Can A Black Woman Marry A White Man? [VIDEO]

IMG_0234“There are probably more vicious white supremacists all over America today than there were in 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee.” I read that sentence one month before Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, and it ignited something in my spirit so passionate that my pen became a sword in my hand as I scribbled words of war in the very pages where I found it. I don’t know who wrote more words on that page: John Piper (whose book I was reading) or myself.  I only know that since July my spirit has been awakened to address the racial division in my world, but I’m afraid.

Our nation is ablaze.

The combustible matter of hearts wounded by racism has been kindled into fury. What could I possibly have to contribute? Here’s what I have to say: racism is a strike at the the heart of God’s intention for marriage.

Before I tell you what racism has to do with marriage, let me share two fears as I write this. First of all, I fear you will think my life has been untouched by racism. It’s true that I’m a white girl from Central Pennsylvania, but that does not mean I don’t have a few scars from this battle.

While I was in the process of adopting my Asian beauty of a daughter, a woman walked up to me and simply said, “It would be better if you would adopt someone white.”

947335_571335399567140_47467880_nThe breath was taken right out of me! This woman was a CHRISTIAN. And it was the year 2007. Wasn’t racism like that a thing of the past? I knew then that our family—and especially Autumn herself—would face racism. What I did not know is that most of it would happen inside the Church.

John Piper once posed the question, “Are our churches thermometers registering the racial attitudes and actions of the world; or are they thermostats raising the warmth of commitment to racial understanding  and love and demonstrable harmony?”

I’m thankful to have experienced some thermostat-Church life, but I would say that some of the “Church” environments my daughter and our family have had to endure were more like racially frigid walk-in freezers. While few offered blatant blows, most offer a silence on the issue.

Not talking about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It means it doesn’t matter…to you.

That’s why I have to speak up. My scars are very superficial compared to what some have born, but they have been a fuel God has used to awaken my spirit to something we must talk about: racism is a strike at the heart of God’s intention for marriage.

My second fear is that I’ll say the wrong thing. And this is what has kept me silent for so long, but no more. I choose to risk being misunderstood and even wrong rather than silent. I know it’s possible to have the right heart, but the wrong words. For example, you know what to call me. I’m a white girl. But what should I call you if you are black? I once used that term and was duly chided for not using the politically correct term African-American. Then, I used African-American and was criticized for not using the term black. My point is this: I know that I might not say everything well, but I hope you will see my heart and we can have a loving conversation that brings us closer.

I’ve taken five months to consider where we should begin. Let me start with a simple, practical question. Can a black woman marry a white man? The Word of God puts certain inconvenient guardrails on the conclusion for us. While the Bible offers us some specific and strong advice for marriage partners which I’ve outlined in several of my books including And the Bride Wore White and Get Lost: A Girl’s Guide To True Love, it offers only two unalterable mandates for a you when you are selecting a marriage partner.

  1. You must marry a man. The whole context of marriage within Scripture is male/female. A woman is supposed to marry a man. (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31; Mark 10:7; Matthew 19:5)
  2. You must marry a Christian. Many passages in the Old Testament deal with marrying within a specific tribe. The context of these, I believe, is that a woman should marry a believer. But we also have New Testament passages to lean on for this answer. (II Corinthians 6:14; I Corinthians 7:39)

There is nothing in the Bible that forbids the marrying between races. The Bible never forbids inter-racial marriage nor does it specifically instruct that marriage must be within your personal