Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Spiritual Eugenics of Multigenerational Faithfulness: More Social Darwinism

On this blog and elsewhere in many venues, I’ve mentioned what I call the “Spiritual Eugenics” of patriocentricity, using this term to describe those who view the Calvinistic concepts of grace and limited atonement as a means to justify cruel behavior toward those whom they esteem to be error, assuming that those persons are non-elect and therefore hated by God. For example, men like Doug Wilson find this understanding to be cause for imprecatory prayer which calls for the demise and destruction of those whom he deems his enemies, though other groups treat both professing Christians and unbelievers in the same manner for the sin of rejecting their teachings.

 In his book, “Mother Kirk,” Wilson says that the pro-life movement should face facts and realize that they should not strive to save every unborn life. Christians should rather choose to pray to God to ask Him to grant that the unborn children of the heathen, the non-elect, die in utero because God hates them.

 When I applied “spiritual eugenics” to this area of patriocentricity, I recognized that those who call for militant fecundity also promote an aspect of this same idea in some respect. They assume that all of those who are born into their churches qualify as God’s guaranteed elect, so they rationalize that as the nation of Israel expanded their kingdom by growth in the nation’s population from their father Abraham, the church also advances God’s kingdom by means of church members having large numbers of children. Some of these groups also formally state that church membership in their covenant community serves as a more significant factor in salvation than an individual’s personal faith and confession in Christ as Savior.

Multigenerational Faithfulness

Earlier this week, I listened to both parts of a sermon on multigenerational faithfulness by Bill Einwechter in July of 2005, a pastor in Pennsylvania who also speaks regularly at Vision Forum sponsored meetings and conferences. (Find the download HERE on Sermon Audio.)  Also on the Internet Archive:  Part I and Part II.

In a discussion of how we should follow Abraham’s example in our efforts to take dominion in our lives and on the earth so as to realize the Kingdom of God, Einwechter teaches that Christians under the New Covenant are also subject and bound to the full ramifications of certain aspects of Old Testament Law as found in Deuteronomy Chapter Six. The system of blessings and cursings he presents still applies to families today, and to avoid bringing the consequences of sin down on the heads of one’s progeny to the 3rd and 4th generations that follow (as cited in the sermon), one must protect these generations by faithfully and scrupulously observing the Law, presumably, in the same manner that Abraham did.

Within a section concerning the diligence to birth faithful, godly seed in the same manner that Abraham and the patriarchs of old did, Einwechter points out that “we need children . . . and wealth” to carry out multigenerational faithfulness and that a family without children “has no heritage.” Children are needful to carry our names and our work into the future. The seed of the righteous is not merely limited to sharing the Gospel through evangelism or through dutifully training up our children in the way that they should go, nurturing them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

The group believes that the church today actually originates with the nation of Israel in some physical sense as well as the spiritual, so multigenerational faithfulness must include a sowing of our physical seed with the same zealous effort of evangelists who preach salvation to the lost. Because of this strong identification with the nation of Israel as found in the Old Covenant, this group believes that the Church remains subject to the Old Covenant in at least respect to expanding the church in order to take dominion. If believers in Christ today transgress these Old Covenant laws, they believe that the New Testament Church will pay the same consequences that Israel did before Christ presented Himself as the sufficient propitiation atoning for all sin and liberating us from the Old Covenant.

Daughters and Multigenerational Faithfulness

Sons and daughters differ according to Einwechter and the "continuity of history" of name and family extends only through sons. Einwechter states that multigenerational faithfulness works differently for daughters because a daughter no longer carries on her own family’s heritage or work within her new marriage. She serves her new husband’s family name and “his covenant,” so their marriage allows the husband to “extend his influence into other families.” 

Daughters are the “dynamic means” whereby men extend their name and heritage “into other covenantal family units,” or more specifically as Einwechter implies, into her own family of origin. The man “extends the covenant” of his own fathers through marriage. “Daughters are not dead ends . . . Faithful families must work together to give their sons and daughters to one another in marriage.” He also explains that multigenerational faithfulness cannot be limited to simply training our children but should include “the goal of giving them in marriage to other well-trained children from godly homes.”

When men and women marry, Paul teaches that women should submit to their husbands as unto the Lord. The husband leaves his parents and cleaves unto his new bride, and the two become one flesh. But I find it distressing that any Christian would ever find any need to utter that “Daughters are not dead ends.” In this sermon, we see the patriocentric belief that daughters must be given in marriage (a social and societal construct) and that both sets of parents bear responsibility for matchmaking under their version of courtship. These details and information present nothing new and highlights that which has already been stated in the writings and other media of the patriocentrists. But I find that the context and other aspects of this description of daughters as related to multigenerational faithfulness quite revealing.

