problem with honesty, and it shows in everything he does.

Just to help make my case, here is the response of Jennifer Epstein to Doug Phillips over his "it's a sin to vote for George Bush" articles. Mrs. Epstein didn't submit her reply unsolicited. Doug Phillips has specifically solicited replies, "Now is your opportunity to respond. How would you vote? Why? Send your answer to Bob@visionforum.com."

Here's how Jen's response begins,

"Dear Doug,

"(I am writing this only because you challenged us to write to you!) I am shocked that a man like you - who so often exposes others who use fallacies in logic - would resort to using such fallacies as the ones you have purported regarding voting in this election (or any election, for that matter). You are spreading manipulative propaganda by playing with people's emotions in a way designed to win them over to your own conclusion without thoroughly thinking around all the fallacies you have presented here. By using a weak analogy (claiming that candidates A and B in your example are in any way similar to Kerry and Bush) you are appealing to fear (exactly what you accuse Bush-supporters of voting out of - fear); you have posed a loaded question (by asking what we would do in this situation which you put before us, but knowing full well that it is NOT the situation we face at the ballot box today); and by making it seem as an "either-or" choosing of the lesser of two evils (even in your highly unrealistic scenario, there are other choices). Doug, this entire little story is nothing more than a Red Herring, designed to use something totally irrelevant to prove your point. Shame on you!"

For her well-reasoned response Phillips told her, "You're going to pay for this." Phillips was true to his word. He excommunicated Jen AND her husband and shunned their entire family, including their children. One of their children, Natasha, had won a writing award from Vision Forum. Phillips promptly removed all references to Natasha's award on the Vision Forum web site. In Doug Phillips' "family integrated church" system, when parents are "disciplined" the entire family is punished too.

If you go to Vision Forum, you'll see that they've recently added R M Ballantyne books to their selectoin of books for children, in addition to the racist G A Henty books (where the above quote came from) and the racist Elsie Dinsmore books. One of the Ballantyne books they sell is The Gorilla Hunters. Here's a quote from the original edition. It's probably also in the Vision Forum edition, but I don't know for sure. At any rate, you can see they've selected another racist author to promote to kids:


While the trader was speaking I observed that the negroes were talking with the eager looks and gesticulations that are peculiar to the
Africans when excited, and presently two or three of them came forward and asked several questions, while their eyes sparkled eagerly and their
black faces shone with animation as they pointed into the woods in the direction whence we had come.

"They want to know where you have left the carcass of the leopard, and if you have taken away the brains," said the trader, turning to me. "I daresay you know--if not you'll soon come to find out--that all the nigger tribes in Africa are sunk in gross and cruel superstitions. They
have more fetishes, and greegrees, and amulets, and wooden gods, and charms, than they know what to do with, and have surrounded themselves with spiritual mysteries that neither themselves nor anybody else can understand. Among other things, they attach a very high value to the brains of the leopard, because they imagine that he who possesses them will be rendered extraordinarily bold and successful in hunting. These fellows are in hopes that, being ignorant of the value of leopard brains, you have left them in the carcass, and are burning with anxiety to be off after them."

"Poor creatures!" said I, "they are heartily welcome to the brains; and the carcass lies not more than four hours' march from this spot, I
should think,--Is it not so, Jack?"

My friend nodded assent, and the trader, turning to the expectant crowd of natives, gave them the information they desired. No sooner had he
finished than with loud cries they turned and darted away, tossing their arms wildly in the air, and looking more like to a band of scared
monkeys than to human beings
.

"They're queer fellows," remarked Peterkin.

"So they are," replied the trader, "and they're kindly fellows too--jovial and good-humoured, except when under the influence of their
abominable superstitions. Then they become incarnate fiends, and commit deeds of cruelty that make one's blood run cold to think of."

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21736/21736.txt

That's a link to an online version of The Gorilla Hunters.

IMO, the example of the Confederacy gets drastically exploited Dominionists in their attempts to get America back on it's pre-"War of Northern Aggression" track. I'm not surprised that Phillips does this since he also sets himself up as an authority in theology without formal training as well, exploiting people with misleading "truths."

For you from the Confederacy, please entertain this for the benefit of my fellow Yanks trained north of the Mason-Dixon line. Feel free to beef up my deficits in history and application. My husband, a son of Pennsylvania, attended VA Tech and studied under one of the premier teachers on the subject of the War Between the States. (They don't like the term Civil War in those parts as the Confederacy sought to secede from the Union and therefore were no longer part of the union.) They contend that the war was about the economic greed of the North who did not gleen enough profit from the cotton in the South. The South contends that the war was exploited by the slavery issue in the North to help spread the South's cotton wealth around to build infrastructure needed in the North (where they controlled more of the shipping to Europe, etc.).

