Saturday, November 11, 2017

Kinists and Ruth

Introduction

This post is something of a sequel to my two-part series Kinists and Rahab (First part; second part), only the focus here will be the Kinist opinion regarding Ruth. The article we'll be using as the basis of our discussion is from the Faith and Heritage website, and is entitled Kinist Orthodoxy: A Response to Brian Schwertley, Part 5. It's written by Davis Carlton, who wrote one of the aforementioned Rahab articles, and who wrote a response to my aforementioned posts, which I wrote a counter-response to. As one can tell from the title of the article up for review in this post, the article is written in response to someone else, so I won't be responding to the article in full, but rather focusing on the more general statements or contentions made.

Ruth is an interesting point of discussion, as, unlike Rahab, the Kinist contention is not that she was a Gentile. Indeed, Kinists argue (rightfully) that Moabites are close kin to Hebrews, as they are descended from the same extended family which Abraham belonged to (Gen 19:36-37). Rather, Kinists appeal to the ban on Moabites entering the assembly of God (Deu 23:3), and hence they perceive a Moabite believer becoming a believer and marrying an Israelite as a problem. Likewise, they would argue such a ban would extend into the realm of genetics and lineage, and therefore Christ's claim as the Messiah would be tainted by Moabite blood.

Most of these discussions we will cover here, in this post, focusing on the identity of Ruth and whether or not we should consider her an ethnic Moabite, or a Moabite by some other identity. As I often do, quotes from the original article will be in purple.

Who were the Moabites?

In the proper part of the article dealing with Ruth, Mr. Carlton presents the case that the Moabites spoken of in Ruth were not "ethnic Moabites," but "descendents of Israelite settlers." That is not to say ethnic Moabites no longer existed, but that, by the time of Ruth, they had been replaced in the region of Moab with ethnic Hebrews.
Schwertley’s awful argumentation all presupposes that Ruth was an ethnic Moabite. Schwertley is correct that Moabites were the ethnic kin of Israelites, as Moab was the son of Lot (Gen. 19:36-37), Abraham’s nephew (Gen. 14:12), making Jacob/Israel and Moab to be second cousins. Thus, even if Ruth were an ethnic Moabite, this would provide no problems to Kinism. In this regard, the passage is frankly irrelevant. It would still be helpful, however, to better understand the details of this narrative, for as we will see, we have reasons to believe that Ruth was not an ethnic Moabite.
Mr. Carlton proceeds to go into detail:
First, we need to establish the identity of the inhabitants of the country of Moab (Ruth 1:1). It might seem obvious that the inhabitants of the country of Moab must have been ethnic Moabites, but there is a significant history regarding the ethnic Moabites’ displacement before the lifetime of Ruth. The Amorites under Sihon, King of Heshbon, decimated the Moabites and occupied their land, driving away most of the people and taking some of them captive (Num. 21:26-30). Israel then conquered the Amorites and occupied this territory (Num. 21:33-35; Deut. 2:30-34) prior to crossing the Jordan; and even though the ethnic Moabites had been expelled, it continued to be called the country or plains of Moab. This land was then given as an inheritance to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (Deut. 3:12-16; 29:7-8; Josh. 13:32), according to the tribes’ own request to remain east of the Jordan (Num. 32). There still seem to be Moabites after this time, since they are listed among David’s servants (2 Sam. 8:2), as well as among the foreigners with whom Solomon intermarried (1 Kings 11:1). Still, the preponderance of evidence strongly suggests that the inhabitants of the country of Moab during the time of Ruth were actually the descendants of Israelite settlers. Israelite tribes are said to have inhabited the area, and Scripture is silent on whatever other minority populations may have resided there with them.
One must ponder why, if the Moabites during Ruth's time are the descendents of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, they are not referred to as such in the overall biblical narrative? Why is such a lineage never mentioned? Some might contend this is an arguing from silence fallacy, yet even when we look at the time period after Joshua, we still find mention of the tribes of Reuben (cf. Jdg 5:15-16), Gad (cf. 2 Sam 23:36), and Manasseh (cf. Jdg 6:35), and each time they are separate from Moab. (See also 2 Kings 10:32-33.) No connection is ever made between the two, and in fact the Bible's timeline contradicts the notion that one stemmed from the other.

In fact, history attests to the continued distinction between those three tribes and the nation of Moab: in the famous Moabite Stone, which reveals much regarding the history of Moab, King Mesha (who lived around the 800's BC) claims to have dealt harshly with the Gadites around Ataroth (Oxford, 238). Here is the relevant section from the actual stone:
And the men of Gad lived in the land of Atarot from ancient times; and the king of Israel built Atarot for himself, and I fought against the city and captured it. And I killed all the people of the city as a sacrifice for Kemosh and for Moab. [source]
In addition to all this, we might add the witness of Josephus, who records from the first century AD on the history of the Jewish people. While speaking on the episode of Lot and his daughters, he writes the following words:
But his daughters, thinking that all mankind were destroyed, approached to their father, though taking care not to be perceived. This they did, that human kind might not utterly fail: and they bare sons; the son of the elder was named Moab, Which denotes one derived from his father; the younger bare Ammon, which name denotes one derived from a kinsman. The former of whom was the father of the Moabites, which is even still a great nation; the latter was the father of the Ammonites; and both of them are inhabitants of Celesyria. And such was the departure of Lot from among the Sodomites. [Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, 11:5; source; emphases mine]
Josephus records Moab not only as a "great nation" in his own time period, but likewise that the ethnic Moabites (the descendants of Lot, as he specifies here) still resided in "Celesyria" (an archaic way of referring to the Palestinian region). Hence Josephus further attests that, not only did the Moabites still exist collectively as a significant people, but they still dwelt in the land collectively. This is all in contrast with seeing them as a diaspora, as presumed by Kinists.

Turning again to scripture, we must remember the account of Moab's rule over Israel, when King Eglon ruled over the Jews until their deliverance by Ehud (Jdg 4:11-12). Following the timeline of Judges, Eglon's invasion happens roughly 48 years after the start of the book of Judges (cf., Jdg 3:8; 3:11). The book of Ruth takes place during the time period of Judges (Ruth 1:1). The Archaeological Study Bible estimates that the Israelites entered Canaan in 1406 BC, with the time period of Judges beginning around 1375 BC (Archaeological, 386). Another scholarly work places the entry into Canaan around 1230 BC, while the period of Ehud happens around 1170 BC (Cundall, 32).

The point is, the time frame between the settlement of the Jews in Canaan, and the possible time of Ruth, is most likely in decades, rather than centuries. Within that same time period, we see a Moab independent of the three tribes Mr. Carlton references. To presume that such a span of time has passed that the descendants of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh would not only have fallen into idolatry, but would have been so disconnected from the people of Israel that they would be identified as another people altogether, is a tremendous jump in logic. (Though Mr. Carlton will make that argument later on.)

We must likewise remember that, shortly after the passage appealed to by Mr. Carlton, we run into the section dealing with Balaam and Balak, the king of Moab (Num 22-24). A little while later, the people are said to "play the harlot" with "the daughters of Moab," sacrificing to the Moabite gods (Num 25:1-2). It is due to all this that the laws regarding the Moabites were put in place, with the episode of Balaam specifically mentioned (Deu 23:3-4). Hence, a kingdom, realm, and people of Moab are identified after the supposed destruction of Moab, and before the settlements of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. In other words, shortly after Mr. Carlton would have us believe the Kingdom of Moab was destroyed... we see the Israelites interacting with the Kingdom of Moab. In fact, it's precisely because of this interaction that the laws against the Moabites are passed!

More than likely, the settlements of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh didn't involve the nation of Moab at all. God actually instructs the Israelites heading into Canaan not to take the land of the Moabites, because God had granted that to them after they moved there.
"So we passed beyond our brothers the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, away from the Arabah road, away from Elath and from Ezion-geber. And we turned and passed through by the way of the wilderness of Moab. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Do not harass Moab, nor provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the sons of Lot as a possession.’ (The Emim lived there formerly, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim, they are also regarded as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim.)" [Deuteronomy 2:8-11]
From this passage we can immediately infer two things:

First, God told the Jews not to take land from the Moabites, therefore we cannot presume that Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh took anything from them. God outright says in verse 9: "I will not give you any of their land as a possession." How, then, could Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh have taken anything pertaining to Moab as their possession? As Kinists are fond of sticking to the letter of the Law (pun intended), we would have to presume that Kinists recognize that these three tribes were violating God's command in taking the land from the Moabites.

Second, it is clear from this that there are still ethnic Moabites in the region, given God justifies His ban on harassing the Moabites with a promise made in giving Ar to "the sons of Lot." Hence, the sons of Lot - that is, the ethnic Moabites - are still in possession of the land by the time the invasion of Canaan has begun.

