The Gospel, Immigration, and Racial Reconciliation: Properly Framing the Issues

(I)        The Gospel contains unique precepts concerning immigration and racial                                   reconciliation for the civil (not ecclesial) community.

(A)       If (I), then these precepts vis-à-vis nature are one (and only one) of the following:

(1)        precepts against the nature of things (viz. grace destroys nature)

(2)        precepts in the absence of the nature of things (viz. grace in the absence of                       nature)

(3)        precepts that perfect or complement the nature of things (viz. grace perfects or              complements nature)

(a)        If (1), then Anabaptist political theology

(b)        If (2), then radical divine voluntarism[1]

(c)        If (3), then one must answer both of the following questions:

(i)         What is the nature of things?

(ii)        How does (I) perfect or complement the answer to (i)?

Per the rules of conditionals, if (1) and (2) are unacceptable or rejected and one or both (i) and (ii) do not have satisfactory answers, then (I) is left indeterminate.

To my mind, (i) can be satisfactorily answered, and in a robust manner, as I argued here concerning immigration. But (ii) is much more difficult to answer, especially if (at least in the case of immigration) one’s answer to (i) is that civil order is not a matter of arbitrary human decision but has its own principles, such as solidarity on particular customs and practices. Any additional precepts could militate against these principles. If there is a satisfactory answer to (ii) it certainly is not as simple as often presented. This is the same with racial reconciliation, for the natural law supplies, to my mind, sufficient principles for such reconciliation. Most of the time, however, the advocate of (I) improperly frames the issue.

Of course, one could say that the Gospel restores nature. But that simply means that the Gospel restores one’s knowledge and inclination towards the nature of things. The Gospel, then, has nothing unique to say about the issues.

Lastly, this logical sequence works with all so-called “gospel issues” in the civil realm.

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[1] Radical divine voluntarism, as I define it, is that all divine commands lack an essential or substantial correspondence to anything natural. There are other versions, such as one that follows the ordained/absolute power distinction, which actually works for (3). But that version is not radical here.

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