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Kainos Project

with Dale Chamberlain and Tamara Chamberlain

Should Slave-Owning Theologians Get Statues Celebrating Their Memory?

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Recently, controversy erupted over a statue on the campus of Princeton University.

The statue depicts John Witherspoon, an American founding father, pastor, denominational leader in the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, and the sixth president of Princeton. Presiding over the school for a quarter of a decade, he has been credited with bringing back Princeton from the brink of financial collapse. He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and an influential figure in helping garner support for the ratification of the United States Constitution.

He was also a slaveowner to two enslaved people, and he lectured and voted against the abolition of slavery in New Jersey. He believed that emancipation would mean freeing enslaved people "to their own ruin."

Because of this, some are calling for the statue honoring him on the campus of Princeton to be taken down. In response, others are arguing that it ought to remain. Among those arguing to keep the statue is pastor and theologian Kevin DeYoung.

In this episode, we take a closer look at who Witherspoon was, his significance and the significance of his views on slavery, and whether possibly taking down the statue is a result of cancel culture or merely a more honest retelling of our country's (and the church's) checkered history.

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January 03, 2023
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Meet Your Hosts
Dale Chamberlain is an author and podcaster who is passionate about helping people tackle ancient truths in everyday settings. He lives in Southern California with his wife Tamara and their two sons. Find out more about the Kainos Project at
Tamara Chamberlain is a speaker and author who is passionate about helping people live out their faith in authentic ways. She loves having conversations and creating community around the abundant life that Jesus promised us. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two sons.

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