Joel McDurmon has a problem with definitions. He also has a problem being blown to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Beginning as a fire-breathing son-of-the-south and grandson-in-law to the preeminent proto-Kinist, RJ Rushdoony, McDurmon was a staunch advocate of stoning rebellious youth and promiscuous women, as was every theonomist before him. After a woeful performance in a highly publicized debate to defend those views, McDurmon suddenly switched gears in a spectacular 180-turn, and now argues vigorously against the official positions of the organization that somehow he still leads. Unfortunately retaining the term theonomist, McDurmon has (fortunately) abandoned what theonomy has always meant and the way it has always been defined (and that’s a good thing). Once demanding an authoritarian theocracy that would put Sabbath-breakers to death, McDurmon has now become a Libertarian, advocating for a minimalist government. McDurmon, ever with his pinky stuck to the wind to determine shifting public opinion, has now demonstrated a strong about-face on the topic of race in America and is now largely promoting “social justice” with the rest of the New Calvinist youngsters who have been overcome by the siren’s call of Rauchenbuschism.
Taking the mantle of theonomy and bequeathing to him the American Vision empire, little I’m sure Gary North and Gary DeMar could have imagined that McDurmon would systematically dismantle and destroy the very principles they once stood for. And given the vast majority of vocal theonomists virtually all abandon those tenets eventually, it should be no surprise that both North and DeMar have largely remained silent as McDurmon dismantled their life’s work with his kinder, gentler, non-theonomic political correctness.
The founder of theonomy (there were none before him), RJ Rushdoony, was hardly the bastion of cultural sensitivity. The grandfather-in-law of McDurmon wrote in his book, The Doctrine of Marriage:
Moreover, if she is to be “a help as before him,” a mirror, there must be a common cultural background. This militates against marriages across cultures and across races where there is no common culture or association possible. The new unit is a continuation of the old unit but an independent one; and there has to be a unity or else it is not a marriage. Thus, the attempt of many today to say there is nothing in the Bible against mixed marriages whether religiously or culturally is altogether unfounded. We do not have to go to the Mosaic law (Exodus and Deuteronomy) to demonstrate that, because here in the very beginning (Genesis) we are told that she must be a help meet “bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh” sharing his faith, sharing a common background, a common culture, a common desire to fulfill his calling under God. This, then, is the meaning of marriage in the Biblical sense.
It’s hard to get less social-justicey than being against interracial marriage. That is, unless it’s Rushdoony arguing that white people should feel no guilt toward the “negro” because then they would be less able to defend themselves against the inevitable negro assault. Rushdoony argued as much in his treatise, Politics of Guilt and Pity (page 46):
If the white man feels guilty towards the Negro, he is less capable of defending himself against the Negroes who turn into a revolutionary rabble, bent on theft and murder. The state finds it easier to rob men when men feel guilty for what they are and have, and the state drones on and on about the needs of the poor of the nation and of the world.
Regarding interracial marriage, Rushdoony wrote in The Law of Divorce:
The answer is, there is not a law against it, but there is basically a principle that militates against such marriages, so that you might say they are just barely legal, but in principle Scripture is opposed to them. Because the whole point of marriage is that the wife be a helpmeet to her husband, and the term “helpmeet” means in effect a mirror, an image, one who reflects him spiritually; that is, in terms of faith, in terms of a common background, in terms of a common purpose. Now, marriage between persons of very different races generally doesn’t fulfill that requirement, you see. So that it can be technically a marriage, but it isn’t one in which the wife can be a helpmeet. So that while it can legally qualify, theologically you could say there are factors which normally, in almost 99 cases out of 100, would militate against it.
Rushdoony, by any discernible standards, was a racist. And this racism of grandpa Rushdoony was pervasive throughout the theonomic movement.
But what about Gary North, the heir-apparent to RJ Rushdoony and husband of Rushdoony’s daughter, Sharon (and father-in-law of Joel McDurmon)? It’s hard to imagine being more despicably racist than denying the Holocaust. And yet, deny the Holocaust is precisely what Gary North has done. In February of 1976, the literary magazine, Reason, published an article from North denying the Holocaust’s severity. You can find his article in pdf form here. North called the Holocaust “the establishment’s favorite horror story,” called it the “supposed execution of six million Jews by Hitler,” and praised famous French and Neo-Fascist Holocaust denier, Paul Rassinger. North wrote:
Probably the most far-out materials on World War II revisionism have been the seemingly endless scholarly studies of the supposed execution of 6 million Jews by Hitler. The anonymous author [Hoggan] of ”The Myth of the Six Million” has presented a solid case against the Establishment’s favorite horror story—the supposed moral justification for our entry into the war…The second point, that about 6 million Jews really did die in the concentration camps, is one that will be open until the records of the period become fully available. I am not convinced yet, one way or the other.I shall continue to recommend that those interested in revisionist questions read ”The Myth of the Six Million” and ”Did Six Million Really Die?” as reasonable (though not necessarily irrefutable) pieces of historical revisionism.
