R.C. Sproul, Jr., has recently written a blog post asking, “Is it a sin to marry outside ones [sic] race?” As many have done elsewhere, he proceeds to offer a number of hackneyed and irritating lines of argument supporting the current regime and milieu of multicultural “Christianity.” His rhetoric is employed in such a way as to implicitly teach heretical anthropological views. These errors of his must therefore be corrected, as well as other fallacious argumentation he employs.
In an attempt to garner some degree of shock value, Sproul, Jr., actually begins by answering the blog’s question in the affirmative. Before ending the first paragraph, he ensures that his (valiantly anti-racist) readers do not swoon by qualifying that by “race” he means the entire race of Adam, the human race. However, in doing so, he implicitly promotes the same heresy as Stephen Halbrook: he supposes distinction within the Adamic race to deny the race’s unity. Such an argument would likewise outlaw the existence of distinct human families—“there is only one family, the human family.” It is sheer nonsense. It is saddening that it needs to be refuted.
Sproul, Jr., might object that he was not in his title and introduction attempting to deny the existence of God-ordained racial plurality; rather, he was merely making a humorous and unexpected segue into a discussion on marital ethics, using the word “race” in an uncommon manner and context. I suppose it is broadly possible that he might not actually be claiming that “there is only one race, the human race,” but the default and common-sense interpretation of his words is too close for comfort to this wearisome race-denying maxim. And besides, if it were not obvious enough from other writings of his, he later gives ample evidence that he is a race-denier.
Marital Restrictions and Biblicism
Sproul, Jr., continues by noting the various boundaries within humanity which matrimony ought not to cross. Citing God’s Word, he specifies that it ought to be heterosexual (Matt. 19:4-5) and intrareligious (2 Cor. 6:14), and states the regulations on incest (Lev. 18) and remarriage after divorce (Matt. 19:9; Deut. 24:4). He also tries to give approved examples in Scripture of “marrying outside ones [sic] culture, ones [sic] skin color, ones [sic] nation.” The examples he cites here are Deuteronomy 21:11-14, Moses and his Cushite wife, and Ruth and Boaz. I have already dealt with Moses in my response to Stephen Halbrook’s racial foolishness, but I will approach these other two arguments now.
The Deuteronomy passage, starting with verse 10, reads as follows:
10 When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, 12 then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. 13 She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.
The context of this passage immediately reveals that God is concerned primarily with the ethics governing warfare and captives, not with some statement concerning the permissible extent of intermarriage. The brutal nature of warfare at the time turned the female captives into objects for the captors’ sexual pleasure, often raped, and therefore God’s law established a strict curbing of that desire. If a soldier sought after a captive girl, he had to marry her—and even then, the process involved the woman’s becoming substantially less attractive, presumably to ensure the Israelite man’s genuine commitment. Given the emphasis in this passage on war ethics, we must be careful not to draw conclusions as if it were primarily telling Israelite men that other nations’ women were fair game.
Moreover, even granting the generous concession that this would apply to women of other races—a very unlikely premise, given both the surrounding demographics of Israel at the time and the state of ancient technology—it is clear that this passage would not suffice to make miscegenation morally permissible. The passage presupposes a single condition under which intermarriage might be permissible, namely, after having taken female captives in war. In doing so, it admits foreign intermarriage only in that kind of situation, since the men in this foreign country would have evidently been unavailable to take the wives themselves; but it does not provide some full-blown moral approbation of intermarriage in all circumstances. As I covered in my previous article on miscegenation, this is a fallacious confusion of moral categories, assuming that some particular act is either prohibited in all circumstances or permitted in all circumstances, in which case even a cursory regulation of intermarriage in some rare circumstances would permit its most radical expression anywhere and everywhere.1 If this alienist conception of morality were true, then the lack of an express prohibition on polygamy, in conjunction with the occasional scriptural regulations of it, would serve to legitimize that practice in all circumstances. The alienist argument therefore rests on an unfortunate instance of prooftexting without any solid rationale to support it.
