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Old 11-12-2005, 10:33 AM
rushdoony rushdoony is offline
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Default The Bible and Racism


CONCLUSION: God's prohibition against intermarriage with the Canaanite and other peoples of the land was not based on racial but rather the religious and societal practices of those peoples. Using this prohibition to support racist theories of superiority or segregationist policy is inaccurate. A further proof that the covenant was not 'racial' in nature is found in the accepting and honoring of non-Israelite (and non-Semitic) people in Scripture:
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1 John 2:9
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.
The Greek word for brother (adelphos) is used widely in the New Testament to denote a neighbor (Luke 10:29), the 'brethren' of Jesus bound by belief in Him (Matthew 25:40 and Mark 3:35), and is widened to include all human believers and angels (Revelation 22:9). Thus, hatred of any person for any reason, including race, is sinful.
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Full article:
The Bible and Racism

The Bible is clear in teaching the equal opportunity of all races to join God's family by accepting God's laws and principles. There are no Scriptures which support the separation of races or the superiority of one racial group over the other. The Bible translation used is the New International Version (NIV).

SECTION 1: CREATION AND RACE

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 2:22
Then the Lord made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.
These two verses illustrate that in the beginning there were two people, obviously of one 'race.' Just as both were made in God's image, so would their offspring be. Thus, all mankind is equal in the sight of God as all are offspring of Adam and Eve.

Genesis 1:24
And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds..."
The God-given natural law for each creature to reproduce according to its 'kind' may be applied to man: since there were only two humans, Adam and Eve, and all people descended from them, there is no Biblical mandate against racial intermarriage.

Genesis 9:1
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth."
With the great flood, the only human life remaining on planet earth was Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives. The racial makeup of these wives is not known or mentioned in the Bible. If, however, racial characteristics are physical variations God allowed to help different peoples adapt to the habitat in the varied regions of the world, these wives could be the sources of the three races. Some scholars have postulated a racial breakdown of the three sons, with the Semitic peoples (such as the Jews), descending from Shem, the black peoples from Ham and white peoples from Japeth.

Genesis 9:24-25
When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said: "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers."
Because Ham means 'dark' or 'black,' some have incorrectly theorized that Ham was cursed with blackness because of the sin of the 'youngest son.' Since Canaan is specifically named as the guilty party, it is likely that the crime (likely a homosexual act or action) was committed by him personally. The 'youngest son' refers to the grandson, a common literary practice in Biblical writings. This curse definitely does not cover all of the Hamitic peoples, just the Canaanites. Additionally, all Hamitic peoples were not 'black' or negro: the Babylonians were a Hamitic people.

Genesis 11:9
This is why it is called Babel - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
The Tower of Babel is sited by some as the origin of different racial groups, but this challenges the specific nature of God's action in relation to language. The racial differences which result from living in different regions of the earth may have been a result of this scattering, but were not part of God's act at this time.

Leviticus 19:19
"Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material."
Mating of different kinds of animals can produce infertile offspring, planting seeds together lead to problems in harvesting and different kinds of clothe create a problem in cleaning and care of the fabric. These are practical laws... there is no context to assume it applies toward humans. Even if it did, all mankind has two common ancestors and thus is classed as one 'kind.'

SECTION 2: JEWISH PROHIBITIONS AGAINST INTERMARRIAGE

Genesis 15:16
"In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."
God did not give the Israelites the land of an 'innocent' or 'inferior' people (the Canaanites), but rather of a wicked people whose religious practices were an abomination to God. This verse shows that God delayed the entry of Israel into the land until the magnitude of the Amorites' sin justified their annihilation.

Exodus 34:15-16
Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land (Canaanites and related peoples); for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you and you will eat their sacrifices. And when you choose some of their daughters as wives for your sons and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.
This is the initial warning to Israel about intermarriage with the peoples of Canaan whose abominable pagan religious practices were the reason God was giving them the land. Adopting those practices would turn Israel from God, and this was the reason for prohibition of intermarriage and contact in general (Deuteronomy 7 expands on this as does Exodus 23:31-33). Numbers 25:1-9 records a plague sent from God which killed 24,000 Israelites as a punishment for sexual relations and idol worship with Moabite and Midianite women, stopped only by the spearing of a brazen couple by Phineas.

