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

Introduction

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.


Exegesis

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

Introduction

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.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Samuel Rutherford and Kinism

Introduction

There is a Faith and Heritage article by Nathaniel Strickland wherein Mr. Strickland provides some quotes from Samuel Rutherford's famous work Lex Rex. Mr. Strickland claims that, in Lex Rex, Rutherford "touches on the ethnic nature of the law of kin rule in Deut. 17:15." The "Law of Kin Rule," as I discussed in a previous article, is the Kinist notion that Deuteronomy 17:15 is a divine command for governments to be led by those who come from among the people's own ethnic lineage. In fact, to Kinism, to consent to someone ethnically different ruling over you is an act of treason against God:
Even if a native ruler, under pretense of law, sold his people out to a foreign power, the people should not consent to it. To do so would be lawlessness and treason to the nation, and ultimately to God Himself, because it is God who designed mankind to live tribally and codified that order in the strictures of His Word. [source]
In the aforementioned article from Mr. Strickland, he provides the quotations from Rutherford in favor of the Law of Kin Rule, adding afterward:
Isn’t it funny how the modern church “discovered” that Deut. 17:15 is actually talking about religion and not ethnicity only after it had completely succumbed to cultural Marxism? Historical Christianity held the opposite view.
(Granted, as I showed in my Law of Kin Rule article, even John Calvin, who lived long before the rise of Cultural Marxism, saw the verse as one in regards to religion and not ethnicity - but, as previously seen, Kinists are unable to respond to that without diverting the topic. Also, since Historical Christianity has come up, let's ask who, before the rise of Kinism, thought Rahab wasn't a Gentile, or who, before the rise of Kinism, didn't believe she was the Rahab mentioned in Matthew 1:5.)

One will notice that the quotations, as provided by Mr. Strickland, make use of an extravagant use of ellipses. My own personal experience has taught me to always be wary when such things are seen, and therefore it might be worth going over each quotation from Mr. Strickland, and seeing if, as Mr. Carlton argues, Samuel Rutherford really did argue along the lines of the Kinist view of Deuteronomy 17.

The Quotes in Context

Deut. 17:15 demands that for the purposes of governance God’s people are to ‘choose one from amongst their brethren’ only and…the fifth commandment layeth obedience to the king on us no less than to our parents… (Q.III, p.4) 

The first part I actually cannot find in this section of Lex Rex, therefore I'm not certain where Mr. Strickland obtained it. I even ran the quote through Google Books, and the only thing which came back was Mr. Strickland's article.

The second part, regarding the fifth commandment, is actually from a series of arguments Rutherford is quoting from those who support the idea of monarchy as a divine institution to which we must pledge loyalty; Rutherford expands on this later, saying such obligation is upon us for all government systems. He even discusses about when "a republic appoints rulers to govern them," the people are committing a "moral action" as having no rulers at all is itself a breach of the fifth commandment. Furthermore, Rutherford goes into greater detail to refute some of the more extreme applications of this fifth commandment, which we will see momentarily. The point is, at this moment, that the citation has nothing to do with a "Law of Kine Rule."

…[E]very foal to its dam… [T]he primary law of nations is indeed the law of nature, as appropriated to man…for it is better that my father govern over me than a stranger govern me, and, therefore, the Lord forbade his people to set a stranger over themselves to be their king. The Prelate contendeth for the contrary…but a man’s father was born only by nature subject to his own father, therefore…there is no government natural, but fatherly and marital… (Q.XIII, pp.51-52)

Here is the "every foal to its dam" quote in its fuller context:
Man by nature is born free, and as free as beasts; but by nature no beast, no lion is born king of lions; no horse, no bullock, no eagle, king of horses, bullocks, or eagles. Nor is there any subjection here, except that the young lion is subject to the old, every foal to its dam; and by that same law of nature, no man is born king of men, nor any man subject to man in a civil subjection by nature, (I speak not of natural subjection of children to parents,) and therefore Ferdi. Vasquez (illustr. quest. lib. 2, c. 82, n. 6,) said, that kingdoms and empires were brought in, not by nature's law, but by the law of nations. He expoundeth himself elsewhere to speak of the law of nature secondary, otherwise the primary law of nations is indeed the law of nature, as appropriate to man. [Q. 13; Argument 3]
This quotation dealt with Rutherford's contention that, just as no animal is born with an inherent superiority over other animals, neither is any man born, just by their being born, as king over other men. When a cow is born to a cow family, Rutherford argues, nothing about that cow itself makes it better, or more esteemed, over other cows. This is the "law of nature" Rutherford speaks of - it has nothing to do with an ethnostate.

