Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ask RC: Is it a sin to marry outside ones race?

Yes, of course. Happily, in every jurisdiction I am aware of, it is not even legally possible to marry outside ones race. Though there are some arguing that such should be legal, even the “gay” “marriage” movement, by and large, disdains the notion. The Bible is abundantly clear that marriage is only for those of the human race, and to extend the institution beyond that is wrong.

Within the circle of humanity, God does provide a number of other prohibitions. Marriage, for instance, is, according to the Bible, one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4 -5). Marriage is also only between either two believers, or two unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14). Leviticus 18 gives us the laws of consanguinity, affirming that we may not marry those who are too close kin. The Bible forbids marrying those who have been illegitimately divorced (Matthew 19:9). The only other biblical prohibition that I am aware of is that one cannot divorce, marry another spouse, and then, after a second divorce, or the death of the second spouse, remarry the first (Deuteronomy 24:4).

Does the Bible forbid marrying outside ones culture, ones skin color, ones nation? By no means. Deuteronomy 21: 11-14 gives explicit warrant for a Jewish man to take a wife from among the women of a conquered nation. Though not as compelling, we in turn have biblical examples of godly men who married outside their national identity- Moses and his Cushite wife (Numbers 12:1), and of course Boaz and Ruth.

There have, in the past, been fine and godly men who have argued otherwise. There are likely some fine and godly men who would still so argue. The Bible, however, despite the level of detail to which it does go on whom we may or may not marry, does not so argue. The ancient creeds of the church make no such argument. The great confessional statements of the Reformation make no such argument.

Some have argued that my own position is grounded in worldliness. Those outside the church are always seeking to break down barriers, to deconstruct cultures. Miscegenation, my critics would argue, plays right into the hands of the political and theological left. I would offer two retorts. First, a healthy understanding of the antithesis, of the great battle between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman doesn’t mean we are to be reactionary, that we are to embrace the opposite of what the world embraces always and everywhere. We aren’t called to walking on our hands because the unbelievers walk on their feet. Because those outside the kingdom of God retain the remnants of the image of God, we should expect to agree with them from time to time.

Second, even a cursory glance of the literature demonstrates that it is actually those who argue against marrying outside ones culture, that were most influenced by worldly wisdom. Darwin’s theory of evolution created a paradigm by which even Christians began to judge one “race” as genetically superior to another. It is true enough that some cultures are better than others. What makes one culture superior, however, isn’t genetics, but the impact of the Christian faith. Low levels of melanin didn’t build Europe, the gospel did. Matching levels of melanin in turn won’t make a godly marriage. The gospel will. Away with legalism that adds to God’s perfect law.

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14 comments:

Nil Desperandum said...

Addressing the Biblical fallacies in this post:

http://faithandheritage.com/2011/12/a-response-to-r-c-sproul-jr-is-interracial-marriage-a-sin/

Cart said...

Great article Nil.

Kevin Paul Alawine said...

I enjoyed the article Nil and patiently await Mr. Sproul's response.

Regenerated4life said...

Excellent rebuttal Nil! Faith and Heritage is a such a great resource! Keep up the good fight!

jawsh said...

Still waiting for Sproul's response. Nil Desperandum ate his NeoMarxist lunch in his Faith and Heritage article.

DiverCity said...

Excellent article, Nil. The cultural pressure on Mr. Sproul is heavy indeed and, consequently, I doubt he will further engage on this topic.

Ruth said...

Excellent article, Mr Sproul.

May the Lord sustain you and your family at this time.

From New Zealand,

Ruth.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sproul,
I came to this site for another purpose and found this article.
Thank you for your well written and gracious answer to a question which is asked more often than one would think.
I read Mr. Nil Desperandum's response and I am flabbergasted at his unkindness and ignorance.
My husband and I are not of the same skin color, but we are both of the family of God, adopted heirs of the Kingdom by His grace and mercy.
Take care and blessings on you and your dear family.
We are praying for you all.

Nathanael said...

"unkindness and ignorance", funny, that's the same thing homosexuals accuse Christians of for not supporting their unions.

Anonymous said...

Great article, R.C.

Anonymous said...

RC Sproul you have written a beautiful article. Unfortunately, you are in the minority when it comes to Christians in general. In order to justify your beliefs, you may also have misinterpreted both the Bible and history as well. However, I have chosen to marry outside of my race (and nationality) and so it is comforting to see that not every Christian believes that whites marrying blacks is a sin and an abomination.

But now I need to point out the points I see as not congruent with Christianity and my understanding of history.

Most American Christians are likely to look at us and our beautiful baby daughter as being weird or unnatural. Many (especially Protestant Southerners) have been taught in church to view us with disgust and religiously inspired indignation. The idea that this would have been any better before Adam Smith's 1859 book is wrong. I think that only a tiny group of liberal New Englanders would have countenanced racial mixing in 19th century America. I would have been hanged by the good Christian men of the time and my wife probably raped and murdered herself. God knows what they would have done with our child. Some pious American Christians today seethe with angst over not being able to do the same. (faithandheritage.com spells that point of view out for all to see)

As such, my family generally avoids religious Christians. We are married, but they view us as living in sin. Add a little bit of liquor, a length of rope, and a pick-up truck and these groups can easily turn murderous with their biblically inspired hatred.

As a parent and husband, it's my duty to protect my family which means I need to stay clear of places where these types congregate.

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Ed Grifenhagen said...

First of all, I am a white and my wife is white. With that said, I really find it ludicrous that anyone, and I mean ANY 1, who professes to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit could justify the belief that interracial relationships are biblically forbidden. There are, fundamentally, two types of people on the planet...lost sinners and saved sinners.
The Scriptures, properly interpreted using sound hermeneutical principles, absolutely pictures marriage as an image of Christ's union with the Church(all true believers) and, as such, marriage is a spiritual union. The logical result of this heretical view(that interracial marriages are forbidden) is the absurd belief that heaven is somehow all white.
The Old Testament prohibitions are clearly addressing the issue of idols and the worship of the One true God. The New Testament clearly teaches us that faith in Christ ought to break down all racial barriers (Gal. 3:23-29, Eph. 2:11-22). The problem is that there is always a huge delta between what "ought to be" and what "is" when sinful man is involved.