Unfortunately, we live in a period of history that has forgotten its past. Not an uncommon occurrence by any stretch of the imagination. Some things are forgotten accidentally. Others are forgotten purposely. Those who want to control the narrative go to great lengths burying that which transgresses their view of reality.
Take for instance the history of our nation’s immigration. What drove the first settlers to the New World in the early 1600’s (17th century) from their homes in Europe? How are we to know? Well it helps to look at the writings from the period.
Rather than seeking to dominate and bind the natives of this land under chains of oppression (a popular narrative today), the early pilgrims wanted an opportunity for a new life. The intention was not tyranny, but living freely and giving the gift of freedom found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is seen in one of the earliest documents of that age, the Mayflower Compact:
In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe, by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd the 11. of November, in the year of the raigne of our sovereigne lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. Anno. Dom. 1620.[i]
Later, John Winthrop would compare the desire of the Christian colonists from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to a “city on a hill,” a light of Christ for the world to see.[ii] A clear reference to Matthew 5:14:
- “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”[iii]
Despite the popular narrative taught in public schools and in many of our prestigious liberal (progressive-leaning) universities, the desire of many who initially settled on this continent was gospel centered.
Making Proper Distinctions…
A useful distinction should always be made between those who bear the Name of Christ in name only. When people fail to offer proper category distinctions, then it leads to false, misleading statements about others (both present and past generations).
For example, the “Crusades” were anything but Christian. Though it is true that the name “Christian” is attached to those historic events, the nature of those wars was anything but Christian. That is not to say that all wars are antithetical to the Christian worldview, some are. But pillaging, raping, and forcing people to “convert” to the Christian faith by the sword is not what Jesus meant when He told His disciples in the first century, “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matt 28.18). I have read some who have put “make” in the sense of brute force (fiat), but that is not at all what Christ intended for His people to do.
There is another misunderstanding that is common today, but nonetheless false. Those who control the narrative in education, in public media, in politics’, etc. love to push the idea that the white man—particularly those of European descent were all about enslaving the black man in the early colonies. There is no question that in the Antebellum South chattel slavery is a grave sin that this nation is guilty of. Sadly, those who bore the Name of Christ, sought to enforce this false ideology.
With the continued popularization of Critical “Race” Theory we are witnessing a growing divide not just in our nation, but within many of our Christian churches. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, nor would I claim to be an expert on such things, but I’m not a fool. I know how to read and interpret the Bible, and so when I hear popular Evangelical leaders claiming white Christians need to repent of their wickedness—i.e. the sin of white racism—I get a little sick. The bile from my stomach metaphorically rises to the back of my throat and I want to vomit.
A knowledgeable Christian ought to know that we are all descended from one blood. In Adam, we all have our being in a physical sense. There are not multiple races, but one race: the human race. Yes, there are different ethnicities in this world. We don’t all look the same. We don’t all talk the same. We don’t all dress the same. We don’t all eat or drink the same things, listen to the same sort of music, or enjoy the same type of extracurricular activities. But if we are in Jesus Christ. If we have embraced the gospel of God, and have been born of the Holy Spirit. Then, we are all united in one Spirit, and all superficial distinctions have been wiped away:
- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3.28; italics added).
Recommended Read: A Needed History Lesson
Recently, I read a book by a fellow Christian named Ben Kinchlow entitled “Black Yellow Dogs.” I finished it about a month ago, but I wanted my wife to read it so it has taken me a bit to get around to talking about it. I would recommend the book to all who would like to learn a little history lesson on why we had chattel slavery in the past, and who for a hundred years sought to keep our own flesh and blood segregated because of skin color.
The first case of chattel slavery in the United States of America was not perpetrated by the evil white man, but an evil black man. Anthony Johnson, a former indentured servant along with the rest of his family, owned a sizeable plantation (900 acres) “on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.”[iv] Now I realize that some of you might not know what an indentured servant is, so I’ll give a quick explanation. A lot of the people who wanted to come to the New World didn’t have a lot of personal capital. In order to be able to make the voyage over here and start a new life, they would sell themselves to a wealthier person for a period of years (normally 7 years, sometimes less). The government of Virginia would grant such an individual “fifty acres of land”[v] upon completion of their service. Both white and black people did this, and they would also sell their own family members. This was how Anthony Johnson (a black man) was able to gain such wealth in a short amount of time.