Seeking to preserve the wealth in the South, per the then decentralized govt. provided for under state sovereignty under the Constitution, those states united to secede from the United States and form a new nation. Lincoln then obliterated this right by force via the war, violated the spirit of the Contitution providng for secession and established a new strength and power for the central government. Our original government was drastically changed at this time, although it did provide for the Emancipation of many.

This gets very difficult to sort out, as the war accomplished many good things in some areas, but it strengthened the central government. Those who aspire to decentralize government and restore America to her decentralized roots supported by state sovereignty often look fondly on the South as a whole. The slavery issue doen't often get separated out in this effort, often lost in the shadow of nostalgia. The cause of decentralization associated with the South (pre-War of Northern Aggression) draws all types, both kinist and egalitarian. Especially with Dabney, this gets difficult. South Carolina's Calhoon (sp?) is another example of a man who wrote some very good isolated ideas, but they may be impossible to separate out due to our concerns about racism.

Concerning Doug, even if he did honor the valuable statements of Dabney concerning decentralization of the federal government, he should likewise call out the problems with Dabney. To my knowledge, Phillips does not do this but rather venerates Dabney. (Likewise, Martin Luther had his similar issues with Jews with which most disagree, I hope... Luther gets honor but shouldn't be vererated either.)

I wouldn't find Doug's references to Dabney so problematic if Doug wasn't so rigid in his other, very exclusive and cultic doctrine concerning women and "non-normatives" (those who fail to meet his rigid and skewed standards). His ministry venerates family, but only certain families. His religion does not seek to evangelize what he terms "non-normative" family, but condemns them as "Cannanites" and sinners. His ministry venerates the nostalgia of the Revivalism and Fundamentalism of the early 20th century (see The Emerging Order by Rifkin and The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Noll) of middle-class evangelical family life as the "unmediated agency of God" (quote from Noll). He seeks to rebuild family, but only the undamaged, white, middle-class family. There is no binding of the wounds of fractured families through ministry at VF, so many of whom are not middle-class whites... In fact, if you attend there (Boerne Christian Assembly in TX) and your family experiences problems, Doug generally excommunicates you, proclaiming that you were never Christian.

(One does not even need to cite Dabney to find Phillips hegemonic or aggressive, and his exclusivity condemns people by more than race.)

Tim Essex wrote: "And don't be fooled by his PR. When you go to his website, you'll see lots of pictures of black people from his events."

This is absolutely true. My husband and I, on the occasion that we look at the VF site take note of the "token" photos and call them such.

Doug is like a postmodern version of Bill Gothard, but with more outright rigid standards. On www.sharperiron.com, someone pointed out their disturbance over the "Photoshopped" faces of rosy cheeked boys... Phillips, and our postmodern culture, is all about image and "kitsch" and little of sound theological substance. Vision Forum increasingly becomes a cult of Phillip's personality and opinions, many of which he derived from Bill Gothard. http://midwestoutreach.org/blogs/?p=41

BTW, Phillips claims to be a Reformed Baptist, supposedly holding to the London Confession. http://jensgems.wordpress.com/2007/06/28/doug-phillips-parallel-universe-of-reformed-legalism/

Good post, Cindy. But Phillips rarely praises Dabney for his opposition to a top heavy centralized government. He praises him as a prophet for writing that outlawing slavery and regarding black people as equals would lead to women voting, feminism, children's rights, a breakdown in male and paternal authority, animal rights, etc. Dabney said that it was quite clear that blacks were inferior, and that God created them to be enslaved by whites, and if we deny the obvious and huge differences between whites and blacks, and accept the overthrow of the God-ordained, perfectly natural enslavement of black people, we wouldn't have a leg to stand on when others wanted to deny the obvious and huge differences between males and females, and between children and adults, and between animals and humans. Dabney was certainly opposed to a huge federal government, but that was not the main theme of his objections to the war. And that is not why Phillips praises him as a prophet. It's because of his writings that emancipation would lead to feminism, family breakdown, children's right, etc. Phillips can't "separate out" and condemn Dabney's racism, and still contend that he was a prophet. Dabney's predictions that Phillips call prophetic all flowed directly from his racism. You can't untangle the two.

