by Shane Kastler -
Some media outlets love stirring up strife because it makes for good copy; and one of the most volatile venues in our country today is race relations. I fear the media threw out the bait with a misleading headline and many took the bait and gave the press what they wanted -
In addition to Forrest, Rep. Sparks' original bill (which was shot down in committee) also honored Sampson Keeble, the first African-
My hope is that one day the story of Forrest's Christian conversion and his defense of racial equality will be as well-
Shane Kastler is an author and pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where he resides.
Nathan Bedford Forrest recently made the news again, but it is never for a good reason. Rep. Mike Sparks of Smyrna introduced a House Resolution (HR 97) to honor me, and shortly thereafter Forrest made the news. Some might wonder why I would write a book praising Forrest. My answer is, "I didn't." I wrote a book praising Jesus for having the ability to save any sinner, including Nathan Bedford Forrest. This is why the word "redemption" is used in my title.
I've been called a "Forrest apologist" by many. But far from defending his sins (which is what an apologist might do), I wrote openly about Forrest as a violent man, a racist, and "the chief of sinners." In fact, I wrote in my book that the bigger Forrest's sins were, the greater my thesis would be served. After all, I was writing about a big God who displays big grace to save big sinners. I deplore Forrest's pre-
I do sympathize with those African-
"Tennessee Lawmakers Unwittingly Vote to Honor Klan Leader." Yet this headline is extraordinarily misleading. The resolution honored me, not Forrest; and neither of us are racist. Forrest clearly was, but then God changed him. And isn't this what we want to happen with every racist? Would we not love to see every racist changed to such an extent that they actually speak out for racial equality? And if they did, would we insist on maligning them for past sins? Jesus once said, "He who is without sin may cast the first stone." (John 8:7) And none are without sin, except Jesus alone. In the end, only he can judge righteously.