11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
“He’s dividing the world … we see two groups here — gentiles in the flesh and the circumcision – Remember at that time you were (three things)
1.) you were without Christ,
2.) being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel
3.) and strangers from the covenants of promise
Because of that we had no hope and without God in the world.
Two things are are very important here
1.) It identifies the distinction that matter
2.) It identifies the division that exists.
Now these distinctions that matter are important because often times we talk about distinctions and we talk about being distinct from one another in terms of our race. Race is actually a social construct. The concept of race is not a Biblical concept. It’s not a biblical idea. It is a constructed idea. You won’t find the idea of races in the Bible unless you find it in the proper historical context where we see, 1.) That we are all the race of Adam. One race. One blood. We are all of the Race of Adam. There is less than a 0.2% genetic difference between any of us in this regard. In fact we are not even different colors. Technically from a genetic perspective, from a bio-chemical perspective, we are all actually the same color. Our color comes from our Melanin. We’ve all got melanin just to differing degrees. So it is not as if some of us are this color and some of us are that color. No we are just different shades of the same color. Some of us just have more melanin than others…. There is another separation that we do have here in Scripture. A real separation. The racial categories we have are artificial. They are not Biblical in nature. Nor are they genetic in nature. They are artificial based on people’s hair and their features and their skin color and things like that. That is artificial. It is not real. We have been convinced that it is but it is not real. But the Bible does talk about a real distinction and that is between Gentiles and Jews. Now racial distinctions are things we have made up to divide ourselves as individuals an it is crazy. It is logically inconsistent.“
This is so bad that one barely knows where to begin. Before we do however, let us stipulate that Rev. Baucham has, in many ways, been a fine servant of God and a valued minister of the Gospel. However, on this score all of what Rev. Baucham offers on race is just embarrassing. Let us examine this. My numbered comments will generally follow what Baucham has to say.
1.) Identifying the divisions that exist.
Voddie hints at idea that the Apostle only recognizes one division and that is as between Jews on one hand and Gentiles on another. And here that is true as far as it goes but we know from elsewhere in Paul’s writings that the Apostle has no problem saying that within the Gentile vs. Jew division there are distinctions within the Gentiles.
Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,
Notice that St. Paul speaks of a plurality of nations and boundaries thus demonstrating that Nation distinctions exist as among the Gentiles. We would also point out here that each nation would be occupied by a set ethnicity as one central component of a Nation is that it is comprised by a set ethnicity.
So, Gentiles vs. Jews is a God ordained distinction but so is National distinctions as existing within the Gentiles.
2.) “Race is actually a social construct.”
Voddie has done NOTHING to demonstrate this statement as coming from special Revelation (Bible).
One verse in the Bible undoes Voddie argument and then after that one verse a TON of natural revelation.
“Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” Jeremiah 13:23
Jeremiah, by using this illustration is telling us that Ethiopians are black. Just as leopards are not lions as can be told by their spots so Blacks are not Hebrews as can be distinguished by their skin. This verse in Scripture teaches that race exists.
Natural Revelation then tells us that race is genetic if only because of things like bone marrow transplants and the fact of the prevalence of sickle cell anemia among blacks vis-a-vis other races and the fact that Pharmaceutical companies make medicines that are specialized for people for particular races.
In terms of bone marrow transplants see the subsection here
And read about the “Difficulty of Mixed Race Bone Marrow Transplant.”
Now if race exists when it comes to diseases, bone marrow transplants and pharmaceuticals then race is NOT a social construct and Voddie is so far off the reservation that the Hubble telescope can’t locate the man.
3.) So, we have seen that “race” is a Biblical concept and idea. We have also seen that Natural Revelation teaches that race exists. The idea that race is a social construct is something we have only begun to hear with the advent of postmodern philosophy which in general does not believe in objective reality. If all is reduced to subjectivity then all is a social construct. If there is no objective Author then there is no objective meaning in the text and meaning therefore is a social construct. If there is no God then there is no such thing as objectivity in what and who we are or are not in terms of being human and therefore gender is a social construct. If there is no objective reality then everything is a social construct including race. This kind of nonsense was never considered until 1950 or so.
It is interesting that I’ve been hearing this more and more from ministers. One lecture I listened to allowed for ethnicity existing but not race and I found that strange since ethnicity is just a further subdivision of race just as races are a subdivision of the one human race. If we can have ethnicity based on blood why can we not have race based on blood?
Try to envision it this way. You have one large circle that is the human race. Within that one large circle you have smaller circles that represent the various races. (White, Black, Red, Yellow, Brown depending on what taxonomy one holds.) Then within those circles of race are other circles within those circles that represent different ethnicity’ that belong to differing races so that within the White race circle one might draw circles that represent Frenchmen, Englishmen, Austians, Dutch, Scott, etc. Within the Yellow race circle one might draw circles that represent Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, etc.
In insisting that race is a social construct Voddie, like much of our clergy is drinking from wells of Postmodernism.
4.) Voddie then plays with the science of genetics. He shouldn’t have done that. It may be true that the difference between “any of us is only 0.2%” in terms of race but in genetics that is not insignificant. Genetics is a slippery science and only professionals should invoke it. For example, did you know that people are 98.7% genetically the same as chimpanzees, but human men and women are only 98.2% the same? Does this mean that human men are more like chimps than they are like human females? So, Voddie can get away with talking about only 0.2% difference in terms of race and to the layman’s ear that seems to make his case. However, 0.2 % difference in genetics can be the difference between a Beethoven and a Manson.
5.) Voddie then goes on a tear regarding melanin. For the sake of argument I’m more than glad to concede that point to Voddie. However, when it comes to race it is just nonsense to suggest that race can be reduced to skin color or melanin content. We need to realize that race includes numerous other matters wherein people differ. Here are but a few differences between the black race and the white race. More could be easily mentioned.
Difference in forehead construction
Difference in thickness of skull
Difference in brain size
Difference in hair texture
Difference in nose construct
Difference in lip construct
And of course if physical differences obtain then it is reasonable to believe that cognitive, emotional, and psychological differences obtain as well. All people’s are not the same and what accounts for our differences can not be merely assigned to differences that arise from nurture or social construct. Genetics are real.
Now Voddie wants to insist that all these differences (and many other not mentioned) are all artificial. Further the man even says these differences are not genetic. (I had to scrape myself off of the floor at that point.) In his repeated insistence that all these differences were artificial all I could hear was the chant of some 1st century Gnostic saying that “the material isn’t real.” I assure you all these difference are real and are not artificial in any sense. They are, together with other aspects, what make us who we are. To insist that these are all artificial is just Gnostic.
5.) This is “man is a cog” theology. Voddie is telling us that the Black man is a White man with Black skin and the White man is a Black man with White skin. It’s insane.
We are left asking ourselves, “Who is the one who is being crazy? Who is the one who is being logically inconsistent?
If it is the case that we are so far off base regarding our Anthropology how can we expect to be right in other areas of our systematic theology?