I flew out to California to attend the first ever Greg L. Bahnsen conference – a conference focusing on presuppositional apologetic methodology as well as theonomy and Christian ethics.
Dr. Bahnsen’s work has meant so much to me and changed my life in so many ways; I couldn’t resist going.
I found the California culture strange and in some ways uninviting. But in other ways, it was beautiful, especially the Pacific coast line, the trees, and mountains. I could write an entire article on my experience in California before the Bahnsen conference even began, but , that’s for another day.
I didn’t intend on discussing Kinism at all at the conference. I love Christian apologetics so much (and theonomy is a branch of ethics, so, is naturally a part of apologetics) I was hoping to fill my time discussing those issues.
Nevertheless, the conference turned into more of an echo-chamber, bouncing the old introductory talking-points off a like-minded audience. There was nothing new added to the work of Dr. Bahnsen, and the best part of the conference were the personal recollections of his close friends.
So, during the question and answer period of the last lecture, I decided to ask a round about question that might cause the speaking pastor to scratch close to where Kinists were itching.
“There is a lot of speculation involved in extracting the “general equity” from old testament case laws and applying it to contemporary contexts; I understand that. But, I’ve always been curious what, in a general sense, it might look like to extrapolate the OT tribal laws to contemporary contexts. What would that look like today?”
The Pastor, to his credit, immediately brought up Kinism, mentioning that there was a small group of Reformed people who utilize these case laws to show that race mixing was sinful – a statement which elicited boos from the crowd, some of them patting the shoulders of their black friend (who was sitting there with his white, pregnant wife). “How could the Reformed community entertain such vile ingrates as these kinists?” was the general sentiment in the crowd.
But again, to his credit, the pastor never condemned Kinists. And while he arbitrarily dismissed the tribal laws as “ceremonial” and thus “done away with”, he didn’t provide argumentation for this assertion, and even admitted that it was something the Reformed community needed to have honest, and civil dialogue about.
Afterwards, when the conference was over, I stayed around talking with people. We talked for hours. Finally, racial topics came up; someone mentioned that they were upset about comments from Pastor Morecraft concerning slavery and how, perhaps the white slave owners in Dixie weren’t evil incarnate. I was being circumspect about Kinism up to that point, but couldn’t resist answering this frankly. My frank replies brought more inquiry, especially about the nature of my question during the conference QnA. “What do you think about this Kinism, stuff?”
At that point, I said I had to leave, got in my car and drove off. As I drove, I began mentally kicking myself for passing up the opportunity. Hindsight told me to damn civility and go for truth next time. I prayed that God might give me a chance to redeem myself.
Then HARK! I realized I had accidentally left my laptop inside the building! I sped back to get it, and when I returned, there were still two people in the parking lot. One, a deacon from the church who had stayed behind to lock up, and the other, the member who had asked me about my thoughts on Kinism.
I snagged my computer, then walked over to him and said “you know, to be honest, I am a Kinist. I consider myself a passionate spokesman for the view and have even been in the national news because of it.”
His eyes got big. We stayed there talking for another two hours, him, condemning me (in civil, friendly tones) and me expounding on the nature of Kinism.
Eventually, the deacon had to leave, but promised to look up Kinism to learn more; me and the other gentlemen drove out for dinner, where our conversation continued on into the evening. And while he would certainly never agree with me about racial issues, we got to be good friends and parted on excellent terms.
I hope the thrust of my position was made clear. I’ll list a few of my main contentions:
1. I wanted it clearly understood that we Kinists love everyone, don’t wish ill of anyone, and that we just want what’s best for the Reformed community.
2. I wanted it known that EVEN IF Kinism were wrong, I’d be happy because at least we would have forced the Reformed community to take charge and lead the way on working through racial issues. We shouldn’t take our talking-points from pop culture, or blindly adhere to whatever Oprah or Michelle Obama say about race. We should be the ones providing ideology to the culture! So, if the Kinist movement makes the Reformed community address these issues from a consistently Christian position, then Kinism is a blessing, even if wrong-headed. (It’s not wrong-headed though, of course).
3. I wanted them to realize that we Kinists argue the same way for Kinism as they argue for any other aspect of theonomy (they were all theonomists). We look at the OT case law, extrapolate the general equity therein, and apply it to today’s context. And the OT case law clearly teaches tribalism as the normative order for man.
“In history, we have Tribe, Tribe, Tribe, Tribe, … now, bam! America! Where did this come from? It came from the French Revolution and Enlightenment rationalism! Be aware of your presuppositions, gentlemen!”
I made other points, especially about the nature of “race” and how Scripture teaches ethnic nationalism. I made plugs for all our websites, including Tribal Theocrat and Faith and Heritage.
But, I can’t emphasize enough, the spirit in which these discussions took place – they were very civil, very loving, and very friendly. We all parted on excellent terms, even though we knew the seriousness of our disagreements.
This is how it should be in the Reformed community …
…leave the flame wars, disingenuous censorship, and general nastiness to the pagans.