My heart was saddened & my anger stirred this week when a Kentucky church grabbed headlines by voting to ban interracial marriages from their church. Racism has plagued society since Adam & Eve couldn’t resist the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Even though much progress has been made, stories like this clearly remind us that the sin of racism still runs strong.
It doesn’t surprise me when I see racism from people who don’t love or follow Christ. Sin separates! It separates people from God & people from people. We see this truth in the opening pages of the Bible. Sin caused spiritual death that separated Adam & Eve from God. It also separated them from each other by destroying the unhindered intimacy they had experienced in their pre-sin existence. So, it really doesn’t surprise me to see the pathetically ignorant sin of racism exhibited in those who are separated from the one who reconciles. But, to see the sickening sin of racism from a group of people who claim to know Jesus is mind boggling, inconsistent, shameful, sinful just plain ignorant.
The church is made up of the redeemed, people who’ve been saved & transformed by the blood of Christ to reflect the glory of God to the lost world. Therefore, the church should be the place that shows the world what redeemed relationships look like between people of all races. If not here, then where?
Very few things could testify to the transforming power of the gospel more than people from multiple cultures & races worshipping together and serving & loving God & each other. This is why I don’t like segregated churches…black churches & white churches & Asian churches, etc. I know there are a few acceptable reasons why a specific ethnic group should group together for worship…like language. If wouldn’t be effective or wise for Chinese to worship in an English speaking church if they cannot speak English & there is no method of interpretation available. But, in my opinion, the excuses are few. The reasons for segregation are, if truth be told, more sinful than legitimate.
Several years ago, Amy told me she thought we needed to pray about adopting a little girl from China. I couldn’t have said “No” quicker if someone would’ve asked me if I was an Alabama fan. I not only told her we were not going to adopt; I told her I wouldn’t even pray about it. So, she went above my head & began praying. You know what happened…I now not only have a beautiful little girl from China named Jadyn, I also have an incredible little boy from China named Isaiah & a gorgeous little girl from Ethiopia named Ally Kate.
When God opened my heart to pray about adoption, I thought it was about Amy. God said, “No. It’s not about Amy.” I then thought it was about a little orphan girl who didn’t have a mommy or daddy to care for her or love her or provide for her basic needs. Again, God said, “No. It’s not about an orphan girl.” God said, “It’s about Me. It’s about what I want to teach your church & the world about My heart & My Kingdom. I want to your family to be multicultural because my Kingdom is full of people from every culture on the planet.
In Matthew 8:11-12, Jesus said, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Heaven will be full of people from every culture & color & language & ethnicity. If that’s what heaven will be like, then surely the church should give us a small reflection of heaven. If all colors will be in living in perfect harmony in heaven, then why would we segregate here on earth. What could be more beautiful or more powerful or testify more effectively to the transforming power of the gospel than people from multiple cultures & backgrounds genuinely loving God and each other?
One of the most exciting things God is doing at LifePoint Church is bringing the cultures together. We are fast becoming a multi-cultural & multi-ethnic church. We are definitely red & yellow, black & white & we are all precious in His sight. It’s my prayer that our congregation become a literal melting pot of all every culture represented in Middle Tennessee. I think nothing could reveal the transforming power of the gospel more.
By the way, LifePoint also has many interracial marriages. We have Asian/white marriages, black/white, Hispanic/white, Caribbean/white and more combinations than I can write. We even have Tennesseans married to Kentuckians, all to the glory of God.
Many people erroneously interpret God forbidding the Israelites from intermarrying with the Canaanites to mean that He forbids interracial marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth or pervert scripture more. In the Old Testament, God forbade the Israelites from marrying the Canaanites because they worshipped other gods. It had absolutely nothing to do skin color or culture and everything to with faith. It wasn’t about race; it was about religion. God restricted the Israelites from marrying the Canaanites because he didn’t want their hearts & devotion to turn from Him to false gods & worthless idols. This command is restated in the New Testament where Christians are commanded not to marry non-christians in 1 Corinthians 7:39 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
The Bible has many examples of the heros of our faith marrying women from other cultures & color. Genesis 41:50 tells us that Joseph married an Egyptian woman. Numbers 12:1 tells us that Moses was married to a Cushite woman. So, the Bible doesn’t forbid interracial marriages; it celebrates interracial marriages.
Remember, marriage is a picture of the relationship that exists between Jesus & His bride, the church. Therefore, interracial marriage brings much glory to God because it is a beautiful picture of the grace of God that saves both Jews & Gentiles, people from every culture, color & ethnicity on the planet.
My oldest son married to the most beautiful Thai girl on the planet. This brings much happiness to Amy & me &, more importantly, much glory to God. I have 4 other children, one white, two Chinese & one Ethiopian. They can marry someone of the opposite sex from any culture or color on the planet…as long as they love Jesus. It’s not the color of their skin that matters; it’s the condition of their heart.
By the way, Jesus wasn’t a white American with blond hair & blue eyes. He was a Jew with olive colored skin. If you wouldn’t want you daughter to marry Jesus or someone that looks like Him, then maybe you don’t know Him…