Evangelism vs. Racism: Irreconcilable Concepts

Gary North (www.garynorth.com) – January 25, 2018

Reality Check

All religion is covenantal. Covenantalism is an inescapable concept. It is never a question of covenant vs. no covenant. It is always a question of which covenant.

The biblical covenant is this: God, man, law, sanctions, and time. I have written a short book on this: Download it here. In political theory, the structure is this: sovereignty, authority, law, sanctions, and succession. In Christian economics, the general structure is this: ownership, stewardship, law, sanctions, and inheritance.

The covenant is primary. For Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, covenantalism, meaning confession of faith and ethical performance, is primary. The most predominant rival religious worldviews have been based on race, language, or politics: either empire or nationalism. In Hinduism, it is caste. But all of these are structured in terms of the five points.

The story of Israel is the story of God’s covenant, the people’s acceptance of God’s covenant, and then their breaking of the terms of the covenant. This was why there was a separate office in Israel: the prophet. The prophet came before the masses and also the king and called them to repentance. This was a covenant lawsuit. Repentance meant covenant renewal.

The history of Israel after the descent into Egypt was a testimony to covenantalism over racism. The sons of Jacob and their families and servants went into Egypt during the famine. Joseph had already been in Egypt for a decade. He married an Egyptian woman (Gen. 41:44-46). His sons were of mixed genetic lineage. Jacob blessed them (Gen. 48): point four of the covenant, i.e., sanctions.

We are told that the Israelites were in Egypt for three generations. Levi was Moses’ grandfather. Amran was his father. The Exodus occurred under Moses. The conquest of Canaan was by the fourth generation, led by Joshua. This was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham (Gen. 15:16).

When they departed, there were 600,000 fighting men (Ex. 12:37-38). Forty years later, there were 600,000 fighting men (Num. 1:46). This means that Israel had reached population stability at the Exodus: two children per family, one male, one female. This in turn means that there were 2.4 million Israelites at the time of the Exodus.

Seventy-five genetic Israelites came to Egypt.

“All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six; And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten (Gen. 46:26-27).”

Accompanying them were fighting men who kept their flocks. We are not told this, but it is reasonable to assume this. Abram had 318 fighting men (Gen. 14:14). Three generations after the descent, there were 2.4 million Israelites. This could not have been possible biologically, even if two thousand retainers and their families came with Jacob’s family.

This leads to an inescapable genetic conclusion: the Israelites who departed from Egypt were overwhelmingly Egyptian genetically. This in turn leads to a theological conclusion: being an Israelite was a matter of covenantal confession, not race. I discuss all this in my commentary on the Book of Exodus, chapter 1.

The rabbis in Jesus’ day knew this. They could read the texts. They could also make basic calculations of population growth. Jesus made it plain: “And think not to say within yourselves, “We have Abraham to our father,” for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matt. 3:9). He was not really talking about stones. He was talking about gentiles. He was talking about covenantal adoption. That had been the basis of covenantal membership from the beginning. God had told Abram — renamed Abraham, “father of nations”:

“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (Gen. 17:10-14).

This was a covenant based on adoption, meaning covenantal adoption.

The prophet Ezekiel made this clear.

‘Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live” (Ezek. 16:1-6).

Israel’s legal status in God’s eyes was based on His grace to what American racists have long identified as “mongrelism.” I am always amused by the anti-Semitism of most American racists. They despise the Jews. Why? Because of the Jews’ economic success. American racists have been consumed by envy of the Jews: the desire to tear them down. Yet the Old Testament describes the Israelites as mixed-race people, i.e., the products of the racists’ dreaded miscegenation. I keep thinking: “You dumb clucks. Can’t you put two and two together, biologically speaking?” No, they can’t. They really are dumb clucks. This is not because they are mixed-race people with low IQ’s. It is because racism makes them stupid.

Christianity and Judaism are covenantal religions. So is Islam, which is a development out of Christianity and Judaism. Muslims regard Christians and Jews as “people of the Book,” meaning the Bible. As covenantal religions, they place confession of faith and ethics above race. They evangelize. Jesus spoke of the Jews’ evangelism: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matt. 23:15). They welcome converts.

Christianity proclaims a blood covenant. It is judicial.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (John 1:17).

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14)

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22).

There are lots more such passages. These are sufficient.

Racism offers a rival covenant of blood. It is a genetic covenant. Adoption invalidates it. Racism is confessionally and therefore covenantally anti-Christian.

Genes play a role culturally for a while, but confession of faith and ethics — covenant — are the primary factors in cultural success or failure. Grace, not the laws of genetics, is what matters.

IQ does not offer a sufficient explanation for culture. On this point, Free Reed’s skepticism is warranted. Read him here and here.

THE END OF THE OLD SOUTH

In American history, racism received its social death sentence in 1967: Loving v. Virginia. The Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s law prohibiting marriage between whites and blacks. This was the judicial end of the South. It was appropriate. It struck at the theology of the racist blood covenant that had always compromised Southern Christianity. Within five years, the South’s resistance to integration ended. It was not Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that accomplished this. It was not federal troops in Little Rock’s Central High School and at the University of Mississippi. It was Loving v. Virginia. Resistance was futile after this. There is no doctrine of “separate but equal” in marriage. The South’s resistance ended within five years.

Also in 1967 was the movie, Look Who’s Coming to Dinner. That was the last movie starring America’s most prominent on-screen married couple (who were in fact the most famous American adulterers in real life), Tracy and Hepburn. Tracy died a few weeks after his performance. It was the story of an older couple whose daughter was going to marry a black. The black played by the archetypal black actor, Sidney Portier, who is of Bahamian origin.

In that same year, Portier starred in In The Heat of the Night, in which he played a Northern policeman who solves a murder in Mississippi. That movie has stood the test of time aesthetically. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner has not. But the second movie was the heart of the social change. Side note: Portier would not go into the South to film In the Heat of the Night. He feared being murdered. It was filmed in Sparta, Illinois. In contrast, the TV series of the same name was, in its first season (1988), filmed in Hammond, Louisiana. From 1989-1995, it was filmed in Conyers and Covington, Georgia. The old South really was gone with the wind by 1988.

My pastor in Memphis was a Bahamian. He has returned to the Bahamas as an evangelist.

CONCLUSION

Christianity is inherently anti-racist. Racism is inherently anti-Christian. It has taken two millennia to make this clear. Racism has had a long history — far longer than nationalism, although not as long as empire. I hope the religion of empire will see its demise before this century ends. I am optimistic. There is only one empire remaining. It is running out of money.

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