by Edward Waverley
"The faith is Europe, and Europe is the faith!" ~ Hilaire Belloc
I have a friend who for several years has been living abroad in Europe. He went there to study theology, and in theory this was an excellent plan. After all, where else but in Europe can one discover all the great eternal truths of the Christian faith as handed down to us by the church fathers? And all of the church fathers were European, so it's logical to assume, as my friend has done, that one's best chance to grasp the faith is to live and work in Europe.
Alas, Europe is no longer herself. It is no longer possible to join Hilaire Belloc in declaring that the historic Christian faith is identical with the historic nations of Europe. The relentless onslaught of wars, both physical and spiritual, which have been waged against Christendom over the last century have reduced the Old World to a propositional shell of her formerly vibrant self. The elimination of blood-and-soil consciousness in Europe and her satellites has been a deliberate goal of anti-Christs throughout the existence of the church. But it wasn't until the Church succumbed to the propositional view of nations, as propounded by JJ Rousseau and his entourage, that the faith began to recede.
But to return to my friend abroad. He is now making a living teaching in Europe, and I get an occasional letter from him. I was surprised recently to find that far from sharing my antique vision of Christian nations and their vital importance to the life of the church, he has fully embraced the vision of Rousseau. My friend has declared that racial consciousness, rather than being birthed and nourished in Christianity, is on the contrary vanquished by the faith. I was deeply saddened by his report, and could only feel that it was probably a very accurate reflection of the dominant opinion of European youth today. Nevertheless, I decided to respond to his letter. I wanted to remind him how much nations have meant to Christians throughout history, and to urge him to begin thinking like the many great fathers who have been granted to the church throughout her history. My reply is here:
My dear friend,
I must beg to differ with your analysis quite emphatically. As you are surely aware, the English word nation in Acts 17, translated from the Greek ethnos (ethne plural), is taken from the Latin “nationem.” The New Oxford Dictionary (2nd ed, 1989) states that nationem means “breed, stock, race, nation.” This, in turn, derives from the Latin “nasci,” which means “to be born.” So there is a substantial genetic component to the historic idea of nations, including when the Biblical writers use the word. Otherwise, how do we explain the painstaking effort to give such long and detailed genealogies all through the biblical text?
We can see this concept of the meaning of birth, and its connection to national status, at work vividly in the so-called Anchor Baby laws in the USA, through which legislators have managed to foist more and more foreign subjects onto the federal dole by claiming that by simply being born within the geographic boundaries of America, a newborn is (Abracadabra!) a full American citizen, with full rights and entitlements to all sorts of benefits. Never mind the fact that the same legislators deny that there is any such thing as an historic American nation defined according to the above definitions. The point is that, when it suits their agenda, the concept of birth suddenly becomes of enormous importance. But the double standard is set up always to strongly benefit non-Whites, and to punish Whites. And this is about as anti-Christian of a policy as I can imagine, for it is based entirely in a politics of envy and greed, and it is a mockery of the Tenth Commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's possessions." How in the world do the concepts of neighborhood, and coveting make any sense in that verse without a firm category of private property? And private property is simply a microcosm of the broader idea of national institutions and identity.
It's easier to see how destructive and counter-intuitive this is if we narrow the focus of the argument. Imagine if pregnant Mrs. Johnson happened to go into labor at the home of her friends the Robinsons, and for some medical reason could not leave that home until the baby was born. Would anyone try to argue that, because the baby had been born at the Robinson residence, that it was now a legal heir to the Robinson estate? The idea is ludicrous. No one can become a Robinson unless he is either born from Mrs. Robinson, or in the special case of the Robinsons voluntarily adopting. Yet the claim of borderless ideology is that America does not belong to any one race (and race is simply a very large extended family, easily established with DNA testing), but that America belongs to everyone, and that everyone must be absolutely free to live and work and enjoy the blessings of whatever nation they happen to be in at the moment.
Peter Brimelow has defined the concept of nation to mean, "the interlacing of ethnicity and culture" usually speaking a single language. There are countless examples of such nations throughout history, many of which are indexed in the Bible. And when Paul refers to the settled times and boundaries of nations, he is making the point that such boundaries and times are set by God for the purpose of diffusing political power in such a way as to facilitate the gospel. The implication is that an unhealthy concentration of central authority is deleterious to the Bible. This is precisely the opposite of the popular idea that borders obstruct the gospel. According to the Bible, borders and boundaries are healthy outlines, laid down by God so that families can exercise dominion over the whole face of the earth in a milieu of familiarity and kinship. This has always been the predominant doctrine of nations in Christendom.
