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For the past couple of weeks, Douglas Wilson and I have carried on a discussion of his book, Black and Tan. The book and its prequel, Southern Slavery As It Was, triggered controversy that’s lasted these last ten years or so. Our exchanges have been charitable and frequent. I thought it might be good to include a post-by-post round-up for anyone wishing to follow the discussion as it evolved. I think I’ve gotten them all, but there have been a lot of posts, sometimes seemingly posted only minutes after one or the other of us have hit “post.” So, if I missed one or more, please charge it to my head (and eyesight) not my heart.

Why Respond Publicly to Douglas Wilson’s “Black and Tan”? (TA)

A brief post explaining how I became involved in this discussion and listing five reasons I think it wise to proceed with a public discussion rather than a private one.

Douglas Wilson’s Views on Race, Racism, Slavery and the Bible (TA)

I attempt (successfully, according to Wilson) to summarize the main argument and points included in Black and Tan. I quote at length Wilson’s comments rejecting racism and slavery, and attempt to summarize Wilson’s motivation for writing Black and Tan.

Does the Driving Logic of “Black and Tan” Hold Up? (TA)

I attempt to address three basic aspects of the book: (1) the underlying logic guiding the entire book, (2) the exegetical case for slavery as a permissible institution, and (3) the historical claim that the South as a nation and the slavery it practiced was comparable to the Roman practice the apostle Paul addressed. I contend that the authority of the Bible was not widely challenged leading up to the Civil War, and that federal action to end the Civil War cannot be causally linked to our contemporary culture wars.

Patrick “Nostradamus” Henry (DW)

Wilson responds to my first critique by distinguishing between the formal authority and the functional authority of Scripture. He expresses his concern that the real issue was not the doctrine of Scripture among slaveholders and abolitionists but the doing of scripture, actual obedience.

Slavery and the Bible: The Perspective of This Abolitionist (TA)

I attempt to account for the biblical texts relevant to the question of slavery, its practice, and its end. I call for an immediatism to slavery’s end, contrary to the gradualism Wilson proposes. We cover the commandment to love, Philemon, 1 Tim. 1:10; 6:1-2, and the household codes.

Love Is Never Later (DW)

Wilson responds to my exegesis of the biblical texts with almost complete agreement. He agrees that we should privilege the command to love and that obedience to that command should not be delayed. Wilson points to some hypothetical situations where he suggests that love might not mean immediate manumission.

How Koinonia Conquers (DW)

Wilson offers this article, originally published in Omnibus, as evidence of his treatment of Philemon and evidence of how closely aligned our understandings of the text are. He believes Philemon received Onesimus back as a brother, most likely freed Onesimus, that Onesimus became a co-laborer with Paul, and that Onesimus is likely the same Onesimus addressed by Ignatius.

The Designated Ambition Pole (DW)

Wilson reminds us of the original context for publishing Black and Tan. He recounts Paul Hill’s murder of an abortion clinic doctor, the questions Hill’s actions provoked, and his desire to avoid the marketing shrink wrap of so much evangelical culture.

Sometimes the Exceptions Reveal How Far We’ve Gone with the Rule (TA)

A response to Wilson’s near complete agreement with my biblical exegesis of pertinent texts on slavery. Wilson imagines situations where a gradual manumission might be more loving, while I ask, “Why not free the slave immediately and still provide the kinds of support that express love?”

Adoni-bezek’s Thumbs and Toes (DW)

Wilson explains why he continues to believe that current obligations to do things like denounce racism cannot be disentangled from “messy history.” He also introduces the notion of progressive revelation as he discusses a portion of Lev. 25’s commands regarding slaves.

The Cost of Our Chosen Entanglements (TA)

I attempt to explain why I think Wilson’s association with the “civilian affairs” of the South’s secession impairs his ability to value African-American life and to extend to African Americans the same right to pursue the freedom he cherishes.

Water Is Thicker Than Blood (DW)

Wilson explains why we mustn’t go to war with cartoons but recognize the humanity of our opponents and explains why he doesn’t think constitutional issues are easily disentangled from very real lives that have been disenfranchised.

