Taking a Look at a Benjamin Morgan Palmer Quote on Church & State

“(1) The provinces of church and state are perfectly distinct, and one has no right to usurp the jurisdiction of the other. (2.) The state is a natural institute founded in the constitution of man as moral and social, and designed to realize the idea of justice. (3.) It is the society of rights. (4.) The church is a supernatural institute, founded in the facts of redemption, and is designed to realize the idea of grace. (5.) It is the society of the Redeemed. (6.) The state aims at social order; the church at spiritual holiness. (7.) The state looks to the visible and outward; the church is concerned for the visible and inward. (8.) The badge of the state’s authority is the sword, by which it becomes a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do well; the badge of the church is the keys by which it opens and shuts the kingdom of heaven, according as men are believing or impenitent. (9.) The power of the church is exclusively spiritual; that of the state includes the exercise of force; the constitution of the state must be determined by human reason and the course of providential events.”

Dr. Benjamin Morgan Palmer
Sermon to 1st Presbyterian GA of the CSA — 1861

Benjamin Morgan Palmer along with Thornwell, Girardeau, and Dabney were the theological giants of Southern Presbyterianism. However much I love Palmer though the above quote finds me taking issue with a number of points.

(1.) Perfectly distinct? A godly visible Church has no right to usurp the jurisdiction of an ungodly state or an godly state has no right to usurp the jurisdiction of a ungodly church? I cannot agree with that idea. As far as the church usurping the jurisdiction of the state even the Southern church did that inasmuch as the Southern Church along with all of the South was told to submit to Northern intent at subjugation. At that point the Southern church (and Morgan no less than anybody else as seen in his famous Thanksgiving Day Sermon of 1860) did usurp (and rightly so) the jurisdiction of the ungodly state under the Lincoln usurpation. Similarly, a godly state may indeed usurp the jurisdiction of a ungodly visible church just as Constantine would call Church to a Nicaea council to discuss important Arianism.

(2a.) The state is indeed designed to realize the idea of justice but it can not learn of justice apart from the Scripture which is also an interest of the Church. If the state is going to pursue justice it therefore at the very least should be consulting the Church on what God’s Word as to say on justice.

(2b.) I’m not comfortable with saying that the state is a natural institute. I mean, the state was sanctioned there in the Garden with Adam being the first sovereign under God. All because the state does not handle the means of grace and is not an institution that handles the keys does not mean the state is not also a supernatural institution ordained by God unto its particular end.

(3.) I’m also not sure I want to talk about the state being the society of rights. Is Palmer here being influenced by Enlightenment categories to be talking about “rights.” Christians are increasingly understanding that only God has rights and man should be thought of having duties more than having rights unless those rights can be directly connected to a “thus saith the Lord” as found in Scripture.

(4. – 5.) There is nothing I disagree with here.

(6.) A church that aims at spiritual holiness is also indirectly aiming at social order because the only thing that can make for a social order characterized by a harmony of interests is the production of spiritual holiness in those living in the social order. I don’t think we can separate these matters out like Palmer and the “Spirituality of the Church” school desires. I do believe the Church should aim at both spiritual holiness and the social order because if the church fails to aim, where and when necessary at the social order the result is that some other religion/faith is going to succeed in forming and shaping the social order. The church needs to be able to connect the dots between spiritual holiness and the social order. Having a church who is creating a pietistic inwardly looking spiritual holiness that does not speak to outward social order issues leaves the church likely to fail on both counts as our own times are demonstrating.

(7.) This sounds awfully pietistic in a bad sense. When I read this sentence the confrontation between Hitler and Rev. Niemöller comes to mind where Hitler says to Niemöller upon Niemöller’s statement that he was concerned only for “the welfare of the church and of the German people.” Hitler tersely replied; “You confine yourself to the church. I’ll take care of the German people.”

As the meeting was breaking up, Niemöller fired his final shot, “You said that ‘I will take care of the German people.’ But we too, as Christians and churchmen, have a responsibility toward the German people. That responsibility was entrusted to us by God, and neither you nor anyone in this world has the power to take it from us.”

I don’t think Palmer’s thoughts in sentence #7 allows the Church to look to the outward matters that it needs to look to when necessary.

(8.) I agree with this one.

(9.) As long as we say that the “spiritual” includes smacking ungodly magistrates with the crozier when the ungodly state is involving itself in the jurisdiction of the Church as it faithfully speaks forth Scripture as it applies to every area of life.

I agree that the state’s role is to exercise force but only as consistent with what the Scripture teaches. The state here was beyond doubt using force to legislate in favor of abortions but that ungodly use of force was rightly denounced by many churches and denominations.

And the final appeal in #9 to human reason leaves me reaching for my revolver. That certainly has the sound of the Enlightenments call for “right reason and natural law.”

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: Enos Powell Skewers Rev. Rich Lusk

Rev. Rich Lusk writes,

“If kinism is true, and social harmony requires racial homogeneity, then let the record show that America committed ethnic suicide when the first Africans were brought here. In that case, the problem with the first colonists is that they were NOT kinists since they created a racially diverse society here.

