Singer & McAtee on Historiography

“Without the Biblical doctrine of God, a valid interpretation of the realm of history is impossible. It is the sovereign God who created the world, and by His creation brought history into being. In creation, God gave meaning and purpose to the world. It is ONLY in this setting that man can meaningfully interpret and understand history. In his understanding of the Trinity, Augustine furnished the Christian study of history with an insight lacking to classical students. The Trinitarian God in Augustine solved the problem of the one and the many in ancient philosophy and made history possible to a Supreme Being rather than to fate or chance. It is this Supreme Trinitarian Being who created man in His image and thus conferred meaning and purpose upon human existence. History is not subject to the dictates of fate, which is neither the beginning nor end of the historical process and which cannot give to it any purpose. In these doctrines, Augustine rescued historiography from the grip of the classical concept of determinism which could only render history meaningless and irrational.”

C. Gregg Singer
Christian Approaches; Philosophy / History – p. 28-29

Without a Sovereign God determining history and meaning, all man is left is history by impersonal fate or impersonal chance. Interestingly enough, when God is eliminated from Historiography then fate and chance together work as limiting concepts that provide the framework in which history is penned. So, despite the idea that fate and chance are opposites, fate and chance work together as two wash-women taking in each other’s wash off the line. Pure chance will finally slip into fate and pure fate will finally slip into chance.

All of this means that we must read history through a definitively Christian theological grid which means that we will come to different conclusions from historians who are not epistemologically self-consciously Christian. Historical events then will be for the Christian historian interpreted diametrically differently than for the non-Christian.

A Few Anti-Revolutionary Authors

The rise of the Christ haters is only but the latest instantiation of the fruit of modernity as it started with the Fall of the Bastille. For over 200 years now the Revolutionaries of the West have sought to eliminate the Ancien Regime of Christ’s rule.

Christians, we must be anti-revolutionary. We must join the great company of those who have fought the anti-revolutionary fight since the “Enlightenment.”

Should you want to join that fight you must steep yourself in the anti-Revolutionary writings. You must read,

The Southern Clergy

R. L.  Dabney
James Henley Thornwell
Benjamin Morgan Palmer
John Giradeau

The Southern Agrarians

Donald Davidson
John Crowe Ransom
Flannery O’Connor
Andrew Nelson Lytle
Allen Tate
Richard Weaver
Wendell Berry

The Continental anti-Revolutionaries

Groen Van Prinisterer
Abraham Kuyper
Herman Bavinck
Jean-Henri Merle d’Aubigné
Thomas Chalmers


Hillaire Belloc
G. K. Chesterton
Dorothy Day

The anti-federalists

Patrick Henry
Samuel Adams
John Hancock
Fisher Ames
John C. Calhoun

The Presuppositionalists

Cornelius Van Til
Gordon Haddon Clark
Francis Schaeffer
R. J. Rushdoony
C. Greg Singer
Gregg Bahnsen

The Novelists & Essayists

Arthur Queller Couch
C. S. Lewis
Dorothy Sayers
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Buchan

Four themes one finds in the writings of the anti-revolutionaries

1.) Love of Home
2.) Sense of rootedness
3.) Sense of purpose in time.
4.) Hatred of the Nanny State

Challenging Thabiti Anyabwile’s Marxist Narrative


“What we’re getting here is a “both sides” view of history that suggests all parties are equally guilty of racism. Now, I agree that something like racism, ethnic bigotry, and other species of alienation and animus and idolatry of self exists among all people. But I was talking about 1950-’60s America. I was making a comment about a particular setting in which it cannot be said that both sides were equally guilty in the animus. African Americans have never carried out lynchings. African Americans have never passed “Jim Brown laws” to retaliate for Jim Crow laws. We have never systematically ostracized and oppressed white people as a group. The sin of the period was unilaterally and systematically directed from whites toward blacks.

One of the amazing things about African Americans is that we have survived for so long without giving fully into the racial animosity that could exist given how we’ve been treated. It’s a wonderful providence and humanly speaking we have millions of mothers and fathers and the likes of the Dr. Kings of the world to thank for teaching us not to give in to hate.

Until we get these basic points of history correct we’re not having the same conversation. And when we appear to equivocate about where the guilt and responsibility actually lie, we make it far too easy for strains of that former behavior, attitude, and complicity to continue unchecked.”