Resisting the Slavers (DW)

In response to thread comments, Wilson takes up the issue of whether the War of Independence could be considered just and the Civil War not.

The Histories of the American South: A Caution Against Hegemonies (TA)

After attempting to avoid a discussion of the historical issues at play, I felt compelled to make an assessment of the assumed history in Black and Tan. I argue Black and Tan fails to provide us any history while attempting a major revision of our understanding of the American South and slavery. I also contend that the book’s failure to interact with differing perspectives amounts to a biased view and an overly optimistic view due to Wilson’s postmill perspective.  I conclude with a postscript on historical and cultural hegemony.

With Jello in My Hair (DW)

Wilson replies to my concerns about the history in Black and Tan by admitting the book is not and is not intended to be a work of history, that he believes the book would have been stronger to interacting with differing viewpoints on the history, and explaining his postmill perspective. He pushes back against a postmodernism and “multiculturalism” that denies God’s metainarrative on history.

Another Point Where Wilson and I Almost Entirely Agree: On Doing History and Multiculturalism (TA)

I reassert my basic critiques of Black and Tan‘s underlying history by responding to Wilson’s defenses. I also attempt to discuss how many African American and White discussants have two different things in mind when they talk about “multiculturalism.”

A Good Luck Wave Won’t Cut It (DW)

Wilson responds to my critique of Black and Tan’s history, agrees with my previous post’s comments about multiculturalism, and returns to a comparison of slavery and abortion, maintaining that abortion is far worse than slavery in its death toll. He also explains why he doesn’t think his postmill views lead to a “rosy” picture of slavery.

Illustrating Racial Insensitivity in Black and Tan (TA)

I attempt to define “racial insensitivity” and to comment on several minor and more serious comments in Black and Tan that I think fail to lovingly consider diverse readers and racial sensitivities.

Harder Than It Looks (DW)

Wilson responds to my definition of “racial insensitivity” with a proposed amendment and replies in turn to my citations of racial insensitivity. He offers an apology while distinguishing between persons genuinely offended and those who may be “flopping”. He calls for the kind of effort at reconciliation where parties say what they want to say and remain at the table after they have said it.

A Theology of Apology (DW)

Following up on “Harder Than It Looks,” Wilson uses three biblical incidents to explain why his apology came with qualifications and explanations.

I Can Be Insensitive, Too (TA)

I offer an apology to readers who took offense at a passing reference to Trayvon Martin.

Once More Into the Breach (TA)

I respond to Wilson’s call to “stay at the table” by pointing out three problems with his apology post and seeking to get a clear sense of whether Wilson though he’d written anything insensitive in Black and Tan, accepts responsibility for those comments, and would retract them. I refer to some useful principles for apologies and forgiveness from Peacemaker Ministries.

A Trigger Alert Study Bible (DW)

Wilson pushes back against an apology I offered readers at Pure Church. He then reasserts the need for a full and complete acceptance of scripture and a way for understanding our current cultural struggles in historical context before he could apologize for Black and Tan across the board.

Oh, So Close… And Yet So Far Away (TA)

I clarify that I was not asking him to retract Black and Tan across the board, but respond specifically to the charge of insensitive comments. I also speculate about whether fear of negative results might hinder Wilson giving a more complete apology.

Another Rose Hedge Awaits (DW)

Wilson accepts that I was not asking him to retract Black and Tan and apologizes for misreading me. He restates his apology by admitting that he believes himself to have written some insensitive things in Black and Tan. He creates a placeholder for some future comments.

Hecklers Gonna Heck (DW)

As promised, Wilson returns with more thoughts about the kinds of fears he has in public conversations of this sort and why different tones might be appropriate for different persons in such a discussion. Part of his concern is that evangelical capitulation to insistence on “polite” speech often comes a step or two before evangelical capitulation to the demands of those rebelling against God’s rule.

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53 thoughts on “A “Black and Tan” Round-Up”

  1. Scott W says:


    Thank you (and Doug) for carrying on this needed conversation in a public forum for many to read (and criticize). Although I haven’t read all of the various post, I am thankful they are here for future reference and thought in my own life & ministry. this roundup is helpful! Blessings

  2. Darius T says:

    I was just thinking this morning that someone needs to compile a summary post of all the posts in this series. Nice.

