Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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An inquiry from a college student
Hey Pastor John,
My roommate and I were discussing interracial marriages a few weeks ago, and the theme continues popping up around me. What does the Bible say about it? Is it a bad thing? The population is becoming increasingly abundant with interracial families, and it is apparent here at college.
Paul told the saints in Corinth that it is best not to marry at all. Nevertheless, he added, it is no sin to marry if a believing couple really want to do so. To those believers who decide to marry, Paul gave his blessing, but then he warned them that all married couples experience “trouble in the flesh”. Now, consider that Paul’s admonition applied to all marriages, even under the best of circumstances, that is, even when two children of God marry who are walking uprightly together before the Lord. So, even in a best-case scenario, in which a couple are perfectly “equally yoked”, there will be “trouble in the flesh”. This is due to the inherent differences between the male and female segments of our species; those differences make conflict unavoidable, but in Christ, they are kept small.
Every difference in a marriage that is added to the male/female difference makes for more “troubles in the flesh”. For example, if one spouse in a marriage grew up very poor while the other grew up in a wealthy home, they will have troubles in the flesh that a couple who have similar economic backgrounds will probably not have. The same can be said for significant age differences, or differences in educational levels, or differences in political or social interests, and so forth. The more differences, the more “trouble” a couple will experience. The troubles can be handled well or poorly, but they will be there, and they will not go away on their own.
The troubles inherent in marriage can only be magnified when a couple adds to the male/female difference the difference of race. Especially is this true in our culture concerning black/white couples, where conflict between blacks and whites is historic and where the world-views of the two cultures often differ greatly. That said, the point must be made that interracial couples can be dedicated to Christ, cope well with their cultural differences, and be very happy. The love of God can cover anything that makes for trouble.
Over the years, I have been approached by a number of young couples (and some not so young) to let me know that they were considering marriage. When asked my opinion of their plans, I have had the same answer to almost all of them, namely, “If you can stand each other, it’s fine with me.” That is how I feel. If two believers can stand each other, and want to marry, I don’t consider it any of my business if they do so, no matter who they are. Still, I try to caution them to expect some troubles along the way. The prophet Daniel saw in a vision that as this age drew to a close, “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men, but they shall not cleave to one another, even as iron is not mixed with clay” (Dan. 2:43). This intermingling of races is being promoted on every side in our time, but without the love of God, the unions that are made by man’s will and lust will not endure, just as Daniel predicted.
In my studies on the subject, I have read that Alexander the Great attempted to unite his empire through various means, one of which was commanding his soldiers to marry women from conquered nations. In one such ceremony, I am told, he himself married the daughter of the defeated Persian king, while ten thousand of his soldiers wedded other Persian women. His efforts affected the history of the world, of course, but the marriages were by and large massive failures, if what I have read is true. The cultural, historical, and social differences between Greece and Persia were great and many, and they produced many “troubles in the flesh”. Just a few minutes ago on the radio, I heard a Christian teacher say that because of man’s fallen nature, peace in a home is not the natural order for marriage in this world; there must be divine influence. This is true. God’s grace must be upon us in order for us to have a happy home, and where fleshly differences abound, more grace is required, more wisdom, more righteousness, and more patience and faith.
Of course, there are racial groups other than blacks and whites, but in our culture, those two are the most prominent, and in my judgment, the black/white combination here in America makes for the greatest number of “troubles” that a couple must overcome. The differences between whites and Asians seem not so great, and the difference between blacks and Asians does not seem so great either. But the black/white divide in this culture is very great, and I would strongly advise any young person not to pursue that kind of marriage, not so much on Biblical grounds as on the grounds of common sense, to avoid many troubles.
I know that you are seeing at college a lot of interracial dating. This is because interracial anything is promoted to the hilt in this culture. The government has outlawed many of the racial divides that once existed in this society, and businesses and schools at every level, as well as the entire entertainment industry, promote the intermingling of races as a natural and desirable thing, and they all sternly impose that mindset on the people. If they promoted godliness with the same fervor as they do interracial unions, there might be some hope in it, but God is for the most part left out of the equation. A day of reckoning is coming.
My opinion of this present drive in our culture to increase interracial marriages is the same as always concerning any couple, to wit, “If you can stand each other, it’s ok with me.” However, what Daniel revealed to us is that in the long run, they won’t be able to stand each other and the current experiment in mingling the various seeds of men will fail and that a lot of heartache will follow.
Please feel free to send follow-up questions if you have them, and keep up the good work in college.