O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
~1 Timothy 6:20-21
Anthropology, the doctrine or study of mankind, is a category under the umbrella of classical theology from the beginning. Today, however, most churchmen have grown decidedly squeamish of this term. After all, to hear them tell it, systematic theology is but a study in artifice. Too many icky implications. But they are no less partisan on the subject. Truth be told, the pulpit has never been more preoccupied with anthropology. If any single concept punctuates modern preaching, it is the late refrain of racial equality. Irrespective of whether the advocates thereof are comfortable speaking of it as an anthropological doctrine, it is just that. And their every homily now seems to hinge upon this concept in one respect or another.
While half of them describe this view to be some new purified vista on Christian theology “overcoming the past evil of White Supremacy,” the other half insist it was always the position of the historic church, and that White Supremacy is either something new, or that it existed entirely apart from Christian doctrine and civilization throughout history. Or, just as often, the same people seem to alternate between all these positions like so many revolutions of a turnstile and are oblivious to their radical self-contradiction. But no matter which of these perspectives we deem the more ridiculous and more radical, all are wrong, none of which can be ameliorated by hopscotching between them.
Egalitarian anthropology was neither the historic position of Christendom, nor some biblical truth long suppressed and finally reprised by Christians of the twentieth century. Fact is, the idea that men’s tendencies and aptitudes are dictated by spirit (doctrine, ideas, etc.) alone, and to the exclusion of any influence of physical lineage or genetic constitution, was promulgated in the twentieth century not originally by Christians, but by ardent evolutionists. This in spite of the common talking point of Ham, Piper, and Marinov, that Darwin invented the idea of races and racial inequality with it. Yes, they insist that prior to Darwin, Christendom conceived of only one race, the human race. But, fact is, Matthew Henry and virtually every other commentator on Genesis 9 and 10, all the way back to St. Augustine, make ample reference to the “races” of men.
Crimony, Webster’s 1828 — the pre-Darwinian dictionary — definitions of race, nation, and breed refute this notion of Darwin having invented racialism conclusively. But the modern Alienists cling to this absurdity with all the tenacity that cognitive dissonance allows.
So when we show that their egalitarian anthropology was bequeathed to them by Jewish evolutionist Franz Boas, neither do they hear that. Because, per Ham, Piper, and Marinov, any reference to ‘nature’ with respect to man’s constitution denotes materialism. In their cosmology, materialism and materiality are more or less synonymous; as are both synonymous with sin (a matter which we shall revisit shortly). So they have come to see as sinful any acknowledgement of the history of racialism in Christian theology — a thing entirely taken for granted in the writings of our Christian fathers for two millennia. And rejecting these realities, they have embraced both environmental anthropology and psychology — the belief that men are solely the product of intangibles apart from any physical constitution.
Which is all the funnier for the fact that environmentalism is synonymous with evolution: be it in anthropology, biology, or psychology, evolutionary thought is and always has credited environment to the shaping of men. And to this day, preeminent anthropologists like Jared Diamond in his bestseller, Guns, Germs, & Steel insist that European ascendance of mind has only been on account of certain advantages of environment to facilitate good thinking and moral advancement, all of a piece with things like the scientific method, the golden rule, and the second tablet of the Mosaic law.
In fact, the first occurrence in English of the phrase “mind over matter” defines Sir Charles Lyell’s 1863 evolutionist apologetic, The Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man. Evolution, after all, does not hold DNA to be a static thing, but in perpetual flux, determined and shaped by stimuli outside man, inclusive of things like education, culture, ideals, discipline, and matters of mind — things otherwise spoken of classically as “spirit.” For material evolution, nurture becomes nature in such a way that there is little real difference between them. Materialism is but a form of mysticism. In materialism, nature is merely nurture made manifest; for in their paradigm, nature itself is ever born from the womb of a preceding environment, the all-encompassing monad. And unbelievable as it is, this is the same position taken up by Christian* Alienists: to paraphrase Bojidar, “Man’s culture, intelligence, and talent are determined entirely by spirit, and Kinists who say men differ by nature, and that genetics impact the expression of faith, preach Darwinian paganism.”
