In this final edition to my review of Brian Schwertley’s sermon series on Kinism, I would like to delineate the Kinist view of the teleological and eschatological basis of nationhood and contrast this with the Alienist viewpoint defended by Schwertley. The view espoused by Schwertley and other Alienists is that nations have no ultimate purpose as separate and distinct entities, but are rather a transitory political reality, the products of Babel, which will subsist until such time as the gospel has converted all nations and brought them under the headship of Christ. Schwertley asserts that Kinists posit a false dichotomy, offering “one-world government or some giant humanistic empire” as the undesirable alternative to our “racist nonsense.” Schwertley insists that he rejects imperialism and one-world government without having to accept the Kinist conception of nationhood.
To be fair to Schwertley, nothing that he stated in his sermon series can be construed as an approval for one-world government or a multinational empire. In fact, he concedes that “national borders and cultural differences” are not “swept aside by the coming of the kingdom.” However, he is rather relentless in his insistence that national borders are essentially meaningless for Christians when he asserts, “What is important is not one’s birth or nationality or skin color, but one’s rebirth.” Schwertley is willing to concede that national distinctions, borders, unique cultural expressions, and languages will all remain, at least until Christ returns, but that all of these are unimportant. I contend that more than anything else, this is the primary disagreement that Kinists have with our detractors. Issues such as miscegenation, political correctness, cultural Marxism, immigration, and political philosophy ultimately derive from this fundamental disagreement. Alienists believe that separate nationhood has a transitory role to play in salvation history at best, and that as the gospel message progresses, nationhood and borders will inevitably fade into the background as their limited role is fulfilled. Many alienists concede that national borders and separate governments are good in a pragmatic sense, because one-world government would invariably entail inefficiency, socialistic redistribution of wealth, and general godlessness.
This approach seems to be at the heart of Schwertley’s belief that Pentecost will “eventually counter the division of mankind at the Tower of Babel.” My aim is to demonstrate that the concept of separate nationhood has relevance beyond whatever transient purposes they serve during the history of fallen men. It is true that God effected the separation (or reaffirmation) of national distinctions by the confusion of languages at Babel with the goal of restraining evil, but it does not follow that this is the only purpose of separate nationhood, or that separate nationhood will become obsolete when sin is finally conquered. Our ethnicity is an essential aspect of our identity, in the same way that our family and gender are essential to our identity. This view contrasts with the Alienist view, which understands ethnic and racial differences to be a transitory result of judgment for sin. Like Brian Schwertley, many Alienists view the contemporary effort to minimize racial differences and extol mass migration of racial foreigners into Europe and North America as postmillennial progress. Alienists consider the alarm of Kinists at the displacement of whites from our culture and homelands to be misplaced at best, because the Great Commission is thought to mandate that national distinctions should be minimized to spread the gospel. It isn’t uncommon to witness Alienists lauding the current third-world invasion as an amazing opportunity for ministry and evangelization. Needless to say, I’m glad that my Christian ancestors didn’t react this way to foreign invasions into Europe over the past several centuries. It would have spelled doom for European Christian civilization.
The Conversion of the Nations
The future conversion of the nations of the Gentiles is predicted in many places in the Old Testament. Abraham is promised that he would be made the father of many nations (Gen. 17:4-5). This promise is fulfilled by Abraham’s physical descendants through Ishmael, Isaac, and his sons by Keturah, but this promise is fulfilled spiritually as well. Abraham is the father in faith to all Christian believers (Gal. 3:6-29); the apostle Paul applies this Abrahamic promise to Gentile converts (Rom. 4:17-18). The conversion of the Gentiles is a major theme throughout prophecy. Isaiah repeatedly predicts the conversion of the Gentiles (Isa. 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:4-6; 49:6; 56:3-7; 60:1-3), calling the coming Messiah a light to the Gentiles and promising strangers who join themselves to the Lord an everlasting name. Simeon echoes this language when Christ is presented in the Temple (Luke 2:32) and in the book of Acts (13:47; 26:23). The conversion of all nations to Christ is further testified in numerous other passages in both the Old and New Testaments.1
These prophecies began to be fulfilled in earnest with the conversion of several Gentiles to the Christian faith in the early church, Cornelius being a prime example (Acts 10). The early council of Jerusalem also confirmed that Gentiles were being converted to the true faith, and that it was not necessary for them to become Jews or to keep the ceremonial law (Acts 15). The conversion of the nations to the true faith of Christ, along with the gathering in of these nations into the Kingdom of God, is a major theme of the New Testament. Jesus commanded that the gospel be preached to all nations (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-47). Many dispensationalists consider the Old Testament prophets to be ignorant of the incorporation of the nations into the church, as Paul refers to the conversion of the nations as a mystery unknown to the sons of men (Eph. 3:5-6). They then utilize this notion to support their doctrine of a “parenthesis” in the chronology of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy (Dan. 9). However, while Paul does speak of the conversion of the Gentiles as a mystery unknown to most men, he nevertheless acknowledges that the prophets were very much aware of the conversion of the Gentiles (Gal. 3:8). The gathering together of all nations under the Messiah is a major theme throughout the entire Bible.