  3. Your exchanges demonstrate remarkable patience and Christian love on your part. You’ve presented me with a model to challenge me. Thanks for that!

  4. Thabiti, thanks. Well done.

    There was one other post, How Koinonia Conquers, which was not written as part of our exchange, but which I posted to show our near complete agreement on the book of Philemon. That can be found here:

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Thanks Doug! I’ll update the post.

      Just looking over the list, that’s a surprisingly long list of writings!


    2. Jacob Young says:

      Thabiti and Doug,

      I’ve been compiling your interactions into a single pdf for ease of reading. It has all the interactions (including side posts like the one Doug referenced). Let me know if you’re interested in seeing this document.


      1. Inge Larsson says:

        @ Jacob,

        Hi, I Would like a PDF copy.

  5. Dear Pastor Thabiti,

    Your interchange with Pastor Wilson is incredibly important. I admit to reading it with bated breath! I really do hope that you both opt to publish it in book form—I’d hate for it to get lost in the blogosphere. I’m sure some Christian publisher is salivating with every post!

    God bless!

  6. Joe B says:

    I too am thankful for the series of posts but if it has ended – I understand why you would end it – I find it incomplete. Do you think Mr Wilson’s apologies for the racial insensitivity even approaches the Peacemaker Ministry guidelines you set forward?
    While there was some apology to you and those like you doesn’t Wilson’s language leave you with “Thabitti is the rare exception. The vast majority of those who claim to be bothered by the way I make my points are ‘floppers’ or liars just looking for a way to deny the Bible. “. Do you think that is a fair reading of his responses?
    Do you think that most people bothered by his language are faking it and that you (and me) are the rare exceptions?
    I would greatly appreciate your response. I am white and pastor in an urban setting in a culturally diverse church and regularly train 20 or so young men and women in urban ministry. We do so surrounded by a racially tense ‘bible-belt’ form of Christianity that seems to largely hold to the views Wilson espouses but who don’t articulate them as boldly or with as much biblical cover

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. I pray you’re well and that you are still having a wonderful celebration of the resurrection!

      I accept Mr. Wilson’s apology. I think a more full statement (along the lines of the Peacemaker principles) would not only be appropriate, but that it would also serve his argument and cause.

      I do think Mr. Wilson was at pains, which he explained, to not give the wrong impressions or to offer an apology to the wrong persons in his view. I understand what he’s trying to guard against–a kind of biblical erosion caused by the constant rain of political correctness and “niceness.” But it seems to me that if a comment is offense or insensitive, it is offensive and insensitive objectively so. For that reason, not because the person squirming was a reasonable guy, the person committing the offense should own it and make amends.

      I do not think “most people bothered by his statements” are faking. Honestly, I have no way of knowing that. I can say that some comments over the years have probably been baseless or unwarranted. But, usually, persons making comments in that spirit have themselves really been hurt. Doesn’t make their comments acceptable and doesn’t mean their hurt is proportionate to the offensive comments. But it does mean a good number of folks who could be mistaken as “fakers” are in fact being honest about the offense–and that because the offense is really there.

      I hope that helps. Grace to you, bro.

  7. Darius T says:

    Joe, you can tell a “flopper” by whether or not he wants to see the instant replay. Until Thabiti, no one wanted to review the tape.

  8. Joe B says:

    Darius. You are assuming that everyone hurt by words and teaching like Mr Wilson has the ability, the inclination or the platform to “seek an instant replay”. To switch analogies. If you are on the fork tribes you still get harmed by the careless rounds of “friendly fire” but you don’t have much time to seek an Instant replay.

  9. Joe B says:

    That should have been “front lines” and not “fork tribes”

  10. Jack Bradley says:

    Thabiti, whether or not this is the end of your discussion, I would like you to give the subsidiary issue of eschatology a fuller hearing, specifically postmillennialism. Several have told me that my seminar on that subject has been very helpful to their understanding. If you, or anyone else, would like my transcript, please let me know.