BTW, Anthony, you said in your original post that "I keep trying to find the guys who are trying to route this juxtaposition out of American reformed circles for good". Unfortunately, I'm afraid you're going to be looking for a while. Some very well known PCA ministers not only have no problems with Phillip's views, they also speak at his conferences. George Grant and R C Sproul, to name just two.

In response to Tim Essex,

I keep trying to give Phillips the benefit of the doubt, and he keeps making it impossible... Did Phillips go to Wm and Mary or Bob Jones U?


I stopped my support to American Vision and Chalcedon over the Doug issue. (I have my letters to them posted on my website if anyone is interested in that sort of thing.) How can everyone continue to wink at these things when Doug just gets more out of control? I saw a commercial for the upcoming Coral Ridge brodcast, and it looks like Kennedy is devoting his info portion of the program to Phillips' Jamestown event coverage. Add Jim Kennedy to the list, along with Gary Demar and Chris Ortiz...

What's with all these comments?

I'm sure Anthony already knows all about Doug Phillips. Most don't know, however, that R.C. Sproul Jr's daughter is going to marry Doug Phillips' son, Justice. Kinda shocking, as it shows Doug Phillips believes in *gasp* inter-denominational marriage! LOL, oooooo, what a "liberal".

Seriously though, that's the kind of people we're dealing with in the Reformed world today. Creed-obsessed, sniveling bigots in business suits. Since when did the doctrines of grace equate to xenophobia?

Anthony, I'm kinda shocked you're just now talking about this. Considering you write for World Magazine, what did you think about Doug Phillips' article for World on Jamestown?

And considering the group someone mentioned on here (not many know about 'em), the (s)kinists, what do you think about Doug Phillips' praise for David Alan Black -the same guy who's praised kinist icon Harry L. Seabrook on his website?

Both are Reformed Baptists. Which reminds me of John Weaver, another racist baptist-patriarchal guy who's a preacher. Doug Phillips seems to have no problem with either -and he seems very fond of Dave Black.

"Seriously though, that's the kind of people we're dealing with in the Reformed world today. Creed-obsessed, sniveling bigots in business suits. Since when did the doctrines of grace equate to xenophobia?"

That kind of a blanket statement isn't helpful, and I'm surprised that you would mention R.C. Sproul Jr. so unfairly. R.C. Jr. has his problems (drinking, tax fraud, etc.), but at least he's no xenophobe. He's very inclusive. R.C. Jr. proved that he's not a racist and a xenophobe. He adopted a Black baby, which means he doesn't have to pay Black actors to come to his conferences. R.C. Sproul Jr. is a very sacrificial man who takes Galatians 3:28 very seriously. He deserves the admiration and respect of every Christian egalitarian.

Doug Phillips has to work hard on the public image to try and convince everyone he's not a racist. No question that he's a Neo-Confederate, which is enough to raise a few eyebrows as it is. So to help his PR he's got to take lots of pictures of what few token Blacks ever come to his conferences. Not very convincing. But if he did like R.C. Jr and adopted a Black baby that would take it to a whole new level. No racist adopts Black babies. If Doug Phillips wants to prove he's not a racist he needs to do what his friend R.C. Sproul Jr did. I don't think we'll ever see Doug Phillips adopt a Black baby though. Way too much of a racist for that.

R.C. Sproul, Jr. wrote about the adoption of his African-American baby almost two years ago. He named him Reilly Justice Sproul. I just went and read R.C.'s story again, Grace And Justice.

I remember being very touched by the story when I first read it, but that was a long time ago, and it was before he had been defrocked. Reading it now again I'm finding myself confused about some things. I don't understand why he'd give an African-American baby a Scottish/Celtic name. I don't understand why he'd want to dress up an African-American in a kilt. I think it's fine for R.C. to wear kilts since he's of Scottish descent. Is it right though to make African-American children wear kilts and give them Scottish names? Shouldn't he show the boy more respect for his own unique heritage instead of trying to force a completely alien heritage on him and squeeze him into a mold of something he's not?

I also don't understand R.C. calling his wife "barren." The woman has produced six babies! How many babies would a wife need to have in order to satisfy R.C. Sproul Jr's Dominionist demands and be considered "fruitful"? Eight? Ten? Twelve? Fourteen? At what point could Denise stop having babies and no longer be considered "barren" by her husband? I don't know why I didn't see this before, but there's something very mentally sick about R.C. Sproul Jr. I'm not surprised that he and Doug Phillips are such close friends.

