Saturday, July 14, 2018

No Scriptural Foundation: Further Dialogue with Faith and Heritage


In our continuing dialogue regarding the topic of Kinism, Mr. Carlton has penned his most recent response over at the Faith and Heritage website, entitled No Middle Ground: Continuing Dialogue With Truth Tribune. I'm not quite certain if Mr. Carlton intends for this to be his last response to me. If he does, I of course respect that; I never force anyone to respond to me, and he won't be hounded with emails and phone calls. In fact, that Mr. Carlton chose to offer any response in the first place is not a problem for me either. As I've told others in person and have expressed on Twitter, I'm thankful to Kinists for the fact that they've been willing to interact at all. I've written far more on Hyper-Charismatics for a much longer period of time, and yet, within so short a time frame, I've already received much more interaction from Kinists or those who hold Kinist-like views. (Even if this has ranged between beneficial conversation to - in extreme cases - reaching for the block button.)

If the reader is just now coming across this post, I would highly advise that they go back to the beginning, and start from there. I will be taking for granted that the reader is already aware of certain things discussed, or the flow of thought in this conversation.

As always, direct quotes from the article will be written in purple.

Returning to General Equity

Near the beginning of the article, Mr. Carlton returns to the topic of general equity, as mentioned in the Westminster Confession of Faith.
TT believes that my understanding of general equity is not in keeping with the intention of the Westminster divines. TT suggests that I use a “loose definition of ‘general equity,’” and he outlines several statements from Reformed theologians to make his case.

There is no need to reproduce all the quotes that TT provides since they can be read within his response. First, what I would like to address is the threefold division of the law that is utilized by the WCF and has been used by theologians long before the Protestant Reformation. This conventional distinction is present in many Christian writers throughout the centuries, and for the most part these Christians considered the judicial or civil laws of Israel to be no longer binding. However it would be overly simplistic to conclude from this that most Christians, Reformed or otherwise, rejected the basic premise of theonomy. These categories are often defined differently by modern theonomists than they were by more traditional Christian thinkers.

An example of this is the theonomy of Thomas Aquinas, wherein Aquinas states that the civil laws of Israel have been abrogated, but in his discussion of the divine law argues that the principles taught throughout what would often be considered civil laws remain binding. Aquinas speaks of natural law in the same way that early Protestants like Martin Luther and John Calvin did, as the divine and eternal law manifested in God’s creation and able to be understood to a certain degree by reason. According to Aquinas, God gave the written divine law “for the correction of natural law . . . because the natural law was perverted in the hearts of some men . . . so that they thought those things good which are naturally evil, which perversion stood in need of correction.” Aquinas’ Summa is replete with quotations of case laws given to Israel in which he assumes their abiding validity. Aquinas clearly believes that the underlying principles of the civil laws are the written manifestation of the divine law, which is based upon universal eternal principles and clarifies what human reason is prone to distorting.
I want to pause here and ask the reader a simple question: what did I do in my previous post?

The answer is I quoted the "general equity" section of the Westminster Confession in its entirety. I showed what else the Westminster Confession said regarding the Law. I then showed what other Reformed confessions and what great Reformed men from John Calvin onward had taught regarding the Law. What did we find? That all of them would have been condemned by Mr. Carlton, were he as consistent with them as he was with me. Consider, for example, that Kinists have cited the inheritance laws as something which are still binding; yet these laws are among those commonly cited by Reformed commentators as those rules and ordinances which are not binding at all upon the believer.

Instead of responding to the quotes themselves, or providing counterquotes to show the context is being misunderstood (as I have with Kinists), Mr. Carlton instead attempts to argue that "many Christian writers" (none named, let alone quoted, save for Aquinas in regards to another point) actually don't have "a contradiction or a major disagreement with the principles of theonomy" (no examples provided). Even more interesting, he goes on to say "non-theonomists seem to categorically reject any application of the civil code to our present circumstances," and says this "goes beyond the historic Christian position." Again, nothing is presented to show the Kinist position as the "historic Christian position," other than a passing reference to Aquinas and cavalier claims from Mr. Carlton himself. Here I will point out again that Mr. Carlton has refused to handle the passages quoted in my post, other than to claim we're all just misunderstanding Christians of the past, even though they are quite clear in what they say, which is often in contradiction of his much more extreme view. (eg., "[the Civil Law] expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution..."; the Savoy Declaration, emphasis mine.) If it is true that the beliefs of older Christians are being misunderstood, then this should be able to be documented, and citations and quotations should be provided.

Mr. Carlton does not do this for one simple reason: he cannot

It must also be pointed out that Mr. Carlton dances between extremes. He continually speaks of those who believe that the Civil Law has zero relevance in our modern day. This mentality might exist, and certainly the Reformers and those from the Westminster period onward believed the Civil Laws had, within certain contexts, some relevance or guidance. However, the question for us, with the topic of Kinism, is whether or not these laws are binding upon us today in the same vein as the Moral Law. Are they as applicable as the Moral Law? On this point, Mr. Carlton cannot remain consistent, if he wishes to appeal to history. He admitted earlier in his post, regarding Reformers and Reformed theologians, that "these Christians considered the judicial or civil laws of Israel to be no longer binding." Yet the Kinist, as Mr. Carlton himself argued, does believe they're binding - to violate the Civil Law is to commit a sin, in the Kinist's eyes. That will come out more clear in this post.

There was a metaphor used by Luther against Erasmus, referring to the child-like thinking that, if a toddler closes his eyes to something and cannot see it, it does not exist, and hence no one else can see it. In like manner, Mr. Carlton closes his eyes to the plain historical evidence, and seems to think that, if he cannot see it (and pretend to the contrary), then no one else can see it. The fact is the historical evidence on the traditional Reformed thinking of the Law is obvious, and it is for this reason that more consistent Kinists like Rushdoony actually mocked the Westminster Confession regarding its view of the Law, calling it "guilty of nonsense." Despite the claim of other Kinists, one can only claim "the historic Christian position" when you ignore what that "historic Christian position" actually is.

Application of the Civil Law

Now we turn to application of the civil law.
This leads me to consider the specific questions TT raises. TT suggests that the criminality of certain offenses (though not their sinfulness) is no longer binding upon society. TT uses sodomy as his example: “Those who cite the law against homosexuality (Lev 18:22) as a command for modern governments to execute homosexuals forget that nobody in the New Testament church seemed concerned with executing former homosexuals who came their way, but rather welcomed their repentance (cf. 1 Cor 6:9-11). The moral decree that homosexuality is a moral abomination is still binding upon the church; the judicial decree that those guilty of homosexuality should be executed is not.”

There are several arguments to be made in response. First, the fact that the apostolic church welcomed penitent sodomites, adulterers, and thieves into their ranks does not mean that they ignored their criminal nature. The church of the first century could easily have welcomed repentant sinners into their ranks while believing that crimes that had been committed still merited a civil response, even if one would not be forthcoming under a pagan government. Secondly, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 does not say that any or all of these offenses are no longer crimes or that their criminal nature is simply left to the judgment of the particular civil magistrate. Can civil magistrates choose to decriminalize theft? Obviously not, but thieves are mentioned alongside adulterers and sodomites in this same passage. I believe that there is at least some latitude in how particular crimes are punished that can vary in different times and places, because Numbers 35:31 implies that all crimes can have a lesser penalty assigned to them saving premeditated murder. This would still oblige civil magistrates to actively root out vices that the Bible identifies as crimes.
Two points:

First, Mr. Carlton responds to the citation of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 with: "The church of the first century could easily have welcomed repentant sinners into their ranks while believing that crimes that had been committed still merited a civil response, even if one would not be forthcoming under a pagan government." In other words, Mr. Carlton is actually arguing that, when the apostle Paul wrote the words, "such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (v. 11), he might as well have added immediately afterward: "...and boy, are you former gays lucky we aren't under a Christian magistrate, or you'd all be dead, repentance or no." Mr. Carlton is likewise arguing that, as the Corinthians sat with each other during their Sunday worship, they might have been glancing at those repentant homosexuals and thinking, "Those people deserve to hang." I recognize, of course, this is entering the realm of hyperbole; nonetheless, when we follow Mr. Carlton's conclusion (which he made sans an examination of the text), we have to make such assumptions. However, one would be hard pressed to think that the apostle Paul wrote this epistle with such a thinking in mind.

Second, Mr. Carlton argues: "1 Corinthians 6:9-11 does not say that any or all of these offenses are no longer crimes or that their criminal nature is simply left to the judgment of the particular civil magistrate." Neither was anyone arguing as such, so that's irrelevant. The point was to elucidate the different views of the laws between the two administrations, and why things were seen and treated differently in the New Testament church than Old Testament national Israel. All Mr. Carlton does here is argue from silence, in essence shifting the burden of proof by saying, "But it doesn't say they can't be punished by the civil magistrate!"

Note as well that this is again all speculation, using thinking such as "they could have believed this," and "but you can't prove the negative." There are many possibilities one can discern from scripture, but when we are seeking to acquire dogma, especially that which tells us whether or not we are in a deep sin against God, we should expect to find scriptural language speaking much plainer, rather than in grey areas. The fact remains, while the unbelieving Jews stoned people like Stephen for blasphemy, we do not see any example where the Christians of the early church were dragging repentant homosexuals out to be executed.
The Westminster divines agreed with this application. In WCF 23:3 we read that it is not only the magistrate’s right and prerogative, but also his duty, to see that “all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed.” The Westminster divines cite several passages of the Old Testament that virtually all anti-theonomists would consider part of Israel’s civil code that has expired and is no longer binding, but the divines insisted that the underlying principle of protecting true worship is still binding. Idolatry and false religious worship are revealed by God to be not merely sins but crimes. Our circumstances are certainly different from ancient Israel, but the severity of false religions upon societies has not changed. The modern Enlightenment concept of absolute religious freedom violates this biblical principle as understood not only by the divines at Westminster, but by all Christians throughout history.
I'm actually well aware of that part of the Westminster Confession. The problem is, Mr. Carlton is extending it well beyond it's means. Note even in the quote he provides that it mentions "blasphemies and heresies," yet he's clearly attempting to apply this along the same lines as the civil magistrate punishing homosexuals. In fact, here is what the Wesminster Confession of Faith says in regards to the magistrate and heresies, in the section that follows after the part Mr. Carlton quotes from:
For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God. [source]
The Westminster Divines did indeed hold that a Christian ruler was to see to it that order was seen in the church... but they add the caveat that, "for the better effecting whereof," he was to call for councils and let the church decide the matter. This is not something the governing body did unilaterally, as did many of the kings of Judah (eg., Hezekiah). Rather, this was closer to what was seen with the later Roman Emperors, such as Constantine, who would ask for councils to be held to resolve major theological disputes (eg., the Council of Nicaea and Arianism).

