The most recent issue of the Criswell Theological Review has just been released, and its theme is interracial marriage. Essays treat themes such as the “curse of Ham” and “interethnic marriages in the New Testament.” Contributors include J. Daniel Hays, Craig Keener, Edwin M. Yamauchi, Russell D. Moore, and George Yancey. In his editorial, R. Alan Streett writes:
“With the inauguration of President Barack Obama, a new era of race relations has begun in America. This child of a racially mixed marriage has captured the highest office of the land and the imaginations of people around the world. One cannot help but notice the complexion of America is changing. . .
“The church, however, still struggles with interracial relationships, if not in theory, at least in practice. While Jesus loves the little children without distinctionâ€”red and yellow, black and whiteâ€”his church, for the most part, reflects an equal but separate model of worship. Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week; but, things are slowly beginning to change.”
The editorial and the article by J. Daniel Hays are already available from the website. To order this issue or to get a subscription, visit www.criswelljournal.com.
Here is the table of contents:
-R. Alan Streett
“A Biblical Perspective on Interracial Marriage”
-J. Daniel Hays
“Interethnic Marriages in the New Testament (Matt 1:3-6; Acts7:29; 16:1-3; cf. 1 Cor. 7:14)”
“The Curse of Ham”
-Edwin M. Yamauchi
“Interracial Marriage and Emergent Truth”
-Russell D. Moore
“Statement About Race at Bob Jones University”
“Unequally Yoked by Race or by Faith”
“An Interview with Rodney Woo”
-R. Alan Streett
Furthermore, the common cultural ban on intermarriage lies at the heart of the racial division in the church. White Christians who say that they are not prejudiced but who vehemently oppose interracial marriages are not being honest. They are still prejudiced, and I would suggest that they are out of line with the biblical teaching on this subject. In addition, this theology applies not only to black/white interracial marriages, but equally to
intermarriages between any two ethnic groups within the church throughout the world, especially in those regions where the church has inherited strong interracial animosities from the culture at large.
The statement about Bob Jones University and race is not online, so I don’t know what it says. But it strikes me as an ugly mistake that they held onto a ban against interracial dating until this decade.
The heart of the racial division in the church is the extreme liberalism and social justice theme of almost all black churches. 97% of blacks voted for BO-the most pro-abortion candidate ever. That had to include a lot of church goers. Most such churches are void of any sound doctrine.
That you would blame African-Americans for racial division is myopic to the highest degree. Do you know what it’s like to be enslaved for decades, to be rooted up from your home land and forced to become a slave? If I recall correctly, it was white people who enslaved these black people and continued there hatred even up to this very day. It was white people who made black people stand up on buses when they wanted a seat. It was white people who made black people drink out of different water fountains. It was white people who wanted black people at different schools than their children.
The racial division in the church has its roots in white supremacy and has nothing to do with black churches. That you would even say that communicates your near-sightedness and racism. Perhaps if your race had such an oppressive past, you would vote for a president with your skin color as well, no matter what his politics were.
Social justice is demanded for Christians, it is not “liberalism” and it is not an option. I am so glad your kind is dying out of American Christianity. It is much, much better for it.
Eddie, although you do make a valid point, historically, this has not been the case. In fact, if you look at why some predominantly white denominations have split, it has been over questions of segregation. Even in our current society, it is easy for whites to go to white churches and blacks to go to black churches, due to reasons of comfort or even hidden or overt racism.
Thus, the blame historically leans more towards white churches and denominations, but, as Christians, both black and white most realize that we both have issues with racism, and, therefore, we must overcome these issues if our churches will ever represent what the body of Christ truly looks like–diverse! Thus, it would be wrong to put the sole blame on one particular race.
If different races cannot worship together in the context of the local church, I’m sure the unbelieving world will not be impressed.
“If I recall correctly, it was white people who enslaved these black people…”
You recall incorrectly. It was Africans who enslaved fellow Africans, then sold them to white Westerners.
Eddie makes a solid point. As it stands right now, the majority of the most serious racism is either in liberal academia (the prejudice of low expectations) or in the liberation theology churches (such as Rev. Wright’s). Unfortunately, those churches are unable to separate their racial allegiances from their allegiance to God and His truth. That 98% of blacks voted for a candidate who is utterly against their own views on morality as it applies to innocent life confirms that. The pendulum has swung too far… the white church has largely left the worst parts of their racist past behind, but the black church has taken up the charge. The next three decades need to be focused on reconciling the Church in the other direction, particularly the liberation/social justice theology wing.