But I’d like to think there’s another way and that the gospel can create social harmony between different races, ethnicities, etc, even as it can create peace between the different sexes and different socioeconomic classes.

It seems to me the debate over kinism really comes down to how much confidence we have in the power of the gospel. Can the gospel alone create social peace, or do we need the gospel + racial segregation to have social peace?

Enos Powell responds,

Actually, if you read your history you’ll note that some Colonialist did not want to take the Africans but were forced by the English crown to do so. You’ll also learn that many of those slave ships were owned by Jewish moneychangers. But, to be sure the Colonialists should have just picked their own damn cotton.

Secondly, your conclusion does not follow that the colonists created a racially diverse society. You know as well as I do that society was tiered so that the African was not even considered legally a person. However, I have no problem in saying that those colonial Kinists made a mistake in not leaving the Africans to die in the squalid conditions that they were living in under slavery in Africa as owned and mistreated by their own kinsmen. That’s what you’re saying right? Or are you saying that the Southerners should not have purchased their slaves and just let them be taken to the next stop of the sales block which was the sugar cane fields in Cuba and S. America where their avg. lifespan was about 9 mos.? Is that why you are faulting the colonists?

Third, as discussed before we see, as just one example, in Acts 6 that despite there being a shared Gospel, ethnic friction remained an issue that the Gospel did not instantly resolve. Those Greek Jewish widows despite being Christians still felt like they were being slighted vis-a-vis the Hebrew-Jewish widows who were also Christian. Did the Gospel solve that?

Of course, I disagree with your analysis that Kinists don’t have confidence in the Gospel. By the way that is another example of your inflammatory language that Mr. Dow noted earlier. Kinists believe that Biblical Christianity requires racial homogeneity (not 100% but clearly a substantial percentage) and religious homogeneity in order to have a harmony of interest in the social order. Kinists believe that

“God determined the appointed times of the Nations and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26

Kinists further believe that if it is the case that the Nations as Nations will be entering the New Jerusalem then it only stands to reason that Nations should be, as much as possible, independent entities distinct from one another and not engaged in a multicult situation while here on earth.

This has been the position of the Church throughout history has Dow & Achord’s book demonstrates. Here is one quote from it. Are you saying that John Frame doesn’t have confidence in the power of the Gospel?

“Scripture, as I read it, does not require societies, or even churches, to be integrated racially. Jews and Gentiles were brought together by God’s grace into one body. They were expected to love one another and to accept one another as brothers in the faith. But the Jewish Christians continued to maintain a distinct culture, and house churches were not required to include members of both groups.”

John Frame,
“Racism, Sexism, Marxism”

So the question is not really, “Who has more confidence in the Gospel,” but rather, “Who is submitting to the tenets of Biblical Christianity? I disagree with you of course and would insist that the answer to that is the Kinists. I would say that Alienists like yourself are doing great harm to the cause of Christ.

Thank you for the conversation.

Summer Reading List On The Dangers of Advocating Multicult Nations

Reading list on the Subject of the Wisdom of creating Multicult “Nations.”

Kent Steffgen — Bondage of the Free
Christopher Caldwell — Age of Entitlement
Christopher Caldwell — Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West
Robert Putnam — Bowling Alone
Illiana Mercer — Into the Cannibal’s Pot
Colin Flaherty — White Girls Bleed A lot
Heather Mac Donald — The Diversity Delusion
Anne Coulter — Adios America
Wilmot Robertson — The Dispossessed Majority
Patrick Buchanan — The Death of the West
Jean Raspail — Camp of the Saints

Limericks for the Alienists Who Walk Among Us — Dedicated to Rev. Rich Lusk

Something the wise-men all insist
That it is death to be anti-kinist
It is a suicide wish
Wherein you’ll sleep with the fish
Being a pan-racial social order Alienist


In History Empires always implode
From ethnic mixtures that always explode
The fix to it all
Is to steadfastly recall
That nations can’t have minority overload


There once was a man named Rich Lusk
Who argued from dawn until dusk
That National social order formation
With multicult as the foundation
Should be supported as an absolute must

McAtee Unravels Lusk’s Lunacy on Kinism — Part VII

RL writes,

“Our loves flows out through the concentric circles of local church, family,  extended family, city, state, and nation. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing those who are closest to us in terms of geography, family relations, national citizenship, etc. Indeed, we have greater and more particularized obligations  to our own family (1 Timothy 5:8), to our local church body (Galatians 6:10; Hebrews 13:7, 17), and to the rulers of our particular locales (Romans 13:1ff). But the ultimate priority is Christ and his faithful bride. Kinists are right that the Christian’s identity is very much tied to creational and providential realities — your sex, your last name, your skin color, your cultural heritage, your language, your nationality are all integral and essential features of your identity. But what the kinists miss is that Christian identity is also transcendant, supernatural, heavenly and, yes, ecclesial (Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:19; Col. 3:11; Rev. 5:9, 7:9).”