Separate Nations Will Remain Distinct
There is little controversy in what I’ve presented above. Most Christians, including Brian Schwertley, would give their full consent and agreement to what I’ve written concerning the conversion of the Gentile nations. Our disagreement with Schwertley, which is really the heart of the dispute between Kinists and Alienists in my opinion, is his statement that the spread of the gospel will “eventually counter the division of mankind at the Tower of Babel.” There is no reason to believe that separate nations are simply a transient result of the judgment of Babel. God confused the languages of the nations gathered at Babel as a means of scattering them, and God did note that the unity of mankind at that time would have led to unrestrained evil (Gen. 11:6). There is also a clear allusion to this incident when the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost and enabled the apostles to preach the gospel to foreign visitors in their native languages. Some have concluded that in some sense, Pentecost is thought to initiate a reversal of the judgment of Babel. As the Great Commission is fulfilled and the gospel spreads, languages will eventually converge and national borders will blur into extinction.
There are problems with this view that make it untenable. The main issue is that we do not see Christians speaking (or anticipating speaking) one universal language. Instead, we are told that the apostles spoke the different languages of those who were present to observe Pentecost (Acts 2:7-10). Nowhere does the narrative in Acts ever imply that Pentecost is intended to counter Babel. Francis Nigel Lee’s assessment of Pentecost in relation to Babel bears repeating:
Pentecost sanctified the legitimacy of separate nationality rather than saying this is something we should outgrow. . . . In fact, even in the new earth to come, after the Second Coming of Christ, we are told that the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the kings of the earth shall bring the glory and the honor—the cultural treasures—of the nations into it. . . . But nowhere in Scripture are any indications to be found that such peoples should ever be amalgamated into one huge nation.2
Far from supporting Schwertley’s contention that the separation of Babel will be reversed, this passage represents what could correctly be called the baptism of Babel.
Lee’s reference to the New Jerusalem is taken from the Apostle John’s vision in Revelation 21 and 22. In his vision of the consummated Kingdom, John states, “The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it” (21:24-26). Furthermore, John witnesses the Tree of Life bearing fruit “for the healing of the nations” (22:2). John’s vision of the eternal state is rich with imagery from the account in Genesis of the Garden of Eden. In this renewed paradise, John acknowledges that nations have an existence that remains distinct while being united together in Christ. This should remove all doubt about separate nationality being a merely transient solution to the problem of sinfulness presented at the Tower of Babel.
Still some would believe that separate nationhood will eventually be abrogated with the progress of the gospel. A passage purported to prove that nations will eventually disappear, in terms of exclusive ownership of national land, is found in Ezekiel’s vision of eschatological Israel and the temple. Schwertley doesn’t address this passage specifically, but Gary North does mention Ezekiel’s prophecy when he argues, contra Rushdoony, that ethnic foreigners were not excluded from permanent property ownership in Israel after the Babylonian Captivity.3 The passage in question is Ezekiel 47:21-23, which states,
So shall ye divide this land unto you according to the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord GOD.
From this passage, North contends that the Israelites didn’t restrict land ownership to ethnic Israelites after they returned from Exile. But he fundamentally misinterprets this passage, treating what is apocalyptic and highly symbolic as though it were an historical narrative. The language of eschatological Israel is highly symbolic. This is easy to discern from the absurdity of suggesting that all nations will reside physically in the tiny nation of Israel. Moreover, in contrast to this apocalyptic account from Ezekiel, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah provide us with a straightforward historical narrative of the dealings of the Israelites with foreigners. In particular, the fact that Nehemiah tells a group of foreigners that they “have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem” (2:20) should dispel any notion that the Israelites intended for foreigners to become permanent property owners in their homeland. Ezekiel’s description of foreign nations permanently inheriting property in Israel is a highly symbolic eschatological statement, rather than a literal or historical description of the inheritance policies of the Israelites after returning from exile.4
The prophet Ezekiel clearly doesn’t have the abrogation of distinct nations in mind when he writes that all nations would come into Israel and take up permanent residence. John alludes several times to the imagery of Ezekiel’s description of the idealized Temple in his description of the heavenly Jerusalem, and still John maintains that separate nations remain distinct. Furthermore, Ezekiel himself envisions a strict adherence to traditional hereditary principles of inheritance (Ezek. 46:16-18). In addition to these considerations, there is a vivid prophecy given to Isaiah (19:19-25) in which he foretells the conversion of the Assyrians and the Egyptians to the faith of the God of Israel:
In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
Undoubtedly, it would have been an astonishing prospect for Isaiah’s contemporaries to consider that the Egyptians and Assyrians would one day convert to the true faith and live peacefully with the Israelites. An important feature of Isaiah’s prophecy is that he sees the future of the Israelites, Assyrians, and Egyptians as one of peaceful coexistence rather than of gradual amalgamation. Keep in mind that Israel, Assyria, and Egypt would not exist as separate nations if not for the division at Babel, so this effectively refutes Schwertley’s claim that the spread of the gospel will “eventually counter the division of mankind at the Tower of Babel.” Commenting on this passage, Martin Wyngaarden writes,
Thus the highest description of Jehovah’s covenant people is applied to Egypt, — “my people,” — showing that the Gentiles will share the covenant blessings, not less than Israel. Yet the several nationalities are here kept distinct, even when Gentiles share, in the covenant blessing, on a level of equality with Israel. Egypt, Assyria and Israel are not nationally merged. And the same principles, that nationalities are not obliterated, by membership in the covenant, applies, of course, also in the New Testament dispensation.5
The critical disagreement that separates Kinists from Alienists is our belief that separate nations rooted in distinct ethnic and racial identity have a lasting and permanent purpose. To Alienists like Brian Schwertley, separate nationhood is predicated upon hostility, and first arose as a solution to the rebellion at Babel. The sole function of these separate nations is to restrain evil while the gospel spreads, and as this is accomplished over time, hostilities will cease and national divisions will consequently diminish in importance to the point that such divisions will become obsolete. Schwertley doesn’t state outright that amalgamation is a natural consequence of the spread of the gospel, but if national division and boundaries are based upon hostility and the gospel counters this hostility, then it would seem that national divisions themselves would cease with the spread of the gospel and usher in an epoch of one-world society. Interestingly enough, the idea that separate nations are an old-fashioned and archaic relic of a bygone era is a fashionable belief among today’s leftist establishment. Alienists insist that there are no moral prescriptions to maintain ethnic and racial distinctions, as these distinctions have no ultimate purpose in the divine law or in God’s ultimate design for human society.
