Yes, Interracial Marriage IS Un-Biblical [But Not Un-Christian]

Yes, Interracial Marriage IS Un-Biblical [But Not Un-Christian] May 7, 2019

You probably read the story this week where a Georgia politician faced calls to resign based on this statement:

“…when you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”

Councilman Jim Cleveland, also told reporters “I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage.”

Now, before we go any further, I probably need to say that I think this man is not only a little confused about what it means to be a Christian, he’s also a racist.

But, when Relevant Magazine shared this story their headline said this:

“Georgia Politicians Face Calls to Resign After Saying Interracial Marriage Is Unbiblical.”

But, that’s not what was said. If the politicians in this story had said Interracial Marriage was Unbiblical, then they would be exactly right. However, that’s NOT what they said. What they said was that Interracial Marriage was not Christian [or “Christlike”] and that is where they are wrong.

Let me explain.

The Bible contains roughly 15 verses that very, very explicitly command God’s people NOT to intermarry with people of other races or cultures.

Here are a few of them:

Deuteronomy 7:2-5 – “…and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them.

Joshua 23:11-13 – “So be very diligent to love the Lord your God, because if you ever turn back and cling to those who remain of these nations by intermarrying with them and associating one with another, know for certain that the Lord your God will not continue to drive out these nations ahead of you. ”

Judges 3:5-8 – “The Israelis continued to live among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, taking their daughters as wives for themselves, giving their own daughters to their sons, and serving their gods. The Israelis kept on practicing evil in full view of the Lord.

Genesis 24:1-4 – “Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. Abraham said to his oldest servant, who was in charge of everything he owned, “Put your hand under my leg. Make a promise to me before the Lord, the God of heaven and earth. Don’t get a wife for my son from the Canaanite girls who live around here. Instead, go back to my country, to the land of my relatives, and get a wife for my son Isaac.”

Ezra 9:12 – “Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.”

1 Kings 11:1-5 – “King Solomon loved many women who were not from Israel. He loved the daughter of the king of Egypt, as well as women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. The Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not marry people of other nations. If you do, they will cause you to follow their gods.”

Nehemiah 13:24-27 – “Furthermore, half their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.

Now, I could go on, but I think you get the point: Interracial Marriage IS Un-Biblical.

Like it or not, that’s a fact.

However, no one who follows Jesus should ever forbid Interracial Marriage. Why? Because that would be Un-Christlike.

See, you can’t be a racist and follow Jesus. It just doesn’t work. First, because Jesus commanded us to love others – even our enemies – as Christ has loved us. That’s to say: More than we love ourselves.

Secondly, because Jesus was Jewish. And even though Jesus was Jewish, he showed love and compassion to the Romans [Gentiles] and to the Samaritans, who by the way were the most hated people group in that region at the time.

Thirdly, because the rest of the Apostles quickly realized that the Gospel was for everyone – not just for the Jews – and that Christ’s Kingdom was made of every tongue and tribe and nation on earth.

The Apostle Paul also went as far as to say that, in the Body of Christ (the Church) there was “no longer any Jew or Gentile, Slave or Free, Male or Female, Rich or Poor, etc.,” but that “we are now all one in Christ Jesus.” [See Galatians 3:28]

 

What’s more, Paul’s statement was that there is “neither Jew, nor Gentile” in the Church, which means that we no longer even recognize racial identity any more. We only identify as children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ. All those other labels – including and especially race – are now obsolete and irrelevant.

Peter also got the memo when the Holy Spirit revealed to him that the Gentiles were not unclean and that “God was no respecter of persons” and that no race on earth was above any other. [See Acts 10]

So, I just felt the need to set the record straight on the misquoted headline at Relevant Magazine.

Forbidding Interracial Marriage is not Un-Biblical. But it is very, very Un-Christlike.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a more Biblical world. I want a more Christlike one.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.

Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

Join me this summer at one of these upcoming events:

*El Paso, TX – May 19 “United We Stand”

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Want Keith to come speak at your church or in your home town? Learn more HERE

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bria Lapoint

    I accept there are christians that are racists.

  • LastManOnEarth

    If there in fact was a Jesus he made a grievous error by not clearly denouncing the Jewish scriptures. Or if he did, his followers did by not relaying this.

  • Brandon Roberts

    old testament doesn’t count.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Not in all places in the Bible.

