As the Christian foundations of our society continue to crumble, animosity is the inevitable result, because in this New World that Christ rules, there is no other integration point, no other peace, no other fellowship. It is literally Christ or nothing. But this doesn’t stop rebellious men in their pride from forging false integration points, politically, culturally, or racially, but since they are all idolatrous rivals to Christ, they will only succeed in deforming men, inciting malice and envy (Ps. 115:8). Our presbytery recently adopted the following statements in order to address our current situation, proposing them to the full CREC to be adopted as memorials:
ON ETHNIC BALANCE
We believe the human tendency to congregate around shared affections is natural and can be good—it creates the blessing of cultures and subcultures, for example. But as with all natural goods in a fallen world, there is a temptation to exalt it to a position of unbiblical importance, thus making it an idol. While an ethnic heritage is something to be grateful for, and which may be preserved in any way consistent with the law of God, it is important to reject every form of identity politics, including kinism—whether malicious, vainglorious, or ideologically separatist/segregationist.
We believe the conversion of the Jews is key to the success of Christ’s Great Commission, and it is incumbent upon us to pray and labor toward that end. While, apart from Christ, the Jews are as all others––alienated from God—they have remained an object of God’s care because the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. God’s plan for converting them is for them to see Gentile nations under the blessings of Christ’s lordship, thus leading them to long for the same. Hence, the cancerous sin of anti-Semitism has no place in God’s plan.
“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mk. 12:29-31).
RIGHTLY ORDERED LOVES
Biblical love is treating others lawfully from the heart. And Augustine’s definition of virtue as “rightly ordered love” is inherent in being created, finite creatures. We cannot love everything and everyone infinitely; we must choose and calibrate our loves. Sin is disordered love: loving evil or else loving something good too much or too little. Our loves are ranked in the greatest commands: we must love God first, above all else, heart, mind, soul, and strength, and then we must love our neighbors as ourselves (Mk. 12:30-31, cf. Lev. 19:17-18, 33-34). Jesus is teaching this same ordering of loves when He insists that loyalty to Him and His people must rank over our own families and will sometimes even appear as a hatred of them or even your own life (Lk. 14:26, Mt. 12:48-50, Lk. 12:53).
But Jesus also affirmed the fifth commandment over certain church fundraising programs (Mk. 7:10-12), promised to abundantly restore families and lands to those loyal to Him (Mk. 10:29-30), and honored His own mother greatly (Jn. 19:26-27). Jesus was closer to some disciples than others: the 70 were closer than many, the 12 were closer still, but Peter, James, and John were His closest friends, while John was His best friend. A certain sentimentalism resents this as “not fair” or even “hateful,” but this is the way God made the world. This applies to friends (Prov. 27:6, 17), marriage (Mk. 10:9), and children (Is. 49:15, Mt. 23:37). Bitter and envious sentimentalism resents this and will eventually defend every form of treachery.
LEARNING TO LOVE RIGHTLY
Christ is the only true integration point of all things (Col. 1:20). But this reconciliation is not an obliteration of differences, loyalties, or loves. The fact that that there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus does not abolish a husband’s duty to his wife; nor does his godly favoritism mean that he hates all other women. In fact, the Bible insists that we learn love from the lesser to the greater, from the closer to the further away, from the more concrete to the more abstract. The right kind of love of self teaches us to love our neighbors, beginning with those closest to us (Eph. 5:28), and ultimately teaches us to consider others better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). David says that he learned to trust in God from his mother’s breast (Ps. 22:10). This covenant loyalty charges families to provide for their own before others, and so learn godliness and generosity there first (1 Tim. 5:4, 8), which, when done rightly, prepares justice, mercy, and hospitality for strangers and emergencies (cf. Lk. 10:25, Lev. 19:33-34). But it is not true love to give what you don’t have (2 Cor. 8:12), and where ordered covenant loves are despised, all talk of “love” is empty, aimless, selfish, and destructive. Just as you cannot really love God (whom you have not seen) if you do not love your neighbor (whom you have seen), neither can you love your neighbor whom you barely know if you do not love the neighbor who lives with you (1 Jn. 4:20).
PROVOKED TO JEALOUSY
The Bible teaches that envy is the satanic lust at the heart of much animosity (Js. 4:1-5), and vain glory and pride often feed and provoke this bitter envy (Js. 3:14-16, Gal. 5:26). But the more faithful God’s people are, the more provoked to envy their enemies will be (e.g. Gen. 26:14). However, there is also a godliness that provokes love and good works (Heb. 10:24, 2 Cor. 9:2). The Bible says that this is what God is doing with the Jews in particular, saving the Gentile nations first “to provoke them to jealousy” and “emulation” (Rom. 11:11, 14) “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25). As it relates to the gospel, the Jews are no different than any other nation, but as it relates to covenant history, the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Paul says, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh… As concerning the gospel, they areenemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Rom. 9:3, 11:28). Paul’s example teaches us to hate what God hates (all vain glory, malice, lies, theft, unbelief, etc.) and to order our covenant loves faithfully (family, church, nation, etc.).
The vision in Revelation is of a great multitude that no one can number from every nation, tribe, people, language, standing before the throne worshipping the Lamb (Rev. 7:9-10) and the kings of the nations bringing the glory and honor of the nations into the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24-26). This vision is of a glory that is both one and many, with unity and diversity.
No scheme of man can ever conjure this, and so we reject all identity politics: socialism, social engineering, racial vain glory, and all ethnic animosity. The gospel restores families and nations without putting them in a humanistic blender or coercing a false unity through superficial diversity (guilt manipulation, quotas, etc.). True virtue is a rightly ordered love, beginning with your own people, gathered around shared loves, with worship of the Lamb at the center.