Book Review: One Blood—Many Races by Rondel Rumburg

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H. Rondel Rumburg has been a longtime advocate of Southern Christian literature. He has served as the Chaplain-in-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and has written a number of articles for their magazine. Rumburg has likewise contributed several essays to the My 2 Cents blog of the Confederate Shop, the online annex of Crossroads Country Store in Harrisonburg, VA. The late Lloyd Sprinkle (1939–2019) also utilized Rumburg on numerous occasions, having him write forewords to several Sprinkle publications. Rumburg, moreover, founded the Society for Biblical and Southern Studies and thereby published his own books.

Through this publishing house, Rumburg issued two works against what he calls “[m]iscegenation or racial interbreeding.” The first, Raping Sacred Scripture: The Violation of Galatians 3:28, was published in pamphlet form in 2001. The second, One Blood—Many Races, was published in booklet form on October 21, 2020. In this latter work, Rumburg seeks to confront Ken Ham, Carl Wieland, and Don Batten, authors of One Blood: The Biblical Answer to Racism.1Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1999 Rumburg claims that these men “take liberties with God’s holy and inspired Word [particularly Acts 17:26], . . . thus conforming to what has become known as the woke culture or supposed social justice” (7, 14).

Rumburg is particularly distraught that these men teach that “there is only one race and the difference in the people groups is skin pigment or some physiological state that has been reduced to triviality” (15). Rumburg “believe[s] God created races and gave certain people groups attributes often differing the one from the other” (14). Therefore, Rumburg despises “the removal of racial distinctions through interracial marriage” (79), which Ham and others permit (as Rumburg mentions, Ham and company only believe in one race, so interracial marriage does not exist in their minds). According to Rumburg: “The Lord put us into certain families that relate to the race that our God placed us into for His will and purpose” (8). Furthermore: “The distinction of races or nations is not trivial to the God who created them” (15).

After finishing this work, several questions may arise in the minds of the readers. What are the specific “races” of men? When were they “created”? What fixed “attributes” do they have? What should people do who are already in “interracial marriages”? Should they divorce their spouse (contrary to Gen 1:24, Mal 2:14–16, Matt 19:6)? Should they cease to have children (contrary to Gen 1:28, 9:7)? If they already have children of “mixed” descent, what should become of them? Should they be ostracized? Should they be forbidden to marry? Should segregation stop at marriage? Should churches, schools, communities, and adoptive families be segregated as well?

Readers may be concerned with what Rumburg’s answers could be, for One Blood—Many Races already abounds with errors. First, Answers in Genesis (Ham’s creationist organization) issued an online post just one month prior to Rumburg’s booklet, which refutes his claim that Ham and others are “aiding BLM, Antifa, and other Marxist causes” (6). In “Critical Race Theory in the Church” (dated September 29, 2020), Brandon Clay and Frost Smith affirm Ham’s previously stated position that humans “are all one race in Adam,” and then detail what is wrong with CRT, cultural Marxism, and the Black Lives Matter organization. Ironically, it is Rumburg who has more in common with critical race theorists than AiG. While Rumburg would not see it this way, both he and the critical race theorists actually uphold a socially constructed concept of “race.” Even if they disagree on specifics, both believe each “race” of mankind has certain indelible “attributes.” Due to this outlook, Rumburg misinterprets Acts 17:26 to claim that God instituted a marital wall of separation between the “races”.2see Raping Sacred Scripture, 8

The Scriptures, on the other hand, speak of tribes/ethnicities (people groups based on a common ancestor) and conversations (ways of life), but does not claim that particular conversations are inherent to certain tribes/ethnicities. Rather, it declares that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Moreover, God “commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30) and believe the good news of Christ’s atoning sacrifice (Acts 16:31). As I Peter 2:9 says, those who come to Christ are now “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” The Scriptures then permit believers, from any tribe/ethnicity, to marry one another (e.g. Salmon and Rahab, Boaz and Ruth). Christians are only forbidden from entering into marriages with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14–18). It is unbiblical then to oppose the union of Christians on the grounds of them being from two different tribes/ethnicities (Num 12:1, Jas 2:1, 8–9).

Although he does not quote explicitly racist passages, it would seem that Rumburg has drunk deeply from the well of nineteenth-century Southern theologians, for he, in the first pamphlet, favorably cites Robert L. Dabney on multiple occasions (1, 9, 11–12). Dabney was well known for his opposition to “amalgamation,” and one cannot but think that this man’s error influenced Rumburg, directly or indirectly.

Evangelicals should “cleave to that which is good” (Rom 12:9) from the writings of Dabney and his fellow ministers. Segregation, however, is not one of those items. Everyone would do well to reject this part of their legacy.

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1 Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1999
2 see Raping Sacred Scripture, 8
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Jonathan Peters

Jonathan Peters serves as an administrative assistant at Reformation Bible Church and Harford Christian School in Darlington, Maryland. He and his wife, Andri-Ellen, also lead costumed tours of Civil War battlefields for church and school groups. Jonathan was interviewed on the Pennsylvania Cable Network’s Battlefield Pennsylvania: Battle of White Marsh, and he also transcribed and edited Our Comfort in Dying: Civil War Sermons by R. L. Dabney, Stonewall Jackson’s Chief-of-Staff.