Chapter 13, Of Sanctification, opens,
They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified . . . and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. (13:1)
The manifestation of spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:23) is conformity to God’s law (Matt. 19:17; 1 Jn. 5:3; 2 Jn. 1:6; etc.). As such, it is perceptible not just to the individual believer, but to others around them, and in the corporate expression of communities, cultures, and peoples. As the psalmist assures us, “the nations which forget God shall be turned into hell” (Ps. 9:17).
Though Alienists teach there to be no distinctions in the covenant, a plain reading of the epistles finds young women, old men, masters, and slaves treated as legitimate moral distinctions; and in the broader scope, the issues of the Galatians are treated as distinct from those of the Corinthians, Ephesians, and other communities. There is obviously a doctrinal unity in view, but churches planted among different ethnic groups had different cultures, and therefore, different strengths as well as handicaps. Whereas, if their issues had all been the same, there would have been no need of letters tailored to the vantages of the respective communities. Sanctification is no level playing field, and by nature entirely inegalitarian. It starts in different places, works at different speeds, and proceeds to different extents in different folk.
Why in our historical and common experience does sanctification look so different in different nations, and differnet races, and even different ethnic communities occupying the same place and time? Among other things, it bespeaks certain indelible differences between congregations of differing ethnicities.
While this reality throws Alienists into a rage of denial and invective, it is no controversy to genuine Calvinists, because we have never held any expectation that all persons, clans, and nations shall be equally sanctified. Scripture is plain on this point — some store up more riches in heaven than others, and some are given a greater measures of the gifts, including faith. Some shall be ‘least in the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 5:19), by contrast to which others shall be greatest, and many other gradations between them.
Related to this, Abraham Kuyper in his Common Grace has said:
The Javanese are a different race than us; they live in a different region; they stand on a wholly different level of development; they are created differently in their inner life; they have a wholly different past behind them; and they have grown up in wholly different ideas. To expect of them that they should find the fitting expression of their faith in our Confession and in our Catechism is therefore absurd.
Now this is not something special for the Javanese, but stems from a general rule. The men are not all alike among whom the Church occurs. They differ according to origin, race, country, region, history, construction, mood and soul, and they do not always remain the same, but undergo various stages of development. Now the Gospel will not objectively remain outside their reach, but subjectively be appropriated by them, and the fruit thereof will come to confession and expression, the result may not be the same for all nations and times. The objective truth remains the same, but the matter in appropriation, application and confession must be different, as the color of the light varies according to the glass in which it is collected. He who has traveled and come into contact with Christians in different parts of the world of distinct races, countries and traditions cannot be blind for the sober fact of this reality. It is evident to him. He observes it everywhere.
Of course, the purported mantle bearers of ‘Kuyperian’ thought today have come to define themselves in direct opposition to Kuyper. Just as the RCA, CRC, PCA, OPC, and virtually all other Calvinist denominational governments now define themselves contrary to the worldview of their founders, Calvin and Luther very much included. Hence the need for articles such as this one — to reclaim the Reformed confessions from those who have usurped them.
But even the nature of Alienists’ denial here proves our point, because they take the position that it is the White church uniquely with an onus to multiculturalism; whereas they hold all others strangely exempt.
Of course, when we point this out they generally deny it, but the fact is, there is no push on the part of these men to abolish the Black, Korean, Samoan, or Messianic churches as there is with respect to the White church. In fact, the same ‘Reformed’ clerisy who now condemn the idea of a White church in the strongest terms praise to the heavens not only the Black church in general, but also overtly Black nationalist parachurch organizations like Reformed Blacks of America and the Reformed African American Network. Be it Lecrae, Tisby, Pickett, or Bradley, the purported luminaries among Reformed Blacks conclude:
Here’s the problem(and this will be hard): from a black church perspective, evangelicals have never had the gospel. Ever. Read the book “Doctrine A Race.” Here then is the actual Q: When will evangelicals embrace the gospel for the first time ever? #BlackChurch https://t.co/mLhPx6TGNa
— Anthony Bradley (@drantbradley) December 22, 2017
Yes, Reformed Blacks generally regard even all the White churchmen who have propped them up as heathen because they aren’t sufficiently prostrated before Blacks. Which testifies to the fact that, all professions of creeds and confessional standards aside, their core convictions lie with Cone’s theology:
If there is any contemporary meaning of the Antichrist (or “the principalities and powers”), the white church seems to be a manifestation of it.1
More’s the pity, their White enablers still will not disavow them. Even while their Black wards collectively turn to denounce them all for heretics on account of their membership in the White race! A more pathetic spectacle I cannot imagine. But it is precisely the circumstance Alienism has invited — an institutional church which must necessarily destroy itself.