    My great appreciation to you and Douglas for this very helpful discussion.

  11. Tim says:

    I think we really need to quit using words like hurt to describe these sorts of things. It’s no virtue to be

  12. Tim says:

    easily offended. When a person is offended, they do need to examine their own hearts. Am I offended for the right reasons? Is this righteous indignation? Have I given my brother the benefit of the doubt? Have I sought to interpret him according to his intent? We do this with Scripture, we should do this with our brother’s words as well. Is this the sort of thing that I should overlook? Where is the source of my displeasure coming from? Am I making sinful demands on others? If we do confront others, it should not be done simply to let the other person know how much they hurt us, it should be done out of genuine concern for their sanctification and the Lord’s honor.

    1. Inge Larsson says:

      Tim and Darius T,

      I note that you have consistently driven this view that some are easily offended, despite the Bible’s clear weight being on the strong ones to consider the weak.One such and very obvious is;

      “We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves.” Rom. 15:1

      Watching from Sweden, I have rejoiced at TA and DW’s charitable discourse, although I can’t help but state that I have on several occasions also been left very sad by some statements made by many in some threads.

    2. Tim says:

      I must confess that I haven’t wished to make you feel sad, if that is what you are saying my comments have encouraged you to feel.

      I certainly agree that the strong should be considerate of the weak.

      Perhaps you could elaborate for me why you do not think my comments to be helpful, if this is what you are saying?


      1. Tim says:

        Would you agree with the following statement?

        When one brother accuses another brother of insensitivity, either the accuser is being unrighteously offended, or the defendant is actually offensive, or both.

  13. Darius T says:

    Well said, Tim.

  14. Joe B says:

    Exactly my point Tim. Most Christian people who are “hurt” by words like Mr. Wilson’s will not bring it to his attention. They will swallow it, ignore it, give home the benefit of the doubt but Mr Wilson has ‘some’ influence in Christian circles as a teacher and a role model and it seems that the fact that so often he is perceived to be racially insensitive or racist ought to send off alarms that maybe he isn’t saying things that hurt the body at large while blowing away his target audience of those who want to use his apologies to justify avortion and homosexuality

    1. Tim says:

      Joe B,
      I do believe that biblical wisdom would encourage us to overlook non-sinful offenses. This is the glory of a man. If one notices a pattern of seemingly “offensive” behavior that is not necessarily sinful. I do believe it would be wise to have a conversation with the seemingly offensive person. One could have such a conversation without confronting in the biblical sense. If one has clearly sinned, then one needs to confront the person and do all that our dear brother Thabiti has done.

      I am not sure I understood your last paragraph, perhaps you could clarify? Are you saying that the fact that Wilson is so often accused of racism and/or racial insensitivity should send off alarms that perhaps there is some substance to the accusations and a confrontation is necessary?

  15. Joe B says:

    Tim. I apologize for the incoherence of the paragraph. I am on jury duty and responding via my phone and am not very good at it. I am trying to say that of real Christians who are offended or harmed by racial insensitivity only a small percentage of them would actually bring it to Mr Wilson’s attention because of some of the texts you cite. Since he has apparently faced these accusations on numerous occasions, it seems prudent to me that he consider that there may be “some” validity to the complaints. I always look with caution on someone who starts with a “there will be people who don’t like what I say because I am saying tough things” defense. So any opposition is lumped – at least by his supporters – into the category of people who don’t love the Bible or are soft on theology or ignorant- or whatever category. Some Hyper- charismatic leaders have done this to the point that if you call them into question on their use of the Bible you are already clearly identifying yourself as anti the Spirit of God. Wilson’s approach doesn’t seem that different.

    I think you can find some of the sarcasm and snarkiness that Wilson uses in the Bible but it seems to be way in the minority compared to loving our neighbor as ourself. The repeated offenses ( I know which he believes are mostly phony) make me think he has it out of balance. But maybe I’m wrong.

