Dwight Nelson on #ItIsTimeAU Video: "They're Right"

On Saturday, February 25, 2017, concurrent sermons on the campus of Andrews University addressed the #ItIsTimeAU video that took the campus and beyond by storm in recent days.

Dr. Dwight K. Nelson, lead pastor at Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University, scrapped the sermon he had been writing to address white privilege from the pulpit.

"Something happened in this sanctuary on Thursday and it had God's fingerprints all over it. I've never seen anything like it,” states Nelson, in reference to administration’s official response to the #ItIsTimeAU video during Thursday’s chapel service.

Nelson continued, “There is a pain deep within our faith community and our university campus. It may not be your pain—but until it becomes your business, the pain—plain and simple—cannot and will not be healed. In the school. In the church. In our own hearts.” This statement first appeared in Nelson’s February 22, 2017 church blog post, which he read at the beginning of his sermon.

WATCH: Dwight K. Nelson’s February 25, 2017 sermon. (Sermon begins at 34:35.)

At the end of the sermon, “connect cards” with next steps the congregation could check were passed out. “I want to reflect and practice the self-sacrificing love of Jesus with all races” and “I recognize I have benefited from White Privilege and want to now seek to extend those privileges to all races” were two of the four options available.

PMC Connect Card image credit: Brianna Moore via Twitter.com

While discussing what white privilege looks like on the Andrews campus, Nelson referenced New Life Fellowship Church:

"We are here in this space, while our friends at New Life, a predominantly African-American worship community on campus, are packed into the seminary chapel, and they're given one shot at that space. One shot. Spilling out into the atrium, wherever they can find space. And here we are, 100 yards away, and we have space to spare."

While Nelson preached to the PMC audience, Chaplain Michael Polite addressed the New Life congregation, and why he chose to participate in the #ItIsTimeAU video.

Polite states, “As James Baldwin writes: 'I love America. Therefore, I claim the right to critique it.' I love Andrews. But it is because I love it that I claim the right to critique it. But that does not mean I want to see it destroyed. And none of the students that I was able to walk with this past week desire to see it destroyed.”

WATCH: Chaplain Michael Polite’s February 25, 2017 sermon. (Sermon begins at 24:35.)

Alisa Williams is Spirituality Editor at SpectrumMagazine.org

If you respond to this article, please:

Make sure your comments are germane to the topic; be concise in your reply; demonstrate respect for people and ideas whether you agree or disagree with them; and limit yourself to one comment per article, unless the author of the article directly engages you in further conversation. Comments that meet these criteria are welcome on the Spectrum Website. Comments that fail to meet these criteria will be removed.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7893
1 Like

Pastor Ted Wilson, please take note on how it is to make right the mistakes of the past. Mistakes such as the doctrine of LGT, Male Headship theory, the approach to LGBT, WO and those “rebellious” unions.

May the good Lord bless you and your EXCOMM as you take the necessary steps toward reconciliation as exemplified by AU’s approach.

13 Likes

I am surprised that Nelson would feature and promote the work of Paul Kivel from the pulpit on Sabbath.

This is the Paul Kivel that blames every problem on Earth on Christianity. Including “global warming”. LOL.

This is the Paul Kivel that seizes every opportunity to devalue and condemn Christianity.
And to insist that every dysfunction in society can be traced to the core values of Christianity. He slams Christianity for having a hierarchical view that places God over man. He openly mocks the “need of a savior” Christians profess and goes on to explain how it actually has a crippling effect on people.

Paul Kivel’s theory on the white man’s accumulation of wealth at the expense of people of color directly opposes Biblical truth as well:

"To every man whom **God has given wealth and possessions,**he has also given him the ability to eat from them, to receive his reward and to find enjoyment from his toil; these things are the gift of God!" Ecclesiastes 3.

