Your Pagan Ancestors

From Pr. Douglas Wilson’s Black & Tan, page 18:

There are a few things funnier than watching Europeans and those of European descent look down their noses at primitive cultures, taking pride in themselves. But what do you have, St. Paul asks, that you did not receive as a gift? And if you received it as a gift, why do you boast as though you did not? What was Europe like before the gospel arrived *there*? The answer is that it was every bit as wretched as anything you might dredge up from the history of the fens of Africa. Not that many centuries ago, *my* ancestors were engaged in idolatry, human sacrifice, and mindless superstitions, and I have heard about some berserkers who would strip naked, paint themselves blue, and run into battle. Just a few centuries later, taking the long view, their descendants would be building cathedrals and writing symphonies. The gospel is the issue—grace, not race…

The Kingdom of God is not tied to one nation, one ethnic tradition, or one stream of cultural development. Christ commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature. The universal salvation offered by Him means that all who turn in repentance away from their idolatries—whether African, aboriginal, American, or alternative—will be forgiven. Moreover, the prophets declare in many glorious passages that all the ends of the earth will turn, repent, and call upon the Lord. Their lives, families, households, tribes, and nations will be transformed by the power of the gospel. The Christian faith *is* the future of this world. The wonderful result will be a Trinitarian glory which will include lots of brown and tan, red and yellow, black and white.

More from pages 33-34:

All men exhibit the image of God equally, but all cultures are *not* equal. As we look at all the tribes of men, we see some that have landed a man on the moon, and some that have not yet worked out the concept of the wheel. We have some with one whole row in the supermarket dedicated to shampoo, while in another tribe hair is washed in cow urine. We have orchestras playing ‘The Brandenburg Concertos’ compared to someone beating on a hollow log with a couple of sticks. Now I am fully aware that to assert the superiority of one culture over another is enough to convict me of the charge of racism (as it is currently defined) in the minds of many. And I grant that it is quite possible that someone *could* argue for cultural superiority as a coded way of asserting the innate superiority of those individuals (and their genes!) who make up that superior culture.

But while some may have done this, it is not at all what I am doing here… the root of m denial of egalitarianism is my belief in the superiority of the grace of God over and against every form of human works. The only true antithesis is between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The Christian faith *is* superior (being true and all), and so it brings blessings with it.

It is a fact that there is a wide disparity (of refinement and achievement) between cultures… and they are present because of the uneven progress of the gospel throughout the world. Everything that we enjoy culturally is simply the grace of God. What do we of “the West” have that we did not receive as a gift? And if as a gift, then why do we boast as though it were not a gift (1 Cor. 4:7)? Before the gospel came to my ancestors, what were we whites (with our alleged soo-perior genetics) doing with ourselves? Well, we were painting ourselves blue and running naked into battle. We would undergo warp spasms in order to fight in a completely gonzo condition. We were living in huts with thatched roofs and cooking our food over animal dung… We routinely conducted human sacrifice. We would capture Roman engines of warfare and be completely clueless about how to operate them. In a short word, we were barbarians, savages. So what transformed northern Europe, which was every bit as dark as the worst you might dig up in Africa’s history? The answer is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. As the Christian faith transformed Europe (and the loss of it is deforming it back again), so the Christian faith is in the process of transforming Africa. As a postmillennialist, I look forward to the time when the cathedrals, symphonies, and literature of Africa will put to shame the current achievements of dead white guys—not to take anything away from *them*, but there is a lot past seventh grade awaiting all human cultures in Christ…

Along these lines, check out this excerpt from Joe Rigney’s The Things of Earth.

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