Brian Schwertley has attacked Kinism in his teaching series, “The Kinist Heresy,” roughly transcribed from these audio versions.1 In this series, Schwertley seeks to establish that Kinism is a heresy based upon his exegesis of several relevant biblical texts. Throughout his treatise, he hurls several accusations of “racism” against his Kinist opponents. Like virtually all opponents of Kinism, Schwertley never attempts to define a term that he ubiquitously employs. There is a constant invective against Kinism which is not matched by a careful scrutiny of the passages he uses to make his case. Furthermore, I would suggest that Schwertley has addressed not actual Kinist writings, but rather a mere caricature. Let’s begin where Schwertley begins, with his interpretation of passages that he believes are important to Kinists.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
As Schwertley alleges, we Kinists seek to justify our position based upon the phrase “after their kind.” We maintain that people should breed only with other members of their own “kind,” with the understanding that the “kinds” strictly correspond to different races. But, he argues, this is an incorrect usage of the word, for “kind” encompasses a larger category akin to species, such as humans and dogs, within which all creatures can interbreed. So, the fact that the various species of animals and humans cannot interbreed is evidence that they are of different kinds, and the capacity of different human races to interbreed entails that they are of one kind, rendering this passage irrelevant to miscegenation.
There are a number of problems with Schwertley’s assertions. His equation of the biblical term “kind” with our modern concept of species is an assertion for which he does not provide robust exegetical grounds. He states, “Things do not evolve into new species and each species is fixed by God and cannot interbreed with other species,” with 1 Corinthians 15:39 for support: “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.” But first and foremost, it should be noted that Paul in 1 Corinthians is simply making a comparison of our current bodies to the glorified bodies that we will possess in heaven. He is not making any assertion about the specific biological differences among kinds, demarcating the exact boundaries indicated by the term. If he were, then he would have grouped all land animals into one kind, all fish into one kind, and all birds into one kind, which is obviously nonsensical per Schwertley’s definition of the term.
Beyond his error in speculation, Schwertley hasn’t considered all the biblical data with regards to the meaning of “kind.” Leviticus 11:13-31 and Deuteronomy 14:11-17 mention several specific kinds of birds, rodents, and lizards, each variety representing a separate kind. More compelling evidence is to be found in Leviticus 19:19, wherein God forbids the Israelites from mixing plants or animals of different kinds together. Vividly, this means that animals of different kinds can possibly interbreed, even if they normally do not.2 God is obviously not prohibiting some sort of physically impossible interbreeding, so Schwertley’s contention that various kinds cannot interbreed by definition is false.
Yet I do not intend to argue that the term “kind” refers strictly to race, or that every single instance of the term “kind” in Scripture carries the exact same meaning. The term evidently refers to some sort of taxonomical grouping, with the more precise boundaries being determined by the context and purpose of the term’s use (such as in Deut. 14:11-17); Scripture is probably unconcerned with establishing a strict and universally applicable boundary for the term. Hence Kinists see the word “kind” not as referring necessarily to racial distinctions – especially not before racial distinctions first emerged in history – but instead as establishing a general principle: that God’s creation includes biological diversity (not necessarily correspondent with the capacity to interbreed), and that the course of nature is for creatures to propagate among their own. This argumentation does not depend on the idea that the biblical term “kind” always and everywhere refers to “races” as we employ the term today, i.e. subspecies; but it does demonstrate that endogamous procreation, which brute animals perform by instinct, is likewise a disposition which the Author of nature has implanted within humans, we being rational animals. This disposition we ought to honor, for it is manifestly a product not of nature as fallen, but rather of nature as created in perfect uprightness. The only remaining step to establish Kinism from this principle is to move from a general consideration of biological diversity to a more specific consideration of human racial distinctions, which are evident from nature even if unproved by this particular passage in Genesis.
