Interracial Marriages: The Decision of the Free Will Baptist Church in Gulnare, Kentucky

Wes  —  December 3, 2011
  • Sumo

You may have heard already about the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Kentucky banning interracial marriages. I thought this would be a good opportunity to discuss this issue, in light of the word of God. What does the Bible say about interracial marriages? Is it alright for a Christian to marry someone “of another race?”

Interracial Couple

First of all, I do not intend to offend anyone. Nor do I wish to single out the Free Will Baptist denomination. I simply think this is a good opportunity to examine how denominational churches operate.

According to the AP article, church members voted to “bar mixed-race couples from joining the congregation.” Now, the National Association of Free Will Baptists is doing its best to clean up the mess the members in this local congregation have made. Here are a few of the problems I see with this whole mess:

1. This is why doctrine can not be determined by vote! Whether on a large denomination-wide scale or at a local congregational level, when doctrine is determined by a vote, error is inevitable. Where does Scripture give the authority for a congregation to sit and vote about whether “mixed-race” marriage is right or wrong. “Rightness” and “wrongness” should be determined by Scripture, not by popular vote! “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. This is another example of how denominationalism is wrong! This group of people know they cannot say “mixed-race” couples cannot be Christians, but because of denominationalism, they believe they can say “mixed-race” couples cannot be Free Will Baptists; or at the very least, not Free Will Baptists in Gulnare, Kentucky. This is one of major problems with denominationalism: what makes a person a Christian is different than what makes them a member of a denominational church. However, in the Lord’s church, what makes a person a Christian also makes them a member of the church (Acts 2:37-47). And what role does the “National” headquarters of the Free Will Baptist church play in all of this? The Lord’s church has but one headquarters, heaven! Another reason I’m proud to simply be a Christian!

3. Interracial marriage is not a sin! First of all, there is but one race–the human race! People are people, not races! People simply have different skin colors, that does not make them members of another race; we are all members of the human race. When God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). To what race was He referring? He was referring to the human race! All men: “red and yellow, black and white” were made in the image of God!

The only people God warns Christians about marrying is non-Christians; not people with a different skin pigmentation! Paul said that a woman, whose husband had died, “Is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). And while not exclusively about marriage, it certainly has application, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)? Therefore, if you want to speak biblically, warn Christians against marrying non-Christians!

God has always been concerned with His people marrying those who did not fear Him and belong to Him. It was never a “racial thing;” it was a “religion thing.” God knew that, like Solomon and so many other Israelites, foreign wives would turn their hearts from following Him, “For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God” (1 Kings 11:4).

4. Do not judge! There are many who oppose interracial marriages because it “makes life difficult for the couple and their children.” I would simply ask this, who are you to decide what obstacles are too great to deal with for the sake of love? If there are two Christian young people who love one another and are willing and ready to marry, who are you to stand in their way? Who gave you the right to decide that they cannot deal with the scrutiny they may face? Every marriage has difficulties and obstacles to overcome! Difficulties and struggles make couples stronger and should be embraced with “joy” (James 1:2-4)!

This is what the Word of God says, “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls” (Romans 14:4). If you choose not to marry someone who has a different color of skin, that is your choice; marry who you want to marry! But do not stand in the way of others who want to make their own choice! There is freedom in Christ, and we need to celebrate and encourage that freedom. We must not hold others to self-made standards!

I love you and the God who made all men in His image loves you! Have a wonderful day!

Wes McAdams