This contrasts with the Kinist view, which understands racial distinctions to have a fundamental place of value in society to be maintained and preserved. The Kinist view is supported by several precepts of the law, as well as numerous approved historical examples in the biblical narrative. Racial and ethnic distinctions are the basis of national boundaries, and precisely because these distinctions are important, there is reason to believe that nations will persist rather than gradually merging together as the result of some superseding Christian unity. The spread of the gospel and the emergence and growth of Christian charity within, as well as among, nations should and will bring about the end of hostilities and unjust hatred. However, this diminishing of hostility by no means translates into a diminishing of the importance of ethnic or racial identity itself. The apostle Paul teaches that both men and women are united together in the Lord (1 Cor. 11:11-12), while also teaching that there are distinct differences between men and women that are not related to sin and that persist even when we consider the beneficial effects of Christian unity (1 Cor. 11:8-9; 14:34-35, Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Tim. 2:9-15; cf. 1 Peter 3:1-7). The same can be said of ethnic and racial distinctions. The importance of national plurality is established not only by the law as a present reality, but also by the prophets, who assign national plurality an eschatological significance. This is the heart of the disagreement between Kinists and Alienists. What Kinists understand and Alienists do not is that multiple nations rooted in ethnic and racial differences have a purpose that will endure forever, which is what makes them worth preserving.
This concludes my response to Brian Schwertley’s sermon series. I was disappointed by the results of Schwertley’s labors. He has demonstrated remarkable probity on a host of important theological issues, but in his analysis of Kinism he fails to produce a compelling rebuttal. Schwertley’s argument is premised upon a handful of tenuous examples of approved mixing or the incorporation of ethnic foreigners as full-fledged Israelites. For reasons discussed in previous articles, these examples fail to make Schwertley’s case. Schwertley often allows himself to present caricatures and strawmen of Kinism. Instead of a considered response to Kinist ideas, Schwertley uses emotive comparisons to Nazis to suggest that Kinists ideas are or might be responsible for mass extermination or other atrocities. On many occasions, Schwertley stoops low enough to hurl ad hominem attacks, such as when he refers to Kinists as “morons” and “idiots” (ironically while demonstrating his own ignorance of molecular genetics). Schwertley condemns Kinism with the meaningless and hypocritical accusation of “racism” without ever once defining what he means by the term. Schwertley has missed an opportunity to create a meaningful dialogue on what is becoming a very important issue for the church, having instead opted to hurl invectives and condemn a doctrine, along with those who profess it, that he clearly does not understand.
- Ps. 22:27-31; 66:4; 68:31-32; 86:9; 102:15; Jer. 3:17; 4:2; 16:19-21; Dan. 2:44; Hos. 2:23 (cf. Rom. 9:25); Zech. 2:11; 6:15; 8:1-23; 9:9-17; 14:8-21; Mal. 1:11; Matt. 12:21; John 10:16; Acts 9:15; Rom. 15:12. ↩
- Dr. Francis Nigel Lee. “Race, People, and Nationality.” 2/2/2005. ↩
- Gary North, Boundaries and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Leviticus, Volume 3. pp. 1103-1104. ↩
- See this brief article by Kim Riddlebarger on the symbolic nature of Ezekiel’s vision of the Millennial Temple and the appropriation of this imagery by John in Revelation. ↩
- Martin J. Wyngaarden, The Future of the Kingdom in Prophecy and Fulfillment: A Study of the Scope of “Spiritualization” in Scripture (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011), p. 102. See “Unity in Diversity in the Postmillenial Kingdom” on Iron Ink for more quotes from Wyngaarden contrasting the Christian view of nationhood with several secularist quotes promoting amalgamation. ↩