I feel very sorry for poor Denise. To produce six babies and then have your husband publicly call you "barren." Just incredible! What an ungrateful turd. Denise deserves a lot better than to be married to a "Patriarchal" misogynist.

Whoa, back up a minute there. If he is adopted into R.C. Sproul's family, then he partakes of the family heritage and the Celtic heritage is not "alien" to him at all. It is one thing to say that the Sprouls ought to respect the child's biological African heritage as well as his adoptive Celtic heritage (and we don't know that they don't), but it's going too far to deny that Sproul's children, including his adoptive children, partake of Sproul's heritage by the fact of his being his children and say that his adoptive heritage is "something he's not."

The naming thing is a little much, too, IMO. Since when are certain names disrespectfully off-limits to black children? I hadn't heard there were any, except maybe cartoonish names relating to slavery or something like that. Black families give their kids names like Reilly all the time. I know of an elderly black gentleman named Riley.

The barren thing bugged me, too, but I don't believe it's intended as disrespect. He simply believes it's the "biblically accurate" word for a woman who is unable to bear children at a given time. I strongly disagree with the use of the word, and think that it's an error to think that it's the "biblically proper term" in this context, but I don't think it's meant to demean, simply to describe under the handicap of a misconception. Unfortunately it does have the connotation of being demeaning, so that's one among several reasons why I think it's inappropriate to use it in that kind of a situation.

"Black families give their kids names like Reilly all the time." Sure they do, and other distinctly Scottish/Celtic names like Paddy, Angus, Fergus, etc. Please don't be silly about this Jane. If he wants to name his own White babies with Scottish names like Campbell and Darby, that makes sense and no one would think that's weird. What's especially important is that Campbell and Darby don't think their own names are weird. But name a Black kid "Reilly"? You really think that's defensible?

I'm not arguing that R.C. should have named his adopted Black baby Jamal or Tyrone, and I'm certainly not going to argue that he should have saddled the boy with some crazy fabricated fake African name like Nfumei-Whaniqua. What I think R.C. should have done is to not make life any harder on the boy than his life is likely to be already. Adopted kids have a hard enough time of it as it is, especially when they have to meld into a family of another race.

"Jose Muldoon's" is a good marketing idea, a "standout" name, for a restaurant, but it's a really bad idea to give a baby a "standout" name. If R.C. was trying to help his Black adopted son fit in and feel welcome he should have named him something a bit more culturally neutral, like John or Paul. Instead he gave him a distinctly Scottish name, and spelled in a distinctly Scottish way. Stupid. It's every bit as stupid an idea as wanting to put the boy in a kilt. What's next? Make him play the bagpipes too?

As far as R.C. calling his wife "barren" goes, that's an easy one to address. Jane, you couldn't be more wrong to say that "barren" is "the biblically proper term in this context." No, it is not. "Barren" means to have NEVER borne any babies. "But Sarai was barren; she had no child." Gen. 11:30 Sarai was "barren" until she was 90 years old, when she delivered Isaac. Then she was no longer barren. A woman who has ever borne any children cannot by definition be "barren."

I don't know if R.C. meant to be disrespectful of his wife or not. But why do his intentions make any difference? The fact is he was not just disrespectful but also ungrateful to his wife, and the Lord as well, for the six babies his wife gave him, and the fruitfulness of her womb. If he were grateful he could have and he should have called his wife "fruitful," not "barren." He publicly dishonored his wife.

I'm outraged that R.C. would use such a term. If it applies to Denise then it must also apply to my wife too. My wife is too old to have any more children. Does that make her barren? "Barren" is NOT the biblical term for a woman who has borne a full quiver like my wife has, and just like Denise Sproul has. They are both "fruitful" women.

Not only is barrenness the wrong term to apply to Denise, barrenness was, biblically, always considered to be a curse. A fruitful womb was always considered a great blessing. Here's what Easton's Bible Dictionary says: Barren: For a woman to be barren was accounted a severe punishment among the Jews (Gen. 16:2; 30:1-23; 1 Sam. 1:6, 27; Isa. 47:9; 49:21; Luke 1:25). Instances of barrenness are noticed (Gen. 11:30; 25:21; 29:31; Judg. 13:2, 3; Luke 1:7, 36).

I think it's inexcusable that a seminary-trained minister would use the term "barren" to describe his wife who bore him six children. If that's the best he can do exegeting the scriptures then he doesn't deserve the title "Dr." It's outrageous and inexcusable, and R.C. owes his wife and everyone else a public apology.

