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Demonstrations Can Have Good and Bad Fruit

In this article appearing at, historian and theologian the Rev. Dr. William De Arteaga warns that mass demonstrations as the ones now carried on in the name of George Floyd can be double-edged swords. They can help bring needed reforms, as in the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s, which brought about so much good. But extremism and a lack of wisdom can also cause collateral damage. He makes his argument by using the example of the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, protests that he says forced the premature withdrawal of the US Army from Vietnam and led directly to the Cambodian Genocide and the politically repressive regime of the united Vietnam.

De Arteaga suggests there are several dangers in the present demonstrations to produce some collateral damage, especially damage that would result if extremists got control of the demonstrations. He encourages Christians to pray specifically for good fruit to result from the demonstrations.


Quotations from the article:

Historically, the assertion that frustration leads necessarily to violence is nonsense. Such statements give the TV commentators or politicians who say that a feeling that he or she are making a worthy moral observation. In fact, in regimes where injustice and tyranny are highest but the police apparatus brutal and merciless, the public swallows its anger and suffers its injustices without comment.

It would have been spiritually beneficial for prominent clergy to say the simple, biblical thing, “Sin should not be met with counter-sin. Police brutality is a sin, but looting is evil and a sin also.”

The famous Russian dissident and prophet, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, in his Harvard commencement address of 1978 noted that the abrupt end to the Vietnam War, forced by the anti-war movement, cost millions of lives. I and many of us who were in Vietnam agree. Had we stayed a bit longer, and continued to give the South Vietnamese Army our air support, we would have today in South Vietnam a democratic, economically vibrant and spiritually healthy county similar to South Korea.

Politics normally breeds exaggeration, and protest movements exaggerate the exaggerations. The TV reporters and pundits often use the phrase “endemic racism” about Americans. This is an exaggeration that is convenient to the protest organizers and politically Left groups, but this can be a sin of false or exaggerated judgment. … Also note how many Whites participate in the demonstrations. This alone should be cause to temper the accusations of “endemic racism.” Let us begin using the phrase “vestigial racism” to signify those who have not yet overcome their prejudices.


Protests on May 31, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Image: Koshu Kunii

“A Charismatic Historian’s Response to the George Floyd Demonstrations”
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Category: Living the Faith, Spring 2020

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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