    Numbers 31:
    17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
    18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

  • Chuck Johnson

    It seems that Jesus has upheld the Jewish scriptures here:

    Matthew 5:17
    17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

  • Chuck Johnson

    The teachings of the Old Testament were very seriously in error.
    The teachings of Jesus were also in error, but not as much.
    Human cultures and human understandings improve as time goes by.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The OT was written after Israel had assimilated to the nations the conquered and gone over to other gods and been (or was about to be) destroyed because of it (leastways that’s the story it was telling). These are the authors’ equivalents of shouting “Don’t go in there!” at the screen in a horror movie when you know what’s going to happen.
    In so far as (which is decidedly dubious) anyone wanted to draw any lesson at all from these passages, it would be caution about assimilation into e.g. secular culture, and nothing whatsoever to do with interracial marriages.

  • KontraDiction

    I think it’s a mistake to assume all parts of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, are meant for you right now. The OT is such a rich collection of many voices and stories gathered over centuries. Certainly not the end-all be-all of What Is True and Right. So if applying certain verses leads you to racist conclusions, check yourself and try a more loving viewpoint.

  • Do more than read one verse. There’s a lot more going on in this section of Matthew than this one verse.

  • RossM

    The Councilman might care to read:

    Galatians 3 – particularly verse 11 (11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”) and verse 28 (28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.)

    He may also wish to reflect on the Book of Ruth, and Matthew 1 verses 5-6 (5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David.).

  • Isn’t this a “have your cake and eat it too” problem? It’s not like Jesus was a foreign guy compared to the Bible. He was part of the Trinity that created it. That the Bible can be made to say both anti-tribal and loving messages argues that the Bible is flawed. You can’t just say that you prefer the Jesus part and think that the problem is solved–you’ve simply highlighted a new problem.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Damning with faint praise.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Yes, the Bible can be made to say just about anything.
    Especially when metaphorical interpretations are used.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Jesus also upheld the Jewish scriptures here:

    19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    When it comes to the Jewish scriptures, Jesus says lots of supportive things.

  • Chuck Johnson

    And Jesus said:

    38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
    39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    And here Jesus contradicts the ancient scriptures.
    The Faithful are given a wide latitude of choices, all of them being supported by the Bible.
    Many of the Faithful do not know that this is the way that the Bible works, with words and phrases to support anyone’s favorite type of politics. They use the Bible as God’s stamp of approval on any notion that they favor.

  • LastManOnEarth

    They seem to be explicitly saying “don’t marry them”.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Taking girls as sexual slaves isn’t marriage.

  • LastManOnEarth

    He certainly didn’t explicitly denounce the various atrocities the OT condones.

    You’d think that as long-winded as the Sermon on the Mount is, the author could have thrown in a bit of “slavery is wrong”, “genocide is wrong, even if commanded by a god” and “it’s OK to marry another consenting adult regardless of race or gender”.

    It’s almost like it was written by just some guy embedded in his own particular ancient culture.

    #thingsthatmakeyougohmmm

  • Chuck Johnson

    “It’s almost like it was written by just some guy embedded in his own particular ancient culture.”

    Exactly like.
    And Jesus gave slave owners advice as to the proper way to beat their slaves.

    Luke 12:47
    Luke 12:48

    A lot of the ancient righteousness looks pretty bad to us today.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Could be.
    But it definitely is genetically mixing different civilizations, the topic of Keith’s essay.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19

    Marrying a Captive Woman
    10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

  • Merica

    I totally agree with a Christocentric understanding of theology and the Bible. I would disagree that the Old Testament passages were encouraging the Israelites to not intermarry with other people groups based on their race. It seems that the warning not to intermarry had more to do with the fact that the other people groups may lead the Israelites astray with their religious practices.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Yes indeed, since the narrative put forward is that the Israelites married Canaanite women who then seduced them into the worship of other gods. The Canaanites (and anyone else worshipping their gods) in the Bible are always portrayed as irredeemably corrupt and evil, which is why the Israelites are (retrospectively) warned to have nothing to do with them. It has nothing to do with “mixing races”.
    The emphasis on marrying Canaanite women specifically is I suspect because the narrative also claims (historically dubiously) that the Israelites wiped out all the Canaanite men.

