Dr. Mike Horton Bearing False Witness Against Thornwell & Dabney


12:20-14:40 “Machen was flawed” regarding his racial views. “Dabney and Thornwell, the two main Southern theologians, they argued throughout their systemic theologies, their anthropology incorporated racism. Africans are inherently less human. And there were a lot of pro-slavery people who didn’t articulate those theological views, but they did. Leading Southern Presbyterian theologians. Machen never argued that. And moreover Machen showed that even though he didn’t make theological arguments for it, that he thought socially it was wrong. My thing is Dabney and Thornwell have nothing to say to the broader church today… Once you weave those kinds of godless doctrines into theology, it bleeds into soteriology, ecclesiology, eschatology. I think we just have to say the theological systems of Dabney and Thornwell should be considered moribund in our tradition. Different from Machen. So why not Christianity and Liberalism too? Because Christianity and Liberalism, nor any of Machen’s writings, sought to make theological arguments. He was frankly sociologically racist. But he didn’t undergird it with theological heresy. That’s why I would say there’s a different between somebody like Dabney and Thornwell and somebody like Machen.”

Mike Horton
White Horse Inn

Now, I’ve read a good deal of Dabney. Far less of Thornwell, but still more than your average clergy critter. There may be places where Dabney and Thornwell say what Horton insists that they said but I for one would like to have those quotes cited instead of just having to believe Horton, who has shown himself in the past to be more than able to get matter wrong. So, I concede it is possible that Dabney and Thornwell said things that communicated that “African are inherently less human,” but if they did I want the proof of that. I want the quotes. So, Mike, lets see the quotes that prove your statement because absent those quotes you need to shut your pie-hole.

I want the proof of that because I have quotes from Dabney and Thornwell that prove they most certainly did not believe that. For example;

“The Negro is one blood with ourselves — that he has sinned as we have, and that he has has an equal interest with us in the great Redemption. Science, falsely so called, may attempt to exclude him from the brotherhood of humanity…. but the instinctive impulses of our nature combined with the plainest declaration of the Word of God, lead us to recognize in his form and lineaments — his moral, religious, and intellectual nature — the same humanity in which we glory as the image of God. We are not ashamed to call him our brother.”

Dr. James Henley Thornwell
Sermon — Rights and Duties of Masters

Does that sound like Thornwell is saying that the African is inherently less human than whites? I mean the man explicitly says that “the Negro is one blood with ourselves.”  The quote, taken as a whole, completely testifies that Horton is bearing false witness against a Father in the faith. Now, maybe Horton has some quotes wherein Thornwell contradicts himself here. If so, let Horton reproduce those quotes. Only be doing so can Horton be cleared of bearing false witness. Without said quotes demonstrating Horton’s allegation Horton needs to either publicly repent or failing that, be brought up on charges.

Now as to Dabney we read from his pen,

“… While we believe that “God made of one blood all nations of men to dwell under the whole heavens,” we know that the African has become, according to a well-known law of natural history, by the manifold influences of the ages, a different, fixed species of the race, separated from the white man by traits bodily, mental and moral, almost as rigid and permanent as those of genus. Hence the offspring of an amalgamation must be a hybrid race… incapable of the career of civilization and glory as an independent race. And this apparently is the destiny which our conquerors have in view. If indeed they can mix the blood of the heroes of Manassas with this vile stream from the fens of Africa, then they will never again have occasion to tremble before the righteous resistance of Virginia freemen; but will have a race supple and vile enough to fill that position of political subjection, which they desire to fix on the South?

R. L. Dabney
A Defense of Virginia & the South

Again, Horton may have quotes from Dabney from his systematic theology wherein Dabney contradicts himself. Note here that Dabney writes that;

1.) The African belongs to the nations that God made of one blood to dwell upon the earth. This contradicts Horton’s claim that Dabney believed that “African were inherently less human.”

2.) When Dabney speaks of the African as a “different fixed species of the race,” he is again affirming that Africans are human. Different does not mean “inherently less human.”

3.) Anybody who knows the history of tribal Africa blinks not a whit at the description of “vile stream from the fens of Africa.” One could easily imagine Cortez describing the “vile stream from the fens of the Aztecs,” or Moses describing the “vile stream from the fens of Canaan.”

4.) As much as the R2K Gnostic Mike Horton might find the Dabney quote he nowhere here says that Africans are inherently less human. Indeed, he admits they are human by noting the one blood concept. He merely recognizes there are vast differences between the African race and the white man.

So again, Dr. Horton, or anybody who would like to defend Horton, please do us a favor and provide the Thornwell and Dabney quotes that proves that they thought the African was inherently less human.

One more thing here before I sign off. This statement by Horton is breathtaking in its absolute idiocy;

“Because Christianity and Liberalism, nor any of Machen’s writings, sought to make theological arguments.”

I’m pretty confident that Machen would be surprised to learn that in none of his writings was he seeking to make theological arguments. This statement is nothing but dumbassery on Horton’s part.

In conclusion, I hope I live long enough to see the day when the theological system of Horton will be taken as completely moribund and when in Seminaries Horton is held up as a negative example of doing theology much the way that Charles Grandison Finney is mocked today as a theologian in Reformed seminaries.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

One thought on “Dr. Mike Horton Bearing False Witness Against Thornwell & Dabney”

  1. Even at 63, you shall live to see your wish. Horton is already scorned, mocked and ridiculed in more than a few corners of the Reformed and seminary world. It’s only a matter of a short time before these rumblings become like the sound of many waters. GPTS, MARS, Heidelberg Seminary (Sioux Falls, SD) already hold Horton and his ilk in derision.

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