Einwechter describes marriage as though it is some type of sub-process of taking over the world, and I suppose that for those who find dominion to be the strongest motivator in their Christian service, marriage becomes a type of taking over of their little corner of it. I agree that husbands extend their name and heritage through marriage, though I would add that the wife also extends her own heritage as well and does not serve only as a lesser creature or tool as this teaching subtly implies through it’s “dead end” disclaimer. (The traditional understanding concerning “Jewishness” maintains that Jewish heritage passes down from mother to child, not through the father, for example.)

 But what is meant by a man “extending his covenant?” Aren’t we all partakers in the same covenant in Christ Jesus as believers? Is not the covenant of marriage a new covenant that exists between husband, wife, and the Lord, something that is not an extension of any other, pre-existing covenant and not contingent upon another covenant belonging to the husband alone? A man does start his own unique chapter in this history and in his name when he weds. But what is meant by this reference to a “covenant” that is “extended?”

Daughters are the means to a man’s end of conquering “other covenantal family units”? When my husband married me, he overtook part of my father’s family? Our marriage was part of his taking over his own little corner of the world, his having dominion over my parents in some way? What?! Some critics observe that the practices in these rigid and demanding Christian churches bear striking similarities to the practices found in the FLDS and extreme forms of Islam – groups who are also obsessed with assimilating families and birthing large families. These similarities seem especially disturbing to critics when considered in light the ambiguous and fluid moratorium on Old Covenant Law observed by those who embrace this version of multigenerational faithfulness.

Social Darwinism

describes Charles Darwin’s theory accounting for the evolution of one species into another through a process of gradual inherent changes passed on generationally, resulting in new orders, families, genuses and species of organic life. His theory defines this process that he called “natural selection,” describing a drive to emerge from the competition of organisms’ survival to emerge as predominant. Individual traits, systems, and species, etc. survive adversity, and those traits, systems, and species that are not resilient enough to persevere through the adversities of mutation and environment do not survive.

Herbert Spencer then coined the term “survival of the fittest” to describe natural selection in social dynamics, and Darwin’s own cousin, Sir Francis Galton, applied the concept to frame out the philosophy of eugenics. Under the guise of seeking the greater good for all mankind, those who desire power and wealth and employ this thinking fall into corruption, usually accomplishing their ends by collectivistic, authoritarian, totalitarian, and hegemonic means. Please also note that, ironically, eugenics advances that which is “normative” by seeking to eradicate the “bungled, botched” and defective on its quest to improve the human gene pool for the greater good through a process of guided or directed evolution.

I’ve already described a certain sector of the church that seeks to take dominion over the earth in the Name of Jesus Christ while berating, cursing and condemning others who do not share their belief system (targeting unbeliever and confessing evangelical Christian alike). They approach other Christians who agree on the essentials of Christianity but differ in nonessential beliefs as their adversaries, as if engaged in some type of competition for limited resources. They define their beliefs and practices as superior to all others, and they define themselves as God’s intellectual and elect elite.

Though a misinterpretation of the principles of theonomy that pushes them to achieve dominion in all areas of life on earth and in every “social sphere,” they often withdraw from the culture to preserve the pious nature, achieved through obedience to formulas of the Law of the Old Covenant in order to preserve their posterity and protect it from harm. In this sermon by Einwechter, these sentiments are quite noted to be not limited to practical matters in life and in spiritual matters, but they attach their dominion to the propagation of their own “spiritual species” through birthing large families in the natural in order to accomplish their ends.

Thus the covenant family of God and His nation of Israel that is realized in their faithful remnant will be propagated as their sons expand their dominions through the spiritual species of their godly seed. They pick spouses for their adult children from a pool of like-minded faithful followers of their ideology, and even some parents will not consent to the selection of mates that have not been homeschooled. Daughters, the less normative gender, serve as the precious instruments by which these men extend their names, heritages and covenants into the daughter’s families, expanding into the daughter’s “covenantal family units.”

Now, folks, if Sunday School is Social Darwinism as Vision Forum and its following teaches, what, pray tell, is multigenerational faithfulness?

It sounds like projection to me, or something more akin to “the pot calling the kettle black.”