Fighting injustice and demanding that justice be served is emotional. Our feelings towards those things that which make us angry or break our heart when we see it done are thrown into hyper drive. Our emotional reaction towards injustice is no different from our reaction to brothers when we’re in disagreement over the proper way to abolish injustice.
But that is exactly what happened after Doug Wilson wrote a piece over at his blog, Blog & Mablog, advocating for a smashmouth incrementalism, as opposed to a form of abolitionism. The good people at American Vision, through an essay written by Joel McDurmon and John Reasnor, are abolitionists and they took painstaking offense to a legitimate criticism of abolitionism. Are their criticisms of incrementalism, even the smashmouth kind, warranted? And are they right to accuse incrementalists of idolatry?
Doug was essentially accosted with a bunch of logical fallacies in the McDurmon-Reasnor piece. The two issues they primarily focused on was Doug’s example of John Brown and Paul Hill, as well as what they believed was Doug’s over reliance on the Supreme Court and Justices like Neil Gorsuch. McDurmon even touted his own literary resume by letting everyone know that nobody on Earth is better at using logic than him because he literally wrote the book, so he clearly knows logical fallacies when he sees them.
Doug and other smashmouth incrementelists take issue with abolitionism because Scripture, the Gospel, and the Great Commission demand biblical progressive incrementalism. If Jesus and God’s Law was abolitionist, then Christ’s redemption of the world and sanctification of His elect would’ve been completed at the moment of Resurrection. Instead, God is incrementally redeeming the world and establishing His kingdom, and progressively sanctifying His elect over time.
Toby Sumpter, pastor at Trinity Reformed Church and co-host of Crosspolitic, explains biblical incrementalism and justice in his response to McDurmon and Reasnor, as well as Doug’s piece, point by point. He correctly sees every Christian in the battle to abolish abortion now as an incrementalist. The Christian Scriptures require incrementalism, not immediate abolitionism. Therefore, it cannot by scriptural definition be an idol.
God requires a smashmouth incrementalism for abolishing all forms of injustice, unborn or racial, in Christ’s social reformation of society and the world. It is smashmouth, because He requires boldness and courage to fundamentally oppose injustice wherever and however it rears its ugly, evil head. But it is incremental in the way that He abolishes injustice throughout history and time because Christ is incrementally redeeming the world and progressively sanctifying His elect.
John Brown and Paul Hill were abolitionists. To say otherwise is to deny reality. They took the theory of abolitionism and applied it to its logical conclusion. It is that logical conclusion that Doug was taking issue with and trying to smash, in order for the Church to know how to avoid it. He wasn’t accusing all who subscribe to abolitionism as a tactic of wanting to be the next John Brown or Paul Hill. It is incredibly unfair to ascribe an idolatrous motive to Gospel incrementalists merely because you emotionally take any offense at any criticism of abolitionism.
The Nature of Abolitionism vs. Biblical Justice
Christians need to understand the true nature of abolitionism before they emotionally apply it to abolishing injustice now. Abolitionism is the theory that sees vengeance as a form of justice. It is a theory that logically leads to not heeding the words of Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19. Scripture says vengeance is God’s and those who committed injustice will get what they deserve in time, but abolitionism assumes that role out of impatience and sentimental pride.
Abolitionism is more concerned with a form of sentimentalism and an extreme case of masculine pride. It is the idolatrous stepchild of vengeance. It feels good because it does wipe away the injustice, but only kinda sorta. Its sentimentality doesn’t reform anything. Vengeance covers over the injustice and it reappears as some other form of injustice, and the cycle continues.
Don’t get me wrong. The vengeance the abolitionist seeks won’t necessarily manifest itself in the extreme, violent form of abolitionism of John Brown and Paul Hill. The commitment to Scripture and the Gospel will in most cases drive the Christian abolitionist to be more of a biblical incrementalist, even if they believe they are implementing “true abolitionism.” The Christian needs to understand that nowhere in the Bible does abolitionism exist.
Biblical justice, and restitution, is straightforward. It applies to the actual criminals and actual victims. There is no such thing as retroactive justice in the application of God’s Wrath by the civil magistrate. God alone, if it weren’t biblically carried out in the moment the injustice occurred, will repay justice with His vengeance in time.
Judicial Supremacy Impedes Smashmouth Incrementalism
Now, on one level, I agree with McDurmon and Reasnor in regards to their criticism of Doug’s over reliance on the Supreme Court and nominating more Gorsuches. Doug used the wrong analogy to explain smashmouth incrementalism, as opposed to the cowardly forms of incrementalism. He was operating from a form of ignorance that most Christian conservative leaders still cling to with blind hope.
It is the belief that the judiciary is still generally and constitutionally intact and not broken. It still correctly operates the way the Founders envisioned it. And they assume the conservative legal movement sincerely holds to judicial originalism. What Doug and others haven’t yet figured out is that the judiciary and the conservative legal movement are irremediably broken. Better judges aren’t going to help.