And yet, McDurmon cited his father-in-law just four days ago in relation to his obscure interpretation of Old Testament seed-laws, which were the basis of Rushdoony’s and the Kinist’s prohibition of miscegenation. In a case of stunning lack of self-awareness, McDurmon begins his article by writing, “While it may be hard to believe for many readers today, there are still proponents of racist policies in professing Christian circles today, and while it may be even harder to believe, some of these proponents are in roles of leadership.”
Yes, there are still racists in Christian circles today, and they’re in McDurmon’s family lineage and they were mostly all theonomists.
McDurmon’s abandonment of theonomy and promotion of a Coolvinism-fueled social-justicey political correctness is seeking to change all of that. The only similar link between the pre-2016 theonomy of American Vision and its current politically-correct trajectory is an unwavering commitment to post-millennial eschatology. Everything else – and I mean everything else – has radically, dramatically changed.
McDurmon just penned a new blog post at American Vision entitled, “What is Social Justice?” McDurmon should know exactly what social justice is – and so should American Vision readers – because they specifically taught AGAINST Social Justice as late as 2014. Gary North, the still-undisputed head of theonomy in the post-Greg Bahnsen world – wrote a scathing rebuke of Social Justice in the Q&A section of his website:
Those of us who remain skeptical of the Progressives and their heirs propose a rollback of the power of the state.
If you get individual justice, there will be greater social justice. That is our position. We are beginning to get a hearing. Meanwhile, the West’s economy is in the hands of unelected central bankers and the few dozen major banks, which central banks represent. We are told that we need central banks in order to insure the independence of banking from politics. The defenders of social justice actually believe this — all in the name of mass democracy. What we have are the most powerful cartels in history: commercial banking cartels.
Consistency is not one of the strengths of those who defend social justice….
For Gary North, who was first and foremost an economist rather than a theologian, Social Justice meant taking from some by coercion to give it to others.
But even more so than North, McDurmon himself has been an outspoken critic against Social Justice. He wrote in his blog post in 2010 entitled, “Social Justice” is for Socialists:
[Glenn Beck] said that anyone attending a church that pushes “social justice” should leave that church. These are mostly liberal churches, and therefore, again, I agree. Leave. Beck is right, “social justice” is a code phrase for socialism. It always has been. What happened next, however, conclusively proved that Glenn Beck was absolutely right about “social justice” in the churches: the most outspoken and highest profile Socialist in the Christian community blurted out in an angry tirade [link broken] against Beck and his comments.
It seems that McDurmon defined Social Justice in 2010 and said that the term has ALWAYS been defined that way.
Referring to Jim Wallis (an infamous Christian socialist) and his attack on Glenn Beck, McDurmon continues:
Many of these groups do push socialism under the name of “social justice”; it’s because most of them are socialists. They were raised in a socialist setting, attended socialist public schools where they were taught socialism by socialists, went to socialist colleges, and expect socialist security to take care of them in old age if not now, too. They are socialists from cradle to grave, and the growing number of socialist churches is nothing but an expression of this.
It is also an expression of ignorance by the Christians who attend—ignorance as to the history of “social justice” and ignorance as to what the Bible says about social and governmental theft.
According to McDurmon, those who use the term are ignorant.
In spite of his latest promotion of Social Justice, falling lock-step in behind the other hipster New Calvinists at The Gospel Coalition and the ERLC, this apple-fallen-far-from-the-tree, Joel McDurmon, had the gall to write in his post recently, “Despite what some people may think or say, neither I nor American Vision have departed from that view, nor have we changed on it.”
I call baloney. I believe my eyes. Like with theonomy proper, McDurmon and American Vision have done another 180-degree switcharoo on “Social Justice.” Once it was abhorred, and now it is promoted. And believe it or not, McDurmon is receiving no shortage of attention (all from the wrong people) and accolades for joining in the pro-Social Justice mission-drift of hipster Coolvinism. As the ERLC and The Social Gospel Coalition join forces to venerate Martin Luther King (who as a whoremonger and heretic would be stoned under McDurmon’s pre-2016 worldview), McDurmon is eagerly alongside them, basking in the spotlight of political correctness. And political correctness is an odd place for any so-called theonomist to be.