Mr. Carlton also claims: "The Westminster divines cite several passages of the Old Testament that virtually all anti-theonomists would consider part of Israel’s civil code that has expired and is no longer binding." In the original printing of the Westminster Confession (the section regarding the magistrate was changed in a later edition), there are only two (not "several") sections from the Law which are quoted: Leviticus 24:16, and Deuteronomy 13:5, 6, and 12 (both of which, again, are in reference to the preservation of theology and right worship). The Westminster Divines quote far more from other Old Testament books such as Isaiah, Ezra, the Psalms, and 2 Chronicles.

We should also note here that Mr. Carlton arguments here are focusing on the doctrine of theonomy. Even if this were the case, one would have to be intellectually honest and admit this is entering category error, for while all Kinists are theonomists, not all theonomists are Kinists. Mr. Carlton's overall position is to prove the historicity of the Kinist position which many non-Kinist theonomists would readily, and passionately, oppose. It's similar to the tactic of some Premillennial Dispensationalists who attempt to prove the historicity of their doctrine by turning to early Church Fathers who were Premillennial... leaving out the inconvenient fact that, before the 19th century, most Premillennials were of the Historic Premillennial camp. Similarly, Mr. Carlton seems to be intent on proving the Westminster Divines and other early Reformed theologians were theonomists, or held theonomists views, and hence we must conclude that they would have also been Kinists, or would have been okay with the Kinist position. One must wonder, then, which of the Westminster Divines would have agreed with the notion not only that Rahab wasn't a Gentile, but that her Gentile genes contaminating Christ's bloodline would have made the entire Gospel null and void.

Hence Mr. Carlton is really presenting a largely irrelevant argumentation here, for even if he can present a case that theonomy has some historical legitimacy, it is non sequitor to conclude that this automatically means Kinism likewise has historical legitimacy. As we just discussed, proving the one does not prove the other.
This is the same methodology that theonomists use in applying the moral principles of Israel’s case laws to our present circumstances. TT cites my example of how general equity would apply to Deut. 22:8 as establishing building codes to maintain a basic degree of architectural integrity. TT asks, “Is Mr. Carlton likewise telling us that buildings which are not ‘safe for ordinary human occupancy’ are likewise treason to God? Is it ‘intrinsically immoral’ to have improper railings on a building? Could OSHA rightfully claim that, in performing their task, they are merely doing God’s work?”

Yes, it is immoral to make buildings unsafe for ordinary usage. This particular case law falls under the sixth commandment, Thou shalt not kill. The modern application would be any laws that legitimately promote public safety. The Westminster Larger Catechism states, “The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others.” Erecting safe buildings preserves human life and prevents unnecessary death and injury. TT muddies the waters by mentioning OSHA, because there is no reason to believe that proper building codes or safety regulations have to be promulgated by centralized government bureaucracies like OSHA – which in any case deals fundamentally with workplace safety and not with construction, anyway.
The last comment on OSHA makes me guess that Mr. Carlton has never worked in construction. Granted, neither have I, but my late paternal grandfather did, and he could have told you horror stories about OSHA and their interfering with construction and building design. Imagine shutting down an entire operation because of one small thing, and you get the idea. Even putting this aside, part of "workplace safety" is whether or not the building itself is structurally safe for its employers to inhabit; if it's not, OSHA can unleash fines or penalties upon the business until this is rectified. There was even an entire sketch in the "Space Mutiny" episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 centered around this very fact. (And yes, I just nerded out there for a moment - I promise it'll be the only time in this post.)

More to the point, we have here the extreme view of the Law as found within the Kinist camp. Namely, that even having a building that is somehow unsafe is immoral and a violation of God's Law. I once lived in an apartment building where a railing was a bit wobbly and not as sturdy as it should have been - I should have commanded by landlord to repent of his sins and fix the railing, or the curse of the Law would hang over his head.

More importantly, we see here that the Kinist position is separate from the Reformers and their immediate descendants, who would have opposed such thinking. Remember, Mr. Carlton earlier admitted that the men I quoted "considered the Judicial or Civil Laws of Israel to be no longer binding." How could Deuteronomy 22:8 be cited that something was immoral if it is no longer binding, while at the same time attempting to demonstrate that the Reformers would have held the same position? The Kinist has to in essence attempt a tap dance between two positions, depending on whether or not it suits their position. One example: the Civil Law is a guideline when scripture proves wanting for them; the Civil Law is binding and violations of it are immoral when their position is threatened. Another example: the Reformers considered the Civil Laws no longer binding; nothing among the Reformers contradict Kinism, and if it does, it's just a misunderstanding on the part of the non-Kinist. You cannot have both without having to admit you hold an irrational position.

Full Circle: Ethnic Laws

After further explaining his few on the term "general equity," Mr. Carlton now returns to the very heart of the subject: the supposed ethnic laws.
The same applies to the laws that govern and protect Israel’s national identity as a people. Laws that regulate inheritance to prevent tribal dispossession are derivative of the fifth commandment, which promises that the Israelites would prosper in the land that God had given them. The Apostle Paul applies this promise to all Christians in their respective lands and estates (Eph. 6:2). Are we really to believe that the promise of the fifth commandment remains while laws that protect the inheritance that the fifth commandment promises are no longer applicable to today? The specific circumstances of ancient Israel have indeed changed, but the importance of ethnic and tribal identity has not. Christians throughout history have taken the necessary steps to safeguard the generational transference of their property within their families. The modern assault on property and inheritance is simply another manifestation of the rejection of biblical morality.
So, after the many passages in Deuteronomy, Ezra, and Nehemiah were demonstrated to be weak support at best for Kinist doctrine, and after such ludicrous theories such as those pertaining to Rahab and Ruth were found to be unscriptural and historically vacuous, what do we ultimately get?

Israel's national identity laws can be applied today because we can personally choose to interpret it as such.

"Wait, that's a straw man!" I can hear some Kinists saying. However, this is precisely what Mr. Carlton is attempting to put forward. He could not defend Kinism with scripture in previous posts - that was abundantly clear. He attempted to defend Kinism with a looser interpretation of scripture (the "secondary concern" argumentation), and this too clearly came up wanting. Now, he is clinging to the phrase "general equity," and demanding that, since we have general equity on the table, it can be taken to mean passages like Deuteronomy 7 are laws for the protection of a group's "national identity as a people."

But why?

It has been established ad nauseum that Deuteronomy 7 is religious in nature, focused entirely on right worship. There is no "secondary" concern from God in that passage and others. This is why nobody, until the rise of Kinism, had an issue with Rahab being a Gentile, let alone identifying the Rahab of Matthew 1:5 with Rahab the harlot. The Kinist demands we interpret the so-called national identity laws according to their use of "general equity" and their group's interpretation of scripture... even though both history and scripture speak against such a notion. Consider that Mr. Carlton again cited inheritance laws as something which is still binding morally upon societies, when this is something commonly cited by Reformers and other theologians as an example of those parts of the Civil Law no longer binding in the same vain as the Moral Law (eg., Turretin saying of the Laws concerning the division of the land and inheritance, "having been taken away, they can have no further use"). In the face of so many historical quotations and original sources, Mr. Carlton could only argue from a defense of theonomy, rather than true Kinism, and without citing any original sources himself.

With all due respect to Mr. Carlton, this is not making a case - this is whistling in the dark.

To further add to the problems found in Kinist appeals to scripture, Mr. Carlton refers to Ephesians 6:2, though he neither quotes it nor exegetes it. This verse in question reads:
Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise)...
I'm assuming he meant to also add verse 3, which continues with "so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth." However, going back to verse 1 and onward finds that this is a passage dealing with children obeying their parents. Paul is talking about the roles within households, having already spoken about wives (Eph 5:22-24) and husbands (Eph 5:25-33). He will go on from here to address fathers (Eph 6:4), slaves (Eph 6:5-8), and masters (Eph 6:9). Are we really to believe that the mindset the apostle Paul was drawing from was that Christians under the new administration are to focus on "the importance of ethnic and tribal identity," and should "regulate inheritance to prevent tribal dispossession"? Are we to believe here that Paul held such a view to the point that if two believers of different races were to marry, they would then be in sin, or violating God's blueprint for nature? Such an understanding is a complete mangling of the text, reading into it things which simply do not exist.

Mr. Carlton says at the end of the article:
TT assures his readers that he opposes “Marxist views that say national or ethnic identity has absolutely zero value in any sense.” Phew! Unfortunately it does us no good when the nations of the West are experiencing treason from within and an onslaught of hostile foreign invaders who are euphemized as “refugees” and “migrants.” We are witnessing the curse of Deuteronomy 28:43-44 play out out before our very eyes. Being slightly to the right of the cultural Marxist zeitgeist without rejecting its major premises will do nothing to halt its progress. We who live among the ruins of Christendom must choose to either accept the status quo of white dispossession, or choose to resist and defend our ethnic and tribal identity as our Christian forebears once did. There is no middle ground.
I have to be blunt here: this is just absolutely pointless fluff. Flowery language like "we who live among the ruins of Christendom" or "resist and defend our ethnic and tribal identity" might get the rah-rah-rah emotions going with Mr. Carlton's support base, and it might get him pats on the back from friends over at Faith and Heritage, but it doesn't help the conversation. And frankly, unless you're going to make the book Siege become a reality, or you're going to form a militia and try to fulfill the Day of the Rope from The Turner Diaries, you're just LARPing, and no one wants to hear it.