  • Bernard Dainton

    Even in OT terms, interracial marriage is only unbiblical if you happen to be Jewish. The passages Keith cites are all to do with Israelites not marrying gentiles (as several people point out, primarily for religious reasons, not racial ones), and say nothing about white gentiles marrying black gentiles

  • LastManOnEarth

    If that what it takes to sleep at night.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Fair enough. Mighty fucked up.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Indeed

  • Paul Tyler

    Race does not mean other peoples. It means ‘those people.’ The modern notion of race did not exist when the bible was written. It does not equate with “other nations or peoples.” The modern notion of race was constructed by Europeans and Euro-American (aka whites) to establish and maintain power. ‘Race’ means only one thing: “Those people don’t have the same right to the Tree of Life that I claim for myself.” It is the modern notion of race that is unbiblical.”

  • Dennis

    Keith Giles: Your interpretation of the Old Testament (OT) passages you cite is incorrect. The point those passages are making is that Jews at that time (before Christ) should not intermarry people of other nations because that would cause the Jews to stray from worship of Yahweh. Why does that matter? Because Israel was chosen by God to worship only him, to be undefiled, and to be a light to other nations. Now whether or not you agree with that view, it is recognized by any OT scholar (liberal or conservative) as the main theme of the OT. Therefore, those passages have no relevance on intermarriage today.

  • Rudy Schellekens

    “What’s more, Paul’s statement was that there is “neither Jew, nor Gentile” in the Church, which means that we no longer even recognize racial identity any more…” Sorry, but that is an incorrect explanation of the text.
    There were many Jews in other parts of the Roman Empire who would be ethnically different from one another (I purposely use that word, rather than the incorrect term race, racial). The “Gentile” was the person who did not believe in the God of Israel – ethnicity did not even come up in that conversation.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Interracial Marriage IS Un-Biblical [But Not Un-Christian]”

    But if you are wondering about slavery, no worries. Owning another human being as your property IS Biblical AND Christian.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Since both the old and the new testament condone slavery,I don’t see why anyone should believe either is a guide for what is true and right.

  • Dawn Sharpe

    No, not in the south you don’t. There are a majority of interracial marriages. Well, a large number. Everyone has their own opinion. Everyone has who they are attracted to – my son accidentally got a gay black man as a roommate and they HATED EACH OTHER! My son is not gay. However, most of us are part black anyway. Don’t make this a Georgia thing because it’s not true. I am still looking for someone who is the right person for me – it has nothing to do with race. It does have something to do with finding the one without guns, attitude and etc. Don’t ask the real reason why, please….. We are not setting this up with racial tensions like SC. Nope, no way. We had a meeting at work, settled reparations. We just lost a 2 month old baby who was interracial – she had blond hair. Very pretty child. By the way, hexing and jinxing everyone is more fun in this community. Yes, I know the antidote! In addition, the communities are going Muslim. IDK why….. Is it anti Muslim? Another point, the only reason you have a grudge match against me is – I was your supervisor. Yea! they get to lie and make shit up against supervisors in a fortune 500 company! Why do you think I now own my own company? Still not hiring! It’s a trust issue. This same child was awarded the Young Peacekeepers Award in my hometown and met Martin Luther King III. How many people did that make mad? That is just the tip of the iceberg on acquaintances. Reminders on South Carolina and Charleston History – the Muslim community came over in the late 1800s. I am not comfortable with the attacks on the Jewish community either – because my oldest remaining friend is Jewish or used to be. My ex husband doesn’t know anything about this because he was in Iraq when it happened. I couldn’t catch him up on everything at the time.

  • Chuck Johnson

    This was the attempt of the ancient people at fairness, decency, honor, love etc.

    As time goes by, we humans become wiser.

  • John Purssey

    Yes. It’s a mistake to understand the Bible as a “Book of Rules.”
    IMHO the NT does not condone slavery, but it was simply accepted as a present reality that would not change, especially for those that believed in an imminent eschatology.

  • John Purssey

    There is a common misunderstanding that fulfilling The Law and The Prophets means obeying the Levitical Laws. The Torah, or The Teachings as they are better translated, and The prophets were for many in Jesus’ time the hope that a prophet like Moses would be raised up in Israel and before that Elijah would return. Jesus is recorded as seeing John the Baptist as Elijah returned, and Matthew presents Jesus as a new Moses with his Gospel containing five discourses corresponding to the five books of the Pentateuch. The Matthean story of the transfiguration has God telling the disciples they are not to bother with tabernacles to Moses and Elijah, but to listen to God’s beloved Son instead.

