The Church

Confronting Pharaoh: Why We Won’t Go Quietly

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Comments (12)
  1. h l munsey says:

    i am a black, and we need to stop focusing on trying to make (white people as a whole) LIKE us. racism will be over when JESUS CHRIST makes everything new. yes there are political issues and social issues that we can speak against, but it shouldn’t be our focus. focusing on CHRIST should be our main focus. and there are tons of social issues that ‘we’ need to HONESTLY address. want a few, the breakdown of the family, having children out of wedlock, having pre marital sex, not studying our bibles properly, being drawn into lies in the churches especially from ‘rouge’ preachers…… jakes, dollar, hinn, meyers, olsteen, and lots of others right in our neighborhoods. also this fascination with KARMA. do any of you know that KARMA is totally opposite of what the Bible teaches? if KARMA were true, everyone would be dead (and without hope). so i’m saying that many of our issues as a race, are on (us). we need to face the funk. stop focusing on (desiring) white people to accept us. i don’t know about yall, but (my) SAVIOR IS JESUS CHRIST. i have to obey and honor HIM. not white people.

  2. David Atkinson says:

    I think a degree of assumption of good will would go a long way here….

  3. JC says:

    Before I wrote this, I read this article several times and listened to the podcast in which Pastor James went into deeper detail. Having said that, I think this article and mindset is very, very weak. After listening to the podcast, Pastor James seems to be an intelligent, thoughtful, and caring pastor which makes this article even more puzzling.

    Here are my concerns (in no particular order):

    1. Nothing is defined very well. Terms like White evangelicalism, prophetic witness, Euro centric cultural norms, etc are mentioned but not explicitly defined. As these are play a major part in the article, defining the meanings of what these actually mean, would be very helpful. For example, who exactly is or is not a white evangelical? Can a non-white person be a part of white evangelicalism? Can a white Christian NOT be a part of white evangelicalism? Who determines these things? Is it up the individual person to decide if they are or does a committee from TheWitness decide if you are?

    2. There are lot of serious accusations made with no evidence to back up these accusations. Furthermore, there are a lot of serious accusations made (or perhaps implied) against groups of people which are extremely vague. If these horrible things are actually happening, then name names. If these “pharaohs” (who are “preaching in pulpits, leading seminaries, serving as professors, writing for popular theological blogs…etc”) are perpetuating the “marginalization and abuse of black women” then we should know about it. Please give us the names of these men and tell us how they have abused black women. Lobbing a bunch of vague accusations against a shadowy cartel of white pastors/seminarians/conference organizers is neither brave or helpful. In fact, I would call it lazy. It’s a good way to get clicks and cause a stir and raise your social media profile, but without having to actually do the hard work of confronting and producing the evidence of your accusations. Tell us who they are and what exactly they have done. For example, what is the abuse of black women? Are they sexually abusing black women? Are they beating black women? Are you saying that a black woman not being a conference speaker is abuse? Have you filed a complaint with their presbytery or denomination about their abuse of black women? Have you informed the deacons or elders of their churches about this abuse? Have you contacted their wives to let them know that their husbands are abusing black women?

    3. The comparison of pharaoh to modern day “white evangelicals” is one of the most bizarre treatments of scripture I have ever seen, for several reasons. For starters, the Israelites were slaves (they were kept in Egypt against their own free will). Black Christians in America today are not slaves to white evangelicalism in any way shape or form. Black Christians do not need to attend predominantly white churches, seminaries, Bible studies, or conferences to have a healthy and vibrant Christian life. Black Christians are free to worship in any style or manner they so choose (and may in fact have very good reasons for not wanting to worship at predominantly white churches). However, Black Christians in America are NOT the Israelites in the book of Exodus. Pastor James says he takes “biblical interpretation very seriously” but perhaps he should go back to the drawing board on this one. Secondly, if you are going to compare “white evangelical pharaohs” to the actual pharaoh (who was not a Christian and who murdered and enslaved people), some clarity would be appreciated. Again, that is a serious charge to level. Yet, Pastor James did so with very little evidence. It is as if Pastor James is treating Exodus as an allegory in which he makes his folks the Israelites, his perceived enemies (unnamed white evangelicals) to be Pharaoh, and himself to be Moses. Quite frankly, that is a bizarre exposition of Scripture that I would expect to see from white, hipster megachurch pastor, not someone like Pastor James.

