K. Edward Copeland, a pastor in Illinois and a council member of The Gospel Coalition (TGC), published an article on Aug. 29, 2020, that actually called Kyle Rittenhouse an "armed mass shooter," listing him alongside the Charleston church shooter.
"When armed mass shooters (Kyle Rittenhouse, Dylan Roof, etc.) are apprehended without incident, and unarmed black people are killed out of fear that they might be armed, we have a more insidious problem than "a few bad apples," Copeland wrote. "This thing is cultural, pervasive, and abominable."
Oh, you don't believe me? Here's the screenshot, which you can treat like a "Try Not To Cringe Challenge."
Of all the mass shooters to put next to Rittenhouse's name, he picked the one who shot up a black-majority church. Oh! And that "etc." really is a nice touch, isn't it?
Rittenhouse has since been found "not guilty" on all charges (as you no doubt know), and some Christian folks before and after the decision called on TGC to retract the article.
Now, to be clear, Copeland's take was a preposterous one even before that decision. But it's even more ridiculous, knowing what we know now about the Kenosha incident.
If Copeland and/or TGC regrets the article from last year, then they should publicly address it and repent.
If TGC and/or Copeland really stand by this terrible article, then it'd be nice to see (at least) some kind of additional defense for it.
"The Kyle Rittenhouse trial is a shocking and depressing example of injustice. It's especially saddening that Christian organizations like the Gospel Coalition joined the mob and falsely labeled Rittenhouse a ‘mass shooter like [the Charleston church shooter],'" Christian blogger Samuel Sey said. "It's shameful."
Sey is black, by the way, but I guess we're not supposed to care about his black voice since he opposes Wokeism.
"This article by @TGC is one of the reasons why evangelicals have remained divided by social justice. This article ignores the law & villainizes an innocent man by promoting the CRT / BLM talking points," G3 Ministries director Josh Buice said, calling TGC's publishing of the article "irresponsible" and "anti-gospel."
The Charleston shooting is qualitatively different in basically every way from the Kenosha shooting with Rittenhouse. How on earth would anyone naturally arrive at that conclusion just from looking at the facts of each incident?
It really is regrettable how misguided this piece from The Gospel Coalition is.
Jesus calls himself "The Truth" in the Gospel of John. The Apostle Paul refers to the Church as the "Pillar and Buttress of Truth" in 1 Timothy. Christians are to confess and profess the truth and only the truth.
Copeland's words published by TGC are simply not truthful.
Grace Bible Theological Seminary provost Owen Strachan recently said in an interview that many Christians "tragically are being taken captive by an ideology that has nothing to do with Scripture."
"Pastors who formerly had a reputation for staunch Reformed doctrine that defied the world and made many disciples now are giving lukewarm lectures based in godless sociology texts," Strachan said. "It is an absolute abdication of biblical conviction."
"What we are now taught today is that white people have more sin to confess than they thought they did. They may have thought they had become Christians, and are free now from condemnation. But instead, because of this newfound structural guilt, white people who have been Christians for years and have individually committed no sin of racism are still condemned. Not personally, but structurally. They are not free in Christ, as they once believed."
Strachan said pastors should instead proclaim "the uniting gospel of Jesus Christ that brings people together from every background, every skin color, every ethnicity and proclaims that they are presently one family, by virtue of the death of Christ, and saving faith given us by God."