 Thabiti Anyabwile

We are dealing with a different fact set in this discussion and so the good Rev. is quite correct about not having the same conversation. The good Rev. is embracing a particular Marxist history because of the influence of Marxism on his worldview. In Marxist history, the leverage point is the conflict between in groups and out groups. In classical Marxists history, the bourgeoisie is oppressing the proletariat. In classical Marxist feminist history, males are oppressing females. In recent Marxist history of gender, heteronormativity oppresses LGBTQ normativity. In classical Marxist racial history, whites are oppressing minorities. Elsewhere Rev. TA has said,

“For a long time, I’ve just let the phrase (Marxist) and its variants go. But it seems like it’s not dying, and no one seems to be producing any actual writing or research to substantiate the term. “

However, the term is substantiated if only by the history that TA is appealing to. The Worldview that is pushing TA’s history is Marxism. Secondly, observations that TA is practicing a kind of Marxism narrative is seen in his recent support for the candidate Bernie Sanders who is an avowed Socialist (Marxist).  Third, that TA is pushing a racial Marxist narrative is seen in the fact that his facts are disputed. Consider the following,

Myth #1 –African Americans never carried out any lynchings

In this link below, there are all kinds of examples of African-Americans carrying out lynching along with photos. Most of the information below is cut and pasted from this link.

There was without question a determined effort in the South among White people to have the Black race live separately. However, there was, prior to 1964, nothing illegal or even immoral in this desire. Nor was it an act of racism. One distinct people living separate from another distinct people was not just the norm in American history (up until 1964) but human history as well. Regarding lynching… When a White person was attacked (rape or murder) and the perpetrator was Black, this was seen as an attack on “the group” and White people responded more often than not with uncharacteristic ferocity. Blacks were rarely ever assaulted (rape or murder) by a White person in the South. 99.9% of the cases I have found where violence crossed racial lines, it was Black- on-White … and the result was a raging and maddened mob out for revenge. These were the times in which they lived. The vast number of attacks by Blacks on innocent southern White people, including rape, in this type of atmosphere, boggles my mind.

Myth #2 — Blacks didn’t give into hate in a systemic fashion

Again, this is just not true as seen in just the Whitman’s sampler below. See link provided above for active links.

. Atlanta, GA. – 1900: Black male bully sat on a white male’s lap while riding a on street car, deliberately trying to humiliate and antagonize him. A fight ensued and the black male pulled a concealed gun and gunned down the young white male. Oh, and in the state of Georgia in 1900, the color-line mandate was not being enforced, so blacks could sit where they pleased.

2.Shreveport, La. – 1901: Black Supremacist organization advocated violence against white people. One white male was murdered. Link

3. Columbus, Ga. – 1900: Negro crawled into the bedroom of young white girl thru an open window and attempted to rape her. Link

4. Columbus, Mo. 1901 – Negro raped his employer’s wife…then shot her in the head
Brother-in-law of murder victim:  “I want to speak to him, how many times we cared for him and how kind Mary was to him, and ask him why he killed her. Then, when he has answered that, I want to see him burned.”  Link

5. Tuscumbia, Ala. – 1901:  It’s a MASSACRE – Negro petty criminal ambushed sheriff and deputy and murdered both – he then gunned down seven more white males – four dead.  Link (note: the death count was later revised)

6. Dublin, Ga. -1908: Two Negro employees invaded the home of their [white] employer, beat him senseless with an ax, gang raped his wife … then slashed her to pieces demanding to know the whereabouts of household money  Link

7. Satton, W.Va. – 1908: Home Invasion By Negroes – White male homeowner was tied to a tree then whipped — negroes then gang raped his wife (no, I’m not kidding) Link

8. Hot Springs Ark. – 1908: Negro cook decides he gonna have a little fun with hungry young white male – taunts him with food offer – makes him work in the blazing heat until he can’t work any longer… Negro then guns him down. Link 

9.Eufala, Ala. 1911: Prominent American woman was stalked by a negro sexual predator as she walked from a neighbor’s home to her home. The negro finally grabbed her and wrestled her to the ground. As the negro started to tear her clothes off … to rape her… her desperate screams for help saved her.  White males quickly came to her rescue. Link

10. Stephensport, Ky. – 1904: Negroes “Lynch” Young White Male – If Emmit Till murder was a “lynching” than this one should also be judged a lynching as well. Two negro brothers went after a young white male who , their sister claimed, “insulted her”. When they found the young white male … they slit his throat from ear to ear. source  

Let us consider the 86 years of American segregation (1882 – 1968). During that time period, there were 4,743 lynchings in America according to the black founded and run Tuskegee Institute. Of those, 1,297 (27%) lynchings were of white people. Why was this? Contra Hollywood and modern history textbooks, the purpose of lynchings was not “racism”, but the public and guaranteed punishment of crime. That is why 695 (14%) of lynchings took place in one of the 33 non-segregated states. Lynching was a method of criminal justice when a particularly grievous crime had been committed and/or the citizens were unsure if they would get justice through the courts.