I can appreciate a lot of what Dr. Nelson said in his sermon, but I do not see this as being organic- it was a demanded apology and the response is naturally prone to be patronizing or token. Genuine reconciliation requires a mutual, reciprocated humility, which I haven’t been able to detect as of yet.

Should we now demand that all muslims in the US be required to fill out a card and check the box that says “I’m sorry that I helped smash planes into the World Trade Center”. No. Because;

THEY didn’t do it!!

You can’t project guilt on them because they were born arab. Likewise, all whites are not guilty of everything that “White Privilege” encompasses. I hope not too many people were emotionalized and shamed into checking that box! Address the pockets of incidental racism that occur- this universal shame method shouldn’t be accepted.
An apology for something you didn’t do isn’t an apology. ( I don’t really know what it is.) When you bring a political movement into the church, you risk hitching your wagon to something you shouldn’t.

The more I read about Paul Kivel, the more disappointed I am that Nelson featured such an anti-Christian.

7 Likes

Blood is all the same color. So are tears. Skin is the largest human organ, But the brain is the seat of the Spirit. So why is skin the offensive member?

6 Likes

Something wonderful happened at Andrews last week. The whole group wes involved not just the president of the Uni … Would I be too optimistic in wishing a similar blessing on the GC. We tend to blame Ted Wilson for all the ills in t hat instition but he could not function alone!, Many are involved and joint responsibility will one day be apportioned. PLEASE look closely and learn before it is too late Jim an Ausie.

4 Likes

The doctrine of Last Generation Theology offers the only genuine solution to racial hostility, as it does to every other sin in the human experience.

The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 are delivered to “every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” (verse 6). Those who respond to this message are described by as “they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (verse 14).

There will be no room in history’s final generation of believers for racial tensions or hatreds. God’s forgiving and transforming grace is the solution to the perversity of racism as it is to every other transgression of the divine law.

But any theology which makes room for perpetual sin in the lives of Christians renders the church helpless against every conceivable shortcoming to which men and women fall victim, including racial injustice.

Come to a GYC conference, or any similar gathering in the church, and you’ll find a rainbow of ethnic diversity and full racial oneness.

2 Likes

Sheer hubris. Christ’s second coming will be the only genuine solution to racial hostility. There will be no lack of racial hostility and other sins on this planet until Christ puts an end to it all on that very day. No doctrine will solve the problem of sin; it’s something that God does apart from any theological construct.

7 Likes

i really think that president andrea luxton, along with her entire staff at andrews, is handling this episode in the right way…these students on the #ItIsTimeAU video can’t point to specific instances of racism on campus, because there aren’t any…yet they’re still hurting…they’re coming into their prime, and recognizing correctly that huge odds are stacked against them in this world…

my take on the ultimatum in this video is that it’s really a plea for understanding and support from the people these students respect and look up to, more than anything…i’ve seen and felt that so much of black anger is exactly this, and the fact that they don’t always receive the kind of inclusion and empathy they so much want…of course it’s never presented in these terms, but this is how it should be understood…people have their dignity, and they don’t always say exactly what they mean…it’s easier to cite grievances in an accusing manner than to ask someone to be generous…but it’s up to others to be perceptive enough to sense what’s really going on, and i think andrea luxton and her team are reading this incident exactly right…i think there’s real opportunity here for increased understanding and empathy on the part of all concerned…

3 Likes

And I was always of the belief that it was Christ’s shed blood on Calvary and His resurrection that was the solution to every sin in all human experience. How can Last Generation Theology add anything to what God in Christ did in reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our sins against us. Could it be that the new commandment for us to love one another as Christ loves us, and specifically how He loved us on the cross, is the answer to racism and every other sin.

Law, which in SDA terminology means the 10 commandments, increases sin, condemns and kills and points us to Christ as the only answer. Paul made that clear. He also made it clear that if we are led by the Spirit we are not under the Law. A church that lives by the old covenant law of commandments will always have problems. That’s how law works.