Thus, in order for Bojidar & co. to distort Christianity as they do, they must also entirely redefine the doctrines of Darwin and any number of other things besides. Which only makes any attempt at parley with that perspective that much more befuddling, because their revolutionized worldview demands a funhouse mirror interpretation of every concept and term under consideration, typically turning things almost opposite of their true meaning.
For example, in spite of Kinists having proven so roundly Alienism’s appropriation of Marxist thought, the Alienists double down by pointing to Marxism’s tactic of inciting racial animus as proof that Marxism is racialist, and therefore, they conclude, Kinist!
Never mind that the fathers of Marxism waxed long in their plans to blend out all the races of earth into one by anti-colonial revolt, forcing Whites to accept non-Whites through liberationist terror.
And never mind again that the same Alienists who turn to denounce Marx as a ‘racist’ otherwise attribute the origin of the concept of race to Darwin, a man whose work came decades after Marx. As in classical Marxism, self-contradiction is a triviality in the face of the egalitarian agenda. But I digress.
So when our modern pulpits preach that men’s character is purely a matter of some nurtured education and belief with no component of heredity admitted, they have unwittingly taken up the evolutionists’ argument that man is not what he was designed to be, reproducing kind after kind, but rather, what his environment makes of him.
But, you ask, what alternative do you then propose, Ehud?
That which was taken for granted by Christians prior to the coming of Marx, Boas, Trotsky, and the Frankfurt School — dichotomic anthropology, which Berkhof called realistic dualism:
The simple facts to which we must always return, and which are embodied in the theory of realistic dualism, are the following: body and soul are distinct substances, which do interact. . . . The union between the two may be called a union of life: the two are organically related, the soul acting on the body, and the body acting on the soul.1
This affirmation of man’s physicality alongside intangible spirit is consistent not just with the Genesis account of man’s making, but also with his re-making in Christ. For this dualism in man accords precisely with the orthodox doctrine of the incarnation — the hypostatic union of Christ — that He was both fully God and fully man: fully spirit and fully flesh.
Departing therefrom, liberals insist that genetic materiality is either unimportant or evil. Either way, though, they are of one accord in denouncing those who yet hold to realistic dualism as evil.
What they find most objectionable in realistic dualism is the fact that ‘the two are organically related, the soul acting on the body, and the body acting on the soul.’ Because the idea that the soul is at all impacted or affected by men’s physical makeup is, they assure us, patently racist, and therefore heretical. On the contrary, they insist that the spirit alone is significant, and matter simply doesn’t matter.
But Berkhof’s view (the orthodox view) is apparent in everything from the creation account to the spiritual discipline of fasting, to Sabbath rest, to feasting, to the fact that “wine makes the heart of man merry” (Ps. 104:15). Anyone who has ever nodded off in church knows our physicality bears on our spirituality. And no one who has ever watched an elder succumb to senility can gainsay it, these natural observations being perfectly in line with biblical revelation.
But if the church is recently won over to environmentalism through Boas, Freud, and the Frankfurt School which incorporated the teachings of both, their perspective will also no doubt sound uncannily familiar to students of church history, particularly to those who have studied the early cults:
Gnostics believed that matter, whether it be the physical universe or the humanly body, is evil. It is obvious that there is a great tension between spirit and matter. This affects many of their beliefs and especially the way they perceive(d) the world and God’s interactions with it.
That’s right: by way of Boasian (Marxist) anthropology, the environmentalism assumed in the churches today is but a stumble back into that eldest and most dread heresy which Paul condemned as “knowledge falsely so called” (1 Tim. 6:20) — Gnosticism. Eric Voegelin et al. have explained this correspondence: Marxism’s ideological organization of contemptible matter to the blurring of distinction descends from the Gnostic dogma of spirit repressing contemptible matter to the blurring of distinction. In broad strokes, they are essentially the same thing.
Or as Rev. McAtee has explained it:
We live in a time where the Materialism of Cultural Marxism and the Gnosticism of the New Age movement are difficult to distinguish. This is due to the fact that as each denies alternately the Material and the Spiritual; each ends up collapsing the one into the other.