You say that multicultural empires are historically normal, and you are quite correct. Whether it's the Roman Empire, or the present American Empire, or any other you wish to name, the common denominator is the reckless attempt to meld together diverse people groups in the hope that they will be more loyal to The Imperial Proposition than they are to their own race or ethnicity. The question is, is there any difference between a nation and an empire? The term multiculturalism itself gives us the answer. Empires are never monocultural, but always multicultural. But the drift of empire is monocultural, in that the elite who rule in empires demand rigorous cultural conformity in their subjects. While claiming to embrace "diversity", our imperial rulers actually want people to become rootlessly similar, until all feelings of loyalty have been steadily transferred away from families and over to the all-powerful central state. To see the truth of this, witness the slavish outlook of all Americans, who expect to be told what to think and what to do in every area of life by the State that they gladly worship.
I can do no better than to quote RJ Rushdoony, as he comments upon sociologist Carle Zimmerman's theory of families. Zimmerman's analysis shows, to my mind at any rate, that the correct biblical view of nations is that they are God-ordained extensions of many related tribes, all hierarchically arranged so as to reflect the glory of God's majesty:
Nations are, by definition monocultural. A pastor friend of mine has put it quite beautifully: "Culture is religion poured over ethnicity." The 20th-century theologian Henry Van Til had an equally apt phrase: "Culture is nothing but the unfolding of a nation's religious convictions." And this is a perfectly biblical notion. Notice that this formula does not fail to obtain in the case of empires, but it doesn't obtain in a healthy way. Whereas in a historically Christian nation, such as France, the French people were allowed to discover their own national way of expressing their faith through the flourishing of the uniquely French culture, an empire disturbs such natural developments by insisting upon unswerving allegiance to the State. In 1789, when revolutionaries seized power in France and declared all of the old regime to be discarded, they explicitly claimed ownership over the children of France, as being the properly entitled authorities for recruiting and shaping them for the ends of the State. Again, this is a systematic expression of godless humanism, wherein a group of men claim God-like control over the destinies of the majority of men, for the supposed purpose of establishing a better world system.
The relentless push from the imperial leadership is for all the subjects to amalgamate their beliefs, their languages, their races, etc. The reason for this strategy is at once obvious and brilliant: if Rome, or America, is everywhere, and if everyone on earth is potentially an American (which is the explicit claim of our entire political leadership) then the very idea of nationalistic or racial loyalty is entirely emptied of its power. The only power left in which to take refuge is the empire. Whereas the Bible teaches that it is in God that we live, and move, and have our being, Imperial Statism teaches that it is in the State that we live, and move, and have our being. Statist thinking is simply the normal Christian formula for worship, with the State replacing God as the object of worship.
In One-World international ideology, or on a smaller scale in American-style imperial hegemony, the State does not fail to usurp as many of God's sovereign roles as it can. God is omnipotent, and so the federal government of the USA acts and speaks as if it is omnicompetent, able to address every human problem from a vantage point of perfect objectivity. God is omniscient, and so the government demands unfettered access to all information, however private, about its subjects. God is omnibenevolent, and of course our government frames all of its activities in pseudo-religious language about "The Great Society", "No Child Left Behind", "The Race to the Top", "The Patriot Act", "The Department of Homeland Security" etc. Such usurpations are plainly prophesied in Scripture, where the Psalmist queries: Why do the nations rage? And try to overthrow the Lord and his anointed one? They conspire together and claim that they can shed the bounds that God has placed upon them as nations.
You stated, "Most emperors seemed to be indifferent to the language, ethnicity, and cultural practices of a people with the singular exception of religion." First, Emperors are not typically indifferent to language, ethnicity, and cultural practices. On the contrary, emperors are mightily opposed to any religion other than Full-Orbed Statism. Secondly, are we supposed to admire emperors for being hostile or neutral toward the historic character of the peoples which they conquer or with whom they form slavish alliances? Far from admiring such hatred for God's distinctions, I despise such attitudes. The reason that Rome tolerated, for example, the Jewish religion in Palestine up to the time of Jesus' life wasn't that Rome was indifferent to the Jews' religious and political beliefs. No, they tolerated the Jews only to the extent that the Jews were cooperative taxpayers, and obedient subjects to Roman authority. If and when there were uprisings in Palestine, or elsewhere, those insurrections against the Empire were quickly and violently put down. As we know from the history of the First Century church, Rome quickly scented that the Christians did not and would not acknowledge Caesar as a god, for the Christians steadfastly refused to serve or worship any god but God Almighty. Hence the feverish persecution of the Roman Christians, their martyrdoms, and tribulations, and scatterings. Wherever the Crown Rights of King Christ are fully pressed, there you shall see swift and bloody retribution from the Powers that Be in Government. This helps us to understand why there is, in America, a shallow feeling of Ease in Zion. Many false professors of the faith have decided that going with the flow of international technocracy and statism is more pleasant than the task of the Christian life.