Smashing the Right Idols
McDurmon and Reasnor have a high view of the authority of Scripture and have a solid understanding of Reformed theology. This postmillennial eschatology and biblical worldview are preventing American Vision and other abolitionists from taking it to its logical conclusion. Gospel incrementalism won’t allow it. It is their emotional attachment to the idolatry of abolitionism that can hinder their Gospel witness. They can be too focused on the sentimental and immediate abolition of injustice, not the Gospel reformation from it.
They called smashmouth incrementalism idolatry. But as we have determined, thanks in no small part to Toby Sumpter, Scripture demands incrementalism, not abolitionism. Abolitionism leads down the road of retroactive justice, personal vengeance, and the violent extreme of John Brown and Paul Hill. Although it is abundantly clear that most Christian abolitionists are not those extremes, they do hold to a theory that is not found in God’s Word. In fact, it’s prohibited by the prohibition of vengeance that is not from God.
Therefore, if abolitionism isn’t in Scripture, then who’s idol needs smashing?
Gospel incrementalists need more Roy Moores and Kim Davises as lesser magistrates and pro-life politicians who have the courage to stand in the face of cowardice. We need more biblical incrementalists who will smash the vengeful idol of abolitionism and the cowardice of surrender.
In other news…
Biblical Purity isn’t Defined by White Pigmentation
I am getting incredibly tired of the sanctimonious white Christian with their faux-racial reconciliation as they accept every cultural Marxist premise. These Christians are ignoring the injustice of the neo-Marxists encouraging violence, criminality, and immorality in the black community, which is rooted in the epidemic of fatherlessness and the destruction of the nuclear family.
They seem too conveniently ignore the facts that blacks are more likely to be shot be fellow blacks, than by cops. It is also a fact that is conveniently forgotten that black cops, not white, are more likely to shoot black suspects.
Yes, there are bad cops, and yes, black Americans have been pulled over while black. All of that is true and wrong. It is not systemic. You are using an emotional, humanistic definition of systemic that doesn’t exist. In general, the police are not the problem. The systemic racism isn’t in the police, it’s the sin in our own hearts. Sin is the systemic problem. All you are doing is treating a symptom of sin and feeding our racial tribalism.
The systemic problems are the policies that the Gramscian neo-Marxists impose on black communities. They pay mothers to not marry the fathers, encourage fathers to be deadbeats, abort black babies, impose a failing government school system on black communities with little to no choice, and disarm black Americans of their right to keep and bear arms.
It is the injustice of dismantling and destroying the nuclear family, which is a top priority of Black Lives Matter, btw. They are a Gramscian neo-Marxist movement that feeds off the resentment, bitterness, prejudice, and vainglory of racial tribes. And they will cover up the real injustices being done to their black community with faux-narratives that feed our tribalism.
Reconciliation vs. Getting Played
Evangelicals are being played by humanism, and it is their sentimental pride and fear of being called racist (as falsely defined by humanism) that is preventing true Gospel reconciliation.
As Christians, we should be preaching the whole Gospel and teaching all that Jesus commanded to everyone who will listen. If we are preaching in a socio-economic and racially diverse community, then our congregations we are ministering to should reflect that diversity. But our preaching and ministry should not seek diversity for diversity sake. We shouldn’t care who we’re preaching and ministering to, so long as we’re preaching the whole counsel of Scripture to everyone with ears to hear.
Purity & Modesty are Ethical Necessities of a Godly Culture
We are commanded to build a godly culture, while Christ is building His kingdom throughout all the earth. Biblical ethics, modesty, and right and wrong have absolutely nothing to do with race. In fact, it’s racist and incredibly offensive to ascribe a racist motive to a white Christian for merely advocating a godly culture on all communities, regardless of race. And you owe every white Christian an apology for making such an ungodly assumption about them.
Demanding that we act in accordance with biblical purity, modesty, and ethics is not imposing whiteness on another. So stop being stupidly racist and humanistic. A white man who is living a godly culture isn’t being black, and a black man who is living a godly culture isn’t being white. They’re both living godly lives.
If you think the problem is the police itself and if you think advocacy of a godly culture is somehow an imposition of whiteness on those who are not white, congratulations you’re the problem. You’re the reason racial reconciliation cannot biblically happen. You’re assumptions are the reason white people can’t repent of their sins and black people can repent of theirs, in order to come to a place of reconciliation.
Ends & Odds
As you have probably already heard, the Boy Scouts have decided to double down on their apostasy and rebellion of God and His Moral Law. My latest column for NOQ Report addresses this issue head on in the form of a message to the Scout parents. I tell them what their only recourse is now.
In addition, some major changes to The Truth Dispatch “news” letter are coming down the pike, so you will want to keep up-to-date with me, right here and even encourage your friends to subscribe. I will be making the announcement in this “Ends & Odds” section of the “news” letter.