Monday, July 19, 2010

R. J. Rushdoony versus Kinism (updated)




Some advocates of the kinism heresy claim R. J. Rushdoony as one of their own.  Of course, it should be noted that kinists are hypocrites for doing so, since Rushdoony was an Armenian immigrant and had an interracial marriage with an American. 

A kinist society would never have accepted Rushdoony into the land, let alone his writings--for them it would be "unequal yoking." 

A quote from Rushdoony that kinists use to support their position is the following from Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law:
“Unequal yoking plainly means mixed marriages between believers and unbelievers and is clearly forbidden. But Deuteronomy 22:10 not only forbids unequal religious yoking by inference, and as a case law, but also unequal yoking generally. This means that an unequal marriage between believers or between unbelievers is wrong. Man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), and woman is the reflected image of God in man, and from man (1 Cor. 11:1-12; Gen. 2:18, 21-23). ‘Helpmeet’ means a reflection or mirror, an image of man, indicating that a woman must have something religiously and culturally in common with her husband. The burden of the law is thus against inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish.
Unequal yoking means more than marriage. In society at large it means the enforced integration of various elements which are not congenial. Unequal yoking is in no realm productive of harmony; rather, it aggravates the differences and delays the growth of the different elements toward a Christian harmony and association.”   Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1973), pp. 256-57.
Rushdoony is clearly speaking against interracial marriages, but by "race" does he mean skin color, or religion?

One might argue for the skin color view on the basis that Rushdoony opposes "unequal marriage between believers," and then goes on to give two instances of unequal yoking regarding marriages between believers:  interracial and intercultural marriage. 

R. J. Rushdoony
On the other hand, one might argue that by "interracial" Rushdoony is speaking against interreligious marriages for the following reasons.  First, as we have noted, Rushdoony himself believed in interracial marriage.  He was an Armenian immigrant who married an American.  Moreover, Bojidar Marinov writes,
"I don't think Rushdoony meant under "inter-racial" the same thing so many Americans would understand. If anyone proposes he meant the slight 0.0002% differences in the DNA between people with different skin colors, then I will venture to propose that Rushdoony himself was Armenian, and certainly the differences in the DNA between Armenians and Irish, or Armenians and Anglo-Saxon are just as big as the differences in the DNA between Armenians and Africans, or between Irish and Africans." Bojidar Marinov, Facebook, July 14, 2010.
 Second, prior to stating that "the burden of the law is thus against inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages," Rushdoony states,  "'Helpmeet' means a reflection or mirror, an image of man, indicating that a woman must have something religiously and culturally in common with her husband."

Note that he states that a woman must have religious and cultural commonality with her husband; conspicuous by its absence is racial commonality.

Keeping this in mind, following this statement he writes, "The burden of the law is thus against inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages ..."  The word "thus" means "therefore," so that this statement must be understood in light of what is said previously, and so Rushdoony here only forbids interreligious and intercultural marriages, and not interracial marriages based on skin color.

We will address how Rushdoony's use of the word "interracial" might mean interreligious shortly, but we will first note that the use of the word "thus" could present a problem to those who understand Rushdoony here to oppose interracial marriage in a physical sense.

For them, the statement where "thus" is mentioned would have to include an added concept not mentioned in the previous statement, which is awkward on the face of it, and this has problems making sense of the words that follow "inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages"--"in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish." These words appear to be immediately in light of the words of the previous statement which mentions only religion and culture--"a woman must have something religiously and culturally in common with her husband."

Or, those who understand Rushdoony here to oppose interracial marriage might see "thus" as reaching further back than just the previous sentence to Rushdoony's general condemnation of "unequal marriage between believers." 

This appears awkward as well, since, again, the sentence in which  the words "inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages" appear seems to be immediately in light of the previous statement, "a woman must have something religiously and culturally in common with her husband."

By "inter-racial," Rushdoony might have in mind interreligious marriages, so that "inter-religious" and "inter-racial" are a complimentary repetition of the same conceptSuch a repitition might be awkward, but not illogical; and we have already noted the awkwardness of the other interpretation of Rushdoony as well.

Indeed, the Bible itself identifies religion with race.  On the Christian race, 1 Peter 2:9 reads:
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
Unbelievers are of the race of Satan:
"Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8)


"You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44) (see also 1 John 3:12, Matthew 13:38)
There are, in short, two races--the elect and the reprobates.  As God told the serpent after the Fall:
"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15)
Thus the Fall's affect on race was not a division along physical lines, but spiritual lines.  This is why the Bible only forbids Christians from marrying non-Christians, and why the Bible does not forbid blacks from marrying whites, or Hispanics from marrying Asians, etc.  For Christians, when it comes to marriage the issue is whether the other person is a Christian, regardless of physical race. 

Surely as a student of the Bible Rushdoony understood that race could be understood in a spiritual sense.  In one of his later writings, Rushdoony not only acknowledged this, but acknowledged how "race" has been commonly used in history to mean this:
"By means of the resurrection, Jesus Christ overcame and destroyed the power of sin and death and became our Adam, the head of God's new human race. We must remember that the term race was in common use in the early church, which spoke of Christians as a race and prayers were offered up in the church for 'the race of Christians.'" R.J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology: Vol II. (Ross House Books, 2000), p. 1145. 

 This should give pause to those who automatically interpret race to mean physical race.  Just because in our day race is almost always assumed to mean physical race, it doesn't mean that writings in the past automatically mean by "race" physical race.

