Does the Bible support racism?
Some say it does. They might base their decision on the Old Testament story of Israel becoming a nation. Or perhaps the tower of Babel story.
The story of Israel actually reflects the story of all believers in Jesus to some degree. Although this predates Jesus’s appearance as a human, the Israelis were a people trying to follow God. Christians also try to follow God. The Israelites are God’s chosen people and so were called to be holy and separate from the other nations of this world. The Old Testament is to a large degree the story of how Israel lived out this chosen relationship. This holy separation was not racism. The conflicts and wars were not based on hatred of other nations as much as a desire to follow God on the path towards holiness.
Christians are called to be holy and separate from other people of this world as well. It is a decision to live for Christ by not getting caught up in the sin and the consequences of sin that hold much of the world in bondage.
The tower of Babel was a consequence of such sin. The story is found at the beginning of Genesis 11. The sins of pride and a religious spirit caused people to think they could build a tower to heaven reaching God on their merits. God knew these things are addictive and would lead to prideful spiritual disaster. He confused the people with different languages. The people feared each other and went away from each other. It was this fear that led to prejudice. Fear does not come from God but from evil. In this case sin’s consequences created fear.
How about the New Testament? Surely there must be signs of racism there. Actually, in the New Testament Jesus’s teaching are about love and acceptance. God shows no favoritism. That famous Bible verse, John 3:16 is clear on this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son, that whoever believe in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
And then the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 2:11 “For God does not show favouritism.” And in Galatians 3:28 Paul reminds us that “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Favouritism is a word that seems the opposite of racism but the consequences are the same. We favour one race or culture over another, or we are bias against one race or culture over another. Either way the Bible condemns this action. God is not a racist. And the Triune God is united. That means Jesus is not a racist and nether is the Holy Spirit.
People who decide to follow Jesus and have accepted him as their Lord and Savior, have the Holy Spirit of God in them. True Christians live by the Holy Spirit and are God’s children representing their father here on earth. Therefore, since we have the Holy Spirit in us, if we continue to deliberately sin, then we say that God is a sinner since it is his Spirit in us. The same is true of racism. If we are racist then we call God a racist since it is his spirit in us.
James 2 commands us to “show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.”
Here is what Paul wrote to Timothy:
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.” (1Timothy 5:21)
This all pretty clear evidence that neither God nor the Bible are racist.
Still there are those who claim Christianity is racist and bigot. To these people, I ask that you read what the Bible says about the nature of God and his commands to his people.
There are those who claim Christians are racists and bigots. To these people I would ask that you not be deceived by people who talk like Christians yet do not walk like Christians. God says to look at the fruit. If what they do does not match the Spirit of God, they are not Christians. I am not talking about people who slip up on occasion. Anybody can have a bad day. I am talking about those who consistently show that their character does not match what God commands or what the Bible instructs.
God is not racist. The Bible is not racist. And we are called to not be racist as well.
Andy Becker is a retired counsellor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. Andy and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministry in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest areas. He is a retired counselor, speaker, and writer. Andy Becker is working on his second book about spiritual warfare. His first book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.