The love that the Holy Spirit pours into the heart of born again believers in Jesus is the New Covenant way and God’s answer for all daily living. God’s commandments are that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He commanded us. And what did He command us but to love one another as He loved us. It’s not to love your neighbour as yourself. It’s to love others as Christ loved us. Big difference. ! John 3 and especially verses 23 and 24 are the key. Galatians 5:25 is not out of place in this context either.

Our challenge is to understand and experience the love that Father, Son and Holy Spirit poured out on the human race at Calvary.

8 Likes

No, Kevin Paulson, the fancy “theology” of LGT promoters just is a slash into the face of those I know as having been faithful, believing and living a life of Christian virtues for their lives after their baptism into the - my ! - local SDA church !
They did not an do not meet th “standards” of “holiness” . but they were and are commited out of their hearts to meet and share the ideal of Jesus’ love to their environment, always being aware never to be perfect and for all the days of their life need the forgving, justifying , completing, sancifying sacrifice of Jesus.

I refer to believers born 1880 - 1900 - 1920 - 1950 - - - - passed away in peace with God - - - - -eager to meet HIM.

3 Likes

Last Generation Theology nullifies Christ’s life of perfection and His death which qualified Him as the Saviour of the World.

How arrogant, Biblically untrue, and incredulous is it to claim that human flesh can duplicate and reach the perfect life of Christ on this earth. It is a lie. It is Christ’s righteousness and ONLY His righteousness that covers our filthy rags of sin and daily human flaws with His Perfectly White Garment of Righteousness as the Father then looks on us covered with Christ as we accept His gift of eternal life in Him. That is how we reach Biblical perfection in this life–only through Christ’s righteousness. To believe otherwise is to make “perfection” an idol and god.

May this LGT heresy never take hold to obliterate the Gospel of Jesus and the Good News of Salvation through Him only.

6 Likes

Seriously Dwight…“they’re right!” What “they’re” are you speaking of? The African American students? Does not sound like they are they part of his “they’re” I did not hear the students say on the PSA "hey Dwight whats up with your “they’re” for twenty some years?

If Dwight wants to be politically correct he needs to drop the “they’re” Of course Dwight does not apparently get it because the students see him as part of a different “they’re” You know an entrenched, privileged, white entitled “they’re.”

What a pile of hokum by all sides involved in this side show to a classical liberal education.

3 Likes

“Christ bears the penalty of man’s past transgression and by imparting(sanctification) to man
HIS righteousness makes it possible for man to Keeps God’s LAW.” (6BC) 1092.

“Man must work with human power aided by the divine power of Christ, to resist and conquer at any
cost to himself. In short man must overcome as Christ overcame. This could not be the case if CHRIST
ALONE DID ALL THE OVERCOMING. Man MUST do his part, he must be victor on his own account.”
(4T 32-33)

" Christ has made provision that the Holy Spirit should be imparted to every repentant soul.
to keep him from sinning." DA 311

It seems SOP supports you in this Kevin. That we must be overcomers and the power will be
given IF we are wiling to do our part. Ellen Harmon White makes it very clear that LGT

is very much a reality than can be attained. :wink:

Very well put. Good to see someone understanding the old and new covenants around here! Should join the Lounge for further dialogue.

2 Likes

At risk of being removed , I just have to try to record my appreciation for a piece of absolutely brilliant insight into black unvocalised perception. Merely talking derogatively about black hubris, and/or citing gospel to attempt to ensure black “meekness” (blessed are the meek) Is a feeble and transparent tactic to bolster status quo. How would meekness have helped America against Nazi aggression? how Did meekness help black boys who were strung up on crosses and their genitals set on fire for whistling at a white woman?

