Inter-Cultural Dating and Marriage? What does the Bible say?

By Mrs Dorothea ScarboroughIn South Africa, as in many parts of the world, we live in a multicultural society. And the question arises: To what extent do we mix, and to what extent do we keep to our own kind? Some Christians say: "Nobody needs to tell me whom I should have as a friend," or "I am not concerned whether my child marries within his own race or another. He has his own life to live, and the fate of the world does not hinge on whether we stay white, brown, or yellow. The important thing is how we follow Jesus."

Multiculturalism is a fairly recent development. In times past people held to their own blood relationships, guarded their own identity, and observed their own cultural bounds. This was not a rule devised by kings and priests, but was God's accepted universal order, namely the "law of kind". When God created the world, He made every living thing "according to its kind", laid into it seed of its own kind, blessed it and commanded it to be fruitful. He did not only divide plants and animals into species, but also separated human beings into tongues, tribes, races, and nations.

"And God separated..."

As early as the second generation of man God divided humanity into nations. He separated Cain and his descendants from the godly line of Adam through Seth (Genesis 4) and established two distinct types of civilization. The Cainites were given to "the world, the flesh, and the devil." The Sethites were God-conscious. They called themselves by the name of the LORD. But when the two cultures mixed and inter-married, when they influenced and corrupted one another, God became angry and brought catastrophe upon them. Genesis chapter 6 reads:

"When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not contend with man for ever...' The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time... So the LORD said, 'I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, off from the face of the earth - men and animals... for I am grieved that I have made them.'" (Genesis 6:1-7) With this He ended an era, and a great civilisation passed into oblivion.

The people of Noah's time had disobeyed God in every way, including refusing to keep His chosen line spiritually and racially pure. "But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord... He was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God." Because of this he became the founder of a new order based on obedience and service to the LORD. But two generations later God again separated the families, for Ham and his son Canaan had failed Him. They were excluded from the godly line and fathered the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Hivites, who later "came together to make war against Joshua and Israel." (Joshua 9) But Joshua defeated them and "made them... woodcutters and watercarriers for the community and for the altar of the LORD..."

Again and again God reiterated the principle:"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'"(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

"Do not Commit Adultery"

There is no positive mention of multiculturalism in the Bible. The multi-racial, multi-faith, all-embracing, non-discriminatory society which today enjoys such high acclaim, is disdained by God. He calls it 'adultery' when people turn from Him or from His people. He forbids the mixing of gods, faiths, and ideas. He prohibits miscegenation (Latin: miscere, mix + genus - race). The 7th Commandment simply says: 'You shall not commit adultery,' (Exodus 20:14) but it covers everything inherent in unlawful mixing. To adulterate means to 'corrupt, debase, or make impure by an admixture of a foreign substance.' Illegitimate children (bastards) "born of a forbidden marriage,"or their descendants, may not "enter the assembly of the LORD, even down to the tenth generation." (Deuteronomy 23:2)

The LORD's plan, then, is highly discriminatory. Abram and Sarai, in their impatience for an heir, tried to provide a substitute through Hagar, Sarai's Egyptian handmaid. But the experiment failed. Ishmael was not to be the heir of the Covenant. He was a half-breed, both spiritually and physically. The son of the covenant was to be born of Sarah. And God established His "covenant with him (Isaac) as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him," (Genesis 17:19-21) just as He had done with his father Abraham before him.

How quickly God's promise can be taken away from a godly family may be illustrated by the following. My family and I lived in Sea Point, Cape Town, at a time when the population was 70% Jewish and there were many friendships between Jews and Christians. I used to say to the ladies of our church: don't let your children over-socialise with Jews. One day they may want to marry them. Indeed, some did so. One was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. She renounced Christ and confessed the Jewish religion. The only Christian thing she kept was her leather-bound, gold-cut hymn book. One day her mother-in-law came to me and said: "We do not need this any more. You can have it." I still have that book and think of that girl. Why did her parents and her friends not stop her? Why did they allow her to yoke herself to an unbeliever and forfeit for ever the promise of Christ?

God's Law against interracial marriage - both spiritual and physical

When the Israelites took possession of the promised land, God told them to "make no covenant" with the inhabitants. He said: "Do not intermarry with them... for they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods, and the LORD's anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you... Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession." (Deuteronomy 7)

Ezra taught in chapter 9: "...The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons." (9:10-15)

When Nehemiah returned from Persia to rebuild Jerusalem, he re-established God's Law. But in doing so he had to decide what to do about 'all the mixed multitude' which had been born in the mean time. Chapter 13 records: "When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent... Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him... but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?" (13:3; 26-29)

The prohibition of racial amalgamation is one of the oldest and most fundamental aspects of the divine Law. It is as enduring as the Law against idolatry, theft, or murder, and was never abrogated by Jesus Christ. For the Law of God was codified by Moses and confirmed by Christ as the Constitition of His everlasting Kingdom of righteousness.

C.R. Dickey writes: "An unholy mixing of races in defiance of God's stated command is the gravest danger now threatening Christian civilization. The patter about the equality of all races, without regard to their inherent character and potentialities, is foolishness. It is not supported by the Bible nor by the facts of life. However, it serves well the purpose of the Communist conspiracy and politicians looking for votes." (See: The Bible and Segregation, Destiny Publishers, Merrimac, Massachusetts)

In our day and age a religious and social philosophy is being propagated which is designed to destroy the races that God has created. The watchwords of the New World Order are 'one-world brotherhood' and 'racial equality', concepts which do not occur in Scripture and do not feature in anthropology, psychology or other sciences.

Honour your Kith and Kin

We must not be careless about our family tree, our blood line, and our kindred. We must treasure our identity in Christ and our God-appointed vision and mission. Carelessness regarding religious and racial purity caused the generation of Noah to perish in the deluge. Jesus refers to this when He says: "For as it was in the time of Noah (Gen. 6-7), so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. At that time, before the deluge, men were busy eating and drinking, taking wives or giving them, up to the very day when Noah entered the ark, nor did they realise any danger till the deluge came and swept them all away; so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24:37-39)

The children of Abraham who live by faith in Jesus Christ carry a great spiritual responsibility which no other race has the God-given ability to perform. The Lord has given them a divine commission and demands humility and love. He exhorts us to be His Servant Race,"a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, …whoshow forth the praises of our Lord Jesus Christ who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Peter 2:9-10; Hosea 1:9-10)

So if the question arises in your life: Is inter-cultural dating and marriage all right? then search the Scriptures. The Bible tells you: NO, for in accepting an outsider you will have to compromise, if not deny, your godly ancestry and your confession of Christ.

Gospel Defence League
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Cape Town
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