As for the idea that there is no "middle ground," this goes back to the false dichotomy dilemma found among Kinists that I've brought up before. That is, I have found, in my dialogue with Kinists, that they presume, if you're not a Kinist, then you're a Neo-Marxist, SJW, or something along that stripe.

Concluding Thoughts

It seems at this point that fighting over the definition of "general equity" in the Westminster Confession is the hill Mr. Carlton wishes to die on. In reviewing how these discussions began, it is certainly interesting to see how the topics have developed and shifted. Gone are any attempts to fully exegete and explain the doctrine of Kinism from scripture. Gone are any attempts to demonstrate that there are "secondary" concerns by God within the passages in question. Gone is any attempt to substantiate the Kinist beliefs on Rahab. Gone is the bold declaration that "confessing Canaanite blood in Christ's genes is a heresy that undoes the Gospel and Incarnation." Gone is any attempt to show that every single jot and tittle of Deuteronomy 17 can be applied to modern governments. The only thing that has perhaps remained consistent is the Kinist claim that they are following "historical Christianity."

Mr. Carlton says to us there is no middle ground between "white dispossession" and having to "defend our ethnic and tribal identity." There are astounding developments in racial politics across the west, that is certain... but as far as Kinists go, there is another concern for them: there is clearly no scriptural foundation within the movement. This back and forth has only demonstrated Kinism is not founded upon the word of God, whether if by that we mean the plain meaning or the historical interpretation of it.

Mr. Carlton writes in his article: "I’ll leave it for our readers to consider our arguments as they stand." I agree with this, and therefore I would ask the readers who have been following this exchange some simple questions:
  • Who has gone to scripture? Who has attempted to explain the passages from the context itself? Who has handled the passages rightly?
  • Who has gone to history? Who has provided quotes from original sources? Who is able to handle those quotes provided without diverting the topic or ignoring the quotes provided? Whose position in toto has a greater foundation in Christian history?
If the reader answers these questions honestly, I think they will find their answer on just how strong a position Kinism is when it comes to the word of God and historic Christian doctrine.

I would again warn and readers involved with this movement, and it's false Gospel, to do away with it and flee from its clutches. Do not be seduced by unbiblical doctrines which promise to free you from modernism, and yet use ahistoric, modernist interpretations of God's holy word in exchange. Do not permit yourself to be under a yoke which not only has no scriptural foundation, but places you under the Law with even more severity than is required, to the point that even a wobbly hand railing places you under God's condemnation. Turn to the true Gospel, founded not upon a racially pure Savior, but a Savior free of sin - a Savior who died for His lambs, so that they may be right before God, and redeemed before their King. I pray my blog may seek to awaken many towards this path. God bless.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Empty Womb - Empty Tomb

Some of you know that my wife and I were expecting our second child. We were about six weeks along.

Last Friday, our child was lost in a miscarriage.

There had been spotting, but with our last birth there had been spotting. There had been pains, but that doesn't automatically mean anything bad. Then my wife woke up Friday morning, with a bloodied pad and a blood clot. We went to the OB-GYN, and they did some tests. In the end, they confirmed our worse fears - the thing which I was hoping and praying wasn't true, all along the way, even up until the moment when the doctor walked into the room with the test results and a sad tone in his voice... they confirmed that our child was gone.

The worst part for me was that there wasn't even a meeting. There wasn't a visible connection. There was no "cute little peanut" with a heartbeat like I experienced with our daughter. There was no stillborn body to hold in my hands. There had been seen a developing sack in the womb at a previous ultrasound when my wife had gallbladder issues two weeks ago... but I hadn't been present, and now... now, as I watched the nurse use the ultrasound on Mary this afternoon, I saw nothing but an empty womb.

That was it. A pregnancy test, and some blood. Not even a shape to see, or a gender to attach a name to. Nothing but an empty womb. That was my fatherhood in this relationship.

The grief for all of us was been overwhelming. Both my wife and I have cried sporadically throughout the day. Even our poor three-year old daughter, who initially took it well when we explained it to her that the baby had "passed away" in mommy's womb, and what "passing away" meant, suddenly began to cry at bedtime and told us, "I miss the baby." On my end, I found myself thinking so little of my role as a father. Everyone talks about how their daddy is Superman, and my daughter's been telling others I'm her hero. At that moment, I saw myself as no hero. I'm no Superman - Superman actually saves people. I couldn't save my own child. I couldn't help my wife. I couldn't make a miracle. All I could do was make a few phone calls to close family members.

There is grief in my life, but even with the grief, I have hope. I have hope because I know whether life ends inside the womb or outside, this is not the end. There is a holy and just God, and what's more I know that He keeps His covenant promises with His people. There is a promise of a world to come, a world made right, and of a glorious resurrection, all centered around Christ's redemptive work on the cross, and this promise is said towards believers to be "for you and your children" (Acts 2:39). This is the promise of a God who took on flesh and Himself experienced death on the cross, before rising again as the firstfruits of the resurrection. The same God who said "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25) likewise said of little children "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matt 19:14).

We've shared this truth with my daughter: that God not only watches over His sheep in their passing, but that someday, all will be meeting again, with new bodies and even greater faith. My wife and I even agreed on a name for the child: Charlie, a name that could work for a boy or girl (yes, I've known a few girls named Charlie), since we never discovered the gender. I wanted to name our child, because I want to know what to call them when we meet again on the day of resurrection, when God's flock are called together, and father and child can be reunited. As much as I've wept over the shock and grief that this has given, I also know that God is sovereign, and that whatever happens, it is not the end, but we look forward to a greater hope, with the knowledge that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom 8:18).

What's more, I know that no matter what may occur, my sins are covered, and I stand right before God. "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). I cannot turn away from my Lord and King even at this hour of need, for how often could He have turned away from me, when I proved a fickle and stupid lamb? How much has He shown love for me even when I at times spat at Him through my words and deeds? It is therefore that I can sing with Horatio Spafford, who wrote these words as his boat floated over the spot where all four of his daughters drowned: "My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! / My sin, not in part, but the whole / Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more / Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!"

It is this same kind, glorious King that I know I will someday worship together with my lost child, along with the saints. Therefore, as much as I grieve over the sight of the empty womb, I rest in the assurance given by the empty tomb.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Deuteronomy 7 and Kinism: A Closer Examination


A common go-to passage for Kinists, in relation to their beliefs against interracial marriage, is Deuteronomy 7:3, which gives a command to the Hebrews in regards to the Canaanites they are about to make war with.
Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons.
The argument from Kinists is that the underlying premises here is that ethnic groups and races (or "families" and "kins," hence the very name Kinist) should not intermarry, as that violates God's blueprint for humanity. Kinists apply this command to our modern day by saying that it violates God's design when people of different lineages marry and procreate (for example, an Asian person marrying a white person and having children).

One example of the Kinist interpretation:
The denial of all mercy to Canaanites obviously entails the denial of any intermarriages as well, as Deuteronomy 7:2-3 attests. But remarkably, this marital prohibition not only made all such couplings sinful to enact, but rendered all such unions entirely invalid. Israelite-Canaanite marriages were not truly albeit sinfully formed; rather, they were impossible to form. [...] [T]his prophetic law was evidently ethnic, as it was applied along national lines as such; it cannot be assigned purely religious, non-ancestral grounds. [source]
Another Kinist interpretation:
Fourthly, Scripture contains specific prohibitions on intermarriage between Israel and other nations (e.g., Deut. 7:3). These prohibitions were given specifically to Israel, and not to mankind as a whole, so their citation should not be seen as promoting an absolute ethical forbiddance of all interracial marriage. Further, it is evident that the primary motivation in these commandments was religious, not racial or ethnic; the purpose of avoiding intermarriage was for religious purity (e.g., Ex. 34:16). Yet, it still is significant that the commands were done along ethnic lines. Israel was forbidden from marrying other nations, not just unbelievers in the abstract. In principle, Israelites could not marry some foreigners, even if the foreigners were to be believers. This can have import today: there might be danger in marrying into other ethnic groups, even apart from whether the marriages might be interreligious or not. Race should likewise be a factor of consideration for marriages today, rather than disregarded as insignificant. [source; italics in original]
This interpretation of Deuteronomy 7 has led into questionable Kinist doctrines and beliefs. These include the idea that Rahab the Harlot wasn't a Gentile, or the claim that the Rahab mentioned in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus is some heretofore unknown woman named Rahab (both of which fly in the face of Christian historical orthodoxy, as I discuss here and here). In fact, Kinists conclude from their interpretation of this passage that, if Christ, at His incarnation, had any Gentile DNA in him, then not only would Christ's kingship be null and void, but the Gospel itself would be null and void as well. One quote related to this:
It is impossible to deny the purity of Christ’s pedigree and yet retain any Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. Christ, quite simply, had to be the pure-blood heir apparent in order to be the prophesied Messiah without [racial] spot or blemish. [source]
And another:
...if the genealogies didn’t prove His lawful descent from Jacob and claim to the heritage of David, their inclusion to that end in the text would be a work of sublime futility – undermining the whole of the gospel and, thereby, revelation in general. [...] But the modern challenge to Christ’s genealogy comes, most shockingly, from many who actually claim to follow Him, otherwise known as Alienists. They allege that Rachab of the royal genealogy was no Hebrew, but a Canaanite. [source]
I've touched on Deuteronomy 7:3 in previous blog posts. However, for the sake of organization, as well as a chance to go into greater detail, I thought I would cover the passage here.


Before we begin with Deuteronomy 7, we must travel back to Deuteronomy 6, which continues its flow of thought into the next chapter.