If all things are material than even the spiritual (which doesn’t go away) becomes material. If all things are spiritual than even the material (which doesn’t go away) becomes spiritual. Both end up giving a monism that though explained differently, in the end renders the same reality. In both cases the commonly embraced reality means the denial of the genuinely corporeal in exchange for self-defining and self-referential solipsism.
It is the damndest and oddest thing to observe and try to explain.
The Gnostics and the Materialists are marching together.
Yes, in order to avoid the Kinist implications apparent in realistic dualism, the churches have turned by default to a genuine heresy — that eldest heresy, in fact — Gnosticism.
Of course, they will deny this pedigree no less than their clear adoption of cultural Marxism. But hear St. Augustine’s rebuke of Gnosticism; you’d swear he was speaking with our contemporary church in mind:
[I]t is sin which is evil, not the substance or nature of flesh. . . .2
There is no need therefore, that in our sins and vices we accuse the nature of the flesh to the injury of the Creator, for in its own kind and degree the flesh is good. . . . For he who extols the nature of the soul as the chief good, and condemns the nature of the flesh as if it were evil, assuredly is fleshly both in his love of the soul and his hatred of the flesh; for these his feelings arise from human fancy, not from divine truth.3
Be they Romanists or Eastern Orthodox citing theosis as a metaphysical union that homogenizes all, pop evangelicalism citing the individualism of Baptist theology, or the Reformed alternately citing both concepts of union and individualism through libertarianism, the majority of all denounce any goodness of ‘kind and degree’ in the flesh. Each wing of Christendom has organizationally turned away from realistic dualism and replaced it with some form of Gnosticism.
Whereof Rushdoony says:
Because Gnosticism made the individual, rather than a dualism of mind and matter, ultimate, it was essentially hostile to morality and law. . . . The usual attitude was one of contempt for the material world. . . .
But, for orthodox Christianity, matter and spirit are alike created by God, alike fallen, and alike redeemed.4
This connection in Gnosticism of an individualistic contempt for the flesh with libertinism presents to us the theology of the carnival, which by etymology means literally, “putting away the flesh” or “farewell to the flesh.” It accounts for Piper’s miscegenist ethic that he actually calls “Christian hedonism,” no less than Marinov’s Alienist libertarianism. It also explains why simultaneous with Joel McDurmon’s turn to a pro-miscegenist stance, he also relinquished theonomic penology. In spite of being a titular representative of theonomy, the only obvious difference between him and every other tattooed anarchist is that Joel likes to invoke the name of Christ while defying Him.
Bad as all this is, it actually gets worse. What could possibly be worse than the church being marbled through with heretical Marxist-Gnostics, you ask? Specifically, the implication of Gnosticism upon the incarnation of Christ: as John warns us, “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist” (1 Jn. 4:3). That is to say, Gnosticism is not just some abstract cultish metaphysic, or a heterodox anthropology, but by those errant doctrines, a denial of Christ’s coming in the flesh.
Oh, come now, Ehud, you can’t mean Alienists are all antichrists!
I’m not saying all. But a great many, yes, are antichrists. I can confirm this not just by their association with Gnostic ideology, and not not just by way of ongoing dialogue with the gaggles of insurance salesmen and secretaries who stock the pews, or even just by the ubiquitous articles professing the meaninglessness of physical relation and the evil of acknowledging physical relation in general; but through protracted debate and cross-examination of ministers, professors, and those regarded as eminent theologians. I know whereof I speak here: it is completely typical of them to lapse into arguments against Jesus’s genealogy, insisting that the only purpose of the royal genealogy is to prove that genealogies are meaningless, and therefore, to be disdained generally.
Perhaps, beholden to their ideology, many are merely entangled in their own sophistry to the point where they wind up arguing positions they really don’t believe. This is entirely possible, as many having come out of a debate background were habituated to this very thing.
Were this the case, however, we would see a large body of these Alienists falling all over themselves to retract such statements and disambiguate themselves from such an odious error. But we don’t.
Either way, whether they truly are antichrists or no, the prevailing zeitgeist amongst them is so close to it that we are at a loss to distinguish them from it entirely. In these matters, if there is a hair’s breadth between Marinov and Marcion, we cannot perceive it.