Here is the second (and third) part of Strickland's quotation, again in context:
What is from the womb, and so natural, is eternal, and agreeth to all societies of men; but a monarchy agreeth not to all societies of men; for many hundred years, de facto, there was not a king till Nimrod's time, the world being governed by families, and till Moses' time we find no institution for kings (Gen. vii) and the numerous multiplication of mankind did occasion monarchies, otherwise, fatherly government being the first and measure of the rest, must be the best; for it is better that my father govern me, than that a stranger govern me, and, therefore, the Lord forbade his people to set a stranger over themselves to be their king. The P. Prelate contendeth for the contrary, (c. 12, p. 125,) "Every man (saith he) is born subject to his father, of whom immediately he hath his existence in nature; and if his father be the subject of another, he is born the subject of his father's superior." - Ans. But the consequence is weak. Every man is born under natural subjection to his father, therefore he is born naturally under civil subjection to his father's superior or king. It followeth not. Yeah, because his father was born only by nature subject to his own father, therefore he was subject to a prince or king only by accident, and by the free constitution of men, who freely choose politic government, where there is no government natural, but fatherly or marital, and therefore the contradictory consequence is true. [Q. 13, Argument 7]
In the fuller context, we see that Rutherford was responding to the idea that a king is a "natural" form of government, especially in regards to one's subjection to someone else. The argument itself, as quoted by Rutherford, was that "if his father be the subject of another, he is born the subject of his father's superior." This was applied not only to foreign-born kings, but even to all government: a man is born subject to his father naturally, but to a prince or king "only by accident."

Rutherford's appeal to Deuteronomy 17 in this section is not to support the Kinist view of an ethnostate, but from the line of thinking that, since the only "natural" government seen in scripture was the local family unit, then it was only "natural" for God to ask the Hebrews to pick one of their own over them (that is, of the family of Jacob), rather than someone completely unrelated to them. This is the "fatherly or marital" form of government Rutherford speaks on. While it can be admitted Rutherford is speaking of the importance of the family unit, it must again be pointed out, from the fuller context, that it has nothing to do with advocating an ethnostate like Kinists and many on the altright advance. Rutherford is not attempting to argue, as Kinists conclude, that nations ruled by someone of another ethnic group are in sin, or in violation of a divine command. Rather, his argument is that a "fatherly government" is more natural than a monarchy, as such governments existed long before kings appeared on the scene.

Again, while Kinists often argue by equivocating "family" and "ethnicity" or "race" as being one and the same (hence their very name), for them to harp on Rutherford's words here is to place the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Rutherford is not looking at Deuteronomy 17 the same way Kinists do with these quotes.

God hath made them heads of the tribes and princes of the people…it is well said that he the king is a son to them, and they, his maker… What the king doth as king, he doeth it for the happiness of his people. The king is a relative. (Q.XXV, pp.120-124)

This final citation, as hinted by the reference to five pages, draws from several different contexts. The first:
2. The Prelate lieth when he maketh us to reason from the safety of the subject to the destruction of the king. Ferne, Barclay, Grotius, taught the hungry scholar to reason so. Where read he this? The people must be saved, that is the supreme law, therefore, destroy the king. The devil and the Prelate both shall not fasten this on us. But thus we reason: when the man who is the king endeavoureth not the end of his royal place, but, through bad counsel, the subversion of laws, religion, and bondage of the kingdom, the free estates are to join with him for that end of safety, according as God hath made them heads of tribes and princes of the people; and if the king refuses to join with them, and will not do his duty, I see not how they are in conscience liberated before God from doing their part. [Question 15]
Rutherford was responding to the contention that the safety of the king was tied to the safety of the people, and hence took priority. His response was that, if the king be following bad counsel, then the other parts of society are to undo the matter, and if the king refuses to join, then they must work against the will of the king. That is, the safety of the state, the people, and the religion took priority over any supposed comfort of the king. As Rutherford says later on: "We endeavor nothing more than the safety and happiness of the king, as king; but his happiness is not to suffer him to destroy his subjects, subvert religion, [or] arm papists..." In fact, the "them" quoted by Mr. Strickland, as if it applies to kings, in fact refers to the "free estates" (meaning the other parts of societies).