    1. Tim says:

      Joe B.
      Thanks for the explanation, I too am using my phone, that is why you see nonsensical periods and posts that go through before I have a chance to edit them or even finish. haha

      Basically you are saying that red flags should go up when a person is repeatedly charged with insensitivity, this MAY be an indication of some validity to the complains. Further, we should be cautious when someone, in a preemptive fashion, lumps all opposition to his speech into the category of opposition to the truth?

      If have no problem with either of those things. I would say that both things should promote a cautious conversation, but are not necessarily indications of sin.

      I am simply not sure how to go about making the sort of claims that Wilson made in a non offensive way. I really have little interest in defending Wilson. I do have much interest in the type of precedence conversations like this set. Whatever we decide to do in these types of situations set precedence for ALL Christian interactions. These situations are very very common. One can hardly go through a day anymore without hearing someone talk of insensitivity. What do we do?

      If you are a person, who objectively witnesses a man kill an abortionist by appealing to the precedence set by John Brown. It may cause you to think through the precedence. Was it biblical for John Brown to do what he did or did he do so out of hate? This may cause you to think through the way that slavery was ended. Was slavery ended in a biblical way? If you conclude that John Brown was wrong, and the abolitionists were wrong, on at least some things, and that the perception of the South was wrong, etc. etc. How do you communicate these types of things in a way that is not going to be offensive to those who strongly disagree?

      On what basis do you convince Christians not to kill abortionists? I listen to Doug, I see what he is trying to do. I do not know how someone can affirm that John Brown was a hero and at the same time encourage Christians today to not kill abortionists.

  16. Joe B says:

    I follow your first paragraphs but believe your last is a giant leap into silliness that often makes the use of rude, insensitive language or mean spirited language justified. I can decide that the marines in Libya were right in defying orders and going in to try and rescue the ambassador without saying that I therefore should break the law and burst into the psychiatric ward and rescue those who are being given a secular solution that denies any biblical truth. You can’t trap someone with that.

    You can come to a conclusion that has spurious historical evidence and convince yourself and some others perhaps that most Christians get it wrong and you are the prophet sent from God to correct all of us but you better have a way that gains you a hearing. And if you aren’t doing miracles then it seems to me that the Bible says that will be the demonstrations of love that clearly mark you as belonging to the Lord and the integrity of life that appeals to men’s conscience.

    It seems this has been Thabitti’s main point. If Wilson wants a hearing on this correction of history he isn’t going to get it with people who aren’t already in his camp by being so insensitive in the way he says things.

    1. Tim says:

      I don’t really care if you think his argument is silly or his historical facts are wrong. I honestly just wonder why this isn’t being treated like any other perceived “silly” or “ahistorical” argument.

      Once again, my only real concern is the precedence that these interactions set.

      How do we determine how to handle these types of situations?

      Who makes the call whether the tone is sinful or whether the offense taken is unrighteous?

    2. Tim says:

      Brother how was what I said mean spirited, rude, or insensitive? Or were you referring to Doug? Either way, I am at a loss for words. Call the argument silly or ahistorical… But how is that argument, stated the way I stated it, insensitive?

    3. Tim says:

      See because the next thing that can happen is that someone will say that I am being insensitive and that I need to repent, and I am quite happy to repent of sin. However, in this case I think, as far as one can tell, the heart is deceitful, that all I am trying to do is ask honest questions about how to handle situations like this which are very common. I want to make sure that we are being biblical. So if someone were to confront me, what do I do, knowing what I know about my motives?

      1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

        Hi Tim,

        I notice you’ve been on this same theme for several comments. It’s not a bad question, but it does have the ring (in this flat medium especially) of being a kind of red herring. It seems like you keep raising this question in dismissal of things that would be at least partial answer for you. But believing the best, let me offer a couple quick thoughts and suggest you take the last word and we leave this line of inquiry either resolved or tabled.

        So, how do we handle being accused of insensitivity?

        First, I think you have to let go of the debatable notion that this exchange or the next time you’re accused by someone that it sets a precedent for all to follow. I just don’t think that’s true and it may be hindering your ability to respond to the actual incident in question. The Bible sets the precedent and plumb line, and since no two incidents are identical, we have to return to the Bible again and again to walk plumb with the word. So, first, let yourself enjoy the freedom of knowing your next reaction is not going to lock you and the rest of Christendom into some law.