Judges 3:6
They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
This passage summarizes the reason behind the events throughout the Book of Judges: the Canaanite people left behind as a 'test' (Judges 3:4) of the obedience of the Israelites to remain separate, entice Israel into idolatry and pagan worship, resulting in God allowing a foreign oppressor to assault them. The repentance of the Israelites and turning to God lasts only a short time, and the Israelites again return to their sin and disobedience

1 Kings 11:1-3
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharoah's daughter - Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, "You must no intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.
The 'greatest' King of Israel serves as the greatest example of the result of the sin of intermarriage with pagan women. The subsequent idolatry of the soon-to-be-divided nation of Israel/Judah, which led to their eventual conquest and removal from the land by foreign empires, is directly traceable to disobeying God's commands concerning intermixing with the pagan peoples.

Nehemiah 13:26-27
"Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned...Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?"

Ezra 9:2; 10-12
"They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness."
"But now, O our God, what we say after this? For we have disregarded the commands you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of this peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. Therefore do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons...
The reason for remaining separate from the people is reiterated while post-captivity leaders Ezra and Nehemiah deal with the seemingly unending problem of intermarriage with pagan peoples. The term 'holy race,' or 'seed' as in the King James, does not designate a 'racial' group of people but rather is meant to designate the unique status of the Jewish people as a religio-ethnic group

CONCLUSION: God's prohibition against intermarriage with the Canaanite and other peoples of the land was not based on racial but rather the religious and societal practices of those peoples. Using this prohibition to support racist theories of superiority or segregationist policy is inaccurate. A further proof that the covenant was not 'racial' in nature is found in the accepting and honoring of non-Israelite (and non-Semitic) people in Scripture:
Numbers 12:21 - Moses marries an Ethiopian woman, resulting in Aaron and Miriam challenging his leadership; God forcefully supports Moses with no condemnation of the marriage
Matthew 1:5 - Rahab, the Canaanite from Jericho, and Ruth, the Moabite, are part of Jesus' genealogy
2 Samuel 3:3 - David's wife Macaah was a Geshurite, an Aramean
1 Chronicles 11:26-47 - the list of David's honored Mighty Men included Zelek the Ammonite, Ithmah the Moabite and Uriah the Hittite, all non-Israelite peoples.


SECTION 3: THE SAMARITANS

2 Kings 17:28
So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord. Nevertheless, each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled, and set them up in the shrines the people of Samaria had made at the high places.
The 'Samaritans' were actually foreign peoples that Assyria brought in to populate the Northern Kingdom of Israel (also called Samaria) after the native Israelites had been deported. The mixing of their own pagan religious practices with the corrupted 'Israelite' religion which Jeroboam established at Bethel, led the Israelites to avoid contact with the Samaritans as the new 'Canaanites.' Their racial/ethnic makeup was not the issue.

John 4:21-23
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks."
In His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus reveals the true nature of the point of hostility between the two groups of people (true verses false worship of God), and the ultimate goal of God to have all, regardless of race or ethnic group, to worship Him together.


SECTION 4: The NEW COVENANT
Matthew 28:19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations...
While Jesus' personal ministry was spent with the Jewish nation (Matthew 15:24), He did minister to non-Jews (Gentiles) who called upon him (the 'woman of Canaan' in Matthew 15:22, the Samaritan leper in Luke 17:16, and the Roman centurion in Matthew 8). The New Covenant, however, was for all people and the disciples were given the Great Commission to spread it to all, regardless of race.

Romans 4:16-17
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations..."
After writing that all men (Jew and Gentile in Romans 3:9-10) are equally guilty of sin, Paul writes that the true heirs of Abraham and his promise are those people of all nations who believe.

Acts 8:14; 8:34-39; 11:1
These verses show how the Samaritans, a black Ethiopian and white Roman Gentiles receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Ethiopian is a direct refutation of racists propaganda that declares blacks are not 'human.'

1 John 2:9
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.
The Greek word for brother (adelphos) is used widely in the New Testament to denote a neighbor (Luke 10:29), the 'brethren' of Jesus bound by belief in Him (Matthew 25:40 and Mark 3:35), and is widened to include all human believers and angels (Revelation 22:9). Thus, hatred of any person for any reason, including race, is sinful.

James 2:9
But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
James is specifically addressing favoritism shown to wealthier individuals who visit the church. This command, however, is applicable to showing favoritism for any characteristic, including race.

CONCLUSION: The New Testament emphasizes that all men are equally guilty of sin and equally able to be saved by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. No where is racial separation or superiority taught or condoned. The interaction of Jews and Gentiles, the 'segregation' of the day in Israel, was specifically condemned (Galatians 2:11-12).
http://www.memorare.com/defense/racism.html

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