Thankfully, history has shown us that churches that go liberal in theology die out, contrary to John’s opinion.
Apparently you have never been to an African-American church. As a white male, I have never seen more love and hospitality in a church setting than when I have attended predominantly black churches!
You honestly believe that whites don’t go to black churches because of their “bad theology” ? Racism never enters the equation?
Your last post was absolute drivel.
lol… okay, it’s drivel then. Yes, I have been in a black church. And notice, since you apparently didn’t bother to read my ENTIRE comment, that I specifically said “liberation theology” churches. I’m not saying all black churches are like this, plenty have ducks properly aligned (even if they still divorce their ethnic politics from their faith). And since when does the love and hospitality in a church mean that a church can’t follow bad theology? I’m sure Gene Robinson’s church seems quite welcoming to certain people. We’re talking theology here, dude. One can’t just have love without truth, or truth without love. They are both required, especially love.
As for white racism… sure, I’m certain there is still some level of it in many white Christians (it can’t completely die away overnight). However, it is so incredible politically incorrect to be a white racist that I am equally certain that the level of racism is quite low. On the flip side, it is quite politically correct to be racist towards whites. That you apparently can’t see that is troubling…
That said, there isn’t much we can do about wishy washy black churches (other than encourage them to leave the Jesse Jacksons of the world to their racism and hatred). The largely “white” church needs to just reach out with open arms to all ethnicities and build toward a truly diverse and color-blind Church. Don’t run from urbanity, embrace it!
You are certain that the level of racism on the part of whites is quite low?
Do you agree that Bob Jones University only recently rolled back a racist policy, under political pressure for their candidate?
I live in small-town Indiana. I am a transplant from monochromatic small-town Colorado. I have been assured by the people here that a black pastor could never successfully pastor a church in the town where my church is at – not enough white people would come to it.
I am not excusing politically correct reverse-discrimination. It is just as wrong. But to deny the role of white Christians in the problem – to lay the blame for racism at the feet of those who only in our lifetimes could not drink at the same drinking fountains as white people – I think you are not being intellectually honest. I am appalled, shocked, disgusted every time I see videos from a scant 40 years ago of white police physically and verbally abusing the black marchers in Alabama.
I don’t recall where you live. I think you’ve mentioned it in previous comments. But next time you are in the south, bring up the subject of a black person driving a beat-up car too slowly in front of them, or a black person that is not doing a good job in the check-out lane, or a white girl dating a black boy. My experience with those subjects is that the supposedly non-existant racism appears out of nowhere.
This link is not for the faint of heart. Notice that Cameron was only pardoned in 1993 by Indiana’s current govenor.
(This is just one random place to link to for this story. It is covered other places as well. This happened in Indiana, the state I live in, which brings it closer to home for me.)
My point is that the racism that caused this kind of horrible, horrible sin is not dead and it is not the fault of bad theology in black churches. In fact, many white Christians are still more racist than they realize. Racism is not a new sin. Paul stood against it in his day and I believe that if he were alive today, he would stand against it still. And we should, too. It’s fine to call out bad theology on the part of black churches, but don’t pretend that “heart of the racial division in the church is the extreme liberalism and social justice theme of almost all black churches” as Eddie said. I didn’t take him seriously – I thought he was a troll.
I’m from Minnesota (went to college in Texas though), so I’m sure there is plenty of significant levels of racism in the South still, but it’s dying fast. I’ve never met a person younger than 50 who thought that Bob Jones U was anything but a sorry excuse for a Christian college. You refer yourself to videos from 40 years ago. Fewer and fewer people remember those days. The white against black racism is going to largely die out in the next 20 years as that generation dies. So I’m not terribly concerned with it. That’s not to say that less intentional racism (I don’t particularly like that word applied in this case) of natural segregation isn’t still running strong, but that’s not so much a case of hate as comfort zones. People are most comfortable around other people of like backgrounds and culture.
On the other hand, black on white racism (as well as the anti-minority racism inherent in liberal political ideology) is growing (or at least being sustained) because the intellectual elite and media feed it. Christians shouldn’t live in the past and worry about a dying issue when there is a real and vibrantly alive issue currently.
