One of the earliest heresies in the Church was Gnosticism.
Ancient Gnosticism was laced with idealistic Platonism and viewed the physicality of our humanness as being sinful and evil. For the Gnostics the body was evil. What was really important about man was his spiritual nature. As such the Gnostics either were ascetics in order to choke off the corporeal pleasures of man or they were libertines reasoning that if the body isn’t important they could do with it whatever they pleased. The key choking point in terms of Christianity is that because of the Gnostic view of the inherent evil of the corporeal they denied the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
In every way the Gnostics diminished the importance of the corporeal, the physical, and the material.
We find an incipient Gnosticism in much of the Church in the West today among those who, though affirming the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, still at the same time deny that our physicality, our DNA, our lineage is of any consequence. Such men have arrived at the point where they insist that the generations that preceded us and who have passed on to us our corporeal heritage should not be considered as having an impact on the people we ourselves are and the cultures we build. For the Gnostic Alienists that which alone matters as it pertains to our humanness is our Spirituality – Spiritual nature. For the Gnostic-Alienist if we are born again spiritually then that overcomes any and all physical genetic realities, (except gender .. but they are merely being inconsistent at this point. In time they will surrender this physical distinction as well.)
The fact that there is a denial of our inherited lineage going on is seen in a recent comment by one of the current leaders in the neo-Gnostic Alienist Christian movement,
“In Biblical times and before that, the Greek word “ethnos” did not indicate genetic similarity but “people born under the same religious rites.” Genetic similarity was incidental, for religious rites were a family affair, and therefore everyone born within the confines of a home was a member of that home, whether he was genetically part of that home or not. Most of the time the children born within the confines of a home were indeed genetic offspring of the head of the home, but this genetic relation meant nothing. (Their genetic relation to their mother’s family was never considered true relation.) Adoption into the family, therefore, was common, for it was nothing less than passing under the same religious rite, and therefore becoming a member of the “ethnos.” On the other hand, genetic heirs born outside the home or outside the land were considered not part of the “ethnos,” for they had not been under the same rites…. family and ethnos were a religious entity, not a genetic entity.”
Such a statement is astounding in its clear and unapologetic Gnosticism. To suggest that ethnos does not indicate genetic similarity and that the genetic relation meant nothing but was only incidental completely makes hash out of texts like Genesis 10 which gives us the table of Nations. You will notice that the Nations are listed there as being comprised of those who are definite blood sons of distinct Ancestral Fathers. That which comprises a “nation,” is not, contrary to certain Alienists, those who merely share certain religious propositional allegiances. Now certainly, Nations, will typically share a common faith but to deny that which makes a nation a nation is a shared genetic bond is incipient Gnosticism. Now, nobody denies that one can become part of a “nation” via adoption but the fact that adoption exists does not mean that nations are not primarily comprised of a common genetic tie.
Given the ascendancy of certain Gnostic emphasis’ in the Church one wonders how it is that St. Paul was not a Racist because he could write,
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers,[a] my kinsmen according to the flesh.
Didn’t St. Paul know that he didn’t have any kinsmen according to the flesh but rather that his kinsmen were according to shared Religious propositions?
The same chap referenced above could write elsewhere,
“In the Christian anthropology – whether Calvinist or Arminian – man is defined ONLY religiously. Man is a moral being, and therefore only his religion determines his culture, his character, his productivity, etc. His physical characteristics – or his economic position, or his nationality – have no bearing on his culture, or his character.”
Here we see the Gnostic error. For the Alienists of this stripe man’s morality is abstracted from his humanity, as if morality can exist apart from a person’s humanity. We see the Gnosticism again when it is insisted that man’s corporeal humanity has no bearing on man’s culture or his character. Really? So, the argument here is that a family that has produced generations of Bulgarian weightlifters, because of God given genetic disposition, will suddenly produce a child who will be a prima-ballerina? What we are being told here is that centuries of characteristics of people groups has been in error; Scotsmen as typical fighters, Dutchmen as typically frugal, Irish as typically hotheaded. All of this is sinful thinking and according to Alienist Gnostics this thinking is pagan. However, the truth is that this is alienist Gnosticism trying to pass off as Christianity. Who God has created us to be in our corporeal – genetic natures is real and is to be considered. Now, of course we don’t absolutize these physical realities but neither do we dismiss them as being not real for to do so would be Gnostic.
12 thoughts on “Touching The Definition Of “Nation””
Excellent Bret. The alienists are getting desperate if they have to resort to arguments that deny all observable reality, history and Scripture. And it will not be long before they will do to gender what they are currently doing to race, deny it as having any meaning to the Christian.
If physical lineage is unimportant, on wonders why the twelve tribes of Israel were commanded to keep their ancestral inheritances distinct from one another. A man with no sons “adopted” his son-in-law by default, but only if said son-in-law was from his own tribe. (Numbers 36).