    4. Along these same lines, he mentions “prophetic witness” several times but again, offers no explanation. Now when Moses was speaking, he was speaking directly from God in a “thus saith the Lord” manner. Is Pastor James saying that his “prophetic witness” is in the same manner? Is his version of “prophetic witness” inerrant and infallible? How do we know whose prophetic witness is correct and if it truly comes from God?

    I think that some of the points made on this website are valid. I am a white Christian (I don’t “identify” as evangelical) who is very concerned/disgusted with infatuation with Trump/Moore/etc. I think tying the church (black or white) to politicians or political parties (Democrat or Republican) is a recipe for disaster. Many white Christians watch 15 hours a week of Fox news and read their Bible for less than five minutes. I am well aware of the problems that “white evangelicalism” contains (and there are many). Having said that, I seriously worry about the ideology of this website. I do not believe it is healthy at all. They are making a slightly different mistake than white evangelicalism. Whereas white churches have set up politics and the culture war as an idol, TheWitness is setting race as an idol.

    If a black person wishes to leave a white church (and I totally understand why they might), then by all means, do so. No apologies or explanation is required. But I would encourage you to really pray and consider the most Biblical way to leave a church. The attitude of “our exit needs to be felt deeply” is disturbing. Especially when so little definition and evidence of things like “abuse”, “marginalization”, “unsafe and oppressive structures”, etc. is given. If black people are being sexually or physically abused or being called racial slurs, then by all means cause a commotion. But if abuse is being defined as not getting a speaking slot at a big conference….. Even though Pastor James says it is not vengeful, it certainly sounds like it is. Furthermore, to use the example of Paroah, God was the one who took vengeance on the Egyptions, not the Isrealites.

    1. Brian says:

      JC, I agree with you on points 1 and 2. To the Witness and Pass the Mic Podcast: a little clarification would be really helpful in terms of what needs “systemic restructuring.” These are big statements that need clarification and points of application.

  4. David Atkinson says:

    Listen to the podcasts from pass the mic, and the YouTube channel

    There is a deep ignoring and diminishing of justice concerns where white churches discipled ppl to be anti black in law enforcement, housing, job placement, etc.

    And there is a deep unwillingness to confront that

    If you go into a minority esp black or Latino church space (one in which the Christians r not used to being in white/multicultural spaces) you will c what I mean

    If u don’t, u may not

    Unfortunately bc of things like the southern strategy (using coded language to implement racist policies) ppl using neutral language today about race warrants suspicion… sad but necessary

  5. h l munsey says:

    as an (older) reader of ‘the witness’, i am a black female, and i go to a reformed church here in pgh., pa. the congregation is very small, and me and a younger gentleman are the only blacks in the church. he is a (member), i am not but i have been at the church for going on 6 years now. this article is interesting, but rather ‘old’ (as i understand it). i think here in pgh., pa is a very ripe place to have a conference. i ‘strongly’ believe the issues of what you have brought up in your article need to be addressed. please pastor james, feel free to contact me. i would love to talk with you.

    sincerely,
    harriet munsey

  6. Ed Dingess says:

    There is absolutely NOTHING that resembles Christ in this mentally or this movement. It should be vilified or ignored, but not given the right hand of fellowship for a second.

  7. ADAM ROBLES says:

    Earon, Perhaps I am misunderstanding. But is this article putting “white evangelicalism” (whatever that is supposed to mean) in the place of Egypt, and white evangelicalism’s leaders in the place of pharaoh? In other words, are you saying that white evangelicalism is the enemy?

    1. David Atkinson says:

      I can’t speak for the author but that’s what it seems like
      And in a sense I agree
      We don’t need to pretend like he’s saying they’re satan in order to acknowledge they’ve acted against minority believers in serious ways

      1. ADAM ROBLES says:

        How is the church currently acting against minority believers in a serious way?

  8. David Atkinson says:

    Anthony. every empire/superpower built on slavery, land stealing and exalting one group over others does

  9. Anthony Rocco says:

    What was Pharoah’s enthnic background.? Seems to me every ethic/racial. group on the planet has to deal with the issues you wrote about. Am I right?

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