Matt, the link you gave us references an event from 1930! Talk about living in the past, that’s 79 years ago… everyone involved in that lynching is now dead or on death’s door.
I hope you are right that white racism is dying. I’m not so sure. I still see forms of it and I see parents passing it on to their kids. Again – a black pastor cannot expect to pastor a church in my town – that’s a crying shame! Thankfully, things are much, much better than they used to be.
One place where I see something that concerns me that is related to this is attitudes towards immigrants and illegal aliens. It’s one thing to make laws that one thinks are best for our country. I am not opposed to that. There is no point in killing the goose that lays the golden egg, so to speak.
However, in discussions with some of my family members, I have seen that their number one concern is that they are being inconvienced by foreigners who speak a different language and have different social conventions (they push in front of you, invade your personal space, etc.). I pressed some of my relatives to ask if they were more concerned about these people’s (Hispanics) eternal souls than their own convenience. No joke, I was told that these people should go home where they belong and we should send missionaries who are called.
Methinks James would instruct us not to show favoritism and Paul would instruct us to take the gospel to them just like we would anybody else – even if they are in our way at WalMart!
It’s our grandparents generation, brother. Not as long ago as you imply.
Notice that Cameron was officially pardoned in 1993 – not so long ago. (I wrongly stated above that it was by Indiana’s current govenor. oops! Mitch Daniels is the current govenor. It was Evan Bayh that pardoned Cameron.)
The problem with pretending it was all so long ago is: at what point in that past 80 years did this racism that committed this brutal act, and there were others, too – at what point did that racism vanish? Was it 60 years ago? 40 years ago? The year I was born?
You say it’s living in the past. I’m saying Bob Jones only recently pulled a racist policy, a black pastor cannot expect to be senior pastor at a church in my town, my family members are more worried about being inconvenienced at WalMart than they are for the souls of Hispanics, and guess what – in one form or another there has been racism since the early church 2,000 years ago. I expect it will be an issue until the Lord returns. The onus is on us to keep shepherding people towards loving others more than ourselves.
Hey – I’m going to let it rest. I need to get to work. My point is that this is a problem and it needs to be addressed. I think James and Paul speak to it. I think the article that Denny linked is right on. I hope I didn’t get too riled up. It pushed a button. If we simply do what Jesus said the problem will be solved: love our neighbor as ourself and love God with all our heart. Easier said than done.
Amen, Matt, regarding immigrants. I don’t discuss immigration much since it’s not a big issue here in Minnesota nor to me, but I always try to couch my discussion of it in terms of the injustice it represents to those who are LEGAL immigrants and in terms of the terrible toll it takes on the general population (for example, a bunch of kids were killed in a car accident by a Mexican illegal immigrant woman last year in rural Minnesota last year even though she had previously been arrested but never deported – she didn’t even know how to drive an automatic!!). The Christian church has to realize that it must balance law with love. We should support the laws of this country (not just because they are laws, but because they are RIGHT), but we should also be ready and willing to care for the illegal immigrants caught in the legal crossfire. As Dennis Prager says, I don’t fault them for coming here; if I were in their shoes, I would want to come here too. Maybe that means turning an illegal immigrant over to the police, but only if you’re willing to help meet their physical needs?
“Itâ€™s our grandparents generation, brother. Not as long ago as you imply.”
See, some of that is our own cultural and familial context. In 1930, my grandparents were preparing to go spend their lives in Nigeria serving black Africans, so I can’t relate. That said…
I agree, anti-immigrant racism is a problem (though it will never be to the level of the anti-black racism from last century).
I was only discussing white vs. black racism, as that seemed the primary issue at hand. I see it dying a rapid death, as our culture won’t let it survive (even in the South). Sure, you’ll always have enclaves of hate or racial discomfort. But let’s not make the exception the rule.
John Holmberg-No, and neither do you. Your victim mentality is the problem. And you’re claim about social justice is baseless.
Mike-racism is not the problem; it’s just an excuse to blame your problems on someone else. The problem is children born out of wedlock births (80% in the black community), crime (blacks murder about 15000 other blacks per year and black men rape about 16000 white women per year, white on black numbers are tiny), abortion (almost half the babies aborted are black), and I could go on. And the black church is not addressing these issues from a biblical standpoint. Most black ministers don’t have any formal training in theology and most of those that do have it from apostate/liberal schools.