What, then, are we to make of the argument that actual, ethnic Moab were for the most part destroyed (or at least, scattered from the Moab region) by the Amorites in Numbers 21:26-30? It might help to first point out that the victories described in the passages were regarding a "former king of Moab" (Num 21:26), hence referencing the one before Balak, the contemporary king during the episode with Balaam. This would again imply that there was a continuation of the Moabite people within a land, rather than a scattering of them across the land, similar to the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Some have suggested that the land referenced in Numbers 21 is actually northern Moab, meaning north of the River Arnon (Oxford, 522). Indeed, Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh are said to have possessed the land taken by Sihon (Num 32:33), which would leave southern Moab, south of the River Arnon, to the Moabites themselves. That the Emim formerly lived there implies the Moabites moved in there either during or immediately after the time of the Emim. This may have happened after the campaign of King Sihon, after which the Israelites took the northern region. The Moabite Stone, mentioned before, makes mention of King Mesha conquering northern Moab, taking it from Israelites (Oxford, 522), which would further strengthen this hypothesis of the Moabites dwelling largely in the southern part of the region.

It is therefore erroneous for Mr. Carlton to argue that "the preponderance of evidence strongly suggests" his conclusion, when he has presented very little evidence to "strongly suggest" for such a case. His presentation ignores the entirety of scripture, as well as what archaeological and historical evidence says regarding the state of Moab.

Why Ruth is called a "Moabitess"

Mr. Carlton brings up another issue he sees in the narrative of Ruth, which is the role of religion in her life, which is linked to her identity as "Moabitess." After discussing Naomi's language in Ruth 1:15, and whether or not he was telling them to go and return to their old faiths, Mr. Carlton writes:
At any rate, these details of the passage can be important to the Alienist who wishes to leverage the girls’ likelihood of apostasy into an argument that Ruth and Naomi’s people were ethnic foreigners. The Alienist could argue (though Schwertley does not) that we cannot expect Ruth and Orpah to have been ethnic Israelites, for the inevitability of their apostasy in returning to their own people indicates that they were not of the covenant people, and thus not Israelites. He might similarly appeal to Ruth’s identification as a “stranger” in 2:10. The evident flaw in this argument is that the Israelites throughout Scripture are remarkably prone to idolatry and apostasy, in which case even a pattern of corporate apostasy among some long-separated Israelite group is not any reliable indicator of foreign ancestry. It is not a stretch to consider the Israelite contingent in the plains of Moab, whose forefathers desired not to enter the Promised Land west of the Jordan, as a sort of separate people, especially if they had been seduced to some sort of indigenous idolatry. We therefore have good overall reasons to consider Ruth as being descended from these original Israelite inhabitants, termed a “Moabitess” to refer to the geography and/or society (and perhaps the religion) of the Israelite contingent residing in the plains of Moab.
Hence, when Ruth is called "Ruth the Moabitess," Kinists argue that it does not mean she is an ethnic Moabite. Instead, Kinists propose that "Moabitess" has three other potential meanings:
  • Locality - She's from the region of Moab.
  • Nationality - She's from a nation called Moab.
  • Religion - She follows the religion of Moab.
Let's respond to these one at a time, and see if they hold any validity:

The Locality Qualifier: We must look to the language used in regards to Orpah and Ruth, both from Naomi and from themselves. Naomi tells Ruth, shortly after Orpah leaves, that she "has gone back to her people and her gods" (Ruth 1:15). Ruth refuses to leave Naomi, stating that she will stay with her mother-in-law, adding: "Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God" (Ruth 1:16b). Here we see that Ruth is disconnecting not only her faith, but her people as well. On this basis alone, we can throw out the idea that Ruth was speaking on the basis of locality of origin, as it appears to go much deeper than what region of the world she was born in. We would certainly never see a Galilean Jew would never be told by an Alexandrian Jew, "Go back to your people and your gods."

The Nationality Qualifier: We established earlier, the events of Joshua and the events in Judges are closely related, so presuming that Ruth was part of a "long-separated Israelite group" is nonsensical. Even with differing estimations of when the Israelites entered Canaan and when the narrative in Judges begins, it's clear that barely a generation has passed between the time period of Joshua and Judges. Likewise, we earlier saw evidence, both from scripture and from historical sources, that the Kingdom of Moab was separate from the three tribes who settled beyond the Jordan. We can therefore reject the nationality qualifier, as there is no evidence that the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh lost their identity as such during the course of their stay in the Trans-Jordan area.

The Religious Qualifier: Mr. Carlton argues that "the Israelites throughout Scripture are remarkably prone to idolatry and apostasy," hence it is reasonable to presume that a 'long-separated Israelite group" may have fallen into "indigenous idolatry." However, whenever the Israelites fell into idolatry and apostasy, they incurred condemnation and wrath from God - no such episode is recorded on the people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh during this period in history. Joshua 22 recounts an episode where it was almost presumed they had, but they defended it as legitimate worship. 1 Chronicles 5:25-26 does recount the tribes falling away into idolatry, but they don't become Moabites - rather, they are handed over to the King of Assyria. Hence, the only record of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh falling away into idolatry and paganism is much later in history, and has nothing to do with Moab. We can therefore reject the religious qualifier.

In light of all this, and in light of what we saw before, let's ask this question: why is Ruth called a Moabitess? Quite simply, it's because she was indeed an ethnic Moabite. The Kinists may rant and rave and say that this causes problems for the lineage of Christ. Whether it does or not, the one simple fact which cannot ignore from the plain teaching of scripture, backed up by historical facts, is that we can only be led to believe that Ruth was an ethnic Moabite.

The Anti-Moabite Laws

Mr. Carlton now turns from the meaning of "Moabitess" towards favorite prooftexts for Kinists.
In addition to the above argumentation, we can add further evidence to suppose that Ruth was not an ethnic Moabite. Just as the application of Deuteronomy 23 by Ezra and Nehemiah forbade Rahab from being an ethnic Canaanite and Uriah from being an ethnic Hittite, the exact same consideration applies to Moabites. The exclusion of Moabites (Deut. 23:3) is specifically cited and applied in Nehemiah 13:1-3, when Nehemiah commands Israel to separate themselves from their foreign wives and children. Hence if Ruth were an ethnic Moabite, even though her ethnic distance would of itself be no issue for Kinism, we would have quite a large issue: not only Ruth, but Jesus Himself, would be barred from the congregation of the Lord by this legislation.
In the Rahab posts (specifically, the first post), we covered why the appeals to Deuteronomy 23, Ezra, and Nehemiah are problematic when the context for each passage is reviewed. For the sake of discussion, we are going to discuss each passage briefly here, but I encourage readers to go to the post linked for a more in depth discussion.

Deuteronomy 23's ban against the Moabites is a ban of judgment for their treatment of the Hebrews (see verses 4-6), not a fear of them intermixing genetically with the Israelites. As discussed in one of the Rahab articles, the Kinist argument that this becomes racialist by implication demonstrates the superficial appeal by them to this scripture.

The banning of foreign wives (including Moabites) in Nehemiah was influenced by the fact those same women were causing the men to seek after idols and sin. (See Nehemiah 13:25-26, which brings this up.) As for the expulsion of Moabites from the congregation of Israel, we go into further detail in the Rahab posts on how Jewish tradition has often understood that passage, which would grant Ruth further leeway. Kinists attack this and claim it muddles the text... even though they will, in the same presentation, appeal to first century Jewish tradition which they think supports their interpretation of scripture. (For example, see their erroneous use of the Pharisees' "Samaritan" charge against Christ, which we discuss in the first Rahab article.)

Similar can be said for the passage from Ezra, for the foreign women were causing the Jewish men to commit abominations, and hence the call to separate from them (See Ezra 9:1-2, 10-14, which clarifies this.) Therefore, the marriage of these foreign women was fulfilling the warning presented by God in the original passage from Deuteronomy.

Mr. Carlton, of course, is aware of the religious angle for these verses, and mocks such an idea in a section responding to his original author:
[...] After rejecting the Talmudic thesis that Deuteronomy 23 only forbade intermarriage with foreign males so that foreign women were fair game, Schwertley mentions, as a possible interpretation, that Ruth could have been a divinely-granted exception to the law because of her remarkable faith. Presumably, though he doesn’t explicitly say so, he would reject the absurd interpretation that none of the generational prohibitions in Deuteronomy 23 mattered so long as the subject is a believer, i.e. that all believing Ammonites, Moabites, and members of other forbidden nations could be integrated into Israel without hindrance. Such a confounding of national and religious categories makes God’s law to be foolish, elaborating upon forbidden nationalities and descendants only to provide an enormous, unstated loophole. [...]
I find it very humorous that Mr. Carlton dismisses the notion that Deuteronomy 23 was exempt if the individual was a believer, saying that such an interpretation is a "confounding of national and religious categories." I say humorous because this is precisely what Kinists do. Remember that just a moment ago, Mr. Carlton was arguing that "Moabitess" referred to her regional, national, or religious identity, separate of each other, even though nothing within the text itself would cause us to presume this was a normative mindset during that time period. Remember also that when Kinists attempt to handle Rahab's use of "us" and "you" in regards to the Canaanites and Israelites, they try to argue that she is using those pronouns in a religious, not ethnic, sense (again, despite the fact that there's little evidence people spoke in such a manner back then).