Johnson is the first chattel slave owner in American history. He gained this right through a crooked judge. His former indentured servant John Casor (another black fellow) became the first slave on these shores in recorded history. The two individuals who fought to protect John Casor were a couple of white men:
- “[Robert] Parker and one other influential landowner, both white, sided with Casor, [but] the court ruled for Johnson.”[vi]
According to Kinchlow, “Johnson may have been the first, but he was most surely [not] the only one!”[vii] From 1654, when the Court of Northampton sided with Johnson, until the 1830 census, chattel slavery not only became common practice in our country, but a large percentage of blacks enslaved blacks:
- “Of the 10,689 free blacks who lived in New Orleans in 1830, more than 3,000 were slave masters. Almost 30 percent of the free blacks in that city own slaves…William Johnson, perhaps Mississippi’s best known free black, was a slaveholder. In 1834, this Adams County native owned roughly 3,000 acres in real property. He speculated in farmland, rented real estate; owned a bathhouse, a delivery firm, and a toyshop; and he rented out his slaves.”[viii]
Kinchlow reports that
- “According to [the]…1860 census, 261,988 southern blacks were not slaves. One wealthy black sugar planter owned over 100 black slaves and had land holdings valued at over a quarter of a million dollars, making him one of the richest blacks in Louisiana, perhaps one of the richest blacks in the United States. A widow and her son (black) owned a plantation and worked more than 150 slaves. This same census lists several blacks owning sixty-five or more slaves. Blacks in one South Carolina city claimed over $1.5 million in taxable property, including slaves valued in excess of $300,000.”[ix]
Pretty amazing stuff. Not something you’ve probably ever heard. Certainly not something you’ve been taught in a classroom. When I was sharing this information with a fellow brother in the Lord he asked, “Why haven’t we heard this stuff before? How do you know that it is legit?”
My initial response is that the information is out there if you want to find it for yourself. The book by Kinchlow is thoroughly cited, many from primary sources. I also pointed out that worldview bias guides the narrative. This is why you find differences in how a progressive or conservative will report on the same issue.
Take gun violence for example. The way that is phrased tells a lot about the beliefs of one who is presenting the narrative. A progressive will attribute deaths (mass-shootings, etc.) perpetrated with a firearm as “gun violence.” You may run into conservatives using the same language since it is common speech, but their interpretation of the “violence” committed will be vastly different. Guns do not commit violence, people do. Progressives seek to limit the production, sale, and use of firearms; whereas, a conservative will tell a different narrative. They will look at a person’s mental health, previous history, etc., but in the end realize that guns are not the problem, wicked people are.
Back to the issue of slavery. There are those in certain circles that have a particular agenda that they want to thrust upon the public. They want control over a certain sector of society. They want to dominate the lives of others (while increasing their own power and wealth), and so they seek to control the narrative. The fact is “slavery” and/or “racism” are not issues regulated to a person’s melanin content. The issue is sin. This is a spiritual issue, not a colored one; unless you are referring to black hearts.
[i] Bill Bailey, ed., “The Mayflower Compact,” The Federalist Papers Project, Adobe E-Book, 4. Emphasis added. Spelling differences found in the original. May be viewed or downloaded at—https://www.thefederalistpapers.org.
[ii] John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity,” in America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, William J. Federer (St. Louis, MO: Amerisearch, Inc., 2000), 425.
[iii] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).
[iv] Ben Kinchlow, Black Yellow Dogs: The Most Dangerous Citizen is not Armed, but Uninformed (New York, NY: WND Books, , 2013), 3.
May be found in: Original MS. Records of the County Court of Northampton. Orders, Deeds and Wills, 1651-1654, p. 10.
[v] Ibid, 1.
[vi] Ibid, 4.
[vii] Ibid, 5.
[viii] Ibid, 6, 7.
May be found in: Mississippi History Now. “A Contested Presence: Free Blacks in Antebellum Mississippi, 1820-1860.” Accessed December 27, 2012 http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/45/a-contested-presence-free-blacks-in-antebellum-mississippi-18201860.
[ix] Ibid, 7.