February 17, 2013 Q & A

Is interracial marriage sinful?


I have noticed a recent influx of online discussions in supposedly reformed groups saying that interracial marriages are a sin. I believe they consider themselves "kinists." What is the history of this doctrine? Would the OPC consider it heresy, or just bad theology?


Kinism appears to be one of those odd systems which pop up from time to time among those with a tendency toward conspiracy theories, an over-inflated sense of entitlement, and an unhealthy victim mentality. It being about as fringey as fringe can be, any knowledge I or another OPC pastor might have on the movement would come entirely from internet research, which you no doubt have already done.

A central tenet of kinism seems to be that God wants people to keep themselves within strict ethnic groupings. Were this so, one would expect the Lord to have mentioned this some place in the Scriptures. Not only is there no such mention, but the Bible explicitly teaches that ethnic and tribal identity are utterly beside the point when it comes to one's relationship to God. What kinist scriptural arguments I have found are classic examples of eisegesis: that is, reading an existing belief into a Bible verse which does not in fact teach that doctrine. I won't quote Romans 4:1–12 here, but you will note that faith in Christ's work makes one righteous before God and a child of Abraham. Paul argues very strenuously that Jews ("the circumcised") are not truly descendants of Abraham in God's eyes unless they share his faith. If the Lord Christ has no place for gene pool considerations within his church, why would he be concerned with them among the nations which exist only to provide members for the church?

Technically speaking, "heresy" is the same thing as "bad theology," so I presume you are drawing a distinction between damnable theological error and an otherwise normal Christian coming down with a case of the stupids. Frankly, kinism's place on this spectrum is difficult to identify. The OPC's Book of Discipline (chapter 3) says this: "An offense serious enough to warrant a trial is: (1) an offense in the area of conduct and practice which seriously disturbs the peace, purity, and/or unity of the church, or (2) an offense in the area of doctrine for the nonordained member which would constitute a denial of a credible profession of faith as reflected in his membership vows...." (An "offense serious enough to warrant a trial" means that if the offense were proven true, it would be worthy of church discipline, up to excommunication.) So far as I've been able to discern, kinism does not teach salvation is restricted to certain races (as do other systems I've had the misfortune to run across), and so may not constitute a denial of a credible profession of faith.

However, the kinist websites I looked at contained any number of deliberately insulting and demeaning racial epithets. A member of the OPC who engaged in such behavior would be seriously disturbing the peace, purity, and unity of the church, and could very well be brought to trial. Thus, while kinism may not be a gross heresy, it certainly is a schismatic (divisive) movement, one which any sane Christian should give a very wide berth.

I hope you, as I do, find kinism not only personally distasteful and morally repugnant, but fundamentally at odds with the Gospel itself. Because God has reconciled sinners to himself through the Cross, all sinners must be reconciled to one another. If kinism, with its offensive regard for the flesh, is true, the Apostle Paul is wrong.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5:14–21)



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