Just over a month ago, I posted an exposé on interracial marriage and racism in modern ministry. My intent was to highlight the inflexible line between biblical law and racialism. Since vestiges of racism have been carried into the little corner of the Reformed world in which I find myself, there needs to be a clear delineation between the exposition and application of biblical law (known as Theonomy) and various expressions of racialism clinging illegitimately to it.
At the outset, I say “illegitimately,” because there is no vestige of racism, not even the slightest, which has come to us through the exposition and application of biblical law itself. Every bit has come—as all of it in general has come—from the worst of the doctrines and traditions of man. This has always been the case in Christianity throughout history. As I have shown in the book, the earliest refutations of the American slavery tradition were brief and simple applications of biblical law. Had the majority of Christians at the time preached and applied them faithfully, things would have been much different. Instead, the churches found creative doctrines to explain why those laws did not apply, or at least, did not apply here.
While a few remaining teachers of various racist perspectives have since Rushdoony’s era found shelter under the banner of Christian Reconstruction or Theonomy, this association was in no way derived from biblical law, but rather superimposed over it. Whether these came in from League of the South quarters, admirers of R. L. Dabney, neoconfederates, John Birchers, knee-jerk anti-communist activists, paleoconservatives, ethno-nationalist ideas, British Israelists, or even neo-Nazi sympathizers, every single case derives from some prior racist movement.
Should there be any question at all—and our non-Theonomic opponents love to keep matters in question by slinging mud here—all of the most prominent racist traditions in American circles were firmly established in Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, and Reformed circles long before the modern expression of Theonomy appeared on the scene, and those traditions prospered only in radical opposition to key biblical laws. As such, these various racialist positions and groups have absolutely no claim to legitimacy regarding Christian Reconstruction or Theonomy, even if they rode its coattails for some time.
It was purposefully to delineate Theonomy against all such racialist intrusions, and to begin the necessary process of separation, for good if necessary, that I presented what I did, and have made the call that I have. Those who purport to speak in the name of biblical law and the Christian Reconstruction movement need to be very open and clear on this issue—even on the slightest point of it. If this helps lead some of us to a greater “church council”-like event, now under discussion, I will be even happier.
Now, as the “slightest” vestiges go, I consider the mildest aversion to interracial marriage per se to qualify as that. There are reasons for this, and they pertain in part to the historical progression of racist views as they retreated from more thorough historical forms: for example, race-based slavery, then KKK terrorism, then legal “Jim Crow” segregation, then “separate but equal”—then finally, when all legal measures are defeated and all social excuses exhausted, a would-be segregationist has nothing else to fall back upon except an alleged religious prohibition against interracial marriages, while asserting and assuring us what a harmonious non-racist he is. Having spent considerable time and energy reviewing such histories and the corresponding propaganda manifesting in each stage along the way, it is quite easy to see this as the last hold-out position from the tradition. It is pathetic by itself, sure, but it is also of the same doctrinal pedigree, and substantial enough still as a true legalism of the species we would rightly call “racist.” Anyone suggesting even a whiff that the Bible requires this of Christians has no business near a pulpit or lectern.
This is why I previously wrote that I and American Vision “will not partner in ministry or minister in venues where such teachers are accepted or tolerated, except that we make our opposition public, vocal, and clear. We will otherwise abstain from such venues, even when hosted by friends, and we will make our reasoning public.”
I have elsewhere reiterated this in private forums, calling other leaders to join me. I have stated that there is no neutrality on this issue, and that in view of the momentously sinful views regarding it expressed in our midst, silence from leadership, once alerted, should be interpreted as consent. Despite some very pointed pushback from some quarters, the response in general has been either immediately and enthusiastically supportive, or some variation of more gradual persuasion. I fully and without reservation affirm my stance and call.
Nevertheless, I have been personally disappointed with silence from a few quarters, and after the passing now of a month, one can only view (personally speaking—for I cannot speak formally in any other judicial capacity) this as a conscious choice to tolerate and give cover to the issue. I simply cannot be party to this, nor associated with it.
A couple things do need elucidation. First, this is entry-level discernment here. This should not have been a difficult choice, at all.
I have been on the one hand accused of thinking I am some kind of “Pope,” dictating to others what to believe, what to say, when to say it, what is acceptable or not, and with whom to associate. Akin to this problem is a flip-side version of it: I have been accused of inciting a mob.
How people view me and my motives is, of course, to some degree within my control and to some degree not. But the ultimate refutation of these charges is that . . . this is entry-level discernment. Who in the world needs a Pope for this? This is a no-brainer. If you react to someone calling out on this issue as if they were playing Pope, there are obviously much deeper issues at play. I would be embarrassed to be called the Pope of any mob that would need a Pope on this issue.
Likewise, who needs a mob for this decision? If the appearance of a mob resulted, it was merely because so may people were so dismayed by the failure of a select few, and they let them hear it. Instead of considering this a lynch mob, those key few should have recognized it as a hundred hands reaching out trying to help up the halting and fallen. It’s too bad this was not acknowledged, and the helping hands were mostly rejected.
In truth, it is a shame that helping hands were even needed. When I called the rest of my peers and leaders to join my example, I had hardly an air of a thought that I was telling anyone what to do. I do not speak even as one who feels or assumes himself more educated, experienced, compassionate, or in any way more qualified, credentialed, or authoritative.
Quite the contrary, actually. It is precisely because this issue ought to be so simple and obvious to anyone, especially a Christian, that no special qualification was needed to make the call. No superior thought is needed. No argument is needed, no persuasion, not even much conversation. No theology degree, big book, etc., is needed. No leadership should need to be asserted. All that is needed is relating basic information, then making a simple decision. When I made this call, I simply spoke what is obvious and, to our shame, should have been said more forcefully a long time ago.
Finally, some have said this is unnecessarily divisive on my part. But it is just the opposite. This is necessarily divisive. This is the very type of division of which Jesus and the apostles spoke, and which we frankly could have used on this issue much earlier.
Contrary to various rumors spread by a few, this has never had anything to do with me or my beliefs, works, or relations. It is also, believe it or not, not really about the parties in my original exposé, though they need to be marked and dealt with according to a proper policy. It is also not ultimately about any particular association, ministry, or conference, even if one or two may be swept up in it.
It is about the future of Reconstruction according to God’s law when and where it really matters. It is time to be men of Issachar, to discern the times, and to do the right thing going forward. New wine requires new wineskins. Every man must ask himself whether he is an old wineskin or a new one. If he tarries too long in this responsibility, the wine will decide for him.
We are just beginning to observe the swelling that leads to the burst, then to the full severing.
God does not change, but history does not stand still. It moves, and it moves forward, not backward. As we strive to move forward faithfully in our age, God’s law brings us to a Y in the road. It is with equal resolve that I maintain my direction while I watch this issue pull some away down the wrong path. Some yell insults, some complain, while others go with clinched lips. But they all go; and the longer they go, the harder correcting the course becomes. The time will come when the two paths will be miles apart and out of sight. For the sanctification of the movement on a crucial issue, that will be something for which I have waited a long time. I reckon the tiny discomforts of this present time are not worthy to be compared.