“It may be agreed right off that for those that can see only this world, whether claiming to be Christian or not, the passion for unity in and of the world must become a veritable obsession. It may be admitted that an overriding unity of creation is as necessary to human existence as food and air. As long as that final unity is consciously or subconsciously seen in the One who made all that is, then the separations, diversities, distinctions and differences which abound in creation become not an unendurable frustration, but a boundless vista of goodness and peace. But if all talk of God is only a facade of pietism, and if the only thing that matters really is this world, and the Christian hope of the world to come is better described in the famous Marxist sneer as ‘pie in the sky;’ if all the direction and purpose of life is found in this world, and if all that matters is improvement and ultimately even perfection of this world, then unity, too, must be achieved in terms of this world. Hence, integration—a plan for another step in the unifying process of the diverse parts of society. Integration is not an end in itself, but a supposed step toward the end of achieving heaven on earth. Integrationists, therefore, like all Utopians everywhere in all times are wildly determined to remove from their path all who would obstruct their progress toward ultimate unity and heaven on earth.”
T. Robert Ingram
“In this new Nation (the Church) there is neither Jew nor Gentile, Barbarian or Scythian (Colossians 3:11).”
The point here in Colossians is much the same as Paul’s point in Galatians 3:28. The point is that in terms of being in Christ (the “New Man” in Colossians 3.) there are no racial nor national restrictions that stand in the way. God calls all types of men to Himself and no man, from any tribe, tongue or nation, is turned away from Christ because of his race or ethnicity. That Paul understood that Nationalities exist after conversion is seen from the His special affection for His own people (Romans 9).
“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
That the early Church understood Nationalities exist and must be dealt with as nationalities is seen by its appointing 7 Greek named deacons to deal with the Greek widows complaining against unjust treatment vis-a-vis Hebrew Widows in Acts 6.
Colossians 3:11 (or Galatians 3:28) does not teach that race and ethnicity go away or maleness or femaleness, or ethnic differences are undesirable, or that the Church ignores these realities, or insists they must go away.
The Church is indeed a new nation but it is a nation of nations. People from every tribe, tongue, and nation in their tribes, tongues, and nations comprise the one diverse but unified body of Christ. The one body of Christ is not all an eye or an ear. There is a maintained diversity within this one body of Christ. There is one wild olive tree but many branches. The Church is thus not all trunk or all branches. Unity in diversity.
Dr. Geerhardus Vos understood all this when he wrote on Romans 11:1-2,
This (branches) image is nowhere and never used of the implanting of an individual Christian, into the mystical body of Christ by regeneration. Rather, it signifies the reception of a racial line or national line into the dispensation of the covenant or their exclusion from it. This reception, of course, occurs by faith in the preached word, and to that extent, with this engrafting of a race or a nation, there is also connected the implanting of individuals into the body of Christ. The cutting off, of course, occurs by unbelief; not, however, by the unbelief of person who first believed, but solely by the remaining in unbelief of those who, by virtue of their belonging to the racial line, should have believed and were reckoned as believers. So, a rejection ( = multiple rejections) of an elect race is possible, without it being connected to a reprobation of elect believers. Certainly, however, the rejection of a race or nation involves at the same time the personal reprobation of a sequence of people. Nearly all the Israelites who are born and die between the rejection of Israel as a nation and the reception of Israel at the end times appear to belong to those reprobated. And the thread of Romans 11:22 (of being broken off) is not directed to the Gentile Christians as individual believers but to them considered racially.”
Dogmatic Theology Vol. 1 — 118
“Ethnic differences are undesirable. Ethnic differences — Ethnic divisions among the Nations is a product of the divine curse…. A curse that is gloriously overcome by the Gospel.”
If ethnic differences are undesirable what other godly course exists except to try and eliminate ethnic differences? They used to call that ethnocide.
With this statement, it is hard not to hear music in the background,
Imagine there’s no countries,
It isn’t hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for,
No religion too,
Imagine all the people
living life in peace…
Certainly, the Gospel gloriously overcomes racial hatred and animosity but to suggest that it overcomes the reality of ethnic differences is to advocate for a kind of Marxist Gospel. A Marxist Gospel taught and embraced by another leader from a different kind of pulpit, once upon a time,
“Marxism cannot be reconciled with Nationalism, be it even of the ‘most just,’ ‘purest,’ most refined and civilized brand. In place of all forms of nationalism, Marxism advances internationalism, the amalgamation of all nations into a higher unity, a unity that is growing before our eyes…
The proletariat … welcomes every kind of assimilation of nations, except that which is founded on force or privilege.
The proletariat cannot support any consecration of nationalism: on the contrary, it supports everything that helps to obliterate national distinctions and remove national barriers; it supports everything that makes the ties between nationalities closer and closer or tends to merge nations.”
Critical Remarks on the National Question
Can’t well-intentioned ministers see that when they say things like, “Ethnic differences are undesirable,” that they are reading off a sheet of music that is the very antithesis of Biblical Christianity? Are we to believe that God and Lenin agree? Are we to believe that this is one place Communism got it right? God wants us to imagine no more countries?
Another thing we must keep in mind is that ethnicity is merely an extension of the family. Ethnicity is the next concentric circle outside of family and clan. If Ethnicity is gloriously overcome by the Gospel what else are we to conclude but that the family is gloriously overcome by the Gospel?
Finally, on this point, we would note that ethnic differences can’t really go away. Large-scale ethnic intermarriage does not reduce ethnic differences, but rather, by their million permutations, increases them. This is what happened in Brazil as this documentary captures,
“That means that the differences that separate us as human beings are, in one sense, lamentable. We have to understand that in a certain respect the differences that make us different from one another, that separate us as different ethnicities, with different races, with different colors of skin, different cultures, different languages that put us apart from one another is, in fact, a lamentable thing that should be and is overcome by the Gospel. Now, we have to say just as a sideline here, in another sense many of the differences that separate us as cultures is quite understandable. They’re not sinful. There are certain differences that separate us as cultures. Things that make each of our cultures distinct. And those cultures have good things and bad things that characterize their cultures that make them distinct from other cultures.”
(Gives Illustrations about Irish)
First, this is difficult to respond to because of what sounds like double speak. On one hand, our differences like ethnicity, race, the color of skin, culture, languages, are lamentable. On the other hand differences, that separate our culture are quite understandable. I submit that if one subtracts ethnicity, race, the color of skin, culture, and language there is nothing left of a culture that can make its difference understandable.
What all this sounds like is the idea that grace destroys nature, or, to say it a different way, this sounds like Redemption negates creation. The effect of salvation is that we lose the identity God created us with. The Reformed, have always said instead, that Grace restores nature. Redemption does not make our creaturely identity markers go away. After conversion, I still retain race, ethnicity, and gender. Upon Redemption, I do not quit being a Father, a Son, a Daughter, a Wife. Rather upon Redemption, I am a new man in regards to those unerasable creaturely realities. When regenerated, I lean into my creatureliness as one translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son.
The Gospel does not overcome man’s God assigned creatureliness and it is errant to say that it does. The Gospel overcomes the twistedness in which I handle my God assigned creatureliness.