The Ten Commandments had been stated in Deuteronomy 5, and now, in Deuteronomy 6, Moses states that "this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it" (Deu 6:1). The verses which follow emphasis the need of the Israelites to follow and worship only God, and follow His statutes. It is in this section of scripture that the famous Shema states: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one" (Deu 6:4). Then Moses speaks on "when the LORD your God brings you into the land" (Deu 6:10), and reminds the people that they should "not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt" (Deu 6:12). They are commanded:
You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the Lord your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth. [Deuteronomy 6:14-15]
The emphasis to follow the Lord, and to teach our children to obey the Lord, is continued on into verse 25, at the very end of the chapter.

Now we reach Deuteronomy 7. The full context around verse 3 can be found in the following section:
When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. [Deuteronomy 7:1-6]
Moses lists off the names of seven of the major peoples found in the land of Canaan. Some of them (Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, and Girgashites) are descendants of Canaan, while other (Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) may have been ancillary descendants, or were simply other Gentile tribes in the area. The Hebrews are commanded to "utterly destroy them," and not make a covenant with them, or show them any favors (verse 2).

Now we come to verse 3, where the Hebrews are commanded not to intermarry with the Canaanites. The Kinist interprets this along ethnic and racial lines: that the Hebrews were commanded not to intermarry with the Canaanites because doing so would have violated ethnic ties with one another, and would have produced mixed children with "impure" bloodlines. This is why the Kinist is forced, in the situation of Rahab, to come up with incredible theories, such as the one which says she was descended from Hebrew nomadic tribes, or the one which says that the "Rahab" mentioned in Matthew's Gospel is a heretofore unknown Rahab, and not the one found in the book of Joshua.

The dilemma for the Kinist is that they are pausing in mid-thought, for Moses does not stop here, but continues on to explain why this ban on intermarriage is put in place. We know this because the very next verse begins with "for." A commonly known rule of Biblical reading comprehension is "when we see the word therefore, we should ask what it's there for"; the same rule applies to the word "for." Moses is expanding on the command not to intermarry - he's giving us the why for the ban on intermarriage. The ban is explained with "they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you" (verse 4). In other words, the purpose is entirely theological in nature, and not ethnic or racial. To intermarry with the idolatrous people was to invite the idolatry into the home, and hence draw the children of Israel away from worship of the true God.

This fact was seen early in the Pentateuch, with the parallel passage found in Exodus. In this passage, the idolatrous clause is expressed more clearly:
"Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim - for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God - otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods. You shall make for yourself no molten gods." [Exodus 34:11-17]
Why were they banned from intermarrying with the Canaanites? Because their daughters "might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods" (Exo 34:16). The Targum, an early paraphrase of the Bible (written to assist Jewish listeners, who mostly spoke Aramaic by that time, of better understanding the original Hebrew), adds to the command in Deuteronomy 7:3 "whosoever marrieth with them is as if he made marriage with their idols" (source). Again, the reasons given for a ban on intermarriage were of a theological, and not ethnic, nature. It was a defense of true worship, not ethnic bloodlines.

What we find in this section is a continuation of Deuteronomy 6: the Hebrews had been told what to think of idolatry; now they are told how to handle idolatry when they enter Canaan. This is seen especially if we continue reading on through the next two sections of the chapter: the first (verses 12-16), in which the Hebrews are told to obey God's commands, in order to be blessed by Him, and to not serve the gods of the Canaanites, "for that would be a snare to you"; and the second (verses 17-26), in which we find God promising to assist them in the battle against the Canaanites, and a reiteration of the order to destroy their graven images and idols, all of which are "an abomination to the Lord your God." Again, the condemnation of the Canaanites, and the ban to have anything to do with them, marriage or covenant, is grounded upon theological reasons.

This point is especially important as some Kinists attempt to find a way around this whole dilemma by arguing that the ethnic or racial concerns of intermarriage are the secondary concerns of God in the passage. The problem is that, upon reviewing the full context of this section, the emphasis placed by God, and the parallel passage in Exodus, we see no other concern of God. The Kinist is eisegeting another concern where there is none. God is emphasizing and highlighting the need for true worship - any supposed secondary concern is merely speculation. Imagine if someone were to say, "I'm going out to eat, for I'm hungry." Now imagine someone attempting to say that they were going out to eat to get a chance to drive their car. Someone might point out that the person clearly said why they were going out to eat, which was because they were hungry. Now imagine the other person arguing that this was a "secondary reason" for the person going out to eat - would that still make any sense? Not at all. It would be an irrational position to take, and one that would prove the entire position was a superficial one, rather than reasonable. I am certain no Kinist would desire to have someone second-guess ulterior motives behind their actions; why then should we place such a dangerous condition upon the very words of God Himself?

Considerations and Conclusions

The Kinist may contend that there is still mention of ethnicities and races here. After all, why are specific tribal names mentioned? Why are Hebrews told not to intermarry with non-Hebrews, if theology is the only concern? Why the use of races, and not merely religions? A common Kinist contention to this is, "Why would God name specific nations and peoples, rather than merely condemn all idolatry?" I give a two-fold answer:

First, because this deals with a historical event, with historical specifics. The Hebrews were about to enter the land of Canaan, which was a specific inhabited by a specific group of idolaters. The Hebrews were about to make war and pass God's judgment upon these idolatrous people, and, having already condemned all idolatry in the previous chapter, God now explains how to handle idolatry that is found within Canaan. In fact, the Kinist argument could logically be used against itself: if God's concern was the preservation of bloodlines, why didn't He merely condemn all intermixing? In fact, why did God not only mention these specific people, but then go at length to speak only on their idolatry? Why, when God gives the qualifier for the Canaanite ban (the "for" clause we've already spoken on), does it only consist of reasons pertaining to idolatry, and not ethnic lineage?

Second, God mentions peoples and nations because of the connection between peoples and religion at this time. To be a Canaanite was to worship the Canaanite God - the Hebrews were to be a different kind of people. Moses himself explains, in this same section: "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth" (Deu 7:6). The true religion of that time was founded largely along ethnic lines, focused upon a specific group of people, and as I've discussed in other posts, religion in general at that time was understood as being tied to nations and peoples. For the sake of brevity, I'll repost what I wrote on the subject in another blog post:
...Rabshakeh mocks the Judean faith in God, he refers to the gods of other lands - each one with their own gods - and asks how YHWH will deliver Jerusalem from the Assyrians' hands (2 Kings 18:33-35). This is likewise seen in the dialogue with Pharaoh, where God is often referred to as "the God of the Hebrews" (Ex 3:18; 5:3; 7:16; 9:1, 13; 10:3), as well as with later references to "the gods of Egypt" (Ex 12:12) and "the gods of the peoples who were around them" (Jdg 2:12). This is seen in other accounts of scripture, such as when the people of Israel are said to worship "the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines" (Jdg 10:6). [source]
Even for Kinists who might admit this, their dilemma is that they attempt to read both the old and new dispensations under the same lens, without realizing the change. Under the old dispensation, God had not chosen any other kin at this time but the kin of Abraham to be a select group of people. The Hebrews were a people descended from their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whose descendants God had promised the land (Deu 6:10). Under the old dispensation, to be a member of the visible church was synonymous with being a Hebrew. (Although there were obviously exceptions to this rule, as seen with Melchizedek, Rahab, Ruth, etc.) The reason that unbelievers (ie., Canaanites) are mentioned in an "evidently ethnic" way is because believers (ie., Hebrews) are spoken of in an "evidently ethnic" way. However, what is the situation now, under the new dispensation? Christians, both Jew and Gentile, are sons of Abraham (Gal 3:7); to be in Christ is to be a descendant of Abraham (Gal 3:29). Just as the Hebrews under the old dispensation were God's possession, so now are all Christians, Jew and Gentile, God's possession, sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13-14).

Herein lies the rub for the Kinist, who demands that we apply this to our modern day: how could it be applied? The closest one might get is with the command by the apostle Paul not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for "what fellowship has light with darkness," and "what harmony has Christ with Belial?" (2 Cor 6:14-15) If we are to be a separated people from the world, and God commands us towards holy worship and away from idolatry, then we must strive to do away with false or blasphemous worship in our midst. We should not intermarry with unbelievers, regardless of race. Our kinship, speaking as Christians, is tied not to nation or ethnic identity, but to Christ. A marriage between a white Christian man and a black Christian woman is much more blessed before God than a marriage between a white Christian man and a white heathen woman. The Old Testament spoke along national lines precisely because the realm of believers was a nation; the New Testament ends any literal national terminology and instead speaks of a Kingdom with citizens across the entire globe.

The Kinist theologian cannot see this, because, triggered by Neo-Marxism and modern racial politics, and fueled by philosophy, they are inclined to look at the conditions around the command (the "shall not") and ignore the purpose and reasoning behind the command (the "for"). While playing the religious aspect minor lip service, they turn the entire situation upside down by emphasizing the minor point as a major, and the major point as a minor, and want us to believe that the sin God is truly concerned about is intermixing. When looked at the full context, we see that the Kinist conclusion cannot be found unless one interprets it based on proof-texting. Indeed, at this time I have not seen a Kinist attempt to do what I have done here, which is go verse by verse and interpret the passage in its fullest context; rather, verses are grabbed, and cavalier statements are made.

All of this confirms what I have said before: Kinism is not a Biblical doctrine, let alone an exegetical one.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Further Counterresponse to Faith and Heritage


This is the second counterresponse to a response from Davis Carlton over at Faith and Heritage, who has been responding to some of my work on Kinism. His latest article was entitled A Question of Christian Ethics: A Further Response to Truth Tribune. I had started working on this response quite a while ago, but was delayed by the holidays, real life responsibilities, etc. Plus, as this portion deals largely with historical Christian doctrines, I wanted to make certain that I had researched enough to present a case that would be beneficial both to the reader, and honoring to Mr. Carlton's own time and person. (I've never been a big fan of the "write a quick response in twenty-four hours" strategy some bloggers have.)

If you're just joining us, I would suggest going back and starting from the beginning, as you will otherwise be lost, or lose something in the discussion.