In another later writing Rushdoony writes the following about race and religion:

"This is the first text in the Bible to condemn mixed marriage, i.e., religiously mixed marriages. Over the centuries, the church has wisely stressed marrying within the faith. Mixed marriages were forbidden by God's law (Deut. 7:3f.; Ezra 9:12; Nehemiah 10:30; etc.); because the family is God's basic community, to introduce a religious division at this level is to endanger the fabric of society.

"H. C. Leupold titled this section of his commentary, Exposition of Genesis (1942), "The Commingling of the Two Races (6:1-8)." The title is an apt one, because the racial division which is basic to Biblical history is between the covenant people and all covenant breakers."  R. J. Rushdoony, Genesis: Commentaries on the Pentateuch (Chalcedon, 2003), p. 61.
For Rushdoony, the racial division that is basic to history is between Christians and non-Christains--as he emphasizes: "the racial division which is basic to Biblical history is between the covenant people and all covenant breakers."  He does not say that the racial division that is basic to Biblical history is between physical races.

As an aside we must note that assuming the worst that Rushdoony was forbidding "interracial" marriage in his Institutes, that is not enough to make him a kinist.  To be a kinist, one must go way beyond this and hold that God commands races to be segregated.  As such kinists must oppose not only interracial marriage, but interracial nations, interracial friendships, and even interracial Christian fellowship.  (All kinists oppose "interracial" marriage, but not all who oppose "interracial" marriage are kinists.)

Thus for kinists, physical race is a factor in the racial division that is basic to Biblical history.


But according to Rushdoony's Genesis commentary, physical race was not such a factor, and therefore Rushdoony repudiated kinism.  Not only this, but Rushdoony says that a mixed marriage is marrying outside the faith.  Nothing is said about "interracial" marriages--and why would there be, since the racial division basic to history is not physical, but spiritual?  

Finally, Rushdoony also rejected kinism in another one of his later writings: 

“Paul uses these laws (The Laws of Diverse Kinds) to show their application to the realm of human relations. He makes clear that mixed marriages between believer and unbelievers are forbidden. It is unequal yoking. For Paul, the meaning of mixed marriages is religious. Men have often opposed marriages which bridge class barriers, i.e., the nobility and commoners, or upper classes with lower classes. Again, the mixed marriage problem is viewed racially. Paul concerns himself with neither; these he leaves to the realm of historical considerations. It is the religiously mixed marriage of believers with unbelievers that is forbidden as an unequal yoking. “The unclean thing” is a yoking with an unbeliever where it is done by an ostensible believer. Paul’s comments in I Corinthians 7 deal with the marriages of couples who were originally both unbelievers and subsquently one becomes a Christian. In such cases, the believer is not to break the bond, but, if the unbelieving partner departs, the believer is free.” R.J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology: Vol II. (Ross House Books, 2000), p. 971.  
Therefore, whatever Rushdoony meant by "unequal yoking" so long before in his Institutes, here he clearly affirms that it means exclusively interreligious marriage, and clearly denies that it is means physical race. 

Not only did Rushdoony oppose kinism's view on interracial marriage, but kinism's opposition to racial diversity within societies. We have already noted that Rushdoony did not hold that physical "race" is basic to history, which repudiates kinism's opposition to racial integration.  Moreover, Rushdoony considered opposition to racial integration as racist in Institutes: Volume Two:
"The revolutionists and the statists thus have a common cause, to destroy society, to wipe out community. It is important to understand the reasons for this. Men have tried over and over again to establish a community on the basis of blood. Modern attempts to do so include the national states, Nazi Germany, the Arab states, and Israel. Others have extended this racist idea of community to include all men, a one-world order [that is, liberal global government types S.H.]."  R.J. Rushdoony, Institutes of Biblical Law: Volume 2, p. 83.
So for Rushdoony, the attempt to establish community "on the basis of blood"--as kinism does--is a "racist idea."  Rushdoony also said the following in regards to nationalism and race:

"Paul, in Galatians 3:27, says, 'For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ Jesus have put on Christ.' They are now clothed with Christ, i.e., have become family members of Christ and have taken on His character. Their old status, whether a Jew or a Gentile, is rendered useless and void, ‎'For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature' (Gal. 6:15). The Judaizers wanted to use old wineskins; Paul insists that their own Scriptures nullify their nationalistic wineskin." R.J. Rushdoony, Romans & Galatians (Ross House Books, 1997), p.87

"We seriously misunderstand the text (Phil 3:5) if we see it as evidence of Paul's Jewish nationalism. What we call nationalism did not then exist. Today, nationalism and patriotism are associated with a political and geographical entity. This may be good or bad, but it is not what Paul refers to at all.

"Paul's concern is familistic and religious. He refers to 'Israelites' as 'my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.' This does not mean a racial allegiance. Israel owed its origins to Abraham; of Abraham's sons, only Sarah's son, Isaac, was of the chosen line. When Abraham went to Lot's rescue with 318 fighting men from his own household (Gen. 14:14), this meant that probably twice that number were too old or too young for warfare. Add to this another thousand females, old and young, and we have a household or family of some 2,000 persons, of whom only one, Isaac, was of Abrahamic blood. All these, however, were circumcised into the covenant (Gen. 17:10-14). Through the centuries, into medieval Europe, all converted slaves became Jews and covenant members. The family and the faith of the family was the governing fact, not blood." Rushdoony, Romans & Galatians, pp. 157-158.   
See also, Mark Rushdoony says that his father, R. J. Rushdoony, was not a Kinist
  

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