Are Police Officers Out to Kill Black Men?

As I type this new post overcoming racism  (a theme of recent posts), I have to somehow keep my calm and stay focus.

I’ve been out most of the day and didn’t get a chance to see the news or read any news.  Eventually, when I got to read the news online, I read that another black man was fatally shot in California by a police officer.

So I have to ask myself, Are police officers out to kill black men? Don’t these police officers know that these black men are sons, fathers, husbands, friends, cousins, uncles?

When are these killing of black men by police officers going to end?  Who is going to stop these police officers from killing and slaying these black men?

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20 Responses to Are Police Officers Out to Kill Black Men?

  1. davejca says:

    Most likely it will not stop until we can stop thinking of others in terms of race, skin color or mother tongue. When barriers (social, economic, political or religious) are erected based on the above it takes a long long time to remove their impact on society.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      How about the barriers set up between elect and non elect? How different would have been the impact on society if Christians had historically thought instead in terms of elect and not-yet-elect, with believers as a kind of ‘firstfruits’ of a greater harvest to come? You mention religious barriers – condemning those outside the fold to endless torments is the mother of them all.

      • Simon says:

        Jon you are spot on with the comments on the elect/non-elect categories. It does have bearing to the racism debate because, like the Reformed doctrine of election, we cannot choose our race.

        Setting theology aside, this is a very sad issue. Unfortunately, there are still deep racial divisions in America. I’m not sure how this can be overcome.

  2. TC Robinson says:

    Dave: We will make headways, as we have done, but we will never be totally free of racism – it’s a sin problem. Sin likes to manifest itself in a “Us vs Them” dynamic. We see it immediately after the fall with Adam and Even, then Cain and Abel. It’s been the theme of fallen humanity.

    Jon: I cannot agree with this line of reasoning. First, the doctrine of election is a biblical one, beginning with Noah, Abraham, and so on. The election of the Jews and so on. Second, because of sin, the doctrine of election has been misappropriated and morphed into an “us vs them.” Rather than being a kingdom of priests through whom YHWH would gather the rest of humanity, Israel reinterpreted the original mission to an “us vs them.” Jesus confronted this attitude in his earthly ministry. Third, this “us vs them” continued in the NT church. Acts 6 is a perfect example, Hebrew widows vs Hellenist widows. Then even apostles and leaders were caught up in this “us vs them” (Gal. 2).

    That is why I do not think it’s the doctrine itself. Rather, it’s our appropriation or misappropriation of it.

    Simon: We can only pray and work to overcome the evil of racism in America.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      TC,

      You articulate beautifully exactly what I was trying to say. Absolutely, the doctrine of election is biblical. I realize that your soteriological optimism doesn’t extend as far as my hopeful universalism, but we both have a positive view of the election of Noah, Abraham, Israel, and the Church for the purpose of being a blessing to the world.

      But Simon is right. If the doctrines of limited atonement and double predestination are true then God (and like-minded believers) simply don’t have the moral authority to denounce racism.

      • TC Robinson says:

        Jon,
        I really don’t see what the doctrine of election, properly understood, has to do with racism. It’s not a byproduct.

        A misappropriation of the doctrine is what leads to racism – not a proper understanding of it. Jesus is the perfect example of one who proper appropriated this doctrine when he cut against racial norms and ministered to the Samaritans, beginning with the woman at the well (John 4).

        Is universalism somehow a better approach? Where’s the historical evidence?

  3. Jon Hughes says:

    Hi TC,

    For a start, Universalism brings a message that everyone is included. It means I can genuinely love my neighbour without being hampered by the burden of trying to get him to pray a sinners prayer before he dies and goes to an eternal torture chamber for not believing the correct information. By contrast, election “properly understood” by any card-carrying Calvinist brings a message of discrimination and segregation on a cosmic scale: God chooses some for salvation and passes over the rest for damnation, to His glory. Now if a wicked human dictator did this sort of thing we’d be outraged, but because it is God doing it, it must be “good”, and who are we to talk back to God? There comes a point, however, where some Calvinists (like myself a few years back) dare to rethink whether this reflects accurately what God is like, and what the Bible actually teaches.

    Regarding your question about historical evidence, I don’t think you would have had the burning of heretics if Universalism had held sway as opposed to the doctrine of Calvin. Likewise with Roman Catholicism – another historical “us-versus-them-ism” – with its inquisitions and forced conversions due to the justification that eternal destinies were at stake. It’s a historical fact that Calvinists and Catholics have invariably played the part of persecutors. You can’t say that about Universalists.

    I hold to the Sovereignty of God as much as the next man. God elects a people (for a purpose) and then elects some more, and this process will go on unto the ages of the ages, until God is all in all. Isn’t this what passages such as Ephesians 1:9-12 are about? There’s glory in our present calling, for the saints will judge the world.

    But as for a hero to both you and me, how do you think Martin Luther King’s theology relates to the above discussion? And how did it drive his life, and impact the world in which he lived?

    • Jon Hughes says:

      Sorry, TC, my last point about Martin Luther King was a bit confusing. What I was getting at was that he had an inclusive view of the human race, emphasising the fact that we are all God’s children. What’s your view of election? Do you take the Calvinistic line, not merely that God has an elect people, but that He passes over the rest unto damnation, for His glory?

      • TC Robinson says:

        Jon,
        For example, from his “I Have A Dream” speech, MLK believed in the brotherhood of humanity – yes, we are all God’s children!!!

        Neither has universalism won the day against racism! Again, I don’t hold that it’s Calvinism vs Universalism on the matter. It’s sin in the human heart. Sin has a way of manifesting itself as “Us” vs “Them” or “the Other.” We both agree here.

