Kinism and Systematic Theology

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Puritan Board Senior
Our church and surrounding churches within the OPC have been dealing with a very vocal and troublesome kinist over the last several years. My pastor contacted me today and asked me to do a little research for him.

This kinist claims that no systematic theology has dealt with the issue of the separation of races on biblical grounds (for whatever reason; I am not sure why this is important to this individual). My pastor, intent on writing a position paper on behalf of the session, wants me to use my somewhat large Logos library to search as many systematic theologies from the last 100 years to see if this claim is in fact true.

I have already found some material out of very recent STs (Culver and Frame, for example), but I am wondering if anyone here can point me in a direction for other STs. The books obviously do not have to reference kinism directly, since I imagine the term is relatively new. I am mainly looking for any bits of discussion that bear on the topic—e.g., the unity of the human race, the unity of the Church, issues of the different races and classes, etc. Also, the sources do not have to be systematic theologies in name; they just need to be systematic in nature.

Hopefully this question makes sense. I am happy to clarify if not.


Staff member
Not sure why limit it to that; it may be it didn't make it since rarely does an issue that is not an issue get addressed. Look for titles such as unity of the races; Thomas Smyth I think had a piece like that and there are others maybe.


Puritan Board Freshman
My first thought is to check journal databases like ATLA. I did a quick check in the ATLA database for kinism and nothing came up. Lots on racism however as to be expected.


Puritan Board Senior
I have considered these things, especially the journal articles. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the issue at the present time, I think my pastor wants to directly refute this man's strange claim that no systematic theology in the past century has dealt with the issue. I therefore need to limit my research to either explicit systematic theologies or works systematic in nature.


Puritanboard Clerk
You'll find mention to various races in some systematics. Others will correctly note, maybe, that God divided the races up. But that's really as far as it goes or as it needs to go. You won't find a topic on miscegenation (cue Homer Stokes), on the other hand.


Ordinary Guy (TM)
I have read past Christian writers who have:

(1) Affirmed that races/nations in the Bible meant ethno-linguistically homogenous groups of people (in opposition to our strange Western notion that diversity is our strength). A nation in Scripture is one kind of people. That is why the new Israel of the Church is a special kind of nation (not one people picked out of all nations, but all peoples of the world who believe in Christ being made into one nation).

(2) Many point out that intermarriage with pagans was prohibited in the OT and then a few have made the leap and have tried to assert that intermarriage of the races is forbidden in the NT (based on this OT principle). But it is hard to prove that "unequally yoked" means anything more than spiritually unequally yoked. It simply isn't speaking of race.

(3) Some describe how the destinies of the sons of Ham, Shem, and Japheth were unique and fixed by prophecy. Who can deny that this is true to a certain degree. The promise came through Shem but the majority of believers now are Gentiles...the sons of Japheth are now dwelling in the tents of Shem...prophecy accomplished.

(3b) We see other "race-based predictions" of different groupings of mankind, such as Ishmael. "He will be a wild donkey of a man, and his hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” And this typifies the Ishmaelites even to this day.

And (4) some older Reformed writers even assert that the curse of Ham continued on with Ham's progeny (some older writers sometimes used this as a justification for race-based slavery). Many older Jewish commentators and the Talmud speaks of the curse of Ham in shocking fashion.

However, even the Christian writers who assert some of these things that I have mentioned above still speak of all races and peoples as equal within the church and brothers and sisters in Christ, and they speak of Christ as the saviour of ALL men.

So, I am not sure kinism is a "heresy" because heresy is damning. Many errors are incorrrect and yet not damning. If we label kinism as heresy then we would have to examine which one of their Kinist cluster of beliefs is it exactly which damns, and then we'd have to condemn to hellfire several of our past Reformed stalwarts as unsaved instead of merely being "children of their time" or in non-damning theological error. "Heresy" seems a heavy charge.

Returning to the OP:

Some of the best sources might be missions texts. These mission texts describe the goal of the Church as one Church made up of all nations and peoples (every tongue, tribe, and nation would also mean every race, it would seem, all enjoying Christ in heaven together as one family). Not that you'd want to to use a picture of Jesus, but missionary texts often employ illustrations of Jesus surrounded by children of every race and color on earth and missionary texts often tell of a glorious future of all men being united in Christ. During the time of the Tower of Babel evil men tried to unite men together in sin such that God scattered the nations and divided them up into different nations, but the promise of the Gospel is a new kind of unity starting with the heart. Pentecost was a reversal of Babel and the Great Commission is a gradual undoing of Babel over the whole earth, and Christ allows us to call every light or dark-skinned person a brother - one family in Christ.