Furthermore, to call this realization "an enormous, unstated loophole," simply displays a warped understanding of God's grace. It was such a mindset that caused Jonah to grow upset with God for refusing to destroy Ninevah. It demonstrates that the mindset and focus of Kinism is not upon the grace of God, but upon ethnonationalism and race. Kinists might here accuse us of redefining the Law, yet when we permit the Law to speak for itself, we find it does not have a fear of racial intermixing at its heart, but sin and idolatry.
The problem with this, of course, is that Scripture says nothing of the sort. The text speaks of nations, as nations, being forbidden from entrance into Israel, and of foreign women and foreign children being separated from Israel. When Boaz considers marrying Ruth, he does not fear for the sanctions of the law which explicitly forbids intermarriage with Moabite women, nor does he have his fear forestalled by a divine revelation communicating the temporary inapplicability of the law for his circumstance. The law simply does not provide the exception which Schwertley supposes; it would be the worst of eisegesis to add in a separate, unstated loophole just to maintain that Ruth was an ethnic foreigner, especially when we already have positive evidence of Israelites residing in the land of Moab. The superior harmonization is to deny that Ruth was an ethnic Moabite.
As we saw earlier, that supposed "positive evidence" for Israelites dwelling in the land of Moab as brand new "Moabites" was shaky at best.

In like manner, Carlton's denial of the context seen in Deuteronomy 23, as well as in the relevant passages from Ezra and Nehemiah, shows that it is actually he that is missing what scripture says. Scripture clearly qualifies the ban on intermarrying due to the potentiality of idolatry. The Canaanite and Moabite women in Ezra and Nehemiah were guilty of causing the Jewish men to sin. These are all things plainly seen in scripture, but are also all things completely ignored by most Kinists. If there is to be a "superior harmonization" of scripture and what it says, it will not be found within Kinism.
It would be fitting here to call attention to the structure of our various responses to Schwertley’s examples. Schwertley would have us believe that Kinists’ only motivation for interpreting Rahab to be a non-Canaanite, Uriah to be a non-Hittite, and Ruth to be a non-Moabite (ethnically speaking) is that our preselected principles demand such interpretations. But our arguments have predominantly been appeals to the plain statements of Scripture explicitly forbidding those exact nations from intermarriage and integration with Israel. Our concern has been to harmonize the various relevant biblical texts with each other; harmonizing the biblical examples with our own view of nationhood has been secondary. Yet he accuses us of twisting and perverting the words of Scripture to accommodate a racist paradigm, even as he mangles the Word to buttress his Alienism.
Here Mr. Carlton accuses his opponent of mangling the word of God, and assures us that Kinist arguments have "predominantly been appeals to the plain statements of Scripture." However, the only "twisting and perverting" of scripture that we have seen in this post, and in previous articles, has been on the part of Kinists. I invite the read to review this post again, if they wish to deny that Davis Carlton has done this.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

Mr. Carlton proceeds to give some final thoughts regarding Ruth's ancestry.
Whatever we conclude of Ruth’s ancestry, even if we hold that she had Moabite blood – or Amorite blood, which would be Canaanite (Gen. 10:15-16) and hence equally repugnant to the Deuteronomic assimilation laws – we can also see that her marriage to Boaz is not necessarily normative; it cannot prove Schwertley’s point that race or nationality is irrelevant to marriage. This is illustrated by the blessing at the end of the book of Ruth (4:11-12). The people gathered at the gate praise Boaz and Ruth and pray God’s blessing upon them, that they would be fruitful like Leah and Rachel, who built the house of Israel, and like the house of Pharez (Perez), the son of Judah and Tamar. The first marriage is a bigamous one in which Jacob married two sisters, and the second was an incestuous relationship between Judah and his daughter-in-law. Even if we had reason to believe that Ruth and Boaz’s marriage was interracial or otherwise neglectful of the established bounds of nationhood, we would have equal grounds to exalt bigamy and incest as morally normative, that is to say, none at all. We should consider the wise counsel of our friend Tim: "It is a common mistake to assume that the biblical narrative always can be taken as presenting normative patterns of behavior, unless contradicted by a law of God. But this is a shaky foundation; the biblical narrative evidently is not given with that purpose." The point of the story, which the Alienist should not overshadow with race-denying propaganda, is that God provided seed to Boaz the kinsman-redeemer through Christ’s virtuous foremother Ruth; thus Boaz serves as a type of Christ, the Kinsman-Redeemer of all the faithful.
Hence, at the end of his article, Mr. Carlton argues that, even if Ruth was a Moabite, this should not promote intermixing marriage anymore than events of sodomy or bigamy should normalize those actions, since Ruth's marriage was "not necessarily normative." Those who want to bicker and argue over Ruth as proof for intermixed marriages should, instead, just focus on the fact that God providentially provided Boaz with a wife, so that the line which would end in Christ could be continued.

This contention was made in Mr. Carlton's own response to me, and as I wrote in my counter-response, this is an inconsistent contention, as it contradicts the Kinist position towards Christ and the importance they place on His genetic lineage. This is seen in statements made by Kinists on Faith and Heritage and in other articles. Let us remind our reader what Ehud Would said from his article on Rahab:
...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. [source]
And likewise, from another Kinist article:
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 spot or blemish. [source]
In the mind of a Kinist, Ruth couldn't possibly be a Moabite, for if Christ had even as little as 1% Moabite DNA in His incarnate flesh, not only would the historical Christian doctrine of the incarnation completely unravel, but so would the very Gospel itself. To Kinists, Christ had to as free from forbidden DNA as He did any stain of sin. Nowhere is this taught in scripture, of course - in no passages regarding the Gospel, nor the incarnation, do we find genetic purity an important talking point. Kinists have to create this doctrine by pulling verses out of context from the Law and, like many theonomists, applying them as a continual command, with no historical or scriptural basis to back such claims up. (Again, we go over this in greater detail in previous posts.) Therefore, for a Kinist to have an attitude of, "Hey, even if it it was an intermixed marriage, let's just forget that and focus more on the fact that Ruth points us to Christ!" is completely nonsensical from a Kinist perspective. For Kinists, if Ruth was a Moabite, then the New Testament becomes a work of revelation we can simply toss out and reject.

Everything within scripture is meant to point us towards Christ and the Gospel. Kinism makes the focus instead on racial purity, to the point that even the Gospel becomes subjugated to it. It forces one to read scripture not through the lens of Christ, but the lens of ethnonationalism. It forces one to ignore chunks of history, even as it is recorded in scripture, to explain away problems that your own theology creates. This is why we see Kinism lead into another Gospel entirely, and hence Kinism must be avoided for the false teaching that it is.

***

Work Cited

Archaeological Study Bible: New International Version. Zondervan, 2006.

Cundall, Arthur E. and Leon Morris. The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries: Judges and Ruth. Intervarsity Press, 1968

Metzger, Bruce M. and Michael D. Coogan. The Oxford Companion to the Bible. New York, 1993.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Counterresponse to Faith and Heritage

Introduction

Over on the Faith and Heritage blog, a response was written to much of my work on Kinism, at least that which I've written at the time of this blog post. It was penned by Davis Carlton, whose work I had responded to before in some of said Kinist posts. The article was posted on October 4, 2017, and entitled A Response to Truth Tribune on Kinism.

Before we begin, I do want to quote one section from the article:
I found TT’s conversation with Adam Kane to be insightful. I appreciate the time that he has spent researching Kinism. Typically detractors of Kinism make it pretty obvious that they haven’t investigated our beliefs to any meaningful degree. I applaud TT for actually reading and responding to our content. I also appreciate TT’s approach that he takes during this podcast. He seems to understand that Kinism has emerged as a reaction to the problems of modernity.
I appreciated reading this, as my main goal, in writing against Kinism, was to portray it and its followers accurately. As I said in the podcast with Mr. Kane, if Christians are going to be a witness to the truth, they must engage in truthful witnessing. Obviously there will be disagreements and statements of what is true and what is unbiblical, nonetheless, while I've never supported the notion of "let's agree to disagree," I do support the notion of "let's disagree in an agreeable manner." The fact that most Kinists who I've seen react to my work, even if they don't agree with me, at least confess that I'm responding fairly and with their worldview in mind, tells me that I'm fulfilling my call to other Christians to be representative of He who is Truth.