Going even further, it must be understood that this passage is conditional. The passage governs what must be done if an Israelite man sees a foreign woman whom he wants to marry. But this consideration raises the question: What if there is ever a moral reason not to seek out a foreign woman? That question is not answered by the passage. Of course, the passage does not provide some condition which would never practically be fulfilled, as if there were never any instances when foreign women could permissibly be married – but it still leaves the question unanswered. It does not say that any war with any nation always yields wives ethnically suitable for marriage, but it presupposes that some nations can,2 and hence provides instructions for Israelite males to follow in such circumstances. Thus, in the rare instances where an Israelite man might have come across some defeated foreign nation of a different race (if that even occurred), we can assume that the usual considerations of patriarchy and family lineage would certainly have restricted many wise Israelites from choosing to marry interracially. He would have understood that, if he took a foreign wife, he would undergo the prescribed procedures; but he would also have understood that, in this circumstance, it would not have been right to take a foreign wife in the first place. This passage therefore does not serve as a carte blanche with which Israelite men could have fulfilled a lust for strange flesh; the wise among them would still have been morally constrained to choose their wives with a consideration for the larger societal and familial issues intertwined with interracial marriage, as well as the harm given to mulatto children. In short: while this passage permitted certain international marriages in this one kind of scenario, it did not thereby permit interracial marriages in all circumstances.
The second example mentioned by Sproul, Jr., is the oft-mentioned example of Boaz and Ruth, as recorded in the book of Ruth. The salient feature of this passage is that Ruth is labeled a Moabitess and Boaz an Israelite. In response to the race-mixing conclusions drawn from this passage, I would like to make three brief points. First, the Moabites were Semitic kindred of the Israelites, in which case the marriage, while perhaps international, was still very modest in its genetic distance. Second, as argued here, “Moabite” may very well have been a geographic term of description, rather than literally denoting a descendant of Moab. This is a particularly attractive explanation given the severe prohibition of Moabites from integration into Israel in Deuteronomy 23:3 (as argued here). Third, even if this is an approved example of intermarriage in Scripture, it is also an isolated instance. One would be irresponsible and foolish to draw conclusions of widespread racial mixing from this passage.
The main problem with Sproul, Jr.’s usage of Scripture here can properly be called biblicism, or a worship of the Bible. It manifests itself usually by rote prooftexting and an absence of regenerate wisdom; and it is characterized by an unduly lax or harsh understanding of God’s law, fueled either by the request for impossibly specific Bible verses or by appeal to inapplicable passages with a can’t-you-see-the-obvious mentality. Against this biblicism, I contend that opposition to miscegenation should hardly require any biblical text (just like patriotism): it is grounded in racial realism, which is itself grounded in a healthy understanding of natural revelation. Though Scriptures may be provided on this issue, and though God’s Word serves as a wonderful and illuminating guiderail in leading our minds on the path of godliness, we are not confined to a knowledge only of supernatural revelation. God has revealed Himself both in His Word and in His world.
Sproul, Jr., applies his biblicist principles beyond the text of Scripture to the historic Christian confessions and creeds, stating that neither of them explicitly oppose miscegenation, in which case it cannot be sinful. His appeal again lacks the wisdom which ought to characterize the children of Wisdom. When the authors of these historic Christian texts were penning them, they invariably had a number of current issues relevant to them. The composers of the Nicene Creed3 included the key word homoousios to oppose the semi-Arians and their formulation of the godhead. Similarly, the Westminster divines authored their confession with the various errors of the Church of Rome in mind. No authors of the church have to date needed to battle egalitarianism—it is our zeitgeist. To ignore the racial-egalitarian basis of the powerful multicultist establishment, just because our spiritual forebears did not need to actively oppose racial egalitarianism, is disastrously naïve and foolish. R.C. Sproul, Jr., needs to recover the category of practical wisdom which has been so dismantled by biblicism, especially as regards the issue of race.
Both In and Of the World
Sproul, Jr., responds to the allegation that his pro-miscegenation stance is “grounded in worldliness.” He asserts that we cannot be mere reactionaries, opposing what non-Christians believe just because non-Christians believe it. “We aren’t called to walking on our hands because the unbelievers walk on their feet.” Now, he is obviously correct in denying that any action, word, or thought of an unbeliever is intrinsically sinful for the believer, but his argument presents a complete ignorance of the status and role of modern racial egalitarianism. It is the basis on which Christian civilization, which has historically flourished primarily among European peoples, is assaulted. It is also the premise on which feminist and homosexual advocacy groups thrive; they view themselves as the heirs of the civil rights movement and its upheaval of anti-miscegenation legislation. (As they argue, if it is racial discrimination to forbid marriage solely because of race, then it is likewise sexual discrimination to forbid marriage solely because of sex.) To view this fountain of evil and foolishness as just another thing on which believers and unbelievers agree, like the number of hours in a day, is supremely baneful and indicates willful stupidity. As a pastor, Sproul, Jr., should be leading the way in opposing the malicious enemies of Christendom—not standing in need of correction on issues as fundamental as these God-created distinctions.
