Notes on the Criticism of Kinism by Theonomists
There is absolutely clear and unequivocal scriptural support for the understanding of the term nation as relating to a group of descendants of a common ancestor. In fact, consanguinity was the biblical means for determination of access to the temple, of one’s standing within Israel, and whether an individual was eligible for marriage. There is no way to “spiritualize” this understanding of the former covenants (promises). Israel must be understood in this way, or the specific material aspects of the covenant of works are meaningless. It is well and good to say that the ceremonial laws of separation were abrogated in Christ, though there is some reason to dispute this, however such abrogation does not affect whether nations, using the example of Israel’s laws of separation, may write for themselves similar laws. Given the OT support for such statutes, they cannot, in themselves, be immoral. God’s law is always and everywhere the highest and best example of civil legislation. The modern state of Israel, in fact, possesses similar restrictions on citizenship, based on national origin, yet we hear little to no criticism by “theonomists” of these laws.
What criteria would “theonomists,” then, desire to be the example for their civil magistrates? God’s law is such a social boon that Paul regards nations that abide by it incidentally as “a law unto themselves,” blessed by their adherence. The question for the biblical doctrine of nations is just this: what can we, biblically, consider a “nation,” and it is this, among other questions, that Kinism seeks to answer in the same ways that our forefathers and scions in the church answered this question. To repudiate them is to repudiate the testimony of the Saints, and of the scripture itself, which describes in Acts 17:26-27 the divine purpose of national division. This separation may no longer have ceremonial functions within the context of covenant, but it still retains civil and political purpose. Nowhere in the NT do we see an abrogation of national (natal) sovereignty, and those “thoenomists” who are determined to oppose descent as a basis for national existence are required to state the terms and conditions on which national existence and sovereignty should be based. Mere geography? Mere political convention? And should they provide a condition short of nativity, it remains for them to answer the basis on which national unity is to be established, the peceableness that is a condition of beneficial social existence. Mere agreement to the rules by which one ideological interest may take dominion over another is not a basis for unity, it is a basis for disunity, a fracturing of the nation into red and blue. The scriptures ask, “what fellowship [unity] can light have with darkness”?
Kinists do not contend that descent or birthright is the only workable basis for national unity, merely that it is a necessary but insufficient condition. Other conditions are religious faith, and social custom. These are the three pillars of civil peace and unity, the absence of which results in conflict. Now, it is certainly possible, in a very limited and technical sense, to possess cultural unity where biological consanguinity is not present, but this is an extremely rare exception, and one that proves the rule. Cultures do not boil up out of the ground, or precipitate from the air, but pass along lines of descent, as fathers and mothers teach sons and daughters.
Kinists want nothing more than to be free to form a state which restricts citizenship to those of European descent. This is no different than access to legal standing as an Israelite being restricted to descendants of Abraham. It is the very reason why Israelites (and, it is important to remember, the Aaronic priest caste) kept family genealogies. Resettlement of Palestine following the Exilic Period was according to tribal line of descent. It was important for purposes of inheritance, as well as access to the physico-material aspects of the covenant promises, to determine who was Israel and who was not. It is the rule, rather than the exception in the history of European states and kingdoms, extending back into the gens and stirpes of Roman times, to make distinctions based on descent.
As for the supposedly negligible variations between races, genetic differences are not the only criterion one may consider in determining whether one is eligible for citizenship or marriage. Cultural-behavioral differences are equally significant. It does not matter what causal factors produce these differences. It is enough that they exist, and that we are not called on to sacrifice the safety and security of our own for the sake of a hypothetical future “racial reconciliation,” the outcome of which is highly uncertain, and which, in any case, would be nothing more than a private form of the kind of “social engineering” that “theonomist” supporters of biblical liberty decry. But beyond this, those who oppose the regulation of marriage according to the biblical principal of unequal yoking typically will quite seriously underestimate the degree of genetic differences between the races. Genetic science is showing us, whether one wants to acknowledge it or not, many new ways in which the races differ from one another, from disease susceptibility to biological factors in behavioral tendencies.
One fact bears mention in this context. We have no qualms regarding the social-civil separation of men from women in many legal contexts. These regulations are unexceptional. We regard them as a matter of course. And yet, science has shown us that there is greater genetic variation between races than between men and women of the same race. But we balk at any legal distinction between races or ethnic groups? Really? How so, when such distinctions were codified into the OT law?
These are the realities of modern genetic science, and they are certainly factors that can legitimately inform ones decision making as a parent, and as a potential spouse. Clearly, according to well established precedent in common law in the West, as well as the social customs of Palestine during the time of Christ, the parents of prospective mates have the power to forbid certain couplings, and the civil government also reserves to itself such powers. This power of parents is well supported in the Decalogue, and further we meet with no abrogation or opposition by Christ with regard to the social custom of the period, which had long precedent within both Israelite and “Semitic” custom.
Kinism is, among other things, the principle of political self-determination. It answers ‘yes’ to the question of whether a people, constituted according to criteria they mutually determine and consent to, can establish themselves as a sovereign political entity, in the same manner as the British colonies did on the continent of North America in 1776, with their Declaration of Independence, and in the same manner that the Confederate States of America did with their articles of secession. It is not for other nations to determine what the criteria for nationality are, but to honor the right of a people to perpetuate their own national existence.
As for the nature of laws precluding interracial marriage, these laws are necessitated by populations that are previously mingled. In a Kinist state, citizenship is determined on the basis of descent, and geographic integrity is established. Since the very presence of a racial minority would be quite rare under such circumstances, these laws would be infrequently invoked. Racial minorites would, it must be insisted, have the option of being humanely resettled. Population migrations and resettlement are facts of history, and they can be conducted well or badly. Such displacement would be minor, since the regions that became candidates for nationalization would be largely homogeneous.
So any “theonomist” cannot in good conscience support the right of ethnic enclaves to form governments of their own: such as Bosnia-Herzogovena, or the Basque Separatists, or French Canada, or Southern Ireland, or any other people who have developed a “sense of themselves and their special and unique traits as a people” without consequently supporting the aims of Kinism, expressed as I have just described above. I’m sure those with a prior commitment to biological unitarianism will advance quibbles, but in their hearts they will certainly realize that they oppose political self-determination movements everywhere. There is certainly more to say, but I must leave it there for now.
One more point, and then I will leave you to think about what I’ve written. If Israel is exclusively spiritual, and was from the very beginning, then there are only two nations: Israel and non-Israel. This arrangement seems to make nonsense of many passages of scripture that speak of multiple nations. The promises of land, and the gathering of Israel into one contiguous geographic region are especially problematic for the exclusively spiritual understanding of Israel.
So, if we have admitted that there are in fact multiple nations, and not simply two (that of the elect and that of the reprobate), then we must answer on what basis is nationality properly established? On what basis the “sovereign” nationalism that we attest is the motive for our resistance to political unification to putative Christian nations?
We pride ourselves on our “democratic,” our “republican” sentiments. What of the right of a self-declared people to govern themselves? I leave you to ponder.