The comforting thing about Doug Phillips, RC Sproul JR., and fans of Dabney is that they literally don't matter, as in, they have an immeasurably insignificant influence on the world. Maybe, all told, they have a few thousand fans, in what, a country of 300 million? A world of 6 billion? Ignore them and leave the podunk, inbred, 30 member Truly Reformed church you're in and you'll forget them because you'll never hear from them again.

Thank the Lord for that, too.

I guess the range of names you've experienced for kids of different races is just different than what I've seen. Reilly simply doesn't strike as that jarringly distinctive, nor would I expect a black kid named Reilly to stick out more than the two black kids I've known who were named Reese. It *isn't* Angus, Fergus, or Padraig after all. It's Reilly.

I KNOW barren isn't an appropriate term. It would apply to me for the same reasons, and I reject it for the same reasons. And the reason his motivation matters (I said about three times before that I disagreed with using the word, didn't I?) is that one can do something like that without "hating" his wife, which is what misogyny implies. One might be quite stupid in doing it, but stupid and evil are not the same thing.

Reilly is a trendy name right now. I don't think it has anything to do with any "heritage." Also, John is a Hebrew name and Paul is Latin, so unless the child is of Jewish or Italian descent those names wouldn't really fit your desire for "neutrality," either. Just to stir the pot a little.

Using the word "barren" was stupid. I, like Jane, don't think it indicates hateful feelings toward his wife. I think he was just stupid in saying. Probably trying to sound "biblical" and ended up insulting his wife without intending to. I have a feeling she let him know about it later. :)

Since when are the wives of hyper-patriarchs permitted to let their husbands "know about" anything, especially something that hurt them?

Given the well documented abuses from when Sproul was defrocked, I have a very hard time believing that he treats his own family any better than he treats anyone else. Ecclesiastical tyrants seldom limit their tyrannies to just their church flock alone. If they are autocratic and dictatorial toward their church flock, don't you think it likely they'll also be the same toward their immediate family?

Please remember the man that we're talking about. This is the man that proved what a misogynist he is by telling Christian women that they weren't entitled to have blogs because having blogs meant that women were "teaching," and because "People are teaching who shouldn't be teaching. And people are learning where they ought not to be learning." There was such an uproar over this foolishness that he quickly reversed himself and apologized. Sproul has a very bad habit of sticking his chauvinist foot in his mouth, and more than once he's proven himself to be a misogynist. I don't believe for a second that he treats his wife with honor. His own articles have repeatedly condemned him. The only people who don't see it are the "Prairie Muffins" who refuse to see it.

I'm in the OPC, so I'm not too familiar with things Southern (although I went to law school in NC). Nevertheless, I do get the tacky catalogs from Phillips' organization in the mail.

I heard that Phillips had close ties to the PCA, though, particularly with those connected to the "Federal Vision" theology. If this is true, then it's perhaps good that the PCA acted to purge itself of these folks.

I'm not a big supporter of Sproul, but I am personally acquainted with one of the people who provided "testimony" in that defrocking "case," and I can say that he had *serious* issues himself. If his testimony was considered credible, it lowers my sense of credibility for how the whole thing was conducted.

Having said that, I repeat that I'm not a big supporter of Sproul. I just think there was funky stuff going on on both sides in that case, and I think you have to be really careful about assuming that what you hear on either side of any argument about personalities is straight up.

Josiah noted above that the Phillips crowd "have an immeasurably insignificant influence on the world."


I beg to differ. The Midwest Christian Outreach just published an expose article in their journal, and the outcry for more information has been overwhelming. ....so much so that they released the full article online a few months early. In a personal letter from the author, he said that even seminaries are calling him to thank him for taking on this subject.

Find the full article (Front page entitled "Who Will Be First In the Kingdom?") at THIS LINK.

Don't look for Anthony to address this. He's only concerned about racists who go after him personally, the kinists. Notice how his tone changed above, and quite abruptly. He went from being shocked at Phillip's behavior to praising him. First he was stunned to find out what this home school leader (with great influence ) actually writes and says. Then he does a 180 and turns around and praised him for not equating Christianity with the GOP. So what? The kinists hated the GOP too. I don't know what happened to cause this backtracking on Anthony's part. But it was probably one of two things. He either looked into the situation and found out that kinists and Phillips don't get along, and so he decided that racists like Phillips are fine if they hate the racists who go after Anthony. Or, more likely, he got word from World magazine, which he's affiliated with, to not go after Phillips, because Vision Forum buys a lot of advertising in the mag. Either way, Anthony has made it clear he has no interest in exposing the racism at Vision Forum.