        Second, treat the person who comes to you feeling offended with respect and gentleness. Sometimes people seem to think that gentleness is the same as capitulation. It’s not. Kindness is not weakness, and very often “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” Remember, you’re primarily engaging a person not an abstract argument or a “culture”.

        Third, keep in mind the biblical goal: restoration and reconciliation. We’re always to be searching for a means of wining our brothers over. We’re to be in search of winning unbelievers, too. And it just might be the case that we have to lose some arguments in order to win some persons. If you really don’t care about the issues here, it really should make it easier for you to be Winsome and patient on the way to reconciliation and restoration.

        Fourth, show some empathy. You already know what you meant and intended. What we don’t know in such situations is what people heard and whether their hearing it was a result of what we said. To know that, we’ve got to listen long enough to hear what they hear and see what they see. All this costs us is a little time and a little dying to self. I say “little,” but we all know dying to self tends to feel costly and involved. But that’s what makes it so important a thing to do. We won’t be empathetic unless we get self out of the way. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Consider the other more highly.

        Only after you’ve done that can you, sixth, step back out and talk about the connection between your words and their reaction. We may conclude any number of things: we said what we intended and our words were insensitive, our hearer heard what we meant and was too sensitive, we chose the wrong words such that our intent was not communicated and our hearer was hurt, we chose the wrong words and our hearer was too sensitive even though the words themselves were fine, and so on. There are many possible conclusions, but we can’t reach any of them justly until we’ve listened, empathized and evaluated.

        So, that’s a quick sketch of how we might approach those things.

        Your comments seem to put all this responsibility on the person feeling hurt by the speaker. In the best case scenario both speaker and hearer has to do this work. But even if the hearer struggles to do so, the speaker still needs to do it. Why do I say that? Because we need to give an account for our words. And even if our counterpart is unreasonable, that doesn’t mean we can absolve ourselves of speaking the truth in love. We can grow even if the other person doesn’t wish to.

        You may have the last word; then let’s leave it there.

        Grace, mercy and peace to you,

        1. Tim says:

          Once again I appreciate your graciousness in commenting. In truth I believe that evrything that you have said is a very wise way to approach a situation in which a person finds himself confronted. I am also very pleased to see you clearly state that you believe it is possible to be too sensitive. Many of my comments may appear to be an overemphasis on this point. Perhaps this is due to a lack of listening on my part or a perceived overemphasis on the responsibilities of the communicator to the detriment of the reaponsibilities of the listener. In many ways, I am speaking from the stand point of someone who is in the business of reconciliation. This means that when I attempt to help reconcile two people I consider half of my job to work on the “offender” with the proceedure you just mentioned and the other half of my job to work on the “offended,” with the necessary questions that I have perceived to be missing, whether in truth or misunderstanding. So yes, my main concern is to always do both. It is very rare that one person is the monster and the other person is the saint. In my view a healthy relationships is teaching Christians to have thick skin and to respond less out of hurt and more out of love for Christ and brother. As.a result, due to the subjectivity of these things I always think it encourage the “accusers” to ask questions before confronting “sensitivity” issues, such as why did you say it that way? Were you aware of how it could come across? This expression sounded very rude, do you think it is possible that this is arrogance coming it? Can you provide me with a better explanation? I think if this issue were approached in the way I described by you and by many commentators perhaps I wouldn’t feel the need to speak. I think you have done a remarkable job, just think you might have skipped a step. I’ll say one more thing and leave it at that. I do think it would go a long way in my mind to hear you speak more directly against the people.who are actually sinning against Doug through their irresponsible listening. Some might find themselves wanting to interject these comments because of a perceived onesidedness, that appears to be placing all the responsibility on the “offender.” I also don’t want to assume the worse but this is the appearance.