    This is especially significant in Matthew, which was written to Jewish Christians, who goes out of his way to include the Moabite Ruth as an ancestor of Jesus in David’s line when Moabites were persona non grata, viz from Deut 23

    ” No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord, because they did not meet you with food and water
    on your journey out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam
    son of Beor, from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

    Some hold the reasonable view that Ruth was written partly to counter the extreme views from Deuteronomy.

    In the OT there is a progression of understanding God as a tribal God of Israel, pitted against the gods of other tribes, to God being the only true God, and then, in The Prophets, God being the God for all nations (though Judaism remained predominantly a religion for Jews, though a few gentiles were admitted).

    Even in Judaism the OT laws were mostly not taken literally. The turning to a simplistic literal understanding today demonstrates the naivete of some parts of Christianity.

  • John Purssey

    When you are promoting something new obsessing with being negative is a waste of time.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Damned irresponsible.

  • Chuck Johnson

    “In the OT there is a progression of understanding God . . . “

    And the New Testament continues the habit of progression.
    Christianity has been progressing and evolving for almost two thousand years now.

    It is an example of cultural adaptive evolution.

  • John Purssey

    The politicians need to understand the distinction between races and nationalities. The OT passages would be like me as a Brit being told I must not marry a French or German woman.

    The articles reminds me of when I lived in NC for a few months and a woman saying “that people shouldn’t intermarry – birds don’t”. That comparison was wrong as the human race is one species whereas the birds she was thinking of are different species. One of the teachings of the Genesis creation stories is that we are all one family.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Why would a god-man-spirit entrust their message to such people?

    Conversely, why would we take their writings seriously?

    Ain’t no way to run a railroad.

  • John Purssey

    Why do people ask rhetorical questions?

    Ain’t no way to have a discussion.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Well, presumably the captured woman would need to consent to this marriage or it would just be putting a false label on sexual slavery.

    And presumably if the captured woman wife is not pleased with her captor husband she can leave and go wherever she wishes (or stay and tell the bum to “hit the road, Jack”), right?

  • John Purssey

    The context of Paul’s statement is to be understood in light of the daily Jewish liturgy where the worshipper thanked God for the three blessings of not being a gentile, a slave, or a woman. He is saying that these distinctions are no longer to be understood as relevant to Christianity. Sadly, many Christians worm their way out of this egalitarianism.

  • LastManOnEarth

    I don’t consider these rhetorical questions. People treat the bible as the “word of god” yet it seems ludicrous that an all powerful being couldn’t manage a more reliable means of communication.

    The authors of the NT were wrong about the immenent end of the world and injected their own cultural baggage. I don’t know why people believe that there is “something” lurking in there rather than concluding that it is far more likely that it’s all just another example of human cultural production and mythmaking.

  • Mark Jeffrey

    Even the Old Testament isn’t consistent on this. The entire story of Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David and thus an ancestor of Jesus according to both Matthew and Luke, sends a very different message.

  • Chuck Johnson

    Maybe.
    Deuteronomy dos not reveal all details.
    But it does outline considerable respect for the captive woman who becomes a wife.

    In this, it shows that the ancients knew something of human psychology.

  • KontraDiction

    I agree, LastMan. The Bible doesn’t feel reliable to me either, WAY too much cultural baggage.

    As far as more reliable communication, many people believe our Maker instilled in us an innate sense of right and wrong, so that doing what feels right brings deep joy, and doing wrong feels awful. You can of course train yourself to ignore these quiet stirrings, but that’s our choice to make.

  • Joel Arshad

    Moses had an interracial marriage. Yet another example of a contradiction in the Bible. Lol!

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “IMHO the NT does not condone slavery,”

    The NT has Jesus saying more than once that the old laws ( commandments ) are still in place & cannot be changed. Those 613 commandments included the rules for slavery.

    And the NT has this to say about slavery:

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5)

    Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by
    your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2)

  • soter phile

    Yes, Moses married a Cushite (Ethiopian) woman… and God defended him against his critics (Num.12).

    But no – that’s not a contradiction.
    God is against interfaith marriages (see 1 Cor.6), not interracial marriages.

