Alienists have staked their claim on sections 3 and 4 of chapter 24, alleging these segments to refute Kinism. But whenever traditional Presbyterians have tried to clear up their confusion, the Alienists brook no discussion. They defer rather to every left-wing tactic of banning, blocking, censuring, and doxing to squelch all discussion. After which they comically declare themselves the victors of a “debate” in which they refuse to even engage.
It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies. (WCF 24:3)
The Alienists insist that ‘all sorts of people’ here means different races, even though they otherwise deny different races to exist at all. Their generic position is the secularist bumper sticker, “There is only one race — the human race.” And this having become their favorite hobbyhorse, they are quick to elaborate on the matter, insisting that humanity is totally homogeneous and that the observable genotypical and phenotypical differences between races (color, skull structure, bone density, haplogrouping, talents and handicaps, emotional profiles, cognitive powers, etc.) are naught but a pernicious illusion cast by sin.
Glaring gnosticism aside, even to portray the confession here as sanctioning miscegenation, Alienists wind up contradicting their own anthropology: either there are different ‘sorts (races) of people’, or there aren’t. You cannot say there’s only one race, so therefore all races can intermarry. Neither can you say that because all races can intermarry, there is only one race. Every syllogism constructed along these lines is self-contradictory.
Of course, conservatives have pointed this out in regard to liberal hypocrisy all along: you can’t deny the existence of races while praising the Black church as such. Nor can you conduct outreach to the Black community, reprimand the White church, indict the White community, launch missions to the Indians, honor Korean Presbyteries, profess “a heart for the Vietnamese people,” or even sympathize with POC, generally. Because all of it presupposes the existence of different races. So even to be right about any such endeavor in the smallest capacity, they prove themselves fundamentally wrong with respect to their ‘one race, the human race’ mantra.
The confession qualifies what is meant by ‘all sorts of people’: ‘those able with judgement to give consent’, ‘only in the Lord’ (1 Cor. 7:39), and not ‘unequally yoked’ (2 Cor. 6:14).
On consent, the Westminster Bible Dictionary says, “The consent of the maiden was sometimes asked (Gen. 24:58), but this appears to have been subordinate to the previous consent of the father and the adult brothers (Gen. 24:51; 34:11).” And Exodus 22:17 further codifies consent as resting with the bride’s parents, especially her father. Basic to federal theology and biblical law is that all oaths, vows, and contracts of children and unwed daughters are at the discretion of the family’s federal head (Num. 30:3ff.).
When pushed, some Alienists still admit this. But even when they concede to this principle of paternal discretion, they condemn its only use — the safeguard of heritage against unequal yoking — as heresy. This they have the temerity to call a ‘balanced’ perspective, but it’s merely another contradiction.
Rushdoony framed the matter thus:
Unequal yoking means more than marriage. In society at large it means the enforced integration of various elements which are not congenial. Unequal yoking is in no realm productive of harmony; rather, it aggravates the differences and delays the growth of the different elements toward a Christian harmony and association.1
Amalgamated unions are deficient because God made Eve a helpmeet for Adam, taken from his own close flesh. “‘Helpmeet’ means a reflection or mirror, an image of man, indicating that a woman must have something religiously and culturally in common with her husband. The burden of the law is thus against inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish.”[2. Ibid.]
Unequal yoking, by its distortion of man’s reflection, and confounding of the legacy of clans, is the promised discorporation (the curse) of the nations that betray the covenant (Deut. 28; Lev. 26). If Alienists deign to call integration and miscegenation with foreign races a blessing while God’s word declares it ‘the vengeance of the covenant’ against apostatized nations, the Alienist’s view merely confirms the curse to have fallen full upon them.
Our modern Alienists would construe these realities as the actions of unbelievers, but nothing could be further from the truth. The laws in question and their prosecution were established via consultation, direct oversight, and enthusiastic participation of eminent church officers.
Neither the divines of Westminster, nor of New York or Philadelphia, gave any hint that they understood the confession’s endorsement of marriage ‘of all sorts of people’ to contradict these anti-miscegenation codes. Just the opposite, they were responsible for the drafting of said codes and understood them to be just application of God’s law.
The revolutionary rulings that overturned this traditional concept of marriage in 1967 (Loving v. Virginia) came not on the wings of revival, but only by the deposition of Christianity from the civil realm by secular humanism and cultural Marxism. And our Presbyterian luminaries of the time opposed this redefinition of marriage vigorously.
In keeping with which, the annually polling on the subject since 1958 demonstrates that the loosening definition of marriage to include interracial unions has moved apace, not with orthodox Christianity, but with secularization – which is to say, apostasy.
By contrast, however, the further back we look, the more Americans held to orthodox Christianity, and the more Christian, the less they approved of miscegenation. In 1958, the first year of polling on the subject, 96% of Americans opposed race-mixing; and that 4% margin who approved was comprised of atheists, communists, Jews, and atheist communist Jews. Statistically speaking, American Christians opposed miscegenation unanimously.
But those who’ve usurped our pulpits since the governmental rewrite of the faith share Eisenhower’s exuberance in calling for federal troops to force integration of Little Rock, Arkansas. The secular revolution of the 1960s forced integration literally at gunpoint. In the moment Americans were put on the horns of the dilemma — either submit to integration, or watch your children die on federal bayonets. This alongside an avalanche of legislation to deprive Americans of our God-given rights of property and association synergistically pushed by paid change agents in our seminaries. And voila, churchmen began coming to the same epiphany in favor of integration. What a coincidence.
But that coincidence pales in comparison to their present denial of the church’s history on these matters. Preposterous beyond description, that one.
