In a discussion with woke Pastor Eric Mason (silver and gold! Hallelujah), Jerome Gay, Pastor of Vision Church in Raleigh, North Carolina and Gospel Coalition author, introduced us to the new theological term “Ecclesiological Cooning” while also engaging in some bad history and scholarship.
We have to admit to the historical whitewashing of Christianity, and then the effects of that. The whitewashing of Christianity leads to the whitewashing of scholarship. When we go back and look at everything, we see the Library of Alexandria – that’s in Africa. Monasticism, that’s dealing with being a monk – that started in Africa. When we look at the church fathers – Cyprian, Tertullian, the philosopher Origen. You talk about Augustine, you talk about Athanasius, these people were African. But when we get our seminary books, the black dwarf Athanasius looks like a white Sicilian man on the front of the book. Jesus is now white. All of the church fathers that are from Africa are now white. And then we begin using terms like ‘Northern Africa,’ and we try to make Northern Africa ‘Southern Europe.’ So we can justify whitewashing history and whitewashing scholarship, so anything of significance never comes from someone black.
We also have to admit ecclesiological cooning. And I’ve got an acronym for cooning: it’s ‘contributing to ongoing oppression through negligence.’ And so when we coon, we coon by perpetuating the myth of white Jesus, white church fathers, or we allow white evangelicals to say ‘race doesn’t matter,’ but you already put a white man on the book. How come you can say, ‘It doesn’t matter,’ after you’ve already made everything of significance in terms of theology and philosophy. When you do that you’ve already put that out there, so it’s just important that we have to admit those things.
In the discussion, Gay argues that white Christians have “whitewashed” scholarship by referencing that the Library of Alexandria is in Africa. We’re not exactly sure how this is relevant. The library of Alexandria was a famed wonder of the world established in Egypt around 260-ish BC. Egypt is a transcontinental country, split unevenly between Africa and Asia and considered to be a part of the Middle East. It fell into disrepair over several centuries and victim to multiple attacks and burning, until it was gone.
He also says that monasticism started in Africa. The earliest sources deal with the emergence of monasticism in Syria, not in Africa, and then Egypt, partly in Africa. Also what this has to do with “whitewashing” is beyond us.
Gay further lists a series of allegedly black theologians, calling Athanasisus a “black dwarf.” This is simply a fable, and there is no evidence that he was either of these things. Some point to a reference by Julian the Apostate that indicates a potential play on words to suggest he is short, but that is mere speculation for the famed Egyptian-born Bishop who lived in an ethnically diverse Roman empire.
As for the term “Ecclesiological Cooning,” it is simply another accusation of racism against white folk by drawing a link to the racial epithet of “coon.” A coon is one of most degrading of all black stereotypes – a dehumanizing perspective that specifically sees them as idle and lazy, inarticulate, easily frightened, and almost childish in their stupidity and uselessness. “Cooning” is the verb form [Editor’s note: Specifically it is a gerund, a noun turned into a verb by using the suffix “ing” to add action to the word for all you fellow grammar nerds. It is a shortening of the biological term Racoon.], and refers to a black person who acts “like a coon” as a way to entertain white people, which is viewed as an assault on black people.
To make this association for the alleged indignity of saying one doesn’t see skin color or consider race, believing we are all one race and ought to be viewed and treated as such, without partiality according to the scripture, is little more than an attempt to cause racial division and disunity, fueled by the scourge of critical race theory.