Racial Segregation and Religion

By Justin Johnson

In time past when God operated through one chosen nation he instituted clear laws to prevent marriage and integration with people from other nations (Deut 7:3).

The reason for these laws was unrelated to language, aptitude, skin color, or racial destiny. Separation was needed to protect the doctrines God gave specifically to Israel (Deut 7:4). The more Israel legally mixed with apostate nations the more they followed their false religions instead of God’s righteous law.

God always provided for intermarriage and immigration if all people involved obeyed the Law of Moses (Ruth 1:16).

Two thousand years ago God stopped working through a chosen nation and seed line. He became the promised Seed and created a new entity called the body of Christ (Eph 2:15). The body of Christ has no racial origin, heritage, language, or national border (Col 3:11).

God has reconciled the world to himself and offers salvation to all without distinction, or respect of persons.

Segregation Taught by Religion

Without the understanding of God’s present relationship with the nations of the world, many religious Christians who in some way think they are Israel perpetuate the idea of national segregation and racial distinctions.

Throughout the 19th century preachers taught segregation and slavery based upon a misapplication of Israel’s laws to the church and America. It remained illegal until 1967 for people of different skin colors to marry in certain states.

The Mormons have long believed they are the spiritual descendents of Israel. Until 1978 the Mormons held the official view that black people were spiritually inferior even forbidding people with black skin from entering their eternal priesthood.

Churches continue to be segregated in most part to a mostly traditional belief that God has predetermined that nations and races remain separate from each other.

God’s Will for All Men

“God has a special purpose for the [Americans, Africans, Asians, insert race group here]”

This type of language displays the ignorance of what God is doing in the present dispensation. There are no national or racial divisions in God’s will for today.

His will is for all men to be in Christ (Eph 1:10). In Christ there is now no Jew, Greek, American, African, or Asian. We are all one in Him (Gal 3:28).

A failure to rightly divide will wrongly portray the church today as a national or racial entity with a Judaic heritage. The church of the body of Christ is not Israel and is not segregated: it is one only in Christ.

Our identity in the church of the body of Christ is not described by our skin color, gender, nationality, or heritage. All in the church are only identified as being in Christ. The answer to segregation in the church is to acknowledge the mystery truth of the one body given to the Apostle Paul.

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” – Eph 4:4-6