We are not speaking about if we *agree* with the practice, we are speaking about the historical realities of it. Lynching was about punishing criminals, not “uppity blacks who were getting out of hand” as [ as many put it]. This is seen in the reasons the Tuskegee Institute lists for the lynchings: homicide 41%, felony assault 4%, rape 19%, attempted rape 6%, robbery/theft 5%. Only 85 lynchings (less than 2% of total) over the entire course of those 86 years in the entire country are listed as “insult to white person” as the reason.

The average law-abiding Southern black had nothing to worry about, the noose was for rapists and murderers. The fact that only 3,446 blacks were lynched out of the millions of blacks living in the South during that time period puts to rest the stereotype of a noose on every tree. To put this in perspective, there are currently 7,000 blacks murdered by other blacks every year in America. So every year blacks kill twice as many blacks as were lynched in total over a 86 year time period.

Rev. Anyabwile is correct when he says that “until we get these basic points of history correct we’re not having the same conversation.” If the facts were what TA says they were then, of course, his point would stand but those “facts” that he is citing are disputable and the worldview he is using as his interpretation of facts is likewise more than disputable.  TA is playing an old and dangerous game right now and the success of his endeavors is likely to continue since most of the people he is speaking to, ignorant of other historical narratives, just accept his version and worldview of the facts.

Let it be clearly noted that I’m not denying that there were white people who did shameful things to black people. However, I am denying that it was uniformly happening in the way TA places it in his Marxist narrative.

That blacks were not the innocents that TA suggests is dismissed by any reading of the Reconstruction period from 1865-1877, as well as by considering what was provided above.


A Short Consideration on Conspiracy Theory and History

John 11:53 — “So from that day on they plotted to kill Him.”

Again, we are forced to consider from this text the reality of two very popular notions that are increasingly coming to the fore in our times; the deep state and the reality of conspiracy.

Those who plotted against Jesus would be what we call the deep state. The Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees were the power brokers of that time. They were moving behind the scenes in order to, in many respects, create the reality which Jesus had to face. They were the ones that worked on the arrest. They were the ones who bribed Judas for their plotting purposes. They were the ones that manipulated Pilate- i.e. — “If you release this man you are no friend of Caesar”.  They were the ones who ginned up the crowds to cry out “crucify Him… crucify him.” The idea of a deep state manipulating the perception of reality has been with us forever. And of course, all this speaks of conspiracy. There was a conspiracy to put Jesus Christ on the Cross. The recognition of that conspiracy or the pointing out of conspiracies, in general, does not necessarily mean that we think conspiracies are sovereign over God. We can point out conspiracies realizing that God is conspiring to overturn the conspiracy of wicked men. The fact that conspiracies exist doesn’t mean that those who understand those conspiracies do not believe God is not sovereign. It merely means that they recognize that God often governs the affairs of men through the conspiring of men. To recognize conspiracy does not mean that we think those who conspire are sovereign. Even in their conspiring, they act according to God’s predestined purposes, which is exactly what God points out in the book of Acts,

26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27 For truly against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, had gathered together 28 to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done.

The beginning of putting Jesus to death was the conspiring against Him.

History in its large moments doesn’t typically happen by random chance. It happens often at its significant points (like the crucifixion of Christ) in the context of wicked men conspiring. But behind those who conspire is the God who conspires against the wicked and their conspiracies by His predestinating word. So we have wheels within wheels. Men conspire, but the conspiracies of men are the result of God conspiring against the very same men so that even the conspiracies of men both reveal and serve the purposes of God for those with eyes to see.

Consequently, we would be foolish to not take into consideration the reality of conspiracy theory as a penultimate and secondary means for how God moves history forward to His destination. The idea that the first history we get in journalist accounts, or the history we read by the official court historians or the history we learn in our History 101 course in college is anything but some kind of humanist historicism to be accepted on face value is not wise.