    The OT prohibitions against intermarrying with other nations was about mixing faiths, since other nations had their own gods (hence God’s defense of Moses in Num.12). The goal was to produce believing children (Dt.6:4-7; 29:29; etc.). It’s echoed in the NT in Acts with the baptism of entire households, as Peter called for at Pentecost (Acts 2:39f).

  • soter phile

    Paul also calls himself a slave of Christ repeatedly.
    He also sends Onesimus back to Philemon to be received as a brother.
    He also says in Christ there is neither slave nor free. (Gal.3:28)
    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. (Gal.5:1)
    (Remember Jesus said: anyone who sins is a slave to sin. [Jn.8:34])

    If you’re going to try to pin humanity’s abuses of their fellow humanity on Jesus, you need to actually engage the content of what he’s saying:

    ALL of us are slaves to something.
    Everyone has given control of their life over to something (money, career, fam, religion, etc.).
    Giving that control to anything other than Christ will destroy you.
    Christ alone brings the freedom you’re seeking.

    In that context, the institutions of slavery (literal & figurative) are being utterly deconstructed – unless one is talking about the only Master who willingly died for his servants.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Paul also calls himself a slave of Christ repeatedly.”

    I am not talking about some sort of metaphorical slavery. I am talking about slavery as defined by the Bible, owning another human being as your property.,

    Leviticus 25: 44-45 You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.

    Exodus 21:20-21 When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

    “He also sends Onesimus back to Philemon to be received as a brother.”

    That is a story about Paul trying to have a personal friend of his released from slavery by his owner. It is not an injunction against the concept of slavery.

    “He also says in Christ there is neither slave nor free.”

    “If you’re going to try to pin humanity’s abuses of their fellow humanity on Jesus, you need to actually engage the content of what he’s saying:”

    If you are going to argue against what I have said here, try to argue against what I said here.

    I have said NOTHING about anything in the Bible that has been attributed to Jesus… other than to say that according to the Bible Jesus said all the old laws ( commandments) are still in effect. There are 613 commandments, and several of them are the laws regarding buying, selling, and owning other people as your property.

    None of the commandments says slavery is wrong, or even that you should try to avoid it.

    “ALL of us are slaves to something. ”

    I am not talking about some sort of metaphorical slavery. I am talking about slavery as defined by the Bible, owning another human being as your property.

    Everyone has given control of their life over to something (money, career, fam, religion, etc.).

    Again, I am not talking about some sort of metaphorical slavery. I am talking about slavery as defined by the Bible, owning another human being as your property.

    Both testaments of the Bible condone owning another human being as your property. The new testament condones Christians owning slaves, even if those slaves are also Christians.

    “In that context, the institutions of slavery (literal & figurative) are being utterly deconstructed

    Bible says:

    You may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.

    When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

    According to the Bible, these are the laws of god.

    According to the Bible, Jesus said this about the old testament laws:

    For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished.

    It is easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid.

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

  • Cindy Westfall

    There’s a serious confusion of the categories of race and nationality. This is like Trump’s confusion in referring to the Israeli prime minister as the prime minister of American Jews. Jewish citizens of the USA are Americans, as are all the various races with citizenship!

    And as far as the ANE categories, the alien or stranger of any other race was fully integrated into Israel and regarded as “a native of the land” if they kept the Law (Ex 12:48), so that Rahab, Ruth, etc., were not anomalies.

  • Chris Hogue

    See, you can’t be a racist and follow Jesus. It just doesn’t work.

    I don’t know. It seemingly works for the Nazis, KKK, Westboro Baptist Church, etc.

  • Kirk T.

    Keith, thanks for the article. I am in full agreement with you in wanting and working for a world that is more Christ-like, though the work can be extremely frustrating. A couple of points that might make your argument stronger. Race as pertaining to groups of people based on skin tone is a modern concept that was developed by the early proponents of African slavery in the New World. As such, that concept was unknown to the Biblical writers who talked about what we would call ethnicity blended with religion. Intermarriage as practiced in OT times would have been practiced by people from different ethnic and/or religious groups. There are various writers in the OT that do push back against the Jewish voices calling for religious purity in marriage that I believe deserve to be heard in this debate. These include the writers of “Ruth” and “Jonah”. In addition, laws against interracial marriage in Western Civilization only began to show up in the late 1600’s in the Virginia colony, and then spread to other parts of the world involved in the African slave trade. Even though we modern Americans use the term race to encompass a whole host of divisive terms, we can better tackle the evil of systemic racism by not projecting our own issues on our spiritual fore bearers, who did have their own issues from which we can learn how to better approach ours.