Unlike previous articles, this will not be a piece-meal, "blow-by-blow" style, but rather will focus initially on one main topic, and then cover a variety of other topics at the end. However, so that nobody accuses me of simply quote-mining and attempting to misrepresent Mr. Carlton's position, I encourage my readers to go over and read his article first (if you haven't already done so), then come back here, so that you will know the full context of what I'm discussing.

As before, direct quotes from the article will be in purple.

"General Equity" and the Civil Law

At the beginning of his article, Mr. Carlton brings the focus of the conversation towards the topic of "general equity."
Truth Tribune (TT) has responded to my article, in which I responded to some of the content on his blog regarding Kinism. As I read his response it occurred to me that our primary difference of opinion is one of applied Christian ethics. Both the questions of interracial marriage and kin rule are answered by our understanding of the epistemology of Christian morality: what is right and wrong, and how we know it. Kinism, in applying the concept of theonomy, views all morality as being founded upon God’s revealed law. Kinism accommodates the standard of ‘general equity’ to precepts in the laws that were given to Israel in a particular historical context that have general principles that are applicable in all times and places. Many of the laws of the Bible in general, and of the Mosaic Law in particular, were stated in terms specific to a particular time and place, but that should not prevent us from seeing general (or natural law) principles at work in these laws.

Two examples bear this principle out. The Israelites were required to build barriers around the roofs of their houses in order to prevent unnecessary injury or even death (Deut. 22:8). The reason for this is that the rooftop of a house was often used as a gathering place for people to congregate. In that instance there was a foreseeable risk that someone could fall off the roof and become injured or die. Today this is not the case in most homes, since rooftops are not used as gathering places any longer. Does this mean that this particular law has no application for our modern context? No. We can apply the underlying principle of this law and other laws to our present circumstances. In this case we can infer from this law that buildings should be safe for ordinary human occupancy. This approach is the same as the apostles who apply the precepts of the Mosaic Law in the same manner. The Apostle Paul uses the language of Deut. 22:9-11 (cf. Lev. 19:19) to denounce unequal yoking with Christians and unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14). Likewise Paul cites Deut. 25:4 as teaching the principle of just recompense for labor (1 Cor. 9:9, 1 Tim. 5:18).
In a footnote for this section, Mr. Carlton cites chapter 19 of the Westminster Confession of Faith (specifically section 4), which reads: "To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require."

We must remember, however, that the Westminster Confession (1649) outlines three major sections of the Law: the Moral, the Ceremonial, and the Civil. The Moral Law, contained within the ten commandments, is considered by the Confession to be "the perfect rule of righteousness" (19:2). The Ceremonial Law, dealing with "several typical ordinances, partly of worship," are "now abrogated, under the new testament" (19:3). It is the Civil Law in which we are told are "not obliging any further now, further than the general equity thereof may require" (19:4).

This statement is repeated by other Reformed confessions. The Savoy Declaration (1568) states regarding the Civil Law that it "expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution, their general equity only being still of moral use" (19:4). The London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) repeats much of the Savoy and the Westminster, declaring that the Civil Law "expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution, their general equity only being for modern use" (19:4). The Thirty-Nine Articles (1571) goes into even greater specification, saying that the Civil Law is not "of necessity to be received in any commonwealth," and contrasts this with the fact that "no Christian man whatsoever is free" from obedience to the Moral Law (Article 7).

AA Hodge, in his commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, writes:
These sections teach... that both the ceremonial and judicial laws of the Jews have ceased to have any binding force under the Christian economy. That on the other hand the moral law continues of unabated authority, not only because its elements are intrinsically binding, but because, also, of the authority of God, who still continues to enforce it. And Christ, instead of lessening, has greatly increased the obligation to fulfill it. [taken from here]
Later he writes:
That the judicial laws of the Jews have ceased to have binding obligation upon us follows plainly, from the fact that the peculiar relations of the people to God as theocratical King, and to one another as fellow-members of an Old Testament Church State, to which these laws were adjusted, now no longer exist. [ibid]
Samuel Waldron, regarding the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith's own version of this section, writes:
The confession makes two balancing points regarding the judicial law, speaking of its ancient expiration and its modern application. This paragraph (which is substantially the same in the Westminster Confession) is clearly based on Calvin's treatment of the judicial law in the Institutes. This treatment is very relevant in the light of the idea of the abiding validity of the judicial law being espoused in our day. The expiration of the judicial law is suggested by the destruction of the Old Testament theocracy initially by Babylon and finally by Rome under the judgment of God. When the state expired, it is reasonable, according to the Confession, to conclude that it formal civil order expired with it. [...] Though the judicial law has expired, yet as an inspired application of the moral law to the civil circumstances of Israel it reveals many timeless principles of general equity, justice, goodness and righteousness. As much as it remains relevant not only to modern states, but also to modern churches and Christians (1 Cor. 5:1; 9:8-10). [Waldron, 238-239]
One must also look at the use of the moral, ceremonial, and judicial laws, as they were interpreted throughout Reformed history. (Not in a broad sense, but in the way they were discussed in the Westminster Confession.) John Calvin wrote on the divisions of the Law, at great length, in his famous Institutes:
We must attend to the well known division which distributes the whole law of God, as promulgated by Moses, into the moral, the ceremonial, and the judicial law, and we must attend to each of these parts, in order to understand how far they do, or do not, pertain to us. Meanwhile, let no one be moved by the thought that the judicial and ceremonial laws relate to morals. For the ancients who adopted this division, though they were not unaware that the two latter classes had to do with morals, did not give them the name of moral, because they might be changed and abrogated without affecting morals. They give this name specially to the first class, without which, true holiness of life and an immutable rule of conduct cannot exist.

The moral law, then (to begin with it), being contained under two heads, the one of which simply enjoins us to worship God with pure faith and piety, the other to embrace men with sincere affection, is the true and eternal rule of righteousness prescribed to the men of all nations and of all times, who would frame their life agreeably to the will of God. For his eternal and immutable will is, that we are all to worship him and mutually love one another. The ceremonial law of the Jews was a tutelage by which the Lord was pleased to exercise, as it were, the childhood of that people, until the fulness of the time should come when he was fully to manifest his wisdom to the world, and exhibit the reality of those things which were then adumbrated by figures (Gal. 3:24; 4:4). The judicial law, given them as a kind of polity, delivered certain forms of equity and justice, by which they might live together innocently and quietly. And as that exercise in ceremonies properly pertained to the doctrine of piety, inasmuch as it kept the Jewish Church in the worship and religion of God, yet was still distinguishable from piety itself, so the judicial form, though it looked only to the best method of preserving that charity which is enjoined by the eternal law of God, was still something distinct from the precept of love itself. Therefore, as ceremonies might be abrogated without at all interfering with piety, so, also, when these judicial arrangements are removed, the duties and precepts of charity can still remain perpetual. But if it is true that each nation has been left at liberty to enact the laws which it judges to be beneficial, still these are always to be tested by the rule of charity, so that while they vary in form, they must proceed on the same principle. Those barbarous and savage laws, for instance, which conferred honour on thieves, allowed the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, and other things even fouler and more absurd, I do not think entitled to be considered as laws, since they are not only altogether abhorrent to justice, but to humanity and civilised life.

