We continue with this brief series interacting with Steve Layfield’s thoughts on racial realism. We do not over-fault Mr. Layfield for his errant thinking on the subject as even many if not most of our putatively learned Doctors in the Church are disastrous on this subject due to the rise of postmodernism. Postmodernism has eaten the race narrative that every Churchmen that I can find prior to 1950 or so embraced. You can find that same narrative assumed in Shakespeare in plays like “Othello,” “The Merchant of Venice,” and “The Tempest.” You can hear it in the voices of many outside the Church. Here are some examples,
“For each nation has different customs and divergent laws and institutions, and should consolidate those things that are proper to it, and should form and develop out of the same nation the associations for the fusion of its life. For just as each animal mates with its own tribe, so it is right that each nation should marry and cohabit not with those of other race and tongue but of the same tribe and speech. For hence arise naturally harmony of thought and intercourse among one another and friendly converse and living together; but alien customs and divergent laws are likely on the contrary to engender enmities and quarrels and hatreds and broils, which tend to beget not friendship and association but spite and division.”
Emperor Constantine VII
De Administrando Imperio
Early 10th century
“Perhaps the most bitter irony of our time lies in the fact that celebrity apologists who purport to defend an incarnational religion have joined the chorus of those who deny the importance of flesh and blood. The bloodless creed such gurus peddle is a cold, ineffectual abstraction, one which the great Christian teachers of yesteryear would find alien. If we are serious about combating the neopagan temptation, we need to remember our ancestors–spiritual as well as biological.”
January of 2015
“White conservatives don’t want to take the lead in preserving what remains of this country’s now tenuous White, Anglo-Euro culture. To take on such a responsibility would make them even more vulnerable to the racial bullets and daggers they have been ducking for years.”
Black Conservative Author
“Before the camps, I regarded the existence of nationality as something that shouldn’t be noticed—nationality did not really exist, only humanity. But in the camps one learns: if you belong to a successful nation you are protected and you survive. If you are part of universal humanity—too bad for you.”
There is nothing in the least un-Christian about noticing the reality of race and admitting that race makes a difference beyond the jejune claims that “it’s just a matter of melanin.”
Turning to interaction with Steve Layfield we read,
Shadows & Types
The great thing to understand as you read your OT is the prevalence of shadows and types. They’re everywhere! Such an awareness is the hermeneutical key that unlocks the plethora of mysteries we encounter throughout its pages. The resounding message echoing throughout the pages of every drama we encounter is this: that God will overturn first in time, and afterwards forever, throughout eternity, the effects of sin in His creation. Jesus Christ as His Messiah will subdue Satan (crush His head) through His cross & resurrection (the bruising of His heal) and so every nation, every tribe and every tongue will come at last and bow the knee confessing Jesus is Lord! But this great work of redemption and salvation would not occur suddenly. Rather it is a slow, gradual sanctifying process that unfolds over generations (Matt 13:31ff).
Here SL makes our own case. Nations as nations, tribes as tribes, and peoples as peoples will convert to Christ. This is what we find in the book of Revelation where we see the Nations existing as Nations in the New Jerusalem. Salvation of nations, tribes, and peoples did not eliminate the reality of nations, tribes and peoples.
Revelation 21:24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor [o]into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it…. 22 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree werefor the healing of the nations.SL writes,
Important Hermeneutical Considerations
Now, in seeking to establish a principled approach towards our fellow ‘citizens of heaven’ from every nation, tribe and tongue here in the present, it is necessary for us to contemplate the progressive nature of God’s program of sanctification. Because the world and its citizenry are being healed gradually over time it was necessary for God to express His requirements (commandments for us to keep) pragmatically. Such pragmatism in no way violates His absolute holiness. We readily acknowledge that His absolute moral law, as expressed in say the Decalogue, is a reflection of His own holy character. But, because of ‘the hardness of our hearts’ God necessarily ‘winked at sin’ (Acts 17:30). There is therefore an inherent hierarchy in God’s commandments which we must properly take into account when we seek to comprehend what God temporarily tolerated in time for the sake of His final glorification in eternity. Failure to recognise the historical unfolding of God’s redemptive purpose gives rise to a spurious hermeneutic which insists that what God temporarily permitted must be embraced as a moral blueprint. Perhaps, the 19th chapter of the Westminster Confession (WCF) seeks to make the same point: To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require. (section 4) The general equity of God’s law is far-reaching, most important and wholly relevant for today’s situation. However, it requires much careful reflection and spiritual wisdom to comprehend the practical outworking of its equity in contemporary life. Thus, • Deceit (lying) was sanctioned when confronting evil (Ex 1:15-21; Josh 2 & Heb 11:31; Josh 8, etc) • Divorce was sanctioned for adultery; divorce was never part of God’s original design for husband and wife. • Slavery was sanctioned for either those captured as part of the conquest of Canaan or for those within the commonwealth of Israel who through recklessness or indiscretion found themselves in financial debt. • Polygamy was sanctioned for various practical reasons (e.g. the loss of men through war; the establishment of land rights; etc) In all of these instances, God sanctions something that was never part of His original blueprint for human society. They are warranted because the sinful context into which they were spoken needed to be principally managed. God could have addressed each infraction of His perfect will by removing the guilty sinner/criminal directly into Hell. This seems to have been the fate of the Sons of Korah (Num 16) and Herod (Acts 12:23) but generally, the wheels of providence turn more slowly. God’s ordained means of procedure requires for His children to be ‘as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves’ (Matt 10:16). In following God’s commandments, principled pragmatism requires that (i) a murderer have his own life violently removed from him by civil execution (without violation of the Sixth commandment); (ii) a naughty child be chastised by his father (e.g. forfeiture of weekly allowance without violation of the Tenth commandment); (iii) a watchman learns how to wake his sleeping neighbours without compromising his consideration for their health and well-being!
