At the same time, I don't think naming names in this particular post actually accomplishes anything. So with that, let's take a look at a passage of Scripture (ESV):
- Deu 7:1 When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than yourselves, 2 and when the LORD your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. 3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the LORD would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire. 6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.
The problem with this interpretation, I think, is that it has the cause and effect exactly backwards. When we look at Deu 7:9, we have to read it in the context of all that God is saying here to Israel, and part of what God says here is, "It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery". In other words, the set of people are not merely "covenanted": their separation into a chosen body is caused by God's act of covenanting. The covenant creates the class of people.
When we look at this passage and think, "there is a class of people with whom God has covenanted, and that class is perpetuated through 'X' means", we have short-changed the statement of Scripture here unless we equate "X" with "God's covenant". God has not chosen a class of people with which to covenant. He makes it clear here through Moses that there was nothing about the people in particular which causes Him to make a covenant with them. In fact, they are the "fewest" of people.
Think about that for a second: one of the reasons that Pharaoh started killing the boys in Egypt way back about 80 years prior in the narrative of the Bible was that "the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us". The clever and the skeptical will chalk that up to Bible contradictions and be done with the discussion, I am sure. Yet those of us who would never do such a thing are stuck with the problem that God did not see the Israelites as "too many and too mighty" but as "too few" to be made of special status for Himself. In that, it is not the class of people that God seeks out: it is by seeking out and claiming that God creates a class of people. God's covenant creates a class of people to whom He is faithful, and which is proven out by God's faithfulness.
In that, it is not radically-modernist and individualistic to say that, for example, God keeps his own counsel and shows mercy to whom He chooses to show mercy. Moreover, we have to ask ourselves in what way we are called together if not by the fruit of God's mercy rather than the presumption or (more charitably) confidence in God's willingness to show mercy to whomever He pleases.
Let's keep that in mind as we think about the books that get reviewed or otherwise ham-handedly manipulated here in the next few weeks.