Robert Walkup’s biography is in the previous section. On October 7, a week after preaching On Race Not Grace, Robert Walkup again preached on the situation at Ole Miss, but instead of wisdom, he asks the simple question, why? If God is a just God, why would he let this happen? Walkup, using Job as his exemplar, has three answers. First, God’s providence is often retributive. Because of slavery, because of unpunished lynchings, mobs could terrorize with impunity. And a just God would not forget. Second, even as God punishes, that punishment also teaches, setting us on the right course if we allow God to speak to us. And finally, God’s punishment can still be redemptive, drawing us closer to him even as we suffer. Perhaps ironically, redemptive suffering was also being preached from the other side of the “tracks,” but it followed from a completely different set of actions.
October 7, 1962
When you consider the football scores, it was a great weekend for us in Starkville. But we had a weekend a week ago that wasn’t a great weekend. Since we last assembled in this place something has happened that has hurt our whole state, and nation, and world. Many good weekends, but a week ago tragedy struck—and it’s too familiar to need my description at this time.
I am a minister of Jesus Christ—a Presbyterian Calvinist minister, if you please—a child of the Reformation, a believer in the Confession of Faith, which has said always that all events alike are under the sovereign will of God; which says that God is working out his purpose in the lives and times of men.
Now, believing that, do I not find myself, and do you not find yourself, crushed down between the horns of a cruel dilemma? How can we put
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Publication information: Book title: Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965. Contributors: Davis W. Houck - Editor, David E. Dixon - Editor. Publisher: Baylor University Press. Place of publication: Waco, TX. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 472.
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