His affiliation with the multicultural zeitgeist is demonstrated by his ever-willingness to reduce race to skin color and to use the word in quotation marks. There are only two reasons to put a word like “race” in quotation marks: either to include in the sentence a discussion of the term itself, rather than its concept (just as I put it in quotes in this sentence), or to deny that the concept is a legitimate one, such as he does when he puts both “gay” and “marriage” in quotes. Sproul, Jr., clearly means the latter. And in denying the meaningful existence of race, he identifies himself (hopefully unwittingly) as a servant of antichrists. It is one thing to agree on God-ordained racial realism and yet disagree on the frequency with which miscegenation is sinful; but it is another to completely buy into egalitarian anthropology. To display that he is of the world, he has chosen the latter.
To further fortify himself from the accusation of worldliness, Sproul, Jr., attempts to turn the tables by blaming the genesis of racial thinking on Darwinism, against which he offers the Christian view of cultural judgment as evaluating a culture’s merits solely in terms of biblical influence: “What makes one culture superior, however, isn’t genetics, but the impact of the Christian faith.” Now, besides the fact that our forefathers identified different races far before Darwin, it should be obvious to anyone that culture involves more than religion. Just as an intelligent man and an unintelligent man will not be identical after conversion, and just as a hothead and a stoic will not be either, so also whole cultures with different prevailing natural powers and moral characteristics will exhibit different qualities in addition to the gospel’s influence. And if cultures can possess non-spiritual components to differentiate themselves from other cultures, then it also is sensible to note that cultures can be superior or inferior in different ways. Just as an intelligent man is intellectually superior to a dumb man—irrespective of either’s regeneracy4—so also a whole race can have generally superior intellectual faculties. It is then a matter of empirical investigation to determine these racial inequalities, superiorities, and inferiorities.
In all, what is clear is that we are not ghosts for whom only religion matters. God created us with a heftily important biological component, and to deny that out of some queer desire to exalt religion is to debase both. This mindset is a canker of biblicism: the only information that matters is supernatural revelation, and the only sphere that matters is the spiritual. Natural revelation and physicality be damned.
Fortunately, Sproul, Jr., seems to make the point that this is not a matter on which we should hate or condemn the opponents of miscegenation. Correctly, he states: “There have, in the past, been fine and godly men who have argued otherwise. There are likely some fine and godly men who would still so argue.” It is good to see him say these words, though I do wonder how seriously he takes them. If a kinist and an offended non-white were both in his congregation, would he tell the non-white to not hate his brother for his more scrupulous views regarding race and intermarriage? We can hope. In any case, if he does believe these words, then he needs to be concerned more with the heavy problem of anti-white and anti-“racist” propaganda and persecution than with making sure everyone knows he falls in line with the egalitarian dogma on racialism.
Although this is a short blog post, Sproul, Jr., reveals a great multitude of errors and prejudices. He is called to repentance for his misuse of reason and Scripture, and called to appreciate the great traditions and culture which our European ancestors have built for us, all by the redeeming and common grace of God.
- I also explain more on the nature of moral categorization and surrounding circumstances when I outline the nature of false sins. ↩
- Some alienists would see this as a concession which destroys the entire kinist position, since they believe kinism is built on the fact that nations are strictly identical with races, in which case no nations can ever intermarry. This is flagrantly false and misunderstands the sense in which genetics can inform nationhood and the morality of intermarriage without establishing strict moral boundary between all kinds of international marriage. As an example, a Dane and a German’s marriage would not have ethnic-moral objections, since the two nations are rather similar ethnically. Yet the marital compatibility of individuals from ethnically similar nations is fully harmonious with the kinist contention that ethnicity is crucial to nationhood and that vast ethnic distances are moral barriers to intermarriage. ↩
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_creed ↩
- Of course, I am not saying that the spiritual is unrelated to the physical, or has no effect on it. Regeneracy tends to sanctify and consecrate our various natural characteristics—yet that still presupposes an antecedent nature which is sanctified. All I am defending here is the fundamental doctrine that we are redeemed in salvation, not displaced with a new spiritual person. ↩