This singular sentence encapsulates the whole problem with the above paragraph;
“In all of these instances, God sanctions something that was never part of His original blueprint for human society.”
The question here for Steve is “How does he know this?” Where in Scripture does it say that God no longer sanctions those matters He earlier sanctioned? If SL desires to argue that God completely negated “slavery,” or negated “deceit when being threatened by evil,” or negated “divorce for pornia” or negated “polygamy,” then he has to show that from the New Testament. Now, on one of these I think that can be done but I see no warrant to say that God no longer approves of slavery, deceit when threatened by evil, or divorce for pornia and I see no warrant to just assume that these realities were never part of God’s original blueprint for society. If God regulated something then it seems to me it is sanctioned by God and continues to be sanctioned unless explicitly overturned, such as what we find with animal sacrifice.
The implication of SL’s statement here seems to be that even though we can find repeated admonition in the Old Covenant for people’s to remain ethnically distinct we no longer have to take that seriously in the new and better covenant because God has voided what He clearly said earlier on that issue. However, if SL wants to argue that way then he has to show in the NT where God changed His mind.
Christ said Himself,
“For verily I say unto you, Till. heaven and earth pass, one jot or one. tittle shall in no wise pass from. the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Kinism & Culture
And so it is with Kinism. In that OT dispensation, one’s identification with national Israel was tantamount to one’s identification with God’s covenant people. The general assumption throughout the OT narrative is that one’s own local culture was an outward expression of one’s inward religious convictions. Thus, various tribal/national practices were deemed ungodly by covenant keeping Israelites who recognised God’s own Law as the foundational bed-rock upon which Jewish culture grew. A vast array of cultural life represented an audio-visual testimony to the grace of God and a corporate recognition of God’s rightful rule and ownership of His people. It was that implicit identification – readily discernible and admitted by every OT saint – that formally prohibited marriage to anyone from a pagan (Gentile) nation. God had established a form of godliness among the familial descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were to constitute God’s kingdom among the nations. Their prospect was glorious. They were to exercise God’s dominion over the nations who were anticipated everywhere throughout the OT to ‘come to Mount Zion’, to the city of the living God and there fully participate in their covenant privileges and blessings. Thus, the psalmist rejoiced, His foundation is in the holy mountains. 2 (A)The Lord loves the gates of Zion More than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3 (B)Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God! Selah 4 “I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to those who know Me; Behold, O Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia: ‘This one was born there.’ ” 5 And of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her; And the Most High Himself shall establish her.” 6 The Lord will record, When He (C) registers the peoples: “This one was born there.” Selah 7 Both the singers and the players on instruments say, “All my springs are in you.” (Ps 87)
1.) Understand that SL is arguing here that we are to deal with a different God in the NT than the God we find in the OT. This is a form of Marcionism.
2.) As postmillennialists ought it not be our expectation that a day is coming when because of God’s grace in winning the nations that all the varied Christian cultures will be an outward expression of a people’s inward religious convictions? Ought we not today as Saints in the new and better covenant deem those nations whose law is severed from God’s law as “ungodly?” Ought we not to champion God’s law as being the foundational bedrock upon which the cultures we inhabit find their growth? Ought it not be the case that we pray for the day when our own cultures serve as an audio-visual testimony to the grace of God? Ought we not to work towards the end when our nations also corporately recognize God’s rightful rule and ownership of His covenant people in each distinct nation? Are not, we as Christians, desire that our nations become clear and vivid expressions of God’s Kingdom?
3.) It seems to me that SL is pulling some kind of Dispensationalizing move here and that without giving any Biblical warrant that God’s law remains unchanging in its general equity impact. Again, there are matters that have changed from the Old Covenant to the new. The Signs and Seals of the Kingdom have changed. The fulfillment of the sacrifices in Christ means we no longer as getting our hands bloody. I would argue that the dietary laws are no longer in effect given evidence we find in the New Testament when Christ talks about that which goes into a man does not make him unclean. Certainly these matters can be discussed but SL has to do more than just assert that God’s law discontinues just upon his “say-so.”
Let us close here with another Church Father who speaks directly to this issue of the Nations continuing as Nations in the New and Better Covenant,
“Now the predicates of the covenant are applied in Isa. 19 to the Gentiles of the future, — “Egypt my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance,” Egypt, the people of “Jehovah of hosts,” (Isa. 19:25) is therefore also expected to live up to the covenant obligations, implied for Jehovah’s people. And Assyria comes under similar obligations and privileges. These nations are representative of the great Gentile world, to which the covenant privileges will therefore be extended.”
Martin J. Wyngaarden, The Future of the Kingdom in Prophecy and Fulfillment: A Study of the Scope of “Spiritualization” in Scripture (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011), p. 94.
“More than a dozen excellent commentaries could be mentioned that all interpret Israel as thus inclusive of Jew and Gentile, in this verse, — the Gentile adherents thus being merged with the covenant people of Israel, though each nationality remains distinct.”
“For, though Israel is frequently called Jehovah’s People, the work of his hands, his inheritance, yet these three epithets severally are applied not only to Israel, but also to Assyria and to Egypt: “Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance.” 19:25.
Thus the highest description of Jehovah’s covenant people is applied to Egypt, — “my people,” — showing that the Gentiles will share the covenant blessings, not less than Israel. Yet the several nationalities are here kept distinct, even when Gentiles share, in the covenant blessing, on a level of equality with Israel. Egypt, Assyria and Israel are not nationally merged. And the same principles, that nationalities are not obliterated, by membership in the covenant, applies, of course, also in the New Testament dispensation.”
Wyngaarden, pp. 101-102.