Having said all this it is well recognized that conspiracies are not easily sniffed out and identified. Understanding historical events is often a matter of conjecture and probability and then seeing how matters conveniently fit together in a pattern that is other than what the court historians offer. One particularly well known American believed much the same,

 But when we see a lot of framed timbers (sub-events of the same historical event), different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen — Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance — and when we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few — not omitting even scaffolding — or, if a single piece be lacking, we can see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared to yet bring such piece in — in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first lick was struck.

In this paragraph, Abraham Lincoln is representing the Dredd Scott decision as the consequence of a long series of conspiring by prominent men to arrive at a long predetermined decision. The point here isn’t that Lincoln was right on this point. The point is that Lincoln saw history here as a conspiracy.  We agree and we agree that we likewise must look at the timbers (the individual historical exigencies)  to see if they were framed by plotters to exactly fit.

People who believe that large historical events happen randomly or by chance or “they just happened” are beyond incredulous. People who believe that the court historians give the unvarnished truth are likewise beyond incredulous. As men as power broker did so with the crucifixion of Jesus, men as power brokers continue to do so today to plot and conspire and then to cover up the truth. Here those who believe in the conspiracy theory of history invoke, “It is the glory of those who think they are Gods to conceal a thing: but the honor of God’s people is to search out a matter.”

Men are seldom going to be unified on any one account of a historical happening or the kind of conspiracy that might or might not have driven the event.  At the very least though, men might begin to agree that wicked men do plot and conspire and that at the very least God’s people should closely examine all official accounts that come to us by wicked men who have a vested interest to bend reality in their direction.

Reflections on Passchendaele


During August 1917, when the battle of Passchendaele was raging, 127 mm of rain fell in Flanders which was double the normal average for that month. Combine this with the reality that Ypres, where Passchendaele was fought, was a region largely made up of flat, low ground that was kept dry only with the help of an intricate series of dikes and ditches which had been broken and shattered by the heavy shelling that Ypres had seen both with the onslaught preparing the Passchendaele assault and with the heavy shelling in the first two battles fought at Ypres. All of this meant that the terrain on which the soldiers fighting the battle of Passchendaele on was mud-hell. Some soldiers later wrote that it was like fighting on a bottomless bowl of porridge.

The mud was so gooey … so thick … so bad that many of the soldiers were drowning in mud. The trauma of this was doubled by the fact that this was a comparatively slow process. A soldier would get stuck and eventually three more soldiers would be on the scene trying to pull their comrade out of the porridge mud but with no success. It became so bad that eventually, stuck soldiers having heard of the mud drownings would beg, once a certain point was reached in their sinking, for their comrades to shoot them so that they would not suffocate beneath the mud. Many obliged their comrades. One Lieutenant became so maddened that he began hacking with his sword a soldier who was stuck up to his armpits in the goo. The Lieutenant was not being cruel, he had just flipped out at his inability to keep his men from dying in this way.

The water was pooled everywhere. However, that same water was fetid as the holes the water was filling when not filled with rotting corpses were being used as latrines. Also, the heavy poisonous gas that was part of the shelling would find the low spots as a natural residing place. The irony in all this is that the supply lines had not been able to provide fresh potable water to the front lines so that on one hand the soldiers were drenched with water while on the other hand many were languishing from dehydration.

The mud and water were so bad there was no way to advance. As such the military came up with the idea of laying down duckboards upon which the men could walk to advance. The problem with this military genius is that German machine guns didn’t bother with covering any of the ground except where the duckboards were laid down. Further, at night the German artillery would target the duckboards so that the duckboard laying had to start all over again the next day. So the rank and file soldier had to decide between taking his chances by dying in some muckhole that would swallow him whole or by dying by being a sitting duck for a German machine gunner while keeping to the duckboards.

You can look at old photos of horses and donkeys sunk up to their necks in mud and muck while still harnessed to the wagons they were seeking to pull.

There were 275,000 British casualties at Passchendaele while the Germans chimed in at 220,000 casualties.

From the time that warfare began to fascinate me (very young) till today I still cannot get my mind around whatever would move a young man to endure those kinds of conditions to fight for the wickedness of men in high places. At 12 I had already decided I was not going to Vietnam but was headed to Canada if they were still fighting that fool war when I hit 18.

Is there something wrong with me that I take all these deaths so personal of 20 something-year-olds that died 100 years ago?