  4. Jon Hughes says:

    Hi TC,

    Universalism hasn’t won the day against Calvinism yet, let alone racism! But can’t you see that Calvinism carries with it an ingrained “Us” vs “Them” attitude at its core? Universalism doesn’t. Because of this, I believe that Calvinism is part of the problem not the solution. Do you hold to limited atonement yourself, and the notion that God passes over those for whom Jesus didn’t die, damning them for His glory?

    (By the way, universalism is gaining ground within evangelicalism: the 2nd edition of “Four views on Hell”, Zondervan 2016, now includes a Universalist contributor, Robin Parry.)

    • TC Robinson says:

      Jon,
      How do you reconcile universalism with election, which you also admit is biblical? The doctrine of election, which is biblical, is not the issue. A failure to love one another is the issue. That’s why Jesus reaffirmed and expanded it in the Gospels (cf. John 13:33-34).
      Universalism is not the answer. Love is.

  5. Jon Hughes says:

    TC,

    You seem to be evading the question: if Christ didn’t die for all, and God doesn’t love all in terms of election, then He is simply not loving toward the entire human race. What logical reason, therefore, for human beings to act lovingly toward all other human beings. But I don’t believe in that limited view of election! I happen to believe that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is not an attribute but His essence. How could He pass over someone for whom Christ didn’t die and torture them for eternity, for His glory? How can the Calvinist live with this without cracking under the strain? Universalism and election are not at odds with one another; neither are love and Universalism. Harmonising love with limited election, however, and then campaigning against racism is a hotchpotch of confusion and contradiction. They are at complete odds with one another. Thank God that most Calvinists are a hotchpotch of confusion and contradiction!

    If you don’t know how Universalism can be reconciled with election, try reading Thomas Talbott’s contribution in “Perspectives on Election” (Broadman and Holman, 2006). It is superb.

    • TC Robinson says:

      Jon,
      With all due respect, I think you’re the one who is engaging in a hotchpotch of confusion and contradiction. For example, you’ve already created the straw man that belief in the doctrine of election leads to racism. Perhaps a read of Piper’s Bloodline will ease your hang ups here and give clarity on how such is not the case. BTW, a Piper should be respected and lauded for his campaign against racism, esp. when served as senior at Bethlehem Baptist. Second, you have failed to either agree or dispute my contention that it’s a misappropriation of the doctrine of election, which BTW you said above is biblical, is what leads to racism or indifference and apathy.

      Third, what does have a view of limited atonement has to do with the command to love one another? I don’t know of no learned Calvinist who teaches or believes that a belief in limited atonement means love this race but not that one.

      Your arguments are not following.

      • Jon Hughes says:

        Hi TC,

        I’m glad for Piper. As I said, it’s heartening that most Calvinists are a hotchpotch of confusion and contradiction. (Perhaps you have to be outside the bubble to see this?) After all, John Piper’s theological hero, Jonathan Edwards, had a “God hates you” message for a specific portion of the human race. I maintain that the Calvinist working for the good of all humanity, regardless of color or creed, has to live with tension; and no good Calvinist could say with Martin Luther King:

        “…all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands all over the nation and sing…”

        Did you catch that? Not only black men and white men, but Protestants and Catholics as God’s children. Calvin would be turning in his grave! Calvinists simply cannot speak in these all inclusive terms. They worship a God who really isn’t loving toward the entire human race. The God that I worship acts lovingly toward all human beings, even those who insist on a path of ruin – because His essence is love (1John 4:8,16). He is their Creator; He is responsible for them. Even God’s wrath is wounded love. And love hopes all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). It never gives up. That’s why I’m a hopeful Universalist.

        The Calvinist, by contrast, worships a schizophrenic God – this is not too emotive a way to describe it – with one attribute of His offset against another, who acts in two completely different ways toward the two groups – ordained according to His eternal counsel – comprising the human race. And one of the groups never stood a chance, did they? They were *segregated* according to a particular plan and purpose from the beginning.

  6. TC Robinson says:

    Jon,
    I get what you’re saying, but a bit confuse about your take on human race and Calvinists. Calvinists hold the same vision of John in Revelation 7 and people from all walks of life being around the throne. There’s no confusion, my friend.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      TC,

      I guess it depends on how you look at it. Presumably, you rejoice in the Calvinist understanding that God has taken a people for Himself out of every tribe and tongue. The problem is that He has also passed by vast numbers from every tribe and tongue according to the same Calvinist understanding, and they will spend eternity in hell; this latter category being a people who were not loved from the foundation of the world, and for whom Christ did not die. Now imagine that white authorities had long ago decreed that they would sovereignly emancipate a specific number of black slaves, passing over the rest (perhaps the vast majority), and then expected those freed slaves to rejoice in the mercy shown to them, all the more so because of the very fact that multitudes of other slaves were *not* liberated, thus serving to magnify the mercy shown to those who were. What kind of warped logic could justify that as being a glorious thing to rejoice in?

      The human race is one. We stand or fall together. All of us… not merely some out of every people group.

      • TC Robinson says:

        Jon,
        Why God has elected some and passed over others I will never know. We both agree that Scripture has been misused and abused since its inception. Whites use of it to enslave fellow human beings is no surprised. But I’m afraid that this example is not because of a proper understanding of the Calvinist position.

        The premise that the human race is one does not erase those difficult doctrines of Scripture regarding a heaven and a hell and the attendant doctrines, if you will.

      • Jon Hughes says:

        TC,

        I can’t seem to find our last two comments on this thread. I’ve got your latest response to my latest response on email, but not here. Hope everything’s okay.

      • TC Robinson says:

        Jon,
        I don’t know what is going on, either. Sorry about that. I’m baffled too.

  7. Jon Hughes says:

    TC,

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is an alternative way of understanding election than what you seem to assume is a scriptural no-brainer. We’re talking paradigm shifts…

    God bless.

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