The second citation provided by Mr. Strickland, in context:
The third is but a repetition. The acts of royalty (saith the Observator) are acts of duty and obligation, therefore, not acts of grace properly so called; therefore we may not thank the king for a courtesy. This is no consequence. What fathers do to children are acts of natural duty and of natural grace, and yet children owe gratitude to parents, and subjects to good kings, in a legal sense. No, but in way of courtesy only. The observator said, the king is not a father to the whole collective body, and it is well said he is son to them, and they his maker. Who made the king? Policy answereth, The State made him, and divinity, God made him. [Question 15]
Two things of note here:

First, the reference to father and son is not in reference to ethnic lineage, but rather an analogy of loyalty: just as a son is loyal to a father, so is a subject loyal to his king.

Second, this is actually a reference to an argument made by the person Rutherford is writing against. Rutherford proceeds to write a response to it, saying that "power is not an immediate inheritance from heaven, but a birthright of the people borrowed from them; they may let it out for their good, and resume it when a man is drunk with it."

The final quotation from this section by Mr. Strickland, quoted in full context.
The Prelate (p. 172) vexeth the reader with repetitions, and saith, The king must proportion his government to the safety of the people on the one hand, and to his own safety and power on the other hand. Ans. - What the king doth as king, he doeth it for the happiness of his people. The king is a relative; yea, even his own happiness that he seeketh, he is to refer to the good of God's people. He saith farther, The safety of the people includeth the safety of the king, because the word populous is so taken; which he proveth by a raw, sickly rabble of words, stolen out of Passerat's dictionary. His father, the schoolmaster, may whip him for frivolous etymologies. [Question 15]
Rutherford was reaffirming his argument that the king's duty is not to attend to his own royal office, but to oversee and guard the well being of his people. When he speaks of the king being a "relative," he means so, clearly from the context, as being one of "God's people." If you read Lex Rex, the importance of the government in protecting the household of faith comes across quite clear in Rutherford's thinking, especially in regards to the king defending God's people from Roman Catholics and other heretics. In other words, it has nothing to do with an ethnostate, or whether having a foreigner rule over you makes you a traitor to your Lord.

Concluding Thoughts

From all this, three things become clear. First, very little of these quotes actually deal directly with Deuteronomy 17, or cite it as the basis for its conclusions. (In fact, many of them were simply responding to philosophical arguments from monarchists). Second, it becomes clear that Samuel Rutherford, contrary to Kinist claims, is not a strong source to turn to in an attempt to cite as an example of "historical Reformed thought" in regards to the Kinist doctrine of a Law of Kin Rule. Even the one moment where Rutherford makes a reference to similar kin ruling over their brethren (the "fatherly government" section) proves to be much weaker than Kinists perceive it to be. Third, Mr. Strickland is guilty either of irresponsibly using second-hand sources for the quotes (hence the erroneous citations), or irresponsibly mishandling the quotations provided to advocate his own Kinist position. Some of them were used wildly out of context, and present an entirely different conclusion when looked in a fuller reading (eg., the "king is a relative" quote).

Oftentimes Kinists will claim to be part of Historical Christianity, and will cite passages from past figures in an attempt to prove this claim. When examined, as we did here, those claims prove to be superficial.

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.)

One thing I will add here is a reference to the Targum rendition of Ruth. The targumim were a series of Aramaic paraphrase translations of the Old Testament in the first century, and were written to assist Jews of that time (who mostly spoke Aramaic) of what the original Hebrew said. In the process, Jewish traditions or interpretations were used at various points. In the Targum for Ruth, it reads at one point:
Then she fell on her face and bowed to the ground, saying to him: "Why have I found favor in your eyes that you should befriend me, seeing that I am of a strange people, of the daughters of Moab; of a people which has not the merit to intermarry with the congregation of the Lord?" Boaz replied thus: "It has been told to me on the authority of the sages, that when the Lord decreed [against intermarriage with Moab], He did not decree against the women, but against the men..." [Ruth 3:10-11; source]
This clues us in not only to a Jewish understanding at the time of Christ's ministry that Ruth was understood as an ethnic Moabite (and hence would indeed have been under the ban), but a Jewish understanding at the time of Christ that the ban against the Moabites only referred to the men, and not necessarily the women.

Continuing on to the passage from Ezra, we find similarly religious themes, 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.