To be clear, we are not saying that doctrine is decided by a show of hands. That is actually the Alienist’s stance by turning to follow after secular pop culture on the issue. Rather, we’re pointing out that even in the case that neo-churchmen concede to paternal discretion in the bridegrooming of children, they hold the uniform application of that principle by our fathers anathema. Even if in so doing they anathematize all our greatest divines, or, for that matter, the biblical patriarchs who insisted their sons wed only endogamously (Gen. 24:2-4). As the Reformation Study Bible footnote on Genesis 24:3 says, “Abraham sets an example for his descendants to secure wives from the blessed Semites, not the cursed Canaanites.” As proof of which, it cross-references Genesis 9:24-27 on Noah’s prophetic segregation of Shemites, Japhethites, and Hamites. And though Isaac and Jacob would follow the same pattern as Abraham, “the sexually immoral” Esau (Heb. 12:16) departed from this law, taking Hittite women to wife, who “were a grief of mind” to his parents (Gen. 26:35), and whose ruination of her heritage Rebekah reviled to the extent that she verbally contemplated suicide (Gen. 27:46)!
But the PC pulpiteers of our day have no sympathy for her. Truth be told, they’d bid such a distraught mother carry through on her grim ideation so that her progressive son might live out his alternative lifestyle in blissful squalor and reprobation. Worse, given their doctrine, we have every reason to expect they’d bid Rebekah embrace Esau and shun Jacob.
But back to the question: why did the fathers state the matter as ‘it is lawful for all sorts of people to marry’?
First, in context, an issue of their foremost concern was the repudiation of Rome’s priestly vows of celibacy. Over against which, they took pains in the same section to preclude intermarriage with ‘papists.’ It was legal for ministers to wed, but not to wed from among the fold which denied that right.
Secondly, the catastrophe of Richard I’s marriage to a French papist still hung a grim pall over all. The monarchy’s aversion to marriage with the lower classes had driven Charles to the point of marrying an outland papist. And it precipitated an existential threat to church and nation: his mixed marriage actually provoked Charles to ally with foreign Romish armies and make war on his own Protestant people. After great pains to arrest this tragedy, they dreaded the possibility of repeating it. Though the divines did not spurn the distinction of class (their section on civil government proves this), in light of the hierarchy of goods, far better for Charles to have married an English milkmaid than a foreign noblewoman. Because of both the religious and national animosities that unequal yoke introduced against the English people.
The divines naturally presupposed the same “common law of nations” which Calvin emphasized:
Now, we see, as in a camp, every troop and band hath his appointed place, so men are placed upon earth, that every people may be content with their bounds, and that among these people every particular person may have his mansion. But though ambition have, oftentimes raged, and many, being incensed with wicked lust, have past their bounds, yet the lust of men hath never brought to pass, but that God hath governed all events from out of his holy sanctuary. For though men, by raging upon earth, do seem to assault heaven, that they may overthrow God’s providence, yet they are enforced, whether they will or no, rather to establish the same.
With Calvin, the fathers took for granted that to surpass ethnic bounds (integration and miscegenation) is ‘wicked lust’. And this they affirmed to be a ‘raging’ ‘assault upon heaven’ bent on ‘overthrow [of] God’s providence’.
But from the vantage of their circumstance, and in terms of community as their people had known it for a millennium, the fathers simply could not foresee the multicult circumstance of our times. They certainly never dreamt that churches under their charter would one day strive for a return to Babel! From their vantage, Protestantism — Presbyterianism foremost — as Christ’s reign over the nations, had slain that old dragon for good and all.
Neither, however, could they foresee a need for overtures against an 80-year-old man marrying a teenage girl. Because they had no occasion to contemplate such a thing — because it never happened in their world. If any ever made such a request a girl’s father and clan would never consent to such a union, just as the Christians of the twentieth century who first encountered these strange distortions of marriage rebuked them.
But the controlling principle of Alienists — that a Christian marriage is defined only as two Christians, irrespective of all else — would grant the hand of the virgin to the geriatric, as well as unions between persons with no common language, and if consistent, between brothers and sisters, as well as many other abhorrent permutations undreamt still. Because apart from that position, they cannot grant the hand of the blushing belle to African clutches.
Unless we accept that the stipulation of ‘equal yoking’ takes an holistic scope, and ‘in the Lord’ really means “according to God’s law,” we have opened Pandora’s box to a continual redefinition of marriage in practice. The Alienist take here defines marriage so broadly that it comes to mean nothing, and ultimately abolishes the institution. Yes, this late broadening of marriage in the church is the exact course set by the avowed Marxists for ringing in a post-family world.
Thankfully, by inclusion of the following, the divines preclude the Alienist dogma of marriage defined only by spiritual parameters:
Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word. Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife. The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred, nearer in blood then he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband’s kindred, nearer in blood than of her own. (WCF 24:4)
These addenda fatally undercut the contemporary Alienist argument for ‘equal yoking’ and ‘only in the Lord’ as addressing spiritual matters only. Clearly, the fathers read these concursive descriptors as encompassing the full spectrum of compatibility.
Wherein the fathers speak to parameters of consanguinity, they grant that blood-heritage is very much a concern in bridegrooming.
Albeit, they were preoccupied with the possibility of believers breeding too closely per biblical law, but as we’ve said, that is principally because the other extremity — breeding afar — was an all but unknown phenomenon at the time.
That is, until they embarked on the colonization of the land they termed “New Canaan,” America, and encountering Red men and imported Africans for the first time. At which point they conceived miscegenation as punishable and criminal.
- Institutes of Biblical Law, pp. 256-257 ↩