With this said, let's move into responding to the article itself. As always, anything quoted directly from the article itself will be in purple. I won't be quoting all of it, but mainly the most important points. If anyone wishes to go and read the article first, I encourage them to by all means do so. The vast majority of my quotes will be enough that I think accusing me of taking things out of context will be a tad bit difficult.

Carlton on Rahab

The first part of Mr. Carlton's article focuses on my length responses to the Kinist position on Rahab.
TT’s first article on Rahab is a response to Ehud Would’s article, “Rahab the Hebrew: The Royal Genealogy Vindicated“, and his “second article” addresses my comments about Rahab in my article, “Kinist Orthodoxy: A Response to Brian Schwertley, Part 4.” I don’t find it necessary to rehash all of the arguments pertaining to Rahab’s identity. Readers can assess our arguments and TT’s counter-arguments for themselves. There isn’t much more to say on this subject, other than I believe that the case presented on Faith and Heritage is compelling. I will offer a few comments in response to TT’s arguments. The crux of the issue is the meaning of Deuteronomy 7:1-6. TT argues that the prohibition of Israelites from marrying the Canaanites was rooted entirely in their abominable practices and worship of false gods. There ought to be no question that the idolatry of the Canaanites is the primary concern since it is specifically mentioned in this passage. Religious purity was likewise the primary concern for Ezra when he alludes to this passage in Ezra 9:1-2.
I have not much to say for much of this, as it's obviously just introducing my writings and work.

I do want to note, for the careful reader, a subtle wording here: Mr. Carlton states there is no question that the "primary concern" was the idolatry of the Canaanites, and that the "primary concern" of Ezra was religious purity. This wording is obviously intended to leave the Kinist with wiggle room, so that they can say: "Ah, yes, that was their primary concern, but they had secondary concerns as well."

The problem is one must first prove there are other concerns before using such wording. When one reads Deuteronomy 7 in its entirety, one sees it is not a lecture on genetics, but rather a chapter of scripture which is entirely theological in nature. God commands the Jews to destroy the Canaanites (vv. 1-2), then commands them not to intermarry with them (v. 3). Then, God proceeds with the reason for this ban: "For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods, etc." (v.4). God then commands that their altars and places of worship shall be destroyed, for the Jews are to be a holy people (vv. 5-6). God then focuses on the special relationship between Him and His people, in contrast to the other peoples of the earth (vv. 7-11). God then promises relief for those who obey Him, and lack of relief for those who serve false gods (vv. 12-16). God then gives encouragement and promises to be with them as they make war against the Canaanites (vv. 17-24). Finally, God commands the people again to destroy the Canaanite idols and altars, and not bring their religious abominations into their own homes (vv. 25-26).

Again, there is no secondary concern seen in Deuteronomy 7; the only concern from God is the idolatry of the Canaanites and His people's faithfulness to Him. The parallel passage in Exodus 34:11-17 goes into further detail on this, and focuses solely on the theological issues that would result from these potential intermixed marriage with Gentile idolaters. At the time of this writing, I have yet to see a Kinist even really handle Deuteronomy 7 in an exegetical fashion - it is often simply proof-texted against non-Kinists, or quoted with the Kinist interpretation taken for granted.

If Kinists wish to push secondary concerns into this, they are forced either to do so philosophically, or by pushing other passages into it. Mr. Carlton proceeds to do this in the next paragraph:
It would be a mistake to conclude from this, however, that the prohibition on intermarriage is entirely rather than primarily religious in nature. The Israelites were prohibited from intermarrying with particular Canaanite nations as nations. God could have told the Israelites to simply not marry unbelievers or those outside of the covenant, but instead God prohibited the Israelites from intermarrying with a group of particular heathen nations. Ezra alludes to this passage, and expands it to include other nations that were not included in the original commandment. Furthermore, both Ezra and Nehemiah state concerns in addition to the religious purity of the people of Israel. Ezra was clearly concerned with the hereditary identity of Israel and especially the priesthood (2:59-62), and the separation of the children born to foreign women confirms that the separation of Israel from the mixed multitude was not simply religious in nature (10:1-3). Nehemiah likewise objected to these marriages on linguistic and cultural grounds (13:23-24). This provides some background as to why marriages with these particular Canaanite nations were categorically prohibited in Deuteronomy 7 and why Kinists typically don’t believe that Rahab was a member of one of these nations.
A few points here:

First, that the Israelites were prohibited from intermarrying with particular Canaanite nations "as nations" is not surprising. For Mr. Carlton to ask why God didn't just outright ban unbelievers is like Muslims who ask why Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John didn't have last names. As I discussed in my previous post on Rahab, the normative mindset of that time period was that people and religion were often interchangeable; you didn't have societies with religious hodgepodges like you do in the western world today. Even during the height of the Roman Empire, which had many cultures and religions under it, there was a state religion centered around the Roman culture, with "accepted" religions isolated to the people who chose to worship them. This was, in fact, one of the problems the Roman government began to have against Christians: the fact that they preached and witnessed to everybody, and not just their own people or culture... since, as a religion, they had none.

In fact, Mr. Carlton's question can rationally be used against itself. One might reword his argument with: "God could have told the Israelites to simply not marry Gentiles or those outside of their genetic line." Of course, God doesn't do this - in fact, as has been elucidated upon already, we see that God goes at length to emphasis the theological, rather than racial, differences between the Jews and the Canaanites. We must likewise ask, if God's primary intention was genetic purity (or, that was at least part of God's concern), why was so much specificity placed upon the Canaanites, and not other peoples around the area? (Barring the Ammonites and Moabites, whom we will touch upon shortly.) Why is the ban placed only on the Canaanites, and for specifically theological reasons, if He had concerns over genetic purity? The answers to these questions are simple: God mentioned the Canaanites specifically because they were idolaters who dwelt in the land the Jews had been promised, and He only spoke of theological concerns because, as a people who were naturally idolaters, they would be prone to entice God's people to fall away. If God's people were to dwell in the land and honor Him faithfully, they would have to likewise remove any temptation to fall away from the land.

Second, Mr. Carlton argues that Ezra "alludes to this passage, and expands it to include other nations that were not included in the original commandment." He is most likely referring to this section:
Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the princes and the rulers have been foremost in this unfaithfulness.” [Ezra 9:1-2]
This passage is actually spoken of at length in my Rahab posts. As I brought up there, the key point here is that the people, priests, and Levites had not separated themselves from the nearby people "according to their abominations" (v. 1). Later on in the same chapter, during Ezra's prayer to God, he goes at length in regards to these abominations, stating that the marriages had brought these about (vv. 10-14). In other words, these Jews had married practicing unbelievers who were causing them to commit abominations; again there are theological motivations related to the marriage ban. I go into greater detail in the aforementioned post, so I would point people that way.

Third, Mr. Carlton argues that Ezra "was clearly concerned with the hereditary identity of Israel and especially the priesthood." Here is the passage cited in full:
Now these are those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan and Immer, but they were not able to give evidence of their fathers’ households and their descendants, whether they were of Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 652. Of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife from the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and he was called by their name. These searched among their ancestral registration, but they could not be located; therefore they were considered unclean and excluded from the priesthood. [Ezra 2:59-62]
As this passage was concerned with the lineage of the priesthood, this shouldn't surprise us, as the priesthoods was based entirely around lineage. Priests were to be descendants of Levi and Aaron (Num 18:1; Heb 7:5). If a person could not prove they were not of Levitical blood, they could not carry out the task of being a priest. This is something no non-Kinist denies, and is a major point made by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews and his connecting Christ with another, greater priesthood (Heb 7:11). However, this understanding, and the full context of the passage cited, in no way demands a pure genetic lineage; rather, it simply demands proof of identity with the tribe of Levi. Note that Ezra records that the groups in question were not proven to have Gentile blood, but rather, they could not provide any information on whether or not their line went back to the priesthood, and therefore could not serve as priests. Mr. Carlton's citation of this passage is therefore erroneous.

