Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Westminster Confession of Faith versus Kinism by Daniel F. N. Ritchie

Westminster Confession, Chapter 24: 
III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.

IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word. Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife. The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred, nearer in blood then he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband's kindred, nearer in blood than of her own.
Kinism's condemnation of miscegenation as sinful cannot be reconciled with the above, for several reasons. Firstly, the WCF makes no condemnation of marriage between people of different skin colours; instead we find the WCF affirming that it is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, provided that they give their consent and do not violate biblical laws of consanguinity. Kinism denies this by claiming that it is wrong for people of different skin-colours to marry.

The only super-added qualification which Christians, in distinction from the unsaved, have to abide by is that marriage be "only in the Lord". Again, there is no mention of skin-colour as an absolute factor in determining who is a suitable marriage partner. Instead, the WCF prohibits inter-religious marriage: those who profess the true religion are not to marry heathens, Romanists, or any other adherent of an idolatrous religion [note the WCF's proof-texts here, Gen. 34:14; Ex. 34:16, Deut. 7:3-4; 1 Kings 11:4; Neh. 13:25-7; Mal. 2:11-12; 2 Cor. 6:14. The marriage of foreign wives was condemned, not on the basis of skin-colour, but on the basis of religious affiliation.] Nor are Christians permitted to marry those who live in scandalous sin or who, despite professing to be Protestant or even Reformed, maintain damnable heresies (e.g. a Reformed Christian should not marry a hyper-preterist).

So then, from a confessional point of view, the qualifications for marriage are primarily religious. The only absolute standard when it comes to choosing a partner for life is a religious one; other factors may fall under matters of prudence, but they are not absolute rules. A white man may choose not to marry a black woman if he does not want to, but he has no right to prohibit other people from so doing or to accuse them of being in sin.

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