What I have said will become plain if we attend, as we ought, to two things connected with all laws—viz. the enactment of the law, and the equity on which the enactment is founded and rests. Equity, as it is natural, cannot be the same in all, and therefore ought to be proposed by all laws, according to the nature of the thing enacted. As constitutions have some circumstances on which they partly depend, there is nothing to prevent their diversity, provided they all alike aim at equity as their end. Now, as it is evident that the law of God which we call moral, is nothing else than the testimony of natural law, and of that conscience which God has engraven on the minds of men, the whole of this equity of which we now speak is prescribed in it. Hence it alone ought to be the aim, the rule, and the end of all laws. Wherever laws are formed after this rule, directed to this aim, and restricted to this end, there is no reason why they should be disapproved by us, however much they may differ from the Jewish law, or from each other (August. de Civit. Dei, Lib. 19 c. 17). The law of God forbids to steal. The punishment appointed for theft in the civil polity of the Jews may be seen in Exodus 22. Very ancient laws of other nations punished theft by exacting the double of what was stolen, while subsequent laws made a distinction between theft manifest and not manifest. Other laws went the length of punishing with exile, or with branding, while others made the punishment capital. Among the Jews, the punishment of the false witness was to “do unto him as he had thought to have done with his brother” (Deut. 19:19). In some countries, the punishment is infamy, in others hanging, in others crucifixion. All laws alike avenge murder with blood, but the kinds of death are different. In some countries, adultery was punished more severely, in others more leniently. Yet we see that amidst this diversity they all tend to the same end. For they all with one mouth declare against those crimes which are condemned by the eternal law of God—viz. murder, theft, adultery, and false witness; though they agree not as to the mode of punishment. This is not necessary, nor even expedient. There may be a country which, if murder were not visited with fearful punishments, would instantly become a prey to robbery and slaughter. There may be an age requiring that the severity of punishments should be increased. If the state is in troubled condition, those things from which disturbances usually arise must be corrected by new edicts. In time of war, civilisation would disappear amid the noise of arms, were not men overawed by an unwonted severity of punishment. In sterility, in pestilence, were not stricter discipline employed, all things would grow worse. One nation might be more prone to a particular vice, were it not most severely repressed. How malignant were it, and invidious of the public good, to be offended at this diversity, which is admirably adapted to retain the observance of the divine law. The allegation, that insult is offered to the law of God enacted by Moses, where it is abrogated, and other new laws are preferred to it, is most absurd. Others are not preferred when they are more approved, not absolutely, but from regard to time and place, and the condition of the people, or when those things are abrogated which were never enacted for us. The Lord did not deliver it by the hand of Moses to be promulgated in all countries, and to be everywhere enforced; but having taken the Jewish nation under his special care, patronage, and guardianship, he was pleased to be specially its legislator, and as became a wise legislator, he had special regard to it in enacting laws. [source]
Jonathan Edwards, while speaking on the moral law, writes on this distinction:
The next thing observable in this period, was God’s giving the typical law, those precepts that did not properly belong to the moral law. Not only those laws which are commonly called ceremonial, which prescribe the ceremonies and circumstances of the Jewish worship, and their ecclesiastical state; but also those that were political, for regulating the Jewish commonwealth, commonly called judicial laws, were many of them typical. The giving this typical law was another great thing that God did in this period, tending to build up the glorious structure of redemption. There had been many typical events of providence before, that represented Christ and his redemption, and some typical ordinances, as particularly those two of sacrifices and circumcision: but now, instead of representing the great Redeemer in a few institutions, God enacts a law full of typical representations of good things to come. By these, that nation were directed every year, month, and day, in their religious actions, and in their conduct, in all that appertained to their ecclesiastical and civil state, to something of Christ; one observance exhibiting one doctrine, or one benefit; another, another; so that the whole nation by this law was, as it were, constituted in a typical state. Thus the gospel was abundantly held forth to that nation; so that there is scarce any doctrine of it, but is particularly taught and exhibited by some observance of this law; though it was in shadows, and under a vail, as Moses put a vail on his face when it shone—To this typical law belong all the precepts which relate to building the tabernacle, set up in the wilderness, and all its form, circumstances, and utensils. [source]
Edwards writes elsewhere, while commenting on Exodus 20:15:
This is one of the ten commandments, which constitute a summary of man’s duty, as revealed by God. God made many revelations to the children of Israel in the wilderness by Moses: but this made in the ten commandments is the chief. Most of those other revelations contained ceremonial or judicial laws; but this contains the moral law. The most of those other laws respected the Jewish nation; but here is a summary of laws binding on all mankind. Those were to last till Christ should come, and have set up the Christian church; these are of perpetual obligation, and last to the end of the world. God everywhere, by Moses and the prophets, manifests a far greater regard to the duties of these commands, than to any of the rites of the ceremonial law. [source]
Charles Hodge writes on the divisions of the law in his Systematic Theology. Though he divides and adds to the general division, it is within the same spirit, with nothing theologically changed. He adds at the beginning the laws of nature (meaning more so universal evils such as malice, greed, etc.). He adds after this the moral law, and then gets to this the judicial or civil laws.
A third class of laws have their foundation in certain temporary relations of men, or conditions of society, and are enforced by the authority of God. To this class belong many of the judicial or civil laws of the ancient theocracy; laws regulating the distribution of property, the duties of husbands and wives, the punishment of crime, etc. These laws were the application of general principles of justice and right to the peculiar circumstances of the Hebrew people. Such enactments bind only those who are in the circumstances contemplated, and cease to be obligatory when those circumstances change. It is always and every right that crime should be punished, but the kid or degree of punishment may vary with the varying condition of society. It is always right that the poor should be supported, but one mode of discharging that duty may be proper in one age and country, and another preferable in other times and places. All those laws, therefore, in the Old Testament, which had their foundation in the peculiar circumstances of the Hebrews, ceased to be binding when the old dispensation passed away. [Hodge, 268]
Charles Hodge adds afterward:
It is often difficult to determine to which of the last two classes certain laws of the Old Testament belong; and therefore, to decide whether they are still obligatory or not. Deplorable evils have flowed from mistakes as to this point. The theories of the union of Church and State, of the right of the magistrate to interfere authoritatively in matters of religion, and of the duty of persecution, so far as Scriptural authority is concerned, rest on the transfer of laws founded on the temporary relations of the Hebrew to the altered relations of Christians. Because the Hebrew kings were the guardians of both tables of the Law, and were required to suppress idolatry and all false religion, it was inferred that such is still the duty of the Christian magistrate. Because Samuel hewed Agag to pieces, it was inferred to be the right to deal in like manner with heretics. No one can read the history of the Church without being impressed with the dreadful evils which have flowed from this mistake. On the other hand, there are some of the judicial laws of the Old Testament which were really founded on the permanent relations of men, and therefore, were intended to be of perpetual obligation, which many have repudiated as peculiar to the old dispensation. Such are some of the laws relating to marriage, and to the infliction of capital punishment for the crime of murder. If it be asked, How are we to determine whether any judicial law of the Old Testament is still in force? the answer is first, When the continued authority of such law is recognized in the New Testament. That for Christians is decisive. And secondly, If the reason or ground for a given law is permanent, the law itself is permanent. [Hodge, 268-269]
Charles Hodge adds another grouping of laws, related to the previous one.
The fourth class of laws are those called positive, which derive all their authority from the explicit command of God. Such are external rites and ceremonies, as circumcision, sacrifices, ad the distinction between clean and unclean meats, and between months, days, and years. The criterion of such laws is that they would not be binding unless positively enacted; and that they bind those only to whom they are given, and only so long as they continue in force by the appointment of God. Such laws may have answered important ends, and valid reasons doubtless existed why they were imposed; still they are specifically different from those commands which are in their own nature morally obligatory. The obligation to obey such laws does not arise from their fitness for the end for which they have been given, but solely from the divine command. [Hodge, 269]
Francis Turretin went greatly in depth on this topic in his own discussion on the abrogation of the Civil Law. He begins by highlighting two potential extremes: one which said that all of the Civil Law was abrogated (as some Anabaptists of Turretin's time claimed); and the other, which said that none of the Civil Law was abrogated, and hence "Christian states should be governed like the Jewish" (Turretin, 166). The orthodox position, as Turretin himself puts forward, is to "relieve the matter by a distinction, both according to what has been abrogated, and what is still in force" (ibid). In other words, each element of the Civil Law must be understood under the circumstances and time it was passed. Those parts of the Civil Law unique to "the genius and reason of the Jewish polity" are "made useless to Christians living under a different polity," and hence "not ought to be observed any longer"; as an example, Turretin cites the laws concerning the division of the land of Canaan among the Jews, and "this having been taken away, they can have no further use" (Turretin, 167). That of the Civil Law which is "found to be conformed to the precepts of the decalogue and serves to explain and conform it" can be accepted as binding upon Christians (Turretin, 166-167).

With all this in view, some important considerations about our application of the Law become apparent:

First, the Moral Law is still bound upon us, and we are still obligated to obey it. It did not disappear with the coming of Christ. It is this portion of the Law which is, as John Calvin put it, "the testimony of natural law... which God has engraved on the minds of men," and which "alone ought to be the aim, the rule, and the end of all laws." It is this portion of the Law, as Edwards puts it, which features "a summary of man’s duty, as revealed by God." The command "thou shall not steal" is just as relevant during our day as it was in the time of Moses.

Second, the Ceremonial Law has become completely abrogated, and everything related to it has seen its ultimate fulfillment in Christ and His work. The completed work of Christ on the cross is precisely why we do not shed the blood of lambs in Jerusalem (let alone why the Papist mass is so horrendous), and the reason there is no sacramental priesthood today is because Christ has usurped the Levitical priesthood as our better priest.

Third, the Civil (or Judicial) Law, while still relevant as a potential guide, is no longer a binding Law, and can only be influential insofar as it is either relevant to individual Christians in individual circumstances, or when it sheds light upon the Moral Law. Furthermore, some discernment must be made in regards to just how far a Civil Law can be applied, if at all. As Turretin said, certain parts of the Civil Law may be completely irrelevant for modern day believers, for theological or situational reasons; as Calvin elucidated, though the Moral Law may be the same for all believing nations, aspects of their judiciary may be varied, depending on the situation, and will not violate, nor require to be bound by, the Civil Law of Moses. Vlad Dracula had thieves and brigands impaled because medieval Romania had become like modern-day Detroit; other nations which did not have as extensive a problem of crime would not have to resort to such extremes, nor would they be required to by the Law of God.

From this, we immediately find a dilemma in the Kinist position, for they have argued, in application, that Civil Laws concerning race are binding, and to violate them is sin and God's blueprint - in this regard, it is treated as binding as the Moral Law. Mr. Carlton cites Deuteronomy 22:8, and says it can be applied because the "underlying principle" is one that "buildings should be safe for ordinary human occupancy." However, the Kinist arguments we reviewed initially in this series did not speak of something as merely an "underlying principle," let alone anything that maybe would be just good advice or common sense. Rather, they were spoken of as God's binding Law, and God's blueprint. For example, intermixed marriages were placed alongside sodomy as an "unnatural sin" and called "intrinsically immoral" (source); they are likewise called an "unlawful association" within "God’s national blueprint" (source). Furthermore, Kinists have argued that to violate the "Law of Kin Rule" would "be lawlessness and treason to the nation, and ultimately to God Himself" (source; emphasis mine). Is Mr. Carlton likewise telling us that buildings which are not "safe for ordinary human occupancy" are likewise treason to God? Is it "intrinsically immoral" to have improper railings on a building? Could OSHA rightfully claim that, in performing their task, they are merely doing God's work?

I'm not attempting to debate via argumentum ad ridiculum, however what we find here is that Mr. Carlton falls into a false equivocation by taking one affirmation (that intermixed marriages or societies are sinful and offensive to God) and placing it on equal footing with another, not-so-extreme affirmation (it's good to have underlying principles to guide society). This is also the sort of dilemma many Theonomists and Hebrew roots movements fall into: a gross confusion over binding, non-binding, and temporal laws. Under the old dispensation, all groups of Laws were just as binding; under the new dispensation, such an equality does not exist. Those who cite the law against homosexuality (Lev 18:22) as a command for modern governments to execute homosexuals forget that nobody in the New Testament church seemed concerned with executing former homosexuals who came their way, but rather welcomed their repentance (cf. 1 Cor 6:9-11). The moral decree that homosexuality is a moral abomination is still binding upon the church; the judicial decree that those guilty of homosexuality should be executed is not.

As stated before, this distinction is seen in the historical Reformed view, and yet - while running to the historical Reformed view to give his opinion validity - this sort of distinction is not seen in Mr. Carlton's presentation. Whether he intended to do so or not, he appears to argue the extreme which Turretin warned against, which was to say that denying any Civil Law was to deny the Law in toto. He writes near the end of his article that if people followed my conclusions, then "we would be forced to determine that there is actually very little that is required of civil magistrates for any nation today... civil governments have virtually no standard by which they can be judged and called into account." Hence, because I insist that many passages appealed to by Kinists are no longer morally binding upon believers today, I am accused of revoking the entirety of the Law, and creating a libertine free will upon all states. Aside from being a terrible straw man of my position, such a view is not even one believed by the Westminster Divines and those who influenced and adhered to their standards, as the research provided has shown.