The alienist might counter with Proverbs 17:2, “A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.” But this shouldn’t be taken as abrogating the protection of tribal inheritance. I think we gain clarification from Ezekiel 46
“If the prince makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his sons, it will also belong to his descendants; it is to be their property by inheritance. If, however, he makes a gift from his inheritance to one of his servants, the servant may keep it until the year of freedom; then it will revert to the prince. His inheritance belongs to his sons only; it is theirs.”
As in Numbers 36, the distinction being made here appears to one of blood, not faith.
Bret, I understand some of what you are saying. I may need some teaching or clarification on part of your reasoning.
My wife is of Puerto Rican ancestry. I consider myself of English and Irish descent. We have a 21 year old biological son and a 5 year old adopted daughter of Dominican and caucasian descent.
My question is how does this play into your reasoning?
I always considered physical lineage as important but not the most important distinction.
How would Ruth the Moabitess play into your reasoning as apparently a genetic ancestor of King David ten genertions from her as king? Thanks in advance Gray aka Graham Whitehurst Bell II is that English enough for ya?
Thanks for asking.
Of course the most important distinction is the spiritual distinction of being “in Christ.” However, all because that is the most important distinction doesn’t mean other distinctions are unimportant.
Also, we must keep in mind that in God’s providence certain truths come to us later then we might have wished that they had come to us. For example, I learned much more about how children are a blessing long after our child bearing years were past. In short, had I known at 30 what we learned at 45 we would have had more children. However, I rejoice for finally learning the truth and glory in the children I have.
In terms of Ruth consider this understanding which I find convincing,
Bret, thats very interesting. I was never taught that.
My wife and I also were ignorant to the blessing of children until to late. Hence the adoption. We would have definitely had more children, Lord willing,had we known.
Never hesitate to speak to me frankly and openly. I am very difficult to offend. And always delight in more knowledge of the Lord.
Thank you Gray for your kind response.
For Christians the meaning of words is highly significant, for it is through them that God reveals Himself in His Word.
In this instance, the alienists are simply wrong about the meaning of ethnos. It indeed denotes a racial similarity. Google “ethnos definition,” and it provides some of the following definitions from different sources. See below:
The Free Online Dictionary: Ethnos: People of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture.
Vocabulary.com: Ethnos: People of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture. Synonyms: ethnic group.
Dictionary.com: Ethnos: People of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture [syn: ethnic group]
Bible translators translate ethnos into the English word nation. It has the same meaning, being derived from the Latin word, nationem. The Oxford English dictionary defines it as “breed, stock, race, nation.” Nationem, in turn, derives from the Latin word nasi, which means “to be born.”
Bret,I have been doing some reading on the link to the twelve tribes history blog by Ms. Watson. Very interesting stuff. Really liked the history of Abraham.
So please explain how all this ethnicity relates to America as such a melting pot of mixed multitudes?
What exactly do you see as the main issues to be concerned with here? Maybe you have some more suggested reading on the subject. Thanks Gray
OF course the Melting pot metaphor has been challenged repeatedly. Here is an interesting article that challenges that Metaphor,
Bret, thanks for the article. I probably didnt explain myself well. I wasnt concerned so much with the assimilation and multiculturalism as I was the fact that you have so many cultures or ethnicities in such close proximity to each other that you get the reality of mixed marriages within the races.
My Puerto Rican in laws came here in the fifties. Amazing people. They have worked all their life and fully embraced their American culture. No way would they expect to be given special treatment. My father in law has two purple hearts. One from Korea and the other Vietman. They love this country more than most Americans you will meet.
Of course they have retained many of their uniquely Puerto Rican cultural practices.I often tell my wife, who was raised here all her life, that I married her for her mothers cooking. I am a sucker for Cuban, Puerto Rican and Carribean cooking in general. I know I may have sold my birthright for a mess of pottage.
We visit Puerto Rico from time to time as their is still family there. I have been amongst these folks for almost 30 years now, and am considered as Puerto Rican as they are.
Now I can make this statement as a de facto Puerto Rican, kind of like Bill Clinton as the first black president, tongue in cheek, I have found these people to pretty much be good as gold or sorry as the day is long.Not much in between. There island is a welfare state perpetrated by the US gov. with certainly their willing assistance.
My point being,my family including my Puerto Rican family, Love The Lord. You would be hard pressed to find a woman who pours herself out for others more than my wife. My brother in law and his family serve the Lord in Honduras as missionaries. So give it to me straight. This is your internet buddy and pal. If you have a conviction that I need to know please lay it on me. Many people divorce when they are ignorant and then learn they should have done differently and cant. Just as we both acknowledge we wish we should have had more children. Sharpen me brother. Brother Gray
Marriage is a covenant that cannot be broken except for very precise Biblical reasons (pornia and/or abandonment).
As a minister, when asked for counsel, I discourage marriages where the differences between the couple in question would be promissory of the kind of difficulties that could easily eventuate into significant hardships for the Marriage. Statistic suggests that Heterogeneous marriages result in significantly higher divorce rates than Marriages contracted in the context of Homogeneity. Once marriages are contracted I do all I can to support them.
Your wife and inlaws sound like wonderful people. It would be a delight to break bread with them someday.