Fourth, Mr. Carlton argues "Nehemiah likewise objected to these marriages on linguistic and cultural grounds (13:23-24)." Here is the passage in question, with the fuller context:
In those days I also saw that the Jews had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. As for their children, half spoke in the language of Ashdod, and none of them was able to speak the language of Judah, but the language of his own people. So I contended with them and cursed them and struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, "You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take of their daughters for your sons or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin regarding these things? Yet among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. Do we then hear about you that you have committed all this great evil by acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?" Even one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was a son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite, so I drove him away from me. Remember them, O my God, because they have defiled the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites." [Nehemiah 13:23-29]
Again, this passage was discussed in the previous Rahab articles; as there, we must here note the reference made by Nehemiah to Solomon (v. 26). Solomon took many foreign wives, who caused him to seek after other gods (1 Kings 11:4); Nehemiah reiterates this by talking about those foreign women who "caused even him to sin." Nehemiah then labels this same charge against the priests - his concern is religious. As for the children and their language, it is implied here that the children were raised with the wife's culture (and hence religion) controlling the home. This is actually why, after Vashti's insubordination, the Persian king gave the command that "every man should be the master in his own house and the one who speaks in the language of his own people" (Esther 1:22b): to control the language in the home was, in essence, to show who was really in charge. That the children were speaking the language of their foreign-born mothers showed who was truly in charge, and hence that they were most likely following foreign gods, hence Nehemiah's emphasis upon the theological aspect, rather than genetic. Matthew Henry writes on this passage:
Observe, (1.) Children, in their childhood, learn much of their mothers. Partus sequitur ventrem—they are prone to imitate their mothers. (2.) If either side be bad, the corrupt nature will incline the children to take after that, which is a good reason why Christians should not be unequally yoked. (3.) In the education of children great care should be taken about the government of their tongues, that they learn not the language of Ashdod, any impious or impure talk, any corrupt communication. [source]
It is clear that Nehemiah's concern was not that the Jewish men were marrying foreign women, QED. Rather, they were marrying unbelieving foreign women, and permitting these foreign women to run the home. As a result, they were not only permitting the women to cause them to sin, but were permitting them to raise pagan, rather than covenantal, households.

Fifth, Mr. Carlton states that these are all many reasons why "Kinists typically don’t believe that Rahab was a member of one of these nations." I will only add to this what I pointed out in my previous Rahab articles: in the history of the Christian church, Kinists are alone in this. While Kinists are fond of grabbing quotes or opinions from historical figures in an attempt to prove their historicity, they seem, in their argumentation regarding Rahab, to have completeley missed that the earliest Church Fathers, later Church Fathers, the Reformers, and all theologians from then on, believed not only that the Rahab of Matthew's genealogy is the same as Rahab the Harlot, but that Rahab was a Gentile. As I presented pretty conclusively in my Rahab articles, there is as much historical validity to the teaching that Rahab was a Gentile as there is for the doctrine of the Trinity. I would again advise readers return to those articles and see the historical evidence against the Kinist position in this regard.
But for the sake of argument, let’s concede TT’s case that Rahab was a member of one of these Canaanite nations and that the law of Deuteronomy 7:1-6 did not apply to her as a proselyte. What does this prove? Does this mean that miscegenation or interracial marriage is normatively acceptable? I don’t believe so. During his podcast conversation TT delineates between weak, strong, and stronger Kinists. These distinctions are valid, but intramural discussions between Kinists have mostly resolved these differences for all intents and purposes. “Strong” Kinists concede that there are perhaps exceedingly rare circumstances in which marriage might be licitly contracted between members of different races, and less rare circumstances in which members of different ethnic groups within the same race might marry. “Weak” Kinists likewise acknowledge that such circumstances are infrequent indeed, and particularly rare in light of our present circumstances. Whites can easily find suitable spouses among members of our own race, and it is important to do so in light of the anti-white cultural zeitgeist that seeks to eliminate or supplant whites in the modern world. It is one thing to debate the propriety of the occasional intermarriage that took place between white settlers on the frontier with women from Amerindian tribes, and quite another to assert that race is a matter of indifference in marriage.
Here Mr. Carlton contends that, even if Deuteronomy 7:1-6 did not apply into the Kinist definition, it would not prove interracial marriage to be "normatively acceptable." This is a common Kinist appeal to make when their case for scripture is revealed to be a bit weaker than they previously believed it to be.

The problem with this argument is, once again, it's shifting goal posts. Nowhere have I argued a flow of logic which says that, if Deuteronomy 7:1-6 is not a race-motivated passage, that automatically concludes that interracial marriage is "normatively acceptable." Neither is that the crux of the argument at hand - the crux of the argument, rather, is on the sinfulness of mixed marriage. Most Kinists argue that if a black man and white woman marry - even if both of them are believing Christians - then they are violating God's blueprint in the same manner as two homosexuals engaging in sodomy. To make such a statement, the burden is on the Kinist to prove that such a teaching can be found consistently in the pages of scripture. The burden of proof is therefore upon the Kinist to demonstrate this clearly from the pages of God's holy writ.
The circumstances surrounding Rahab’s rescue from Jericho with her family are nothing if not entirely extraordinary. The fact that Israelites were allowed to marry at least some foreign women in extraordinary circumstances could be granted on the grounds of Deuteronomy 21:10-14, but these are clearly non-normative and cannot make void what is normatively healthy and good. To argue for the normative acceptability of racial intermarriage on the grounds of purported examples like Rahab and Ruth is to miss the forest for the trees. I made the case in my articles “Divorce, Miscegenation, and Polygamy: A Comparative Approach to Their Morality” (Part 1 and Part 2) that this type of argumentation is typically not used or accepted by Christians in defense of practices such as polygamy. We could produce examples of faithful men who were married to more than one woman at a time, yet virtually no church would argue from this that polygamy was a normatively acceptable practice under normal circumstances. Faith and Heritage has published more articles that flesh out the topic of racial intermarriage in greater detail, but the point is that whatever occasional and extraordinary exceptions there have been in history, these exceptions don’t undermine the general Kinist case against racial intermarriage.
Again, the issue is not whether or not one or two mixed marriages in scripture make interracial marriage universally okay. The issue is whether or not scripture teaches that interracial marriage is a sin.

Furthermore, that Mr. Carlton would concede that Rahab and Ruth might have come from banned genetics, but it should only be taken as an exception to the rule, contradicts the arguments made by himself and fellow Kinists. I must remind my reader that, for Kinists, to say Rahab was a Gentile, or Ruth was a Moabite, is to make null and void the Gospel and Incarnation. This is something not argued by anti-Kinists, but Kinists themselves. This was especially outlined by Ehud Would, Mr. Carlton's fellow Faith and Heritage contributor, in a Rahab article of his own:
...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. [source]
Here is yet another quote from Mr. Would, where he states that it is "impossible" to maintain the doctrine of the incarnation, while at the same time denying that Christ's genes were purely Jewish:
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 spot or blemish. [source]
In fact, Mr. Carlton himself declares the idea that Jesus could have had Gentile blood, let alone Canaanite ancestry, as "heretical and absurd."
Are we then to expect that Christ, the trueborn King of Israel hailing from the tribe of Judah, had Canaanite ancestry – that both He and His ancestors ought to have been separated from Israel for having a forbidden admixture? The notion is heretical and absurd. [source]
What is really happening here is an astounding example of shifting the goal posts, insofar as what happens when the passages of scripture cited by Kinists come under scrutiny by careful critics. Here, we see a sudden shift in the Kinist camp, which at one point states "Confessing Canaanite blood in Christ's genes is a heresy that undoes the Gospel and Incarnation," then turns around and declares "Eh, that's just an exception to the rule, we can ignore it." Quite simply, you can't have both. You can't declare that permitting Jesus to have even one or two banned ethnic groups in his lineage undoes major Christian doctrines, then turn around and say, if such ethnic groups did sneak into Christ's lineage, it wouldn't matter in the long run. Mr. Carlton is certainly right that, just because something occurs in the Bible (eg., polygamy), that does not mean it is condoned by God; the difference, however, is that these same Christians arguing against polygamy do not also argue that the very Gospel itself is undone just because ancestors to Christ like Abraham, David, and others had more than one wife.

In the podcast with Mr. Kane, I brought up that Kinism in essence forces it's followers to engage in compartmentalized thinking, like a cult. This is just one astounding example of that.

Carlton and the Law of Kin Rule

In the next portion of his response, Mr. Carlton seeks to defend the Kinist "Law of Kin Rule," which uses Deuteronomy 17 to teach that only members from a people's own race or ethnic group may be leaders of the people.
First, the laws given to Israel are applicable to other nations. Deuteronomy 4:5-8 teaches that the nations would learn from Israel’s law and see divine wisdom in the statutes given to them. Virtually everyone agrees that the Law contained universally applicable moral laws that still stand today. The prohibition against theft would be an example of this. Some of Israel’s laws pertained to ceremonial ordinances that were unique to Israel’s place in the history of redemption. These laws are abrogated, as they have been fulfilled by the coming of Christ. Other laws are specific to Israel’s historical context, but would still be applicable as to their underlying moral principles. The law of kin rule was given to Israel in their specific historical and political context, but the underlying principle is still binding. The nations around Israel all had kings and governors and would have been just as interested in preserving their autonomy from foreign rulers as Israel. There is no reason to see this particular law as a ceremonial ordinance unique to Israel, since it can easily be generalized as a principle of civil government.
I'm not quite certain if Mr. Carlton read my argumentation against the Kinist interpretation carefully, since very little of what I actually wrote is responded to in this article; neither does Mr. Carlton attempt to give a counter-exegesis to the passage. (In fact, he quotes very little, if any, of the passage in his article.) Those who read my post will see that I demonstrated why we should believe the "kin law" was abrogated by the coming of Christ. I go into greater detail on this in the relevant blog post, so I would point people there for a larger discussion. Furthermore, when one looks at Jeremiah 30:18-24 (specifically verse 21), they see language clearing drawing from Deuteronomy 17, and used in reference to the coming Messiah. Again, I go into greater detail in the post, therefore I again point readers to the original article for further discussion.