Finally, I have a missionary acquaintance that serves dark-skinned peoples and yet believes racial inter-marriage is wrong. I would disagree with him but I would not call him a heretic. He is in a position to daily see the differences between peoples and cultures, after all. This man rightly points out that the modern liberal media is working overtime to promote inter-racial marriage and this agenda occurs part and parcel with their agenda to destroy love of family and heritage and culture. And he loves the Africans and wants them to believe in the Lord, who is the Saviour of all men. I might disagree with him (even though I do believe that on practical grounds some marriages between widely disparate peoples may be unwise, but not unbiblical), but I sure wouldn't call this man a heretic. He loves all people and does good to all people, and preaches Christ to all peoples.


Puritan Board Freshman
Sorry about that, that's what I get for scanning.

Just searched in Logos under my STs and here is what I am seeing:

James Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology (Chapter 20, Creation of Man, Section 2 - The Unity of the Race)

The expression above, "the present race of men," was not intended to intimate a belief that there have been more races of men than one. This, however, has been contended for; but, while the possibility of other races before Adam or contemporaneous with him may he admitted, the unity of the present race and its common descent from Adam must be maintained. . . .

But so far as this is intended to deny the unity of the present race, and to declare that any portion of it is not of Adamic origin, it is directly contrary to the Word of God.
1. Because the Scriptures trace the race of men now existing back to Noah, and through him to Adam.
2. Because they teach also that all others, except the eight saved in the Ark, were destroyed by the flood. If any other races of men existed before that time, which is not probable, they must then have been destroyed with the others of the Adamic race.
3. They not only speak of all mankind in general as though of this one race, but declare expressly that God "made of one every nation of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation." Acts 17:26. The King James version has "Made of one blood." This is especially emphatic because spoken to the Athenians, who claimed a special, separate origin from others.
4. The Scriptures account for the universal sinful condition of men, by not only a representative, but natural relation to Adam.
5. Salvation from sin is offered through Christ as the second Adam, whose fitness for his work was secured, not only by his representative relation, but also by his assumption of the same nature with man. Therefore his genealogy in Luke is traced back to Adam. It was also to "the whole creation," Mark 16:15, that Christ commanded his gospel to be preached, and "of all the nations," Matt. 28:19, that he ordered disciples to be made.

Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 2 has a section on The Unity of the Human Race.

In Vol. 3 he has a section on inherited sin and says the following:

That racial and variant traits are propagated constantly is subject to legitimate doubt; undoubtedly races exist—also among humans—that persist century after century (the Indo-Germanic, the Semitic race, and others), but these races originally stemmed from the one human race. We do not know how, nor can we say with certainty that they will continue to exist in the future under very different circumstances.

Herman Bavinck, John Bolt, and John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 112.

Geerhardus Vos, Reformed Dogmatics, ed. Richard B. Gaffin, trans. Annemie Godbehere et al., vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012–2016), 20.

20. How does one prove the unity of the human race?

a) It is a generally accepted principle that the instances of the same species can have a common origin.
b) As a consequence of this, it is only necessary to show that the human races, notwithstanding all their diversities, form one species.
c) A species is determined by:
1. Organic structure. When differences in bodily organism appear for two animals that are not accidental divergences but apparently have a purpose, this difference proves difference of species. One does not find such differences among the human races. All points of difference between the races are accidental, not intentional.
2. Physiological characteristics, that is, everything related to the functions of the organism (blood circulation, digestion, etc., etc.). Even in this respect the human races do not show the slightest difference. They are physiologically alike.
3. Psychological predisposition. Neither here does a difference occur. All human races have the same mental capabilities.
4. The ability to procreate. Two species can frequently intermingle, but what is produced is infertile and does not reproduce. All human races can intermingle and still preserve their fertility in the offspring of this intermingling.
d) In addition, there is as well important linguistic evidence that counts not just for the possibility but also for the reality of common descent.

Berkhof has a section on the origin of man and the unity of the race

Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 417–418.

It is in this as in many other cases. The Mosaic law discountenanced and discouraged intermarriage between the chosen people and their heathen neighbours. With regard to the Canaanites, such intermarriages were absolutely forbidden; with other heathen nations, although discountenanced, they were tolerated. Joseph married an Egyptian; Moses, a Midianite; Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter. Such marriages, in the settled state of the Jewish nation, may have been wrong, but they were valid. Even now under the Christian dispensation, believers are forbidden to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. It does not follow from this that every marriage between a believer and an unbeliever is invalid. These remarks are not out of place. The truth suffers from being misapprehended. If the Bible is made to teach what is contrary to the common sense, or the intuitive judgments of men, it suffers great injustice. No man can force himself to believe that a man’s marrying the sister of a deceased wife is the same kind of offence as a father’s marrying his own daughter. The Bible teaches no such doctrine; and it is a slander so to represent it.

Not sure if any of that is helpful.


Staff member
Thanks for the quotes above. Remember that Moses married an Ethiopian (Cushite) woman and Mariam was given leprosy for murmuring against it. We would do well if we take heed to that situation.
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