Daniel Ritchie of New Geneva argues that Kinism contradicts Chapter 24 of the Westminster Confession. This is a pleasant surprise. I could count on one hand the number of men who have even attempted flailing rebuttals of Kinism, so Ritchie should be recognized for his contribution to the debate.
In response, there are a few things we need to make clear straight away, and these should come as no surprise.
1) We have always sought to justify the opinions of our Christian forefathers, who almost without exception agreed with us on miscegenation and social relations, using Scripture alone.
2) We agree, with very minor reservations, that the Westminster Confession of Faith is the finest encapsulation of Christian doctrine ever produced, and as a confession, it roots every word in Scripture.
3) Here comes the “but.” But we absolutely reject the idea that the WCF or any other confession is designed to extract from the Bible everything that needs to be said about every matter of importance.
With these in mind, here is the passage that allegedly contradicts what was believed to be true by every Christian who ever lived prior to 1950:
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.
There is no dispute over part 4, where “the degrees of consanguinity” refer to incest. The dispute is over Ritchie’s interpretation of part 3, especially when read in the context of part 4. Notice the general words “or affinity forbidden by the Word.” Is it really acceptable for all Christians to intermarry, as long as the relationships are not prohibited by Leviticus 18? Clearly not. There are many good reasons for forbidding marriages between old men and young girls, between those of radically different stature or temperament or class, or others who are dissimilar.
What does it mean to be unequally yoked? Typically, the question is answered in the way that Ritchie has answered it, by citing the words “only in the Lord” from 1 Cor. 7:39. But this doesn’t really answer the question since “only in the Lord” means “only according to the will of the Lord,” not “only for those who believe in the Lord.” The larger question is, What is the will of God for Christian marriage? What sort of affinity is forbidden by the Word? In our opinion, R.J. Rushdoony answered this definitively in his comments on 2 Cor. 6:14:
Deuteronomy 22:10 not only forbids unequal 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 a 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.
Therefore, the wrong way to approach the subject of unequal yoking is to go to the WCF to see if there is any “condemnation of marriage between people of different skin colours” or other “super-added qualifications.” Since confessions take shape via controversy, why would anyone assume that an act that was universally unpracticed in the 17th century would be formally denounced by clerics of the time? Why would anyone attempt to project a modern pathology on the deliberations of the Westminster Divines? This is quite irresponsible.
Ritchie asserts: “The marriage of foreign wives was condemned, not on the basis of skin-colour, but on the basis of religious affiliation.” This desperately needs to be proved by him, as the question of whether qualifications for the covenant of marriage besides “religious affiliation” are not merely “prudent” but binding, makes or breaks the entire case. No evidence is presented, no proof is attempted. Without biblical or historical justification, Ritchie asserts that any two Christians who wish to marry each other may do so, and they have “no right to prohibit other people from so doing or to accuse them of being in sin.” This is libertarianism, not Christian doctrine.
The correct way to approach this subject is to first consult the Fifth Commandment and recognize that we are obligated to willfully obey the lawful commands and counsels of our parents. While Ritchie four times in two paragraphs attempts to divert attention by using the superficial term “skin color,” the Fifth Commandment goes to the core of our duty in marriage.
In his commentary on Gen. 24, John Calvin writes that it “should be taken by us as a common rule” that “it is not lawful for the children of a family to contract marriage, except with the consent of parents. Certainly natural equity dictates that, in a matter of such importance, children should depend upon the will of their parents.” Martin Bucer correctly called even a consensual marriage “rape” if the father did not bless it. In his commentary on 1 Cor. 7, Calvin tells us that “the authority of parents” has its origin—where?—in Westminster Confession proof-texts?—no, “in the common rights of nature.”
