Theologian and Desiring God founder John Piper says contrary to how he was raised and once thought, interracial marriage among Christians should not only be permitted but celebrated in the Church.
The former senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and best-selling author articulated several reasons why Christians should support marriage across racial lines in an interview posted on his website Desiring God on Monday.
First, in God's economy, only one race exists: the human race, all of whom descended from Adam, and, according to Genesis, are made in the image of God. And when addressing the men of Athens in Acts 17, the Apostle Paul espoused this view.
"[R]ooted in that theology of creation, [the Apostle Paul] says astonishingly to these arrogant ethnocentric Athenians in Acts 17:26, 'He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the Earth.'
"And I think the point there, the implication in the context of these proud Greeks who boasted of their ethnic purity over the barbarians, was that those barbarians out there are family. You better get over this. You are all part of one race, rooted in one great, great, great grandfather, and your arrogance of separation is sinful," Piper said.
"Being human in God's image is 10 million and any racial distinction is one when you talk about what is important in life," he added.
Moreover, in the person of Christ, social and ethnic barriers are no longer impediments to fellowship.
"In the old humanity, the deceive factor in human unity was being created in the image of God. In the new humanity, the decisive factor in human unity is that Christ is all and in all. To make racial and ethnic distinctions decisive in relations is to oppose the truth of what God is creating in Christ," Piper said.
The only kind of intermarriage that the Bible inveighs against for Christians is between a Christian and non-Christian.
2 Corinthians 6:14 reads: "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"
And interestingly enough, in the Old Testament, God forbade the Israelites from intermarrying with pagan peoples, an interracial marriage takes place that, when criticized, God expresses his displeasure.
In Numbers 12, Moses marries a Cushite woman. Cushites hailed from a region just below Ethiopia. The word for Cushite is used interchangeably with Ethiopian in Jeremiah 13:23 where it reads, "Can an Ethiopian change his skin?" meaning Ethiopians are dark-skinned.
When Moses' sister criticizes Moses marrying a black woman, God strikes her with leprosy.
"The Bible describes as turning her hands as white as 'snow' (Numbers 12:10), as if to say: Miriam, you value light skin? I will give you light skin. At least we know from this story that God is not pleased with Miriam's criticism," Piper said.
In a 1967 landmark decision in the United States, Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage, called anti-miscegenation statutes, were unconstitutional.
According to a 2015 Pew study, support for interracial marriage continues to rise in the U.S. with 37 percent of Americans saying in 2014 that people of different races marrying each other was a good thing for society, a 13-point increase from a survey four years prior.