1 Like

Luckily, there is no official “headship” teaching or theology in our church. The day we as a church vote for that we will be going backwards. The LGBT subject to me , is much different. On one hand the church needs to be more sensitive and understanding to those of the LGBT community. Yet, LBGT group first represents a personal choice or how someone feels or think he or she is. Racism speaks to how we treat one another. The Adventist Church does not have to say that homosexual practice or same sex marriage/relationship is right to show respect and care for those individuals. We may not reach that point. I do not see them as exactly the same with racism. We can treat LGBT honorably without agree it is okay for them to marry or have out-of-marriage sexual relationship. Is that a tough one to call? Maybe it is. What do you say?

1 Like

Why has the sermon video suddenly disappeared online? Does the truth hurt this much?

“I recognize I have benefited from White Privilege and want to now seek to extend those privileges to all races”

Talk is cheap! Don’t tick the box if you ain’t able to go the whole nine yards… as in… willing to die for what you believe. You might hear the rooster crow as your colored friends (or even fellow christains) are led to imprisonment or the gallows. SHirk!

Then again… Every little bit helps! See you on the other-side!

John 15:13 - Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Although AU and the SDA Church have been guilty of racism in the past, the way the makers of the video have aired out their demands in a public way instead of privately and prayerfully speaking with the AU leadership and board is also unbiblical and unworthy of followers of Jesus.

African-American SDAs are certainly owed a sincere apology by the church and any if its entities that have engaged in institutional racism in the past. They could probably start by repealing regional conferences and fully integrating all SDAs regardless of ethnicity or race into one governing body.

At the same time, the SDA church’s message is much bigger than upholding a flawed human ideal of social justice as the standard to which we must aspire. Our message is to warn the world of the destruction that is coming and that the only ark of safety is through the justification and sanctification that Jesus offers to all through His intercessory work that is so beautifully symbolized in the sanctuary message.

However, if Caucasian SDAs at AU feel they are unjustly being made to pay for the sins of their fathers and grandfathers, they will end up abandoning AU like they did to AUC and WAU and head down to Southern in even greater numbers than is presently occurring.

[quote=“JSKMD, post:25, topic:13000”]
if Caucasian SDAs at AU feel they are unjustly being made to pay for the sins of their fathers and grandfathers, they will end up abandoning AU like they did to AUC and WAU and head down to Southern in even greater numbers than is presently occurring.
[/quote] In response to this quote I would like JSKMD to consider the following statement: I cannot speak to what happened at AUC but having lived in the DC area from birth to age 24, and currently having been a parent who had to find a place for my student to finish high school after Mount Vernon Academy closed in Ohio, I would say that what happened at AUC and WAU was a result of Adventist “White Flight” rather than Caucasian SDAs being made to pay for the sins of their fathers and grandfathers.
The main point of the race conversation that has been thrust into Adventist churches these past few years does fit into the our message to warn the world of the destruction that is coming. If we as Christians cannot love each other, and by love I mean treat each other withe respect and dignity, regardless of how we look on the outside, how can we tell the world to follow the message we are trying to share.
I did not grow up a Seventh-Day Adventist, when I was 19 years old my family moved to a racially mixed neighborhood. Our neighbor, a Caucasian woman, befriended my mother and invited my family to a Revelation seminar. We attended, started bible studies and later I, my brother, and my mother were baptized. My father did not choose to leave the church he was attending, but he did come to church with us occasionally. The church we joined was beautiful, there were people of every race and ethnicity. I thought, “This is what heaven will be like” I did not then realize that there were two separate conferences. Twenty years later as an Adventist, I have seen that this church really has not escaped the racial divide that so many other churches have.
Until, we all truly surrender our hearts to Christ, and allow His love to help us to reach out to people who are different from us, like my neighbor did, we will continue debating the race issues of our country. I think the message to take away from # ItsTimeAU, the administration’s response, and Dwight Nelson’s sermon, is that it is time to do better. Our message will not be viable if we have this division. We need to offer something different from the world, why would anyone want to join an organization that preaches the message of God only to be treatd with the same disrespect and disregard that the world outside treats them with. Running to a school/church where the race question does not come up will not solve the problem.

1 Like