Now if in other actions of inferior moment no liberty is allowed to children, without the authority of their parents, much less is it reasonable that they should have liberty given them in the contracting of marriage. And that has been carefully enacted by civil law, but more especially by the law of God… Let us know, therefore, that in disposing of children in marriage, the authority of parents is of first-rate importance, provided they do not tyrannically abuse it, as even the civil laws restrict it. The Apostle, too, in requiring exemption from necessity, intimated that the deliberations of parents ought to be regulated with a view to the advantage of their children. Let us bear in mind, therefore, that this limitation is the proper rule—that children allow themselves to be governed by their parents, and that they, on the other hand, do not drag their children by force to what is against their inclination, and that they have no other object in view, in the exercise of their authority, than the advantage of their children.
Martin Luther agreed that “a child should not marry or become engaged without the knowledge and consent of his parents.” However, while “it is one thing to hinder a child’s marriage to this or that particular person,” it is “quite another thing to forbid marriage entirely.”
A father may lay down the rule that his child must not eat or drink this or that, or sleep here or there; but he cannot rule that the child abstain entirely from food, drink, and sleep. On the contrary, he is duty bound to provide his child with food, drink, clothing, sleep, and whatever else is needful for his well-being. If he fails to do this, he is no father at all, and the child will have to do it himself. In like manner, the father also has the authority to prevent his child from marrying this one or that one; but he does not have the authority to forbid him to marry altogether. On the contrary, he is duty bound to get his child a good mate who will be just right for him, or who seems to be just right for him.
In other words, don’t pretend that you’re obeying the Fifth Commandment if you fail to honor your parents in the most important choice of your life. To reject their wisdom for the kind of person you should marry, who will carry your name and heritage to succeeding generations, is to sin. And here’s the key point: There has never, in all the ages of this earth, been a white man who wants his son or daughter to marry into the black race, or any other race for that matter, except the white race. To ignore this salient and incontrovertible fact, as Ritchie does, is to play fast and loose with the truth. There can be no lesson about marriage drawn from Scripture (least of all the WCF) that does not first draw from the well of the Fifth Commandment.
And now you know why we seldom see anyone rise to the challenge of placing substance behind their constant accusations about the “heresy” of Kinism. It’s because, on the subject of race, our side agrees with most of the Christians who have ever lived while the other side agrees with every sort of contemporaneous Christ-hater imaginable.
From the same school, New Geneva, comes this equally misguided and deceptive post on the immigration philosophy of Teddy Roosevelt. Read this quote, and when you’re finished we’d like to ask you a question.
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American… There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language. And we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is a loyalty to the American people.
Would it be safe to assume that an institution of higher learning that posts such a quote is careful not to misrepresent Roosevelt’s intended meaning?
Here is a quote from Roosevelt that shows exactly what he had in mind:
There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism… The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic.
As it turned out, the nations of Europe, being of common racial heritage with the British founding stock, assimilated quite easily. Leaving aside the question of whether this was good or bad, no honest historian would suggest that Roosevelt believed the American tribe could assimilate other races. Roosevelt loudly blamed the South for saddling the country with blacks, who he called “a perfectly stupid race.” He considered their presence here to be a millstone around our necks. “There is no solution to the terrible problem offered by the presence of the Negro on this continent,” he wrote in 1901; “he is here and can neither be killed nor driven away.” Roosevelt blamed lynchings on the disposition of black men to rape white women.
He called the white race “the forward race” in 1905, and to this race alone fell the task of “preserving the high civilization wrought out by its forefathers.” He believed that miscegenation and racial integration would cause us to degenerate, and history has made him a prophet. In his book, The Winning of the West, he wrote: “It is of incalculable importance that America, Australia, and Siberia should pass out of the hands of their red, black, and Aboriginal owners, and become the heritage of the dominant world races.” Again, the propriety of imperialism is open to question, but you can see that unlike Judeochristian race-mixers, we are presenting the real man, not a myth. When he was president, he said, “As a race, and in the mass, [blacks] are altogether inferior to the whites… All reflecting men of both races are united in feeling that race purity must be maintained.”
It’s not possible to honestly assess Roosevelt’s “immigration policy” without taking race into account. Those who pretend that Roosevelt did not carefully consider race himself only succeed in twisting his words to mean the exact opposite of what he intended. Just as they do with holy Scripture.