BLM responds,

All, I can say to this is that Lusk’s last sentence is horse hockey. I know as many Kinists as anyone out there and the idea that Kinists miss that there Christian identity is transcendent, supernatural, heavenly, and, yes, ecclesial, is just a case of Lusk (like most Alienists I have interacted with over the years) projecting his irrational animus upon Kinists. What the man says here is just not true.

RL writes,

(1.) Kinists also seem to be naive about the degree to which nationalism (just like globalism) can be bent to serve idolatrous ends that are diametrically opposed to the public and cosmic scope of the church’s mission. (2.) National solidarity is good, but nationalism can become an enemy if separated from other truths and loves. Globalism can set up a rival religion to the gospel — but the family, the nation, and even compromised churches can become rivals as well. (3.) While kinism might have appeal as a reaction against the excesses globalizing trends, we must beware of the ditch on the other side. (4.) The pathway through these landmines is a strong commitment to an ecclesiocentric order, as set forth in Augustine’s City of God and Book 4 of Calvin’s Institutes.

BLM responds,

(1.) This is an assertion with no proof. Something that Lusk has done throughout his piece. Kinism are well aware that there exists such a thing as non-Biblical Nationalism. I can’t tell RL how many times I have been in drop down drag out flame wars with non-Biblical Nationalists. We know that there is a difference between Nationalism that embraces Christ as King of the Nation and Nationalism that is just humanism dressed up in evening clothes. Rich can put his mind to ease on this score.

(2.) NSS

(3.) Yet another Captain Obvious statement

(4.) Rome loves them some ecclesiocentrism. Apparently, so does the CREC.

Elsewhere RL has written as a kind of addendum to his train wreck blog post

A bit more — I think most of the qualifications I have put into my essays have been ignored by the kinist crowd. I’m actually sympathetic with much of Buchanan’s agenda. I don’t object to “ America first” type policies to a point, since we have a greater obligation to those nearest to us. But his illustration of assimilation is not complete for the purposes of our discussion. I’d agree Englishmen could assimilate into Virginia more readily than Zulus. But in the kind of culture I want to build, Clarence Thomas can be assimilated far more readily than Joe Biden. Faith is ultimately more important than genetics. The antithesis cuts through every race.

BLM responds,

Lusk can prevail here because he wants to move the observations of Kinists from a general rule to a universal rule. Kinists say, “generally speaking different races will not mix well and so should not be pursued in terms of a social order.” Along comes Lusk and finds the exceptions to the rule and then seeks to universalize those exceptions. Of course there are some examples of people of other races who would fit into a WASP social order better than Christ hating White person. This is a no duh statement. However, it is not a defeater of Kinism because Kinism is dealing in terms of general truths. As a general rule different races cheek by jowl do not a harmonious social order make and that even if they were all Christian. This has been empirically demonstrated in the book “Bowling Alone.”

This is not to deny that mixing Christ haters with Christ lovers of the same race also does not make for harmonious social order. However, if we take the OT seriously it was a greater curse to be ruled by the foreigner and alien than to be ruled by a wicked King belonging to one’s own people.

RL writes,

Further, I do not reduce culture to worship, though worship is central. I do not agree with the line that “culture is religion externalized” and have written criticism of it in the past. Religion is always already embodied and does not await the formation of culture at a later stage in order to become external. Religion drives culture but there is no a-cultural religion.

BLM responds,

It is not true that worship is central to culture. It is the case that what is central to culture is theology and genetics as those genetics are shaped by our environment. Worship cannot be central to culture because worship presupposes theology. Doxology cannot get off the ground apart from theology. We can only worship that which we know something of and in the knowing is theology. Before man can be Homo Adorans man must first be Homo theologus.

Lusk apparently misunderstands the line; “Culture is religion externalized.” Imagine that. Nobody is arguing that religion isn’t always already embodied. The point is that religion is the animating agent that makes culture to be whatever a culture is. If anything it is culture that isn’t already embodied and is awaiting religion to be the afflatus so that it might become enlivened. If there is no a-cultural religion it is only because there is at the same time no such thing as no a-religion culture.

RL writes,

I think Bill and Jarred are giving kinists good advice: Do not make this about race. Stick to the biblical categories. And do not so emphasize kinship relations that other important truths get negated.

BLM responds,

The problem here Rich is that race is a biblical category;

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil. — Jeremiah 13:23

And it is a Biblical category our fathers have long recognized;


“The vast majority of good thinking people prefer to associate with, and intermarry with, people of their respective race; this is part of the God-given inclination to honor and uphold the distinctiveness of separate races. But there are many false prophets of oneness, and many shallow stooges, who seek to force the amalgamation of the races.” ~

Dr. John E. Richards
One of the Founding Fathers of the PCA

We thank Lusk for the reminder of all the great truths present in Holy Writ that we need to keep in mind. It is always good to be reminded not to become lopsided. Now if only Lusk would follow his own advice.