  • Bungarra

    Why the attraction of the local religions to the Israelite’s?

    What we overlook in this issue of the drift of the Israelite into worshiping other Gods is that the local system of Agriculture was incorporated into their Religion. So especially peoples from other climates/situation eg Egypt based on irrigation when farming a rain fed system, would on average get poorer crops than the locals. Hence the attraction of the local systems, and the acceptance of the beliefs associated with those systems. The local religion would act as a matrix to support the then best way to farm that area at that time. Lack of food is an intense incentive to focus peoples attention on how to do better. You can grow better crops, or do other things like take the neighbors.

  • Adam King

    Exactly. And I continually wonder why Christians never quote the Song of Songs. Are all the pages stuck together?

  • Joel Arshad

    I think if you do some research you will find Zipporah was of another religion but that wasn’t my point. The article says interracial marriage isn’t biblical but Moses had an interracial marriage.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    In that Jesus Christ said that *all* of his father’s laws (no exceptions) are to be followed in that same bible (Matthew 5:17-20), to claim that those laws that you don’t like don’t need to be followed seems to be cherry picking the bible to create a religion of your own. This happens with most if not all Christians, creating that religion in their own image. Paul created a new religion too.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    So your omnipotent god can’t do something, John?

  • I wish my name was Fred

    Initially the Jews weren’t supposed to intermingle with the Philistines, Canaanites and others of the region because they were still infected with the blood of the Nephilim. Later it was because of the idolatry of the foreign women, it wasn’t because they were a different race. Just like Balaam told the Moabites to use their women to ruin the Jewish men with their idolatry. And this is the same fate fell upon Solomon, his foreign wives led him into idolatry.

  • Jesse Curtis

    I understand what Keith is trying to do here, using this example to illustrate his broader hermeneutic for how we should think about scripture. But this is really problematic! I’m not aware of any mainstream OT scholars working today who think these passages address “interracial” relationships in the terms of modern category of race. As other commenters have mentioned, this is all about religion for the covenant community of Israel. The most prominent folks who did share Keith’s interpretation were white supremacist evangelicals in the civil rights era and before. I think it’s very unhelpful to spread those kinds of interpretations around. It gives aid to racist views and serves no useful purpose at all.

  • soter phile

    Zipporah’s circumcision of their son would seem to say otherwise.

    I agree that Moses had an interracial marriage. And God defends it.
    Again, the repeated prohibition is regarding foreign faith – as reiterated in 1 Cor.6.

  • John Purssey

    Don’t project your stereotypes onto me. You’ve tripped up on your own (self)deception.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    I don’t have to project, are you A Christian, John? then you are a sterertype, the Christian who denies what his bible says because he is uncomfortable with his god as written. You try to claim that your god couldn’t do anything about slavery, when your god condones slavery repeatedly. The NT says that slaves shouldn’t try to be free.

    I peter 2:8 Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. 19 For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20 If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    no, we aren’t *all* slaves to something. Nice apologetics to excuse your failure of a god. You make up nosense that is not supported in your bible because you are uncomfortable with your book, that supposedly is objective morality, but is only subjective morality from several thousands years ago.

    Christ being imaginary brings no freedom at all. And since he didn’t exist, he didn’t die. In any case this god required a blood sacrifice for forgiving humans that are exactly what this god made them and this god was either too stupid or malicious to allow the serpent into the garden.

  • jekylldoc

    The expansion of God-worship to a spiritual state rather than an ethnic one is the same as the expansion of God-worship to a universal religion rather than a Jewish religion. The roots of universalism are in prophetic calls to live into the spiritual meaning of the law rather than considering obedience to rituals to define our worship.

  • John Purssey

    You poor thing, Jane. You are boxed in with your obsession and can’t think outside the box. You may not even be aware that your obsession is not even a valid tangent to the subject matter of the blog post. And you certainly don’t know me (thanks for asking, but you have to earn the right to move from a topic to a person, if you understand) so you have confirmed that you are projecting your prejudices on me – must be because I am the closest for you to lash out on. So I take it with a wry grin. Sticks and stones etc, especially when the words are out by a country mile. Still, if it makes you feel better.