Incidentally, one ground upon which Schwertley considers all humans to be of one “kind” is because, in his words, “[t]hey can give each other blood transfusions, organ donations, and so on.” Yet to the contrary, our friend Ehud has demonstrated that race is a very real and important factor in organ transplants. (Is Schwertley aware of this? Or does he just not care?) This gives us greater grounds to see that the biblical usage of “kind,” even if not strictly correlating to our modern conception of racial distinctions, can have general reference to human races. The races of mankind, like the different plant and animal kinds of Leviticus 19:19, can interbreed, but normally do not, and various problems occur when such mixing is otherwise attempted.
With relation to this passage, Schwertley also asserts the canard: “Modern racist movements come not from a biblical worldview, but from Darwinianism and macro-evolutionary theory. Blacks were thought to be less evolved than whites.” He is dead wrong here, for the race-deniers are in actuality the ones spearheading anti-racism today; Schwertley is himself in league with secularist, unbiblical thought on this point. Just like the rest, he states (later) that “the Bible teaches that there is only one race—the human race,” without defining what he means by “race,” even as he accuses Kinists of “adopting the language of macro-evolutionists” and being “in line with secular humanistic racist propaganda.” But as I established in my response to Ken Ham, Darwinism did not originate the modern concept of race as it is commonly understood, nor does Darwinism lead to racial consciousness, but rather to egalitarianism, as evident in applied Darwinism today.
20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
26 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Brian Schwertley next turns to the curse of Canaan in Genesis 9. According to him, the Kinist sees this passage as explaining the origin of blackness and marking out the entire black race as perpetually cursed. He argues that such a misreading of the curse of Canaan has been motivated by “racism.” Schwertley quotes from Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses to assert that they too held to a “racist” interpretation of this verse, but this is nothing more than guilt by association. There are many potential areas of agreement between Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses and orthodox Christians, including traditional gender roles and various applications of the Ten Commandments. For the citation to meaningfully matter, Schwertley needs to establish that a “racist” interpretation of the curse of Canaan is intrinsically connected to such heresies.
At any rate, it should be noted that most Kinists don’t make the curse of Canaan a focal point for our anthropology or our theology of race. Even R.L. Dabney did not argue for such a conclusion when he treated the curse of Ham in his Defense of Virginia (pp. 101-104). I’m certainly not convinced that the curse of Canaan was the origin of the black race, nor do I know of any Kinist who would dogmatically assert this, much less as a critical or foundational issue. We do not need a scriptural account of the origin of racial distinctions in order to justifiably believe in such distinctions and attribute moral value to them. And as regards the genuine connections made between the curse of Ham and the black race in earlier church history, it should be noted that, in my judgment, such connections were made by men who, upon seeing the great degeneracy of the African, sought to locate a scriptural explanation for this sobering fact. They may have overreached in assigning such significance to Genesis 9, but their interpretation was not fueled by some “racist” and irrational hatred of Africans as such. Either way, Schwertley must grapple with the plain fact of black depravity which motivated the interpretation, for even if Genesis 9 says nothing at all about the black race, the racialistic premise motivating its historical interpretation was pervasively held by our fathers.
A further issue for Schwertley is that the curse on Canaan, even if not pronounced upon Africans, was a curse on a hereditarily distinguishable group of people. Schwertley fails to note that Matthew Henry’s commentary, which he cites, identifies the curse on Canaan as a curse on Ham by proxy: “He pronounces a curse on Canaan the son of Ham (v. 25), in whom Ham is himself cursed.” John Calvin’s commentary is also helpful: “While God held the whole seed of Ham as obnoxious to the curse, he mentions the Canaanites by name, as those whom he would curse above all others. And hence we infer that this judgment proceeded from God, because it was proved by the event itself. What would certainly be the condition of the Canaanites, Noah could not know by human means. Wherefore in things obscure and hidden, the Spirit directed his tongue.”3 For all of Schwertley’s quoting of commentaries and his observations that the Canaanites were idolaters, he fails to realize that the curse of Canaan was a curse on a nation, a group of people identified by heredity (Genesis 10:15-20) rather than by propositions.4 This clearly shows ethnic, ancestral groupings as part of the created order, over against the foolish “one race, the human race” theory.