Tim Essex wrote: "Or, more likely, he got word from World magazine, which he's affiliated with, to not go after Phillips, because Vision Forum buys a lot of advertising in the mag. Either way, Anthony has made it clear he has no interest in exposing the racism at Vision Forum."

I vote for the $ talks, don't inflame our advertisers option. Unless Anthony is sitting back laughing at it all. Who knows?

Here's something I'd like to know: Did anyone read the new online article about Phillips?
"Who Will Be First In The Kingdom?"

"Unless Anthony is sitting back laughing at it all."

Yep, especially after reading Tim's comments. A "word from World Magazine" I almost sprayed my computer screen when I read that. I'm laughing right now actually. . .

Here's a new twist on Doug demonstrating that he's not racist. Homeshcooling Today Magazine has extended their Jamestown carryover essay contest that awards winners with a VF $100 gift certificate or some such thing. Many see this as an attempt to prove that Doug is not racist with Pochahontas as an example.

An incomplete quote from the HT mag website:
Scripture discussion: The Founding Fathers of our nation were well-versed in the Bible—more so than we are today. Their views on all issues of life were therefore colored by Scripture. How do the following Scriptures help us better understand the settlers' perspectives on the following? Upon which other Scriptures might they have based their actions? Also, which ideas and passages from the Bible can be found in the suggested readings and primary resources?

1. Land ownership (Ex. 20:12, Joshua 13-19, Acts 17:26, Deut. 32:7-8, Ex. 20:15 and Deut. 19:14)
2. "Interracial" marriage (2 Cor. 6:14, Gal. 3:28, Acts 17:26)
3. Building a population through native births, rather than sending over more colonists from England (Gen. 1:28, 8:16)
4. Evangelizing the natives (Matt. 28:18-20)
5. Pocahontas dressing like the settlers as an "Englishwoman" after her conversion rather than remaining in her native clothing (Gen 3:21)

They've hit at least three birds with one stone here. Doug gets the PR spin that he's pro-interracial marriage, his militant fecundity gets a plug and he gets to punch the importance of behavioral conformity with his cult of personality. On another blog, I brought up the point that it may not have been Doug that wrote this, but it was the strong consensus that Doug was definitely involved. Many people commented that it was an opportunity to add to his other efforts to appear that he is not racist.

Interesting, isn't it?

I was unaware that World Magazine accepts advertisements and support from Phillips and his sort. World Mag has always seemed a bit too wing-nut for my tastes (i.e., a magazine for "Christian McCarthyites"). If they have indeed accepted money from guys like Phillips, then I'm glad that I canceled my subscription ten years ago.

A couple of points should be made here:

1. "Water Spirit Blood" is a source that HATES (as did Little Geneva) Doug Philips. This is not a photo, but rather a "photoshop distortion." Suffice it to say that Philips, who is ethnically Jewish, would probably not be photographed using a Nazi salute.

2. Most of the sources on Philips cited here come from someone with whom he has had a great amount of strife, Jennifer Epstein and her husband--they were excommunicated from his church in hotly debated circumstances. To take these accounts at face value is to hear only one side of the argument, and possibly a very deceptive one.

Now certainly the quality of Vision Forum's work can be debated, as well as the propriety of endorsing Dabney's work. I have some issues with them myself. However, this ought to be done using somewhat less biased sources than have been presented here.

Suffice it to say that Philips, who is ethnically Jewish, would probably not be photographed using a Nazi salute.

Tell that to Adolph Hitler, another ethnic Jew filled with self-hatred and inwner-agony and extreme bitterness toward his own kindred.

Dr. Bradley,

Thank you for this blog.
I think it is time for Reformed Christians to do what Dr. Michael Horton has done...to denounce and refuse any part of this "Neo-Confederate" idolatry in some PCA churches.
I recently had to leave a PCA church I after the pastor defended the Confederacy and slavery in a sermon, and told me that if the South won, we would not have the troubles we do today.
The apostle Paul tried to knock down all ethnic and racial walls and put up the Gospel...why spend time for glorifying God from the pulpit defending the sin of slavery?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Anthony Bradley published on July 11, 2007 11:54 AM.

Will The National League Ever Win the All-Star Game Ever Again? was the previous entry in this blog.

Racially Segregated Schools Aren't The Problem, Low-Performing Schools Are (Kozol/NY Times Gets It Wrong Again) is the next entry in this blog.

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