We might here turn to those passages that have been discussed between Mr. Carlton and I; namely, the ban against intermarriage in Deuteronomy 7, and the supposed "Law of Kin Rule" in Deuteronomy 17. I have gone at length to expose those passages as being irrelevant to our modern day, for a variety of reasons. Deuteronomy 7 dealt with a specific circumstance and a specific group of people living in Canaan, and the only concern of God seen directly in the text was in regards to theological issues resulting from the intermixed marriages. (That is, believers marrying unbelievers and being influenced by them.) This is also precisely why the idea of Rahab being a Gentile was never offensive to historical, orthodox Christianity - she was a believer by the time she married an ethnic Jew. Again, in past posts, I have gone into length about why Deuteronomy 7 can be seen as a temporal command; I have not thus far seen a detailed response from Kinists in regards to it, going verse by verse. The most we have seen is a repetition of argument, or an appeal that it might be interpreted as such, with no authority cited by Kinists except the Kinist interpretation itself.

Deuteronomy 17 dealt with the Kings of Israel, as all the specific laws given were relevant at some point to Israel. They were also ultimately fulfilled in Christ; the Messianic prophecy in Jeremiah 30:18-24, especially in verse 21, clearly has Deuteronomy 17 in mind. (Again, I've gone into detail on this in the past, so I present only a brief summary of it here, and point the reader elsewhere for a further discussion.)

In fact, Mr. Carlton cannot even maintain consistency with his own position on the dismantling of the Law. Later on in this article, he is forced to backtrack upon his earlier contention regarding Deuteronomy 17, for he had said Kinists believe kings are to follow "all of these requirements," adding later: "The requirements for kings listed in Deuteronomy 17 apply to all kings, not just those of ancient Israel." However, when pressed on the pagan nature of the Roman government which Paul told Christians to obey, he admits that "the requirement to personally write the law on scrolls in the presence of Levitical priests is obviously specific to ancient Israel." So, while I myself dared to challenge the notion that Deuteronomy 17 was senseless when applied to all nations, and was accused of inviting evil into society, now we see the Kinist is permitted to admit that some parts of the Law which they themselves declared as binding upon all nations... well, may actually not be binding upon all nations.

Can something be gleaned from those Civil Laws? Perhaps. However, we would have to again understand the situations and contexts of those Laws; we must, as Turretin says, "relieve the matter by a distinction." God's main concern in Deuteronomy 7 was for his people not to marry unbelievers, and as faith and ethnic identity were, at that time, synonymous, (again, something I've discussed in previous articles,) of course He told them not to marry certain groups of people; the closest we might get to this in a new covenant application is Paul's command for believers to not be bound together with unbelievers (cf. 2 Cor 6:14). Likewise, I would agree with Mr. Carlton that some of the parts of Deuteronomy 17 (regarding horses and gold) could be gleaned by modern leaders, but the question again is are we bound by this? Kinists argue that we must follow the Law of Kin Rule, and that interracial marriage is immoral - not that either are just related to a general civil principle which, as John Calvin and others admit, may actually differ from nation to nation. Yes, there may be moments when having a foreigner rule over you is unwise, and yet to say that this is a Law which must be obeyed enters not into general equity, but rather category error.

There were other passages discussed, of course, such as those from Nehemiah and Ezra, yet these were not part of the Law, and even if we attempted to appeal to them as the Law in application, I have demonstrated that the concerns there were either theological in nature, or irrelevant to the discussion.

One final note I may make is that Rushdoony, a man seen by many as a sort of "founder" of Kinism (although I'm certain many would contest that), and one whom Kinists are quick to cite and appeal as one of their own against Non-Kinist Theonomists, held the opinion that the Westminster Confession of Faith was wrong on their section regarding the Law.
Rousas Rushdoony, the founder of modern Theonomy believed modern Theonomy differed from the Westminster Confession on one point. He believed that "one of the errors of the [Westminster] Confession" [was holding in 19:4], without any confirmation from Scripture... that the 'judicial laws' of the Bible 'expired' with the Old Testament," a view he believed "makes the Confession is guilty of nonsense." [sic] [Cunningham, 147]
Rushdoony not only held the Confession's view of the Law to be more in line with what Kinists accuse me of, but he saw it as a reason to accuse it of being "guilty of nonsense." This was most likely because, as we've already seen in detail, the historical Reformed view was never that all the laws are still in application, but that some have indeed been done away with, with others being seen only as guidance, but not binding.
This is why Kinists believe that we ought to apply the principles of ethnonationalism from the laws of Israel’s civil code to nations today. Nations exist because God created them and have a purpose in God’s plan of redemption. Kinists see no reason to believe that the protection of Israel’s national and tribal identity was unique to Israel. All nations have a right and duty to protect their own national identity by applying the principles that God revealed through the Mosaic Law. The underlying principle of these laws is not merely to protect Israel’s religious identity; rather these laws also demonstrate the value of distinct tribal and ethnic identity itself.
Again, it would be nice if this could be shown from the text itself. As I wrote before, no sort of exegesis is seen from the Kinist camp. Similar to a cult-like mindset, it appeals instead of the authority of God to the organization's interpretation.

Certainly if Mr. Carlton is speaking against leftist, Marxist views that say national or ethnic identity has absolutely zero value in any sense, I would agree with him. If he stopped there, I might stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him. However, the dilemma with Kinists is not only that it takes itself to an opposite extreme, but it does so while attempting to read such doctrine into scripture. In attempting to undue the theological errors of Marxists and Social Justice Warriors, Kinists unintentionally commit the exact same errors, albeit from the opposite extreme. I have noticed this among various camps of Kinists I have interacted with, both here on my blog and on Twitter: this false dichotomy is always presented, where you're either a pro-ethnostate Kinist, or you're a Neo-Marxist. The idea that one can oppose Neo-Marxist ideas about race while avoiding an opposite extreme seems to not even be entertained.

We must also remember the application that Mr. Carlton is trying to come from: the old laws are still applicable to modern believers as underlying principles. However, we find here more clearly the equivocation dilemma within the Kinist camp: are these just underlying principles which may or may not be applicable to a believer? Or are these "God's blueprint"? Are these laws which, if not followed, are treachery to God Himself? Are violating "tribal and ethnic identity" equivalent to committing sodomy, as Kinists have argued? If so, then Carlton's earlier comparisons to health codes are misplaced; furthermore, his appeal to the Westminster's "general equity" is completely erroneous and unhistorical.
This can be demonstrated by observing the laws of inheritance and of marriage for females heirs, given concerning the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27 and Numbers 36. These delineate and preserve the collective property inheritance of the tribes of Israel. There are some instances of some men of specific tribes apostatizing while others remained faithful, but all of the tribes were equally under the covenant that they had inherited from Abraham, so a provision to keep tribal inheritance separate cannot be considered as a religious concern. This reveals that the distinction of tribes is a good unto itself that ought to be preserved. Tribes and nations should erect laws to ensure that tribal inheritance is preserved across the passage of time and generations. This is but one example of how the Bible reveals to us the importance of ethnonationalism.
Inheritance and marriage laws do not equal the modern views of ethnonationalism as preached by those within Kinism or some sectors of the Altright. This a common exegetical fallacy in which modern day world views are read backwards into past times. Certainly we do not see anything from scripture which would warrant, say, the view by some Kinists that, if Rahab had been a Gentile or Ruth an ethnic Moabite, then Christ would have been seen as having impure blood, and hence lose His Messianic status, regardless of all other conditions and factors (including His divine personhood). Indeed, I would encourage my reader to look through Numbers 27 or 36 and tell how one can draw ethnonationalist conclusions from simple family inheritance laws. Numbers 36 is especially problematic when one considers that this is in reference to the allotment of land by God to the various tribes within Canaan (Num 26:53-55; Jos 14:5), and is meant to prevent one tribe taking land from another (Num 36:7).

It is also interesting that Mr. Carlton cites this as an example of a civil law which must still be obeyed, when one considers that most historical commentators on the division of the various Laws cite the land inheritance laws as an example of those which are no longer binding upon the Christian. Again, the Kinist position suffers dilemmas when both the context of scripture and actual orthodox Christian history are examined.

First Quibble: Rahab

One amusing portion of Mr. Carlton's article states:
Most Christians today believe precisely that interracial marriage is not only normatively acceptable, but also something that ought to be celebrated. I’m not quite sure of TT’s own opinion on the question of interracial marriage, because he doesn’t state it. I would ask him if he believes interracial marriage to be generally unwise but not inherently sinful, or if he, like most Christians today, considers interracial marriage to be neutral or even positive. Kinists like myself argue that interracial marriage is wrong precisely because it is not normatively acceptable. There are several arguments given on Faith and Heritage against interracial marriage, and in favor of the normativity of intraracial and intraethnic marriage. I don’t believe that our overall case is weakened even if certain statements made about Rahab could be conceded as an overstatement.
The careful reader will note that Mr. Carlton is committing some obfuscation here. He says that the Kinist case is not weakened "even if certain statements made about Rahab could be conceded as an overstatement." However, what "overstatements" are these, as made by Mr. Carlton's peers at Faith and Heritage and fellow Kinists? That if Rahab were a Gentile, the Gospel of Christ would be null and void, as would the doctrine of the incarnation. This is more than just an overstatement - this is heresy. This is another Gospel entirely. Least anyone accuse me of mishandling the Kinist position, here is, again, one of those "overstatements":
It is impossible to deny the purity of Christ’s pedigree and yet retain any Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. Christ, quite simply, had to be the pure-blood heir apparent in order to be the prophesied Messiah without [racial] spot or blemish. [source]
And another:
...if the genealogies didn’t prove His lawful descent from Jacob and claim to the heritage of David, their inclusion to that end in the text would be a work of sublime futility – undermining the whole of the gospel and, thereby, revelation in general. [...] But the modern challenge to Christ’s genealogy comes, most shockingly, from many who actually claim to follow Him, otherwise known as Alienists. They allege that Rachab of the royal genealogy was no Hebrew, but a Canaanite. [source]
And these weren't the only "overstatements" made It was said the charge Rahab was a Gentile came from "tradition" and "popular opinion," as if it were in the same vein as KJV-Onlyism or Pop Dispensationalism. As I demonstrated in another post, this is Kinist double-speak: the true matter is that the identification of Rahab as a Gentile goes all the way back to the earliest Church Fathers, and has been upheld by the vast majority of Patristics, Reformers, and great teachers of God throughout time. If by "tradition" and "popular opinion" we mean "historical Christian orthodoxy," then that would be correct.