Preliminary Discussion on Genesis 11:1-9
Schwertley next seeks to address a passage more central to Kinist anthropology, Genesis 11:1-9, a record of the Tower of Babel. Yet rather than directly discussing Babel, his criticism first moves to a rather tangential statement from Kinism.net:
Kinism is the belief that the ordained social order for man is tribal and ethnic rather than imperial and universal. Mankind was designed by God to live in extended family groups…. Blood ties are the only natural and workable basis for a healthy society not subject to the ideologies of fallen man. We believe this is the normative system for our people. We believe that our White people have a God-given right and duty to seek their own prosperity and existence as a distinct nation.
Schwertley sees this as a false dichotomy between “kinist racist nonsense” and “one-world government or some giant humanistic empire.” Ironically, after Schwertley accuses Kinists of creating a false dichotomy, he proposes his own false dichotomy: either race or religion is important for society. It cannot be both. Let’s unpack Schwertley’s confused rhetoric.
Schwertley accuses Kinists of idolizing heredity: “[T]he kinist assigns to blood ties something that can only be achieved by Jesus Christ and His law-word. . . . [T]he gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that flow from His perfect work are not enough to restrain sin, hatred and crime.” Schwertley simply does not comprehend the Kinist esteem for ethnonationalism and blood relationships. As Schwertley supports patriarchy and traditional gender roles, let’s use it for an example. Would Schwertley accept an egalitarian’s accusation that he “assigns to traditional gender roles something that can only be achieved by Jesus Christ and His law-word”? Obviously not, but this is analogous to his accusation against Kinists. Kinists believe that both gender and racial identity have a foundational place in Christ’s law-word, and that upholding these distinctions flows from respect for God’s Law. We aren’t introducing the concept of race or ethnicity as a substitute for the ministry of the Holy Spirit or for the righteousness that flows from the work of Christ. We could likewise maintain that a family-centered arrangement is “the only natural and workable basis for a healthy society” without thereby excluding the necessity of the Spirit.
Schwertley continues: “Applied racism becomes a means of societal sanctification to the kinist.” Substitute “ethnonationalism” for the obviously prejudicial expression “applied racism.” Do Kinists believe that nations based upon heredity rather than propositions are a means of sanctification? Here we need to make sure that our position is carefully nuanced. We believe that Christians achieve sanctification through the internal regenerative ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3), but also that the Spirit uses means to achieve this sanctification. For example, the Apostle Paul states that “the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband” (1 Corinthians 7:14). Likewise, the covenant is transmitted from sanctified Christian parents to their children (Acts 2:38-39). From this we should be able to deduce that the breakdown of marriage and family would act as a hindrance to sanctification. Note that we are not saying the Holy Spirit must use the means of marriage and family to achieve sanctification. People are saved and morally transformed without believing spouses or believing parents; but there should be no question that these are the normative means which the Holy Spirit utilizes to transmit the truth of the Gospel and grow the Church. Likewise, we are told that God created the boundaries between the nations (ethne) so that they would seek the Lord and find Him (Acts 17:26-27). Like marriage and family, ethnic national distinctions are a God-ordained means of sanctification and salvation. We can thus conclude that the breakdown of ethnic boundaries is a hindrance to the spread of the Gospel, in the same way that the breakdown of marriage and the family are hindrances as well. This does not mean that they accomplish sanctification independently of the internal ministry of the Holy Spirit, only that they are means of achieving sanctification.
Schwertley next introduces a blatant “no true Scotsman” fallacy: “The high crime rate among non-white immigrants is due to their unbiblical worldview, not their skin color. Real Christian blacks, Mexicans and Vietnamese, etc. do not commit crimes and go on welfare. Real Christians do not use race to favor one group in the church or society over another.” It’s easy to make generalizations when the counterevidence is automatically excluded! But let us look at reality: do Christians ever commit crimes? Yes, they do. Are Christians ever on welfare? Yes, they are. Now, certainly, many non-whites are merely nominal Christians (“racist” as the suggestion may be!), as is plain from the underlying theology of many non-white denominations. However, Schwertley’s claim that “real” non-white Christians don’t commit crimes or go on welfare remains entirely unsubstantiated. His tactic is to dodge the implications of well-documented crime statistics among non-whites.
