Sections 5 and 6 of chapter 24 focus on adultery by name: “Nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage.” (WCF 24:6)
Because we take the divines’ definition here as harmonious with the Scripture, that definition must encompass the mass-divorce enacted under the hero-prophets Ezra and Nehemiah (Ezra 10:3). That is, if nothing but adultery or desertion are justification for divorce, the mass-divorce of Israelites’ foreign wives and mandatory estrangement of their children was an authoritative redress of adultery. In which case, the prophets defined adultery authoritatively as unequal yoking in an ethnocultural sense; which is to say, miscegenation.
Yes, the neo-churchmen will dissemble on the matter, saying, it was a matter of the wives being Canaanites specifically, and as such, under a unique ban. The trouble with this theory is the text repudiates it directly, specifying that many of the women were Edomites, Egyptians, Ishmaelites, and others not under the Canaanite ban. Indeed, Nehemiah tells us the crime was in taking “foreign wives” (Neh. 13:27).
All orthodox believers used to know this. Because all lesser codes in Scripture are but situational extrapolations of the Seventh Commandment: including admonitions that the priest “shall take a virgin of his own people to wife; so that he will not profane his offspring among his people …” (Lev. 21:14-15; Ezek. 44:22); admonitions to princes to “say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.” (Prov. 7:4-5); and warnings to the common people that “no bastard (Heb. mamzer; per Luther mischling, lit. mongrel) shall enter the assembly.” (Deut. 23:2)
The Oxford Etymological dictionary discloses on the verb adulterate is that it was ‘repl[aced] by to commit adultery.’ Meaning that adultery was, in the time of the Genevan and King James English translations, an alternate iteration of adulteration; and this is evident in the etymology as both stem from the same portmanteau of — ad and alter — meaning “to change an original substance by the addition of something dissimilar.”
Relatedly, Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:8 that divorce for sexual immorality is a licit recourse given of God, “but it was not so from the beginning.” Thus intimating that the first union of man and wife designed of God was the template for the institution: a man and woman of close age, of the same language and culture, and (per Matthew Henry) involving a bride “taken from man’s near side of flesh.” This, Jesus tells us, is the exemplar of Christian bridegrooming.
These facts provide an essential coherence to the whole witness of Scripture pertaining to equal yoking, national identity, legitimate heirship, and many other matters besides. As a package, the Kinist understanding of these things proves the univocal nature of revealed truth, whereas, the Alienist position casts all as so many mismatched and irreconcilable puzzle pieces.
However, because we’ve treated this subject thoroughly elsewhere, we needn’t repeat all the same points here. Suffice to say, as with the definitions of marriage, bastard, helpmeet, unequal yoking, and ‘only in the Lord’, Alienists are simply defining adultery differently than our fathers did at the writing of the confession.
This is no argument from silence because the same men who clung to the confession instituted civil laws against miscegenation on the express grounds that race-mixing violated God’s will. And as it pertained to the African in particular, our fathers agreed with their sires who had furnished the Genevan Bible commentary on Genesis 9:25: “… Ham and his posterity were accursed. That is, a most vile slave.” And no one of the Reformation and colonial era objected to this interpretation of Scripture, or of the confession. That is, not until the rise of cultural Marxism in the mid-twentieth century, and the subsequent liberal usurpation of the churches; and even if her officers profess amnesia of the fact, Presbyterianism was the last stronghold of the West to fall to this new age ethos.
Chapter 25, Of the Church, says, “The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children.” (WCF 25:2)
The fathers here stipulate that the church’s international character is not in the Alienist sense of a mongrelized Babelism, but an assembly of distinct nations (i.e., ethnos).
This is emphasized by their covenantal addendum ‘and of their children’, because it presupposes the sanctity of blood natality underlying said nationalism. As covenantalists, the divines presupposed the traditional-biblical definition of nationhood as familism writ large. The nation of Israel were, after all, the literal children of Israel.
Whether we look to the prophetic disclosures of Noah concerning the nations to descend from the tripartite division of mankind (Gen. 9), the Table of Nations (Gen. 10), the myriad promises of nationhood to the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the fact that the mixed multitude was made to camp apart from Israel in the wilderness, the consecration of Israel as a separate ethnos under the Sinai Covenant, Daniel’s prophecy of Messiah’s rule being a kingdom of nations (Dan. 7:14), reification of ethnic insularity laws by Ezra and Nehemiah, the extension of the covenant to the nations via the Great Commission (Matt. 28), Paul’s disclosures of the divine rationale in segregating the nations (Acts 17:26-27), to the eschaton in which John sees the nations, tribes, races, and tongues to abide forever in heaven (Rev. 7:9), ethnonationalism is God’s ordained social order for mankind.
Unlike modern Alienists, the men of Westminster never dreamed to doubt it. Over against Roman imperialism, nationalism was a core presupposition of the Reformation. It’s why Luther made his appeal “To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation,” and why Calvin addressed his Institutes “to the king of the Franks.” The Reformers took for granted that, contiguous with familism, ethnic patriotism under God is the Christian world order.
This will really disturb my critics: in the same chapter the divines resort to what Alienists today flatly decry for ‘antisemitism’ and, yes, ‘Nazism’ — “some [churches] have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.” (WCF 25:5) In point of fact, Alienists do not demure from anathematizing anyone uttering this sentiment even when it comes in the form of a biblical citation (Rev. 2:9; 3:9)! As a rule, this phrase evokes trembling rage from our neo-churchmen.
They have so acquiesced “for the fear of the Jews” (there’s another biblical phrase at which they blanch) that they can only prattle on about “Judeo-Christian ethics,” “philosemitism,” “standing with Israel,” and there being “no difference between Jew and Gentile.” All the while totally insensate, it seems, of their blasphemy, not to mention variance from the faith promulgated from Westminster.
Read Part 12