    You would do well to take some time on self-reflection. Who said that the unexamined life is not worth living? Well you probably wouldn’t be that Platonic. But it would be an improvement, both for yourself and those you interact with.
    You would do well to drop those fundamentalist ways. You may enjoy a temporary feeling of superiority and applause from the choir thinking you have some clobber statements, but it will never give you a satisfied mind or equanimity.

  • Joseph

    Interracial marriage is absolutely not unbiblical. In the Torah you are forbidden from marrying particular peoples – but it isn’t defined racially but culturally. And it doesn’t extend to all other cultures – certainly not if people join the Jewish people. Moses himself is a great example – the text certainly suggests he married a black woman and Miriam is dramatically censured for criticizing this.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    Don’t worry about me, John, I’m doing quite well. It is notable that you refuse to answer my questions. As for knowing you, I know you well enough from your posts. You’ve done a great job in trying to invent your own version of Christianity in order to avoid the problems with what the bible actually says. You falsely claim that “Even in Judaism the OT laws were mostly not taken literally”. As we can see when reading the bible, they supposedly were, and JC himself supposedly said that *all* of this god’s laws are to be obeyed. JC may have had a slightly different take on them, but never said that they could be ignored. You are that type of Christian who thinks that only their interpretation is the right one and other Christians are “naïve” or not “sophisticated” enough. You of course have no evidence of this. You have opinions, nothing more. It’s amusing when you chose to claim that you could speak for your god in your past posts on other threads. Other Christians do exactly the same thing and come up with different answers on what this god really wants.

    We have you making claims that the NT doesn’t condone slavery, but your god couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about it. This would indicate that your god is not the “almighty” and/or that it is for slavery. The bible makes a lot of claims about what this god wants and unsurprisingly they line up with what ignorant agricultural xenophobes want. Then you, and all other Christians, try to claim that your interpretation is the only right one. In this, you try to claim what is “biblical” and what is “Christian” by your own decision, not any gods. It isn’t surprising that a modern person would want to make believe that his god wasn’t the petty thing presented in the bible, no better than Ares or Odin.

    As much as you might wish to believe I am “lashing”out at anyone, I asked you a question, and you have turned that into “lashing out”. So, why can’t your god get past the culture of humans? Why is it stuck allowing slavery to exist? Why does your god’s supposed representatives say that slaves shouldn’t try to be free? You see, John, that verse from 1 Peter was one that was used by slave owners in the US to keep their property. It’s always curious when a Christian denies what their bible says. This blog post is emblematic of that, the author creats a Christianity from their own beliefs, not what is claimed to be the inspired/written word of God aka the bible.

    I have done quite a bit of self-reflection, and it seems that you think that doing that would make me agree with you. Sorry, doesn’t work that way. All you are trying to do is tell me to shut up and sit down when it comes to revealing what your bible actually says and the impotence of your god. Again, you try to claim that the majority of Christians agree with you and that the others are wrong. Well, dear, as soon as you can show your god exists and that you can do what is promised for Christians to be able to do, I might consider believing you. But it comes down to John declaring his very own version of Christianity to ignore the parts where his god isn’t what he wants it to be.

    I’m quite satisfied and serene with showing Christians like you to be such hypocrites. Christians like you always try to play pretend that atheists are not “satisfied” or not experiencing equanimity, or that we are angry, or that we are lonely or whatever else you need to feel better when it becomes obvious that we don’t need you or your version of your god.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    John hopes they are rhetorical because he has no answers for them that doesn’t make his god look rather foolish.

  • jhampl

    Keith Giles is missing the obvious: Jews and Canaanites were of the same race, in exactly the same way that Jews and Arabs today are of the same race (categorized as “white” for US purposes).

    God forbidding marriage between the two (Gile’s “biblical” arm) had absolutely nothing to do with race, but everything to do with Canaanites’ worship of other gods, obedience to other-than-Mosaic law, and cultural histories, which could integrate with or subsume Jewish cultural history, causing Jews to fade as a distinct people.

  • jhampl

    You just breathed new life into the meaning of stream of consciousness.

  • Dawn Sharpe

    Well you haven’t seen anything yet….