Another Kinist statement made - and one by Mr. Carlton himself - was that it was possible the "Rahab" of Matthew 1:5 is another, completely unidentifiable woman, as if we are to truly believe that Matthew, writing to a Jewish audience, and citing women that Jewish readers would have immediately recognized, decided to use this completely unidentifiable woman who just happened to share a name with one of the most well known women in the history of Ancient Israel. Again it must be noted that Kinists, who love to attach the label "Historical Christianity" to their doctrine, make this assertion despite the fact that everyone who has looked at Matthew 1:5 has identified that Rahab with Rahab the Harlot. (See my other article where this is touched upon.)

There's a scene in Kill Bill Part 2 where Uma Thurman's character meets up with Bill, who shot up her wedding and then put a bullet in her head. Recalling the episode, he laments to her in an absolutely casual tone, "I overreacted." That scene comes to mind here. It's as if Kinists get nervous and semi-embarrassed when their own words and conclusions are used against them, or presented bare to the public for what they are. If Mr. Carlton wishes to now backtrack and admit "certain statements" made by Kinists about Rahab have been "overstatements," then I would ask him to be honest and come out and own those statements for what they are, and who said them.

Second Quibble: Ezra 2:59-62

Regarding my response to Mr. Carlton's appeal on Ezra 2:59-62, he writes:
The issue is that Levitical priests and their families were required to take wives from among the nation of Israel (Lev. 21:13-15, Ez. 44:22). Whatever other exceptions there were that could be made for other Israelites, this did not apply to the priests. This means that that their lineages would be quite pure. It could be argued that a priest may have had non-Israelite ancestry if one of their ancestors had married someone of another tribe who had ancestors that had married a war captive, as provided by the accommodation in Deut. 21:10-14. However this would be so remote that no one would recognize this ancestry as being “mixed” in any meaningful sense.
This response has nothing to do with I wrote. I had pointed out that merely the identity of being with the tribe of Levi was called. Because there was no record of lineage, the men were removed. No issue of purity came up, therefore the citation was erroneous. What Mr. Carlton essentially did here was merely repeat his argument. The careful reader will also note that I quoted the passage in full, and in context, and showed where I came to my conclusions from those passages. Mr. Carlton has not done that here. In fact, he has not done that with any of the passages he deals with.

Third Quibble: My Quotation of John Calvin

Regarding my contention that Mr. Carlton avoided dealing with my quotation of John Calvin on Deuteronomy 17:15, he writes:
Of course this isn’t the case. I merely point out the reason that Calvin’s beliefs about national identity preclude any idea that he was ambivalent on the question of kin rule. We have every reason to doubt that Calvin would have approved of the nations of Europe being ruled by ethnic foreigners, and virtually all of Calvin’s contemporaries would have considered the suggestion to be absurd. None of them would have interpreted the presence of ethnic, racial, and religious foreigners in the governments of Europe to be anything other than judgment, and I see no compelling reason to disagree. Other Reformed thinkers like Samuel Rutherford certainly deduced the principle of kin rule from verses like Deut. 17:15, so this is hardly the product of an overactive Kinist imagination.
This is all well and good, but I must once again ask, what did this have to do with my citation of John Calvin regarding Deuteronomy 17? Would Calvin have opposed a foreigner ruling other people? Probably (although I'm curious what his opinion was of Spaniards ruling Germany and Holland at the time). As I said in the previous article, I've nowhere argued John Calvin was a squishy Evangelical, or didn't hold a high view of nationhood. To continually speak as if I'm affirming such things is to argue via straw man.

The issue is how did John Calvin, looking at Deuteronomy 17, interpret the passage? He did not see the Kinist teaching on ethnonationalism. Remember, Kinists teach that this passage prescribes a clear Law, not a friendly guideline. Calvin did not look at this passage and cite it against foreigners ruling other lands; rather, he saw religious reasons behind the appointment of fellow kin (as he did with much of the Civil Law). If Calvin - one of the greatest exegetes to ever live, and whom Kinists claim held as high a view of ethnostates as they do - did not see a clear teaching of a "Law of Kin Rule" in this passage, and did not think to even mention it in passing, why should we presume he would have interpreted the verse as such?

Therefore, I repeat again that to jump to another exegesis by Calvin of an entirely different passage to read it back into an exegesis where Calvin says nothing of the sort is a complete mishandling of Calvin's words, and a complete non-answer to my citation of him. It was really a crocodile-style debate tactic, hoping to drag an opponent to a sphere where you believe you have greater advantage, similar to a crocodile that drags its prey into the water where it too has a greater advantage.

One brief note: the reference to Samuel Rutherford is a bit misplaced, as Rutherford was not quite the ethnostate advocate that Kinists like to portray him as. I would suggest people go to this post where I examine the quotations used by Mr. Strickland to make such a claim.

Fourth Quibble: Jethro's Advice

At another point in the article, Mr. Carlton refers to my criticism of his claim that Deuteronomy 17 was an "extension" of Deuteronomy 1.
TT quibbles with my appeal to Deut. 1:13-16 by noting that this simply repeats what Moses’s father-in-law tells him in regard to governing the tribes. These standards were originally given to Moses by his father-in-law, but there is no reason to believe that these standards constitute mere advice. Would anyone wish to contend that leaders in civil government are no longer required to be wise, understanding, experienced, and righteous judges to both strangers and resident foreigners? Of course not! We all recognize these requirements as permanent, so why should the requirement that civil leaders be descended from the tribes they govern be considered any different?
This contention only works if one forgets the flow of thought in our argument. Mr. Carlton had claimed that Deuteronomy 17 was an "extension" of Deuteronomy 1:13-16. I pointed out that they dealt with different contexts and purposes: one dealt with a secular source offering a suggestion to resolve a specific situation Moses had to deal with; the other involved direct commands from God regarding Israel's future monarchy. In other words, one was hardly an "extension" of the other.

Mr. Carlton asks: "Would anyone wish to contend that leaders in civil government are no longer required to be wise, understanding, experienced, and righteous judges to both strangers and resident foreigners?" Nobody would want to contend that, but neither was any such argument being put forward. As I wrote before, to try to cite Deuteronomy 1 as a divine command for all governments everywhere is the same error committed by Cavalry Chapel for citing Deuteronomy 1 as their "Moses model" for church leadership. Likewise, to try to connect it to Deuteronomy 17 as if God were "expanding" on what was said in Deuteronomy 1 is completely erroneous.

Concluding Thoughts

As stated earlier in the post, Mr. Carlton's appeal to the historical Reformed view of "general equity" and the use of the Law only works if one ignores what the historical Reformed view of the Law actually is. The historical Reformed view does not say, as Mr. Carlton has argued, that to say some laws are no longer binding invites evil and wickedness from rulers and commoners alike; rather, it says that the Law must be understood as divided between those which are binding, non-binding, and irrelevant. Even the Kinist must confess this when they themselves are placed into a corner with obviously antiquated laws or ordinances, hence making their entire position not only unhistorical, but inconsistent. The Kinist will accuse their critics of dismantling the Law, while at the same time freely picking and choosing just what parts of the Law must be followed or can be disregarded.

What we've also witnessed here is a further minimizing of the Kinist strength in regards to the testimony of scripture. I would put forward to the reader that, in this back-and-forth dialogue, we have the seen the Kinist position degrade thus:

First, it was presented, before Kinist audiences, that these teachings are not only historical Christianity, but they are clear teachings of scripture. This becomes problematic, either with a simple study of church history (eg., nobody until the rise of Kinism questioned Rahab's Gentile identity), or with an honest study of scripture (eg., looking at Deuteronomy 7 in its fullest context).

Second, since this became a problem, the Kinists had to declare that these are possible "secondary concerns" or "secondary teachings" within the text. This likewise proves problematic, because a reexamination from the text shows that no such "secondary concerns" exist; one cannot reach such "secondary concerns" unless one goes to the text and eisegetes them.

Now, we are presented with the basic idea that these are general principles which can possibly be gleaned from the text, based on the wording of the Westminster Confession of Faith. As we've seen, not only does the historical application of the phrase "general equity" contradict the Kinist use of it, but even some historical Kinists (eg., Rushdoony) saw the Westminster Confession as agreeing with those the Kinists attack. (In fact, Kinists will appeal as "general equity" certain passages which Reformed theologians throughout history have given as examples of what aren't "general equity" passages.)

Once again we find that the Kinist contention that their position is a Biblical one, let alone historical, falls apart once it is placed under a microscope. We have clearly seen that Kinism cannot stand under the scrutiny of exegesis, but must run, once the light is turned on, to philosophy or, in this case, a loose definition of "general equity." This is again only a confirmation that Kinism is not an exegetical doctrine, which can be rightfully gleaned from scripture through clear teaching. It is rather an erroneous teaching, and one that I would encourage those in its camps to move away from, and those who might be interested in it to avoid.


Works Cited

Cunningham, Timothy R. How Firm a Foundation? Wipf and Stock, 2012.

Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology, Volume III. Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.

Turretin, Francis. Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Volume II. Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1994.

Waldron, Samuel E. A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. Evangelical Press, 2005.