Schwertley’s absurd claim, of course, is another false dichotomy. We need not isolate either worldview or race (“skin color”) as the sole cause of non-whites’ ill behavior. Both can, and do, contribute to such behavior in their own respective ways. The central question is this: do racial genetic differences predispose certain races towards criminal behavior more than others? This is a matter of degree. Asserting that regeneracy will ameliorate the problem of criminal behavior – with which we heartily agree – is a separate question from whether, prior to the question of regeneracy, some groups are genetically predisposed toward some sins more than others. Again, the statistics bear this answer out rather vividly.
Schwertley worsens his commentary on race and crime by comparing white unbelievers with non-white Christians: “You give me a neighborhood of blacks or Mexicans or Chinese or whatever of solid Christians, I’ll go live there. You can go live with the white atheists if you want. Because there’s going to be crime with the white atheists, who believe in evolution, that we evolved from pond scum; there’s not going to be crime with the blacks or Mexicans that are Christians. Because it’s all faith and ethics; it has nothing to do with race.”5 This claim has been thoroughly debunked: black Christian societies certainly are statistically far more dangerous than white atheist societies. (It’s also noteworthy that this myth continues to be disproved by all the white alienists who just so happen to live in lily-white areas, including Schwertley himself.) The only escape route which Schwertley could hope for against the higher crime rates of black Christians is to assert that the overwhelming majority of black Christians are merely nominal professors, for otherwise the black Christian society would be nearly guaranteed to have a higher percentage of true regenerates than the white atheist society. But even if that were true, he still would have to explain how blacks with a professed Christian worldview are so much worse than whites with a professed atheistic worldview, if faith, ethics, and worldview thinking are all that matter. If religion and worldview thinking make the difference, then even nominal Christian blacks should have a generally safer society than blatantly unbelieving whites, but the opposite is true. The solution, obvious to the Kinist, is that we are not merely belief-machines, but are motivated by other non-rational factors, and that different races tend to inherit different genetic dispositions, explaining their differences in behavior.
Schwertley offers us a thought experiment: “If we took some real Christian families from Greece, Africa, Spain and China and put them on an island there would be no oppression, murder or suffering.” While imaginations like this can help illustrate a point, they are not adequate substitutions for concrete evidence. If there ever was, in the history of the world, such a godly multiracial society, then he should use it as an example. Kinists believe that God-ordained ethnic boundaries, among other things, help promote the transmission of the Gospel message, and we can point to Christendom for this historic practice. Given the lack of compelling examples from history, we have superior grounds to maintain the Kinist interpretation of Acts 17:26-27.
Schwertley next comments on immigration policy. He acknowledges that Europe and North America have lost the faith and have adopted insane immigration policies. Yet his solution is startling: “But if they were Christian and adopted biblical law, immigration would no longer be a problem . . . and only Mexicans, blacks and so forth who renounced idolatry would be allowed to immigrate. Race is not the problem; faith and ethics are the heart of the issue.” In his sermon he states, “Citizenship should be by faith. If you believe in Jesus Christ, if you have a credible profession of faith, if you are a member of a Reformed church, you should be a citizen, whether you are white or whatever color you are is irrelevant.”
Schwertley grapples with the specifics of biblical law later, so I will address those comments when he offers positive evidence for his position. But for now, realize that if Schwertley’s interpretation of biblical law is accurate (it isn’t), then it has never been applied in Christendom in history. There is no precedent for a country throwing its borders open wide to ethnic and racial foreigners, even those of the same religion.6 The Scottish Presbyterians didn’t sponsor non-white Presbyterians as full citizens of Scotland, nor did the continental Reformed churches desire all Reformed non-whites to become citizens of the Dutch Republic. To this day, heavily Presbyterian South Korea doesn’t have an open immigration policy. And historically, when we were more Christian, America had a very restrictive immigration and naturalization policy. Most of the original colonies had established churches, and immigration and naturalization was restricted to British subjects who were also members of the established church. After the Revolution, specific religious requirements were regrettably dropped, but nevertheless, the ethnic requirements remained. Schwertley must conclude either that America, along with the rest of the West, has never had a Christian immigration policy or that his idea of immigration has never been applied by Christian nations.