"That is to say living in the Islamic empire you can be of any nation, and even to a certain degree of any religion, but you can not openly criticize the Islamic faith." Two points here. 1) The Koran commands all good Muslims either to slay or convert all infidels. There is no quarter to be given to unbelievers from the Koran. Meanwhile the Koran also permits its adherents to engage, whenever necessary for preserving life, in the practice of taqqiya, or strategic lying. If necessary, Muslims are permitted to deny their faith verbally, if only to get along with infidels for a time. No such doctrine is permitted in the Bible, other than a time when the truth is being demanded of a Christian by an explicit enemy bent on murder, as was the case in the story of the Hebrew midwives lying to protect the infant boys in Egypt. 2) Even if Islamic rulers were indifferent to the religious convictions of their conquered subjects, which I doubt, it would not follow that this is a healthy tendency. If anything, permitting any form of religion which contradicts the dominant faith in a nation will badly undermine the faith of the people, which is obvious both in the ostensibly Christian empire of America, and in the pagan empire of Rome. In each case, the original dominant religion was eventually subsumed in a flood of interreligious chaos. In the case of Rome, it was a very good thing, contrary to what Augustine wrote in "The City of God." The death of that empire was good for Christianity, just as the death of the American empire will be very good for a return to real, biblical Christianity.
"but is it not more accurate to say that it is the Church (the body of Christ) struggling against the invisible powers?" I don't agree that the Church is only ever struggling against invisible powers. This was the position of the Gnostics, who denied the goodness and validity of the material world, while badly over-spiritualizing the nature of the Kingdom. When Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world, he was not saying that his kingdom is immaterial. Indeed, how could he say that in light of the central importance of the Incarnation, the putting on of flesh so as to identify fully with mankind? No, what Jesus meant was that his power was not derived from, nor in any way contingent upon, the world system of power as it is devised by anti-Christ men. Now it's very true that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but in context Paul is saying that the nature of the Christian struggle is not limited merely to a contest of physical strength, but that it encompasses angelic spheres, that demons and spirits are also at work, on behalf of Satan. This does nothing to remove the importance of working, physically, to resist evil in the world.
"It may just be semantics, but nations rise and fall, and the modern nations (at least in their modern nation-state identity) were almost all formed within the last 100 yrs." I agree that the central state government identities are very new, but this is only to reinforce my own point that one-world/no-borders ideology is contrary to most of human history, and that the dominant model has been one of diffused power, through many smaller political entities. Wherever you encounter a violent attempt to expand an empire, such as occurred in Ancient Rome, or with the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries, or in America throughout her history, you will inevitably find that the efforts to build were very bloody, and that historic people groups were usually striving to secede back into their own historic spheres of geography and sovereignty. Witness the dissolution of the USSR, the attempted withdrawal of the American South in 1860-1865, the attempt of Quebec to secede from Canada, and on and on. In each case, a group of people far smaller than the size of the empire saw themselves as having more in common, and a better shot at liberty, with each other than with the melange of peoples who were held together only by flimsy documents or political slogans. Blood and soil consciousness is ineradicable in such people, and no amount of bullets will ever destroy what God has ordained.
You wrote: "Their were era's in which temporal authority, and more or less absolute dominion, was given to kings and emperor's who were Christians, true Christians (Stephen Milutin of Serbia for example)." It's interesting to note that the etymology of the word "king" is "kinning", as in, "Being kin, or related to in blood." God plainly excoriated the people of Israel when they demanded a human king, but God granted their evil request, even as he imposed many conditions for who could occupy the throne. He must be a blood relation, for it is an abomination to be ruled by foreigners. He must have his own hand-written copy of God's word that he has written out himself. And many similar demands. To the extent that European nations followed these outlines, they enjoyed some modest success politically through monarchy. There was an old phrase of the Europeans, "I serve the King, and the King serves Christ!" Oh for such a slogan to be true! But what if the king is anti-Christ? Then a Christian is no longer permitted to say, "I serve the king!" He must declare that he opposes the king who opposes God.
" If there is a hierarchy found here on earth that mirrors, let us say the celestial hierarchy, it will not be found in the rulers of this world, but in the Church itself." Rulers are appointed by God, and are under just as much obligation to obey and seek God as the Church is. Today the Church has abrogated her duty disastrously, and has failed to discipline the increasingly ungodly civil government. The Church has been seduced by an insane idea that she has no authority to instruct or counsel the State, an argument invented by JJ Rousseau, JS Mill, John Locke, and other anti-Christ humanists. The Church's assignment is to disciple nations, teaching those nations everything she has learned from Christ, and baptizing those nations in His name.
"What forms one's personhood in the likeness of God has much more to do with love, mercy, compassion, and humility than language, ethnicity, state, or cultural practices. " As you can guess, I reject this formulation. I don't think love, mercy, or compassion are possible outside the context of culture and ethnicity. My obligations in Christ are concentric, and begin with my immediate family, followed by my extended family, my local community, etc. According to the politics of guilt and pity, we are expected to feel more compassion for our fellow Christians in Africa than we do for our unbelieving mother of father. Such teaching is not found in the Bible, but rather is found in Marx and Trotsky. Why else does Paul say that he who fails to provide for his own has forsaken the faith and is worse than an unbeliever?