Instead of dealing with much of this, Mr. Carlton attempts to appeal to the general nature of much of the Law, then appeals to the fact that the idea of being ruled by one of your kinsmen "can easily be generalized" as an "underlying principle" for government. Could it be a good principle to be ruled by one of your own? Probably. In specific cases, it might be seen as better than to be ruled by a blatant foreigner. However, arguing from practicality and pragmatism is different than arguing that something is a sin and against God's blueprint. What is occurring, within the Kinist camp, is a subtle shifting of goal posts: it has gone a "law of kin rule" to a "suggestion for kin rule." We see this even further as we continue.
The second issue is the nature of the law itself. TT argues that this law was unique to Israel because it pertained to the anointed kings of Israel, for verse 15 states that Israel’s king would be chosen by the Lord. Israel is the only nation that has had kings selected in the manner described in verse 15; therefore TT concludes that the entirety of the requirements for a king listed in Deuteronomy 17 apply only to the kings of ancient Israel. TT states that the requirement that the king of Israel be a fellow Israelite is the “only one Kinists harp on,” to the best of his knowledge. This simply is not true.

That there are multiple requirements listed in Deuteronomy 17 for kings demonstrates that these requirements are not applied solely to the king of Israel, because they would then all be superfluous — for God stated that He would (and did) chose the kings of Israel through the anointing of a prophet. Other nations did not enjoy the privilege of having their kings chosen by a prophetic revelation, but that does not mean that the other requirements did not apply. All nations are an extension of families, as per biblical usage of the term, especially in the Table of Nations (Gen. 10). Therefore, all nations can apply the law of kin rule to themselves for the purpose of fighting imperialism.
Those who read my original post saw that the "multiple requirements" for the king were all directly relevant for Israel, and in fact were relevant later on in scripture, as history unfolded.

Notice also Mr. Carlton's repeated use of the word "can": "it can easily be generalized as a principle of civil government," "all nations can apply the law of kin rule to themselves," etc. Even if not all aspects of the law apply, it's still possible for a nation to apply this to themselves. However, in a matter of God's Law, it is never a matter of can it be, but should it be. Is it that a man can choose to not commit adultery, or that he should choose to not commit adultery? With the supposed "law of kin rule," it is not whether or not it can be made the law, but should it be made the law. That is, it is merely an "underlying principle" for civil governments to follow, or is it a direct law from God Himself?

As I said before, this is merely shifting goal posts when the scriptural passages suddenly become not as clear as it would be wished they were. We have gone from "God's blueprint" to something unbelieving nations can happily apply to themselves "for the purpose of fighting imperialism," so long as at least some of the requirements of Deuteronomy 17 apply. (At the very least, all the parts of the Law except the part where it says God must directly appoint the king.)
Kinists believe that national leaders are bound by all of these requirements. All national leaders are required to enforce God’s commandments. When the Apostle Paul teaches that the civil government is a terror to those who do evil and a rewarder to those who do good, this implies an objective standard of right and wrong to which all people are accountable. The requirements for kings listed in Deuteronomy 17 apply to all kings, not just those of ancient Israel.
If Kinists believe that national leaders are bound by all of these requirements, then do Kinists teach a "law of not multiplying horses"? Do they teach a "law of no trade with Egypt"? Why is the "kin rule" part the only one that seems to be stressed against nations? These laws would seem nonsensical when applied today, but as I pointed out in my original blog post, they were all relevant to the history of the old testament church. If you were to try to apply these laws to Japan or France or Namibia or any other nation, you would have to jump through major intellectual hurdles to do so; by contrast, they make perfect sense when seen in light of the narrative of God's redemptive history.

Mr. Carlton assures us that Kinists don't deny anything in Deuteronomy 17, and that most of the requirements in Deuteronomy 17 clearly apply to all kings, neither of which we've found to be completely true. Mr. Carlton's problem stems from the fact that he skirted having to deal with the original wording by not quoting the passage at all, nor exegeting it in any meaningful fashion, and instead merely appeals to concepts of natural law. He says that it isn't true that Kinists deny the other verses are relevant, but does not even attempt to demonstrate how all the commands are relevant to today's nations - most likely because, if he did, it would either contradict how it is fulfilled in scripture, or it would become completely nonsensical, or require great redefinition of terms or great allegorization.

Take, for example, Mr. Carlton's argument here: "All national leaders are required to enforce God’s commandments. When the Apostle Paul teaches that the civil government is a terror to those who do evil and a rewarder to those who do good, this implies an objective standard of right and wrong to which all people are accountable." However, under what form of government were the Roman Christians when the apostle Paul penned those words? It was not a monotheistic theocracy like ancient Israel, but rather a pagan empire. Some might wish to again appeal to natural law, or the idea of a general law that even pagans can grasp (eg., rape is bad), but was this what was described for the monarchs in Deuteronomy 17? Hardly. Let's review the last few verses:
"Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel." [Deuteronomy 17:18-20]
Again, what was the legal requirement of the king under the old dispensation? It was that he would write a copy of the law in the presence of Levitical priests, and he would reread the law all his life, to fear the Lord and observe the Lord's law. Point is, this went well beyond "even pagan governments know murder is bad." How could the Roman government of Paul's time have fulfilled this law? Which Roman emperor in the first century wrote a copy of the law regarding kings before Levitical priests and continued to read it all the days of his life? In fact, how could any government today fulfill this law, since there is no longer a Levitical priesthood? When Donald Trump was elected president, did he do this? If not, wouldn't he be as much under a violation of Deuteronomy 17 as Sadiq Khan is for not being an ethnic Anglo-Saxon?

Again, Mr. Carlton's problem stems from avoiding any major handling of the text, and attempting to dance circles around it in his argument. However, those who compare what he says with the original scripture will notice that his foundation, quite quickly, becomes shaky.
Finally, even if the above reason is discounted on the grounds that all of the requirements for a king listed in Deuteronomy 17 are specific to Israel, it must be pointed out that the law of kin rule stated in Deuteronomy 17 for a king is simply an extension of the principle of government stated in Deuteronomy 1:13-16. The nobility and judges of the tribes were not directly appointed by God in the same way as Saul or David, so TT cannot simply write this principle off as being specific to Israel.
There is no way Deuteronomy 17 can be an "extension" of Deuteronomy 1:13-16. The latter was a repetition of the advice of Jethro to alleviate Moses' stress from leadership (Ex 18:17-26); the former was a command from God regarding the Jewish kingship. Both served different purposes. Deuteronomy 1:13-16 was not written to be a "principle of government." To apply it as such is just as erroneous as when Calvary Chapel applies it as a guide for church government.
TT cites John Calvin’s commentary on Deuteronomy 17:15, in which Calvin states that a reason for this commandment was to prevent the Israelites from being ruled by a heathen. I’m not convinced that Calvin believed that this commandment was concerned with only religious concerns. Elsewhere Calvin expresses a belief in ethnonationalism entirely consistent with Kinism. In his commentary on Acts 17:26, Calvin states regarding the propriety of national boundaries, “Now, we see, as in a camp, every troop and band hath his appointed place, so men are placed upon earth, that every people may be content with their bounds, and that among these people every particular person may have his mansion. But though ambition have, oftentimes raged, and many, being incensed with wicked lust, have past their bounds, yet the lust of men hath never brought to pass, but that God hath governed all events from out of his holy sanctuary.”
I must confess that I found this section very shocking upon first reading, for Mr. Carlton basically argues: "Truth Tribune cites John Calvin talking about this verse in a specific context, but he's wrong because of this quote where John Calvin interprets an entirely different verse with an entirely different context." Did John Calvin hold views regarding state and ethnicity that would make many soft, squishy Evangelicals today shift uncomfortably in their pews? No doubt. However, appealing to his opinion somewhere else to try to say that Calvin didn't believe this commandment had only religious concerns is really, really stretching things.