Besides lacking a historical basis, Schwertley’s view is utopian in its absurdity. He contends that everyone besides “Bible-believing Protestants” (i.e. Reformed Christians) should not be granted citizenship. But recall Schwertley’s earlier denial of one-world government, as he remarked that the Kinist dichotomy between ethnonationalism and imperialism is a false one. Notwithstanding that denial, his position clearly entails such imperialism. If blood ties are no lawful reason for national borders, and if “faith and ethics” are the only criterion of relevance for immigration, then a Christianized world must necessarily erase all political barriers to unity. There will be no role for separate nationality after the conversion of the nations.7 Moreover, if the sole question to ask potential immigrants is whether they agree with Reformed Christianity, then the truthfulness of converts’ professions would have to be tracked, requiring extremely burdensome surveillance, and the logical response for apostate nationals is to physically expel them from the country. The implications of this view are horrendously statist and imperial. That Schwertley would profess opposition to imperialism while so easily sliding into a transparently one-worldist position exposes the bankruptcy of his position.8
In the beginning of his series against Kinism, Schwertley comments on two passages that he believes are important for establishing the Kinist case. The passages are largely tangential, not central to Kinist thought, but even then Schwertley mishandles them. In his discussion of Genesis 1, Schwertley fails to take Leviticus 19:19 into account of his definition of a “kind.” This verse makes it clear that it is possible for animals and plants of different closely-related kinds to interbreed and reproduce, even though such does not occur naturally. He misses that the endogamous dispositions which God has implanted in His creation, as Genesis 1:25 states, would also apply to human racial distinctions. In his discussion of the curse on Canaan in Genesis 9, Schwertley fails to see that this is a curse placed upon a hereditarily distinct group of people and that those who have read it as the origin of blacks were likely seeking to find an inspired explanation for the undeniable decadence of the black race.
Schwertley makes several foolish criticisms of Kinism as he prepares to discuss the Kinist view of Babel. He neglects the possible role of genetics in affecting our behavior, and he misunderstands the Kinist teachings of how racially ordered societies are requisite for the flourishing of the Gospel. In doing this, he mocks the Kinist dichotomy between ethnonationalism and one-world imperialism, yet his proposals for immigration policy are absurd, unhistorical, and (of course) imperial. If “faith and ethics” were the sole criteria for immigration, then a Christianized world would have no need for any political borders at all, which is satanic.
In the next article, we will examine his comments directly addressing the tower of Babel, in addition to various comments he makes about cultural mixing.
Read Part 2
- Because of some discrepancies between these two, some quotes will not exactly match the written transcription, as they will match the audio version instead. ↩
- The deuterocanonical book of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus demonstrates that at least some of the ancient Israelites associated the differences in kinds with human differences: “All flesh consorteth according to kind, and a man will cleave to his like” (Sir. 13:16). ↩
- John Calvin’s commentary on Genesis 9 ↩
- Again, Ecclesiasticus teaches that nations are not equal, being distinguishable by national curses and national blessings (33:10-13). ↩
- This is not included in the transcript, only in the audio version at about 48:35 of part 1. ↩
- Asylum may have been granted to aid persecuted co-religionists, but this is far different from an immigration policy which declared religion as the ordinary and sole criterion for naturalization. ↩
- Even if he denied his postmillennialism, thus denying that all the nations will truly be Christianized prior to the second advent, this conclusion would be equally damning in principle. He would still have to hold that a properly-functioning world, by nature, will be governed with a one-world polity, sin being the only reason for the existence of multiple states. ↩
- Elsewhere Schwertley professes a view of nations which would not entail this one-world atrocity, but only because of inconsistency. For example, in the audio version, he teaches that the historic Protestant postmillennialist view is that all the nations would become Christian while remaining distinct as nations, though spiritually united under Christ the King. This is transparently incompatible with his central contention that national borders are constituted by religious profession. He also commits this same self-contradiction in multiple places when he argues that members of other nations were assimilated into Israel, for his arguments always require that such nations are demarcated by ethnicity from Israel, not mere religious profession. ↩