Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Dr. Richard G. Howe Speaks Out About Juneteenth, America’s New Federal Holiday: ‘What Humans Need Is Not Merely Reform, but Regeneration’

SES Provost Says That Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ Can ‘Finally Repeal the Fall of Adam and Eve’

June 21, 2021

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Last Thursday, June 17, President Joe Biden signed into law a new bill making Juneteenth, or June 19, a federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery. It is now our country’s 12th federal holiday and is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther Day Jr. Day was created in 1983.

Earlier last week, House Democratic leaders moved quickly to vote on the bill after the Senate’s vote on it a day before. The House vote on the Juneteenth bill was an overwhelming 415-14. 

Dr. Richard G. Howe—Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics, and Norman L. Geisler Chair of Christian Apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu)—commented on these developments from a Christian apologetics perspective.

“While there seems to have been little disagreement in Congress on the propriety of creating the federal holiday Juneteenth, there might be some room for reflection,” said Dr. Howe. “First, no rational person should approve of slavery. Its evils can be demonstrated by the Natural Law Theory tradition, some vital elements of which are preserved in our Declaration of Independence—the context that framed the creation of our Constitution.

“Second, the end of slavery by Republicans in the U.S. is certainly something to be celebrated, regardless of whether a federal holiday serves that end,” noted Dr. Howe. “But we must not forget that ending slavery in the U.S. did not end slavery in the rest of the world.

“Third, in the midst of the celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S., we should resist the efforts of those who would try to turn the legitimate disdain of the evils of slavery into an argument supporting the false and toxic ideologies of Critical Race (or Critical Justice) Theory and Intersectionality.

“Fourth,” continued Dr. Howe, “it is ironic that the false and toxic ideologies of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, which motivate some to support Juneteenth, are a repudiation of the truths and values of Martin Luther King Jr. and the federal holiday enacted to honor him.

“And last, our politics will never be able to finally repeal the Fall of Adam and Eve. What humans need is not merely reform, but regeneration,” said Dr. Howe. “This can only come through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The majority of states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or have an official observance of the day; most states hold celebrations. For state employees in New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, Juneteenth is a paid holiday.

While Black Americans are rejoicing over the creation of Juneteenth, many also say that more action is needed to change policies that are disadvantageous to them, the Associated Press reported. Lawmakers are still trying to overcome divisions on police reform legislation following the death of George Floyd in May 2020 in Minneapolis. 

Earlier in 2021, SES released a new video pointing out several inconsistencies with today’s “wokeness” ideology and the importance for Christians to proclaim and defend the true and the good.

The SES video, titled “Are You Woke or Awake?,” has been well received on social media.

Also, SES will be hosting the upcoming event, “Awaken: Thinking Well about Wokism, Social Justice, and Racial Reconciliation,” on Saturday, August 7. It will be a livestream event from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. that day.

Dr. Richard G. Howe was named SES Provost on May 1, 2021. Dr. Howe is a writer as well as a public speaker and debater in churches, conferences, and university campuses on issues concerning Christian apologetics and philosophy. He is past president of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, has presented at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and has interacted with such leading Christian thinkers as William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Greg Koukl, and Frank Turek.

The mission of SES is to train men and women, based on the inerrant and infallible written Word of God, for the evangelization of the world and defense of the historic Christian faith. SES offers the 15-hour Certificate in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.SES believes that one must minister to the present generation according to its needs—and to do so with truth and power. Students need training in the ethical, political, and economic implications of the unchanging Faith “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The PPE can also be used as a concentration within most master’s degrees (excluding Master of Arts in Religion).The combination of PPE training and classical seminary education can be a potent one in combating the new heresies and false doctrines rooted in a secularist, progressivist worldview.

For more information on SES, visit its website at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (704) 847-5600.

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To interview Dr. Richard G. Howe of Southern Evangelical Seminary, contact Hamilton Strategies, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.