Scott-Why would I want to go to a church, and thus support it, where the minister endorses a Godless Marxist pro-abortion presidential candidate and sit beside people, of any race, who support him?
You can, and will, call me names but I’ve said nothing that isn’t true and can’t be easily verified. Show me where black ministers are routinely speaking about lust and adultery or condemning abortion. How many will condemn, without qualification, the murder of four white cops by a black man in Oakland-I said without qualifying it.
Immigration??? We’re wrong to be upset about 12 murders per day, 12 others killed in traffic accidents, a huge increase in gang activity, and the destruction of our schools, prisons and hospitals? Do any of you know the facts on this issue or have you fallen for the sob stories on the evening news?
As for MN, you do have a tremendous problem with African Muslims immigrating LEGALLY to the US and murdering, robbing, raping, etc. Not to mention their use of welfare. Wake up.
FYI-There are black men and women at my church. If you were to ask them why they choose to attend a church that is mostly white, they would tell you EXACTLY what I did.
Wow, everyone! Eddie seems to have everything figured out!
Let’s not associate with anyone who thinks differently from us, let’s kick out all the immigrants (legal and illegal and thus not practice the biblical principal of hospitality…even though most of our families at one point were immigrants), and let’s turn a blind eye to the racism (overt or not) that still underlies much of American evangelicalism.
On a less comical note, I propose the true problem of racial division with Christendom is the sinful human heart. We all have our preferences, biases, and stereotypes, and the root of them all is our sinful nature. Therefore, before we point fingers, let’s start with our own conditions before we can ever point the finger at others. As Luke 6: 41-42 notes, “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”
I did not say not to associate with anyone I disagree with. To do so would be impossible. However, I will not worship with anyone who does not adhere to sound doctrine. Nor do I wish to see my church compromise sound doctrine to make the bean counters happy. We canâ€™t all sit under the same roof and artificial integration has never worked but has instead caused innumerable problems. How well do you think the Pittsburg Steelers would do next season if you liberals applied the same race/sex requirements to them that you do to police departments? I mean, shouldnâ€™t the Steelers â€œlookâ€ like the city they play in? The point is, who I go to church with is not your business.
As for immigration, you apparently donâ€™t understand the economics and crime related to the situation. Did you know that 33% of federal inmates are illegal aliens? Do you the agenda of La Raza? Have you ever even heard of â€œThe Raceâ€? Do you know that all the 911 hijackers were immigrants? Do you care that we are seeing a reemergence of long ago defeated diseases in this country due to legal and illegal immigration? Do understand that Mohammed taught Muslims to be peaceful until their numbers made using force to spread Islam realistic. Thatâ€™s right-it will soon be convert or die. In other words, Americans are dying because certain people believe we are required to let every third world refugee into the US regardless of the cost in lives and money? You liberals sure are generous with other peopleâ€™s property and safety!
We have been and are hospitable in the US. But those words donâ€™t apply to invaders and donâ€™t require us to break our own laws and sacrifice the safety of our neighbors. And if I see racism Iâ€™ll do my best to put a stop to it. But racism is not the problem in the modern church. Itâ€™s just an excuse used by liberals to attack conservative churches. If you are so concerned with sin in the church, which I doubt, then worry about this: According to a recent survey, 65 percent of American Christians (including 47 percent of Evangelicals) do indeed think that many different religions can lead to eternal life. Among these Christians, 80 percent cited one non-Christian faith as a route to salvation; 61 percent named two or more. Nearly half of Christians interviewed do not believe in the existence of Satan, one-third believe Jesus sinned while on earth, and two-fifths say they don’t have a responsibility to share their faith with others. Sixty-nine percent of all non-Jews say Judaism can lead to eternal life and 52 percent of non-Muslims say that of Islam. Forty-two percent of religious Americans also say atheists are able to find eternal life. I hope those are problems we can all agree on, but I doubt that too.
Let’s all give a round of applause to Eddie! He has mastered the art of using Wikipedia!
Hip, Hip, Hooray!
Mike, your pathetic attitude is aggravating… you preach to us about Luke 6, yet you won’t take it to heart. Very sad.
Eddie, thank you for your willingness to share, even in the face of intense hatred and vitriol.
And you find that to be a Christ-like attitude?
Again, it comes back to the sinful condition of the heart, including my own.
I will not call your names. As for your theology and views on race….