I present the original quote I gave in the article:
Secondly, He commands that he should be taken from the people themselves, and excludes foreigners, because, if they had been admitted, a door was opened to apostasy; for each would have tried to force upon them his native gods, and true religion would have been persecuted by the force and threatenings of the royal power. Behold why God would not suffer a king to be sought elsewhere but from the bosom of His Church; in order that he might cherish and maintain that pure worship which he had imbibed from his childhood. [source]
John Calvin didn't think there were only religious concerns behind this commandment? One would be hard pressed to believe such a thing when reading his words in full. One would in essence have to appeal to the mere possibility, which most would recognize as a childish tactic. Likewise, appealing to Calvin's words on an unrelated passage, on an unrelated topic, while ignoring - if not avoiding - what he wrote in the original quotation, is simply a red herring at worse and an erroneous misinterpretation of my point at best. We are in essence told, "Ignore this quote that contradicts my point, and look at this quote over here!"

This sort of tactic might win you points with die-hard Kinists who aren't interested in the truth to begin with, but, for those seeking answers, or those wishing for meaningful dialogue, it doesn't contribute at all to the conversation.

Concluding Thoughts

It was good to have some written interaction, as interaction and debate always assists two sides in sharpening one another, or demonstrating to those seeking truth who is really handling the matter rightly. Certainly, I've had far more interaction with them than I have with the most from the New Apostolic Reformation. (And, given the huge gulf between the material I've done on the NAR, and the material I've done on Kinism, that says a lot.) Nonetheless, we have seen here some difficulties that arise in the Kinist camp when their beliefs come under careful scrutiny.

Perhaps the biggest difficulty comes in the realization of how weak their appeal to scripture truly is. If Kinists confess that race and genetics are secondary (if not tertiary) concerns in Deuteronomy 7, and passages like it, then the Kinist would have to admit (if they are intellectually honest) that Deuteronomy 7 is not the best sedes doctrinae passage for their doctrine, despite the fact it is often cited as such. Even if they do not wish to confess this, it is something that logically proceeds from their argumentation. Deuteronomy 7, Deuteronomy 17, Ezra, Nehemiah, and others, are therefore proven to be a very weak texts to cite in favor of their worldview. Like leftists who have to appeal to passages unrelated to their worldview and beg the question of secondary concerns or hidden worries about the author to force feminism or liberal theology, Kinists must likewise appeal to verses not at all dealing with race or ethnic lineage and force modern views of genetics and racial purity into it.

This is why, when placed under a microscope, the Kinist must deal with these matters from a more philosophical or pragmatic standpoint. It is the same problem as those who take descriptive passages in scripture and use them prescriptively: when analyzed, their entire viewpoint comes tumbling down like a stack of cards. It is likewise the same problem seen by synergists who attempt to redefine the meaning of strong passages such as John 6 or Romans 9: they must deal with the text in a superficial manner, and, if pressed into a corner on the plain meaning, must revert to standards or arguments outside of the Bible to keep their points afloat. It is plain from this that the Kinist view of scripture is not an exegetical one: it is not one which seeks to go verse by verse to understand the original intent of the author, and it is not one which seeks to come out from the plain meaning of the text. Rather, it will pick and choose what contemporary sources at the time of scripture to believe or refute; it will use a vague meaning from a verse, or one that they believe is implied, and rely upon that to formulate major doctrine concerning sin and error.

Above all, Kinism is a view of scripture which does not look through the lens of Christ, but the lens of race. It does so to the point that, if Christ be not of pureblood descent, then the very Gospel is undone. Kinism says to its followers that if Christ was not a pureblood Jew, then "your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins" (cf., 1 Cor 15:17b). This is clearly a redefinition of the very Gospel, and is a different Gospel altogether, for it relies not upon the sinless perfection of Christ, but a genetic perfection. This is a serious matter, for we must remember what the apostle Paul wrote: "if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!" (Gal 1:9) Nowhere in scripture is Christ's ethnic lineage placed in as high a pedestal with His messianic mission, nor is intermixed marriage placed as a sin upon the modern believer.

I encourage the reader, if they be a Kinist, to turn away, and know that their sins are forgiven, regardless of the racial purity of Christ. Likewise, if any are thinking of joining Kinism, I warn them that they will be forced to partake in the compartmentalized thinking seen here, and they will be forced to redefine the Gospel.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Talking Kinism on the "Citizen of New Jerusalem" Podcast

J. Adam Kane, over at The Citizen of New Jerusalem, asked me to come on and speak on the errors of Kinism. It was my pleasure to do so, and I think it will be an edifying listen for those curious on the topic. It's a little over an hour long, but we covered the definition of Kinism, a common proof text they cite against intermixed marriages, what breeds Kinism, and how the church should respond to it.

The link to the actual episode page can be found here. The podcast can be listened to here:




Many thanks again to Mr. Kane for permitting me to come on and speak! God bless your work, brother.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Another, Final, Open Letter to Michael Brown

To Dr. Michael Brown;

Back in 2013, I wrote you an open letter regarding your words of support for false teacher and cult leader Mike Bickle. I had posted that open letter because, after sending a private letter to you through your website, I realized that I may not receive a response from you through that channel, other than maybe a passive aggressive reference through one of your written articles. As it turned out, and as I recorded in a follow up post, you refused to read my open letter at all. You claimed that you were getting a lot of responses and couldn't respond to all public challenges. You did this while spending about an hour chatting with me on Twitter, using up time that could have been used reading my article and glancing at the sources I provided. In the end, you challenged me to talk to IHOP-KC and its leaders yourself - something I then told you I'd actually done personally - while assuring me that you'd already looked into Mike Bickle and his teachings enough to verify them as being orthodox.

As I found out later, this was merely the tip of the iceberg. Later on, you defended Benny Hinn, and (like you had done so many times in the past) pretended to be ignorant of what precisely Benny Hinn was guilty of. When the criticism rose higher, you wrote an article playing victim and comparing yourself to Jonah delivering the message of God to Ninevah. At this point, Phil Johnson told you on Twitter that it was "getting hard to take you seriously" - and I had to agree with him on that.

Yet it's continued. You've repeatedly played ignorant on what false men teach. When people try to educate you, you assure them you're too busy to look at anything. (This, even though you told Phil Johnson, John MacArthur's right-hand man, to watch hours of videos affirming your views.) You've defended the craziest of things, including the "sneaky squid spirit" of Jennifer LeClaire, something which most clear-thinking Christians would recognize as incredibly insane - yet you still defended it, going so far as to say we shouldn't put down LeClaire since the Bible nowhere says there isn't a sneaky squid spirit. (That's a shifting the burden of proof fallacy, by the way.) In interviews, you kept diverting criticisms of false teachers to other people; listening to your interview with JD Hall was mentally painful, because you could not respond to a single contention without "but John MacArthur..." Only too recently, you announced you were going to guest host an episode of It's Supernatural, a Hyper-Charismatic nonsense show where a previous guest claimed to have met an angel that gave him "a 50 carat ruby from heaven."

Over time, I came to realize you repeat the same defenses and tactics over and over again. I was reminded of a humorous bit in the British comedy show Yes Minister, where Hacker, the eponymous minister of government, finds out from a former minister that his adviser, Humphrey, has a series of arguments and contentions he makes every time he opposes a decision. Hacker writes these down, then, the very next time he speaks to Humphrey, simply goes down the list, checking each one off. Whenever I see someone confront you online about a false teacher, I could literally reenact that scene with such a list. I know I'm not the only one to make one of these, but here is one of my own writing, from my own observations:
  • You claim ignorance of what crazy thing the false teacher has done. (As I wrote earlier, you even tried this with Benny Hinn - and no one bought it!)
  • You assure everyone that this crazy thing you're entirely ignorant about is actually completely orthodox and scriptural.
  • You commit an ad hominem tu quoque (a logical fallacy that a ten-year old can identify), saying things like, "But people don't like what John MacArthur says either," or "There's crazy things happening in other movements, too."
  • You tell the person to call in to your show. (Why would they bother, if you're just going to make all the same arguments?)
  • You tell the person to read your book(s). (I can't help but notice you want everyone else to research what you believe, but you flatly refuse to research what they believe.)
  • You try to divert the topic to Cessationism vs. Continuationism, even if that's not the topic of debate. (Not really surprising - your friend Allen Hood tried that too.)
  • If all else fails, you try to take the moral high ground. You tell the person to pray about their misdirected anger, or spend more time with God. You may also claim to be the real victim, trying to make it appear that you're the one in the spiritual right.
So, when I saw that you and Justin Peters had gotten into a scuffle on Twitter, I couldn't help but notice that you committed a lot of the same tactics I outlined here. You told Justin Peters now was not the time to criticize false teachers... as if you would be much more agreeable during the right time. When Justin Peters brought up the bizarre claim by the Copelands that they could rebuke storms and control the weather through faith, you played damage control by trying to argue that Kenneth Copeland never claimed he could control all weather. (So it's just that Kenneth Copeland claims he can control some of the weather?! Is that somehow supposed to make it better?!)