  17. Helen Howell says:

    Oh wonderful!! I spent most of yesterday making a similar compilation, hoping to read right straight through your arguments (instead of popping in and out as I have been). The only one I have on my list that was not included here was a post by Wilson from March 17 (between “How Koinonia Conquers” and “Sometimes the Exceptions…”) entitled “The Designated Ambition Pole,” which was a sort of parenthetical post offering some more background on his reasons for writing “Black and Tan.” Here is the URL:

    Thank you both for this discussion – it has been educational and enjoyable to follow it.

    1. Jacob Young says:


      Thanks for pointing this post out. Very helpful for the pdf I’m compiling.

  18. Joe B says:

    I am not naive enough to think that the only times I am insensitive to my wife are when she mentions it to me. If I am serious about loving her I ought to allow those few occasions she points it out to serve as gracious prods from the LORD to help me guard my words towards someone I love. And the key verse Thabitti and Wilson cited was “you shall love your neighbor as yourself. “

  19. Rick Myers says:

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. A few days ago I told my son, who was just baptized, that I want him to read this exchange for several reasons, and I was just about to sift through the last several weeks of posts to give him an easier way to follow it all. You have made both our work easier. Thanks again.

  20. Joe B says:

    Tim, I wasn’t accusing you of being mean-spirited or rude. I do think it is silly to make the leap from seeing John Brown and the actions of abolitionists as heroic (even tainted by sin) and saying that means we must encourage Christians to kill all abortionists. It is a false analogy that comes across as silly to me. I apologize for not being clearer on what I was trying to say.

    1. Tim says:

      None taken bro

    2. Tim says:

      I appreciate you clarifying yourself, and apologizing, but I definitely don’t think it is a crime to be unclear. I appreciate your graciousness.

  21. Jason Van Bemmel says:

    I thought this whole exchange was well done and profitable. It should not be as rare as it is. However, I am saddened that abortion did not get more attention. Wilson is right in asserting that abortion is far worse than slavery. I disagree with Wilson on slavery; I agree more with Thabiti. Frederick Douglas’ autobiography and Uncle Tom’s Cabin both rank in my Top 10 favorite books of all time, as does To Kill a Mockingbird. I sympathize much more with Thabiti in these race/slavery discussions.

    However, all the discussion missed the main point: Abortion, supported loudly and proudly by our current president, kills over a million unborn babies every year, and 400,000 of them are black. I think a president who has publicly supported the legal slaughter of 2 million unborn black babies during his time in office should not have the overwhelming support of the black community. He is an evil monster. Thabiti never engaged meaningfully on the abortion question and he does not take the problem seriously enough. If unborn children are human persons who bear God’s image, then abortion is the worst evil in the history of the world and Roe v Wade the worst injustice in the history of the US. Nothing else can even begin to compare.

    1. Thabiti Anyabwile says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for following the discussion and taking the time to contribute. I appreciate it.

      Your comment/challenge deserves more time than I can give it right now, but let me offer two quick comments. First, it’s factually incorrect to say “Thabiti… does not take the problem seriously enough.” I take it very seriously. I agree that it ranks as the worst social evil in our time, a holocaust. But, for me, this discussion was never primarily about abortion. I answered questions in the comment section where I thought appropriate (like here), but that wasn’t what started this discussion or prompted my initial tweets. I know several people wanted it to be all about abortion, but it simply wasn’t. So to conclude from that that I don’t take it seriously enough is simply wrong.

      Second, I don’t think injecting President Barack Obama into this or the fact that he’s “black” and 40% of the aborted unborn are black moves the discussion one bit. We may think what we wish about who the Black community should support. And we may resort to name calling where the president is concerned. But all of that is more heat than light; it doesn’t help us one bit–even with people like myself who agree with you on the issue of abortion. Better we roll up our sleeves where we live and work and try to get some concrete things done than fall back on assumptions about each other (like I don’t care seriously enough) or busy ourselves blog comments.

      For my part, I’m a minister in a country where abortion is illegal and I work with other ministers here to keep the U.K.’s laws and policies on so-called same sex marriage, abortion, etc. from ever becoming the law here. When I was stateside, I did what I considered my part on working for public policy that fought for the same kinds of lines. Instead of the finger pointing, motive questioning, and demagoguery, let’s just pray for one another, encourage one another, and seek after righteousness. We’ll get more done I trust.


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Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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