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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

18 July 2005

Mixed-Race Marriages

Q: What does the Bible say about mixed-race marriages?

A: According to the Bible, this is a non-issue. Scripture focuses on mixed-faith, not mixed-race marriage. This latter God completely forbade to Israel in the Old Testament and He doesn’t encourage it among Jewish or Gentile Christians in the New Testament.

Indeed, we’re hard-pressed to find Scripture dealing with any aspect of race. The Bible speaks of tribes, nations, and peoples.

Dividing people into racial categories rarely happens in a social vacuum. Special interests either take advantage of existing distinctions in order to enhance or marginalize of specific groups or else invent new distinctions to support existing prejudices. One such example is the Nordic theory developed by Joseph Deniker and popularized by William Z. Ripley. Based upon speculation rather than either Scripture or hard science, Nordic theory mutated into to Nordicism. This form of racism greatly informed Adolph Hitler’s early thinking through The Passing of the Great Race, or the Racial Basis of European History, a book by the eugenicist Madison Grant.

Holy Scripture doesn’t know racism, and doesn’t allow us to stereotype and subjugate based upon “race” or “ethnicity.” Perhaps that’s why Hitler wrote Grant and told him that The Passing of the Great Race was the German Führer’s “Bible.” Indeed, race theory and racial divisions are much more a part of secularist, evolutionary theorizing than of the Christian Faith. Through its connection with eugenics, such flawed thinking has more in common with the atheistic “pro-choice” movement than it does with Biblical Christianity.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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