H/T to J Maez

At this point, I felt I had to interact with you again, and so I did. Our topic soon turned to Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, two men I have written and spoken on before, and which I know you have defended in the past. You replied to me regarding these two men: "Lou Engle and Mike Bickle are dear friends of mine and committed, godly, servants of the Lord. I absolutely stand with them."

Saved for posterity

Over the course of our discussion, was I strong in my language? Yes, I was. Probably more than I would have been with other people. There are two reasons for this:

First, I know you are an intelligent man, and so I hold you up to the highest of standards. Contrary to what you may presume about your critics, I have nothing but good things to say for your intellectual ability. I've heard you in debates against leftists, Anti-Trinitarians, and others. I've heard you on the Dividing Line explaining Isaiah 53 and other passages. I had purchased one of your Answering Jewish Objections books. Point is, I firmly believe you're a sharp man when it comes to thinking. I've heard you speak on the subject of transgenderism and homosexuality, and I know you can identify faulty arguments. That's why, when you completely faceplant when it comes to the NAR and other Hyper-Charismatic movements and personalities, I hold you even higher than I would someone who might otherwise be a weak or young Christian in the faith. It's like how I hold my daughter to a tougher standard for things she's smart enough to know about, versus things she might be ignorant about due to her age. Similarly, when it comes to theology and logical fallacies, I hold you to a higher standard because I know you're supposed to know better. When I hear you make something so obviously fallacious as an ad hominem tu quoque, or I see you shifting the burden of proof, I know that you're aware of how childish such an argument would seem if it was coming from one of your debate opponents, rather than your own mouth. To hear Michael Brown the Debater, then hear Michael Brown the Charismatic, it's like listening to two entirely different people, and that can be very frustrating, because there should be no difference.

Second, I have personally known people affected by these movements - both through online interaction, as well as face-to-face known. I've seen what the NAR does to people. I've seen firsthand how Mike Bickle's teachings have destroyed lives. I've seen how people can suffer under these men. I've had mothers whose children abandoned them for IHOP-KC email me to share their stories. I've spoken to people who left IHOP-KC and shared with me the subtle threats given by leaders to those who might leave the ministry entirely. Forgive me, therefore, if, after seeing what horrors these monsters of heresy and error can unleash, I get a little hot under the collar when someone with a respected name in apologetics gets on his radio show or goes online and, with a smile, assures everyone that Mike Bickle, Lou Engle, Rick Joyner, and all these other madmen are servants of the Lord and great men of faith. Forgive me if that doesn't make me just a little bit ticked off with righteous anger. When you do this, you are precisely like those false teachers in the Old Testament who told the church "peace, peace," when there was no peace (Jer 6:14; 8:11; Eze 13:10, 6).

By the end of our conversation, what did you with me? You claimed that I had "slandered men of God who love His Word and honor Him with all their hearts," and therefore I had "disqualified" myself from "serious interaction."

And then you blocked me.

Before today I had seen that you wanted to delude yourself about the error of your NAR friends. Now I saw firsthand that this delusion went even so far as interaction with other believers.

You accused me of slander. The use of the word slander would mean that I told "an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed." As anyone will see by taking a cursory glance at my blog, which I link to on my Twitter page, I have written and spoken extensively on Lou Engle and Mike Bickle. I have backed up my statements that they are false teachers and doctrinally unsound, and have done so from their own sermons and from their own writings. Over the course of several years, I have examined their use of scripture. I have examined their claims. I have shown how they rely more on their dreams and personal revelations and experiences than the true context of God's written word. If I had made untrue statements about fellow believers, it might have behooved you to have demonstrated what those untrue statements were. If you believe I am bearing false witness against my neighbor, then you should have confronted me and showed me how, so that I could have been properly rebuked and hence repented.

But you didn't do that. Because you can't. Because you never interact with what the other side says. You never own up to what false teachers say. You say the insanity of Charismatics is only in the fringe groups... then you proceed to defend the fringe groups. When confronted you deflect, divert, and engage in irrational argumentation. You avoid having to come to grips with what the other people say about your buddies in the NAR movement. You refuse to watch even a two-minute video that might challenge your views. You refuse to even glance at one blog post which might record and document all the errors those in the NAR are committing. You might have some discussions on the matter with your friend James White (a man I deeply respect and admire, even if I wish he was harder on you), and you or your supporters (or even Dr. White, unfortunately) will use that to claim that you have responded to all legitimate criticisms, and hence don't need to defend yourself further. Nonetheless, in the larger scheme of things, you thrive on remaining ignorant of what is being sent your way.

And yet you accused me of slandering "men of God."

This, despite the fact that you yourself admitted during our conversation that you didn't know who I was, let alone what I was referring to. You clearly made no effort to see what I had written on the subject, or to ask me what specific examples might come from all this. You had no basis to accuse me of slandering other Christians other than your own superficial, knee-jerk disagreement. Contrary to how you usually think and operate when dealing with others, this wasn't a rational response. This isn't scholarly debate. This was battening down the hatches, throwing up the shields, slapping on the blinders... whatever appropriate metaphor you want to use. This was the sort of reaction I receive from Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, and even some atheists when the truth slaps them right in the face... this isn't the sort of reaction I expect from a professing believer.

All this only reveals your heart, and where it is directed. You are so ingrained in your fellowship with false teacher and false doctrine that you yourself slander and cut off other Christians. We are commanded by the apostle Paul to "keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them" (Rom 16:17). You should turn yourself away from a man like Lou Engle, whom I have never heard exposit a passage of scripture rightly, and who guides himself by his wild dreams and visions rather than the plain word of God... yet you do not. You should turn yourself away from a man like Mike Bickle, who distorts the word of God based on personal revelation from God about an end-times ministry centered around himself, and whose followers, behind closed doors, talk about him the way Mormons do Joseph Smith... yet you do not. Both these men, in the way they handle scripture, stand against everything the Reformation attempted to do, and would have been resoundingly condemned by the Reformers... yet you claim they follow sola scriptura, and you call them "dear friends" and "committed, godly servants of the Lord."

Who do you turn yourself away from? Those who try to bring up their errors to you. You slander and block those who point out the errors of your friends. You would rather cut off fellowship and dialogue with another believer than even dare entertain the idea that the NAR and its leadership might be wrong. You would rather accuse a brother in Christ of slander, and declare him disqualified for conversation, than even dare to consider Lou Engle or Mike Bickle have demonstrated themselves utterly unqualified for pastoral leadership.

You talk well against many enemies of the faith, and you argue well against those who wish to redefine marriage or gender - and for that, you'll probably always have fans and supporters. However, as far as truth is concerned, especially in regards to your camp of Charismatic thought, you engage in doublespeak, self-delusion, and deception. When you're called out on this, and people aren't as nice or understanding as people like your friend James White, you double down and engage in self-defense. You've accused me of slandering believers, but I know this isn't the first time you've done this. Remember when people found out about homosexual choir leaders at Hillsong NYC, and you accused fellow Christians of lying and spreading internet rumors? But all those supposed lies and internet rumors turned out to be true, Dr. Brown. But since it was Hillsong, and they're Charismatic, you were willing to believe their initial PR reports, and you were ready and willing to label other Christians as dishonest and engaging in disunity. Like a Jehovah's Witness hearing an attack against the Watchtower Society, you threw away all intelligence you had so that "the cause" could be defended, even if it meant isolating anyone you supposedly considered on your side of the fence.

I write this article knowing, most of all, that you will most likely never read it, because, as was cited at the beginning of this post, you don't read open letters or public statements. It would be fantastic if you would read it, and perhaps feel convicted (by God's grace) to review how you really have been handling things... but I know you won't, and I know that others like myself have tried to reach out to you, both kindly and bluntly, to no avail. The truth of it is, at the end of the day, you're really not interested in engaging in the truth. You continue in self-deception and fork-tongued rhetoric if it benefits your side, and defend your Hall of NAR Heroes. If anyone dares to break through that bubble of yours, you push them away and treat them like unbelievers. Many have said that the NAR, or at least certain parts of it, are either cult-like or full blown cults, and you demonstrate that you are definitely engaging in cult-like behavior by your attitude here.

The apostle Paul tells us to "reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned" (Titus 3:10-11). By your choosing to remain in fellowship with false teachers, false prophets, and men who warp and twist God's word, and bring unspeakable damage to the body of Christ, you label yourself as one self-condemned. If you do not repent of your associations and fellowship with false teachers, then you will one day stand beside all those men whom you admired and cherished so much, and with them you shall hear the words of Christ: "I never knew you" (Matt 7:23).

All the same, I pray that doesn't happen.