Because even the most generous take on Black Christianity, which admits them to be in the early stages of corporate sanctification, is met with no reciprocity among them. They condemn all our Reformed divines, and even the very Whites who evangelized their people, as the greatest of villains in history. Even the White liberals who promote them in spite of it, they condemn as outside the faith! The result is a cloud of supplicant Whites willing to discard or renovate any doctrine at the behest of the handful of minorities in their orbits, only to have those same minorities condemn them for their existence anyway. The Alienist perspective is a suicide pact for the Reformed churches, spelling equally the death of not just the folk, but the faith too. In fact, the subordination of the faith to this Marxian zeitgeist requires the faith to perish first.
But there is a great consolation here: though entirely contrary to their intent, affirmation of ethnic identity and ethnic churches for all others while condemning the existence of Whites and White churches is to acknowledge the reality of a plurality of peoples inside the Kingdom, and those as having perspectival and ethnic vantages all their own. Which is to say, they cannot find a means to deny Kinism without first presupposing it. Neither can they be consistent in terms of the confession without leaning on Kinism.
Chapter 14, On Saving Faith, stipulates that the saving of souls is “ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word.” (WCF 14:1) Which is to say that ours is a propositional faith, not one governed by experiential viscera. Much as Alienists may be loath to admit it, this is an emphatic and perennial objection to the Reformed worldview on the part of other peoples — that our faith is not one of ecstatic mysticism. Sober conviction and fealty to God’s Word, while arguably having traction among some Oriental peoples, is almost always dismissed by equatorial peoples as “dead.” Equatorial peoples, in the main, conceive no faith apart from charismata, and they see cessationism as naught but atheism. It is not hyperbole to say that their doctrine comprehends their feelings to be divine revelation contiguous with (but by direct experience, superior to) Scripture.
Nonetheless, even when the OPC leadership reflects on reports of blood rituals and conjurings habitually practiced in the services of sister churches in Africa, they do not rebuke them. Erstwhile they do rebuke — even excommunicate — any White suspected of harboring reservations against cultural Marxism.
We further read, “A Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word” (WCF 14:2).
But does the Alienist believe and accept the sundry digressions into race realism, ethnic stereotyping, ethnic discrimination, and ubiquitous ethnonationalism throughout Scripture?
Does the African subscribing to the confession accept the myriad codes sanctioning and regulating slavery in Scripture? Does he accept that slaves of foreign races were allowed to be bought and kept in perpetuity (Lev. 25:46)? Does he accept that said codes were never rescinded, nor even softened in the NT? What of the pastoral epistles of the NT enjoining slaves to render service to their masters as unto the Lord? And what of Paul’s dealings with Philemon and Onesimus conforming to our own antebellum runaway slave laws?
Clearly not. Rather, “they suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18).
Contrariwise, where we read “the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace” (WCF 14:3), do Alienists and aliens accept this standard with respect to White people? That is, do they accept White people’s orthodox profession of faith, or do they place additional conditions on it, such as affirmation of the ever more ravening PC taboos? More plainly again, do they treat White people’s salvation or sanctification as contingent on professing egalitarianism, civil rights, or multiculturalism? Do they demand that Whites also dispossess their own people, deny their own existence as a people, or affirm that identity only to be indicted for the supposed crimes of our race?
We all know the answer.
They hold unflappably to the conviction that White people cannot be saved apart from obsequious embrace of the miscegenation agenda, perpetual gestures of anti-White ethnomasochism, commitment to self-injury, disinheritance, and hatred of our fathers and our children. Anyone doing otherwise will most ironically be condemned as ‘hateful’, without the fruit of the Spirit, and therefore unsaved. And when you are deemed guilty of crimes against political correctness, Alienists hold you not only mistaken, but totally reprobate, surpassing pedophile serial killers in sheer evil, and beyond the possibility of redemption. Again, we all know this. And we all know it sets up standards contrary to the Confession and all Christian ethics.
Where the Confession emphasizes the sufficiency of and reliance upon God’s grace, the Alienist turns it into license and licentiousness; and where the Confession speaks to sanctification in the keeping of God’s law and good deeds, they see in it only a mandate of political correctness, cultural Marxism, and liberal zeitgeist. Thus under the pretense of confessional orthodoxy, they hem themselves in between false law and equally false grace. Resulting in an inverted funhouse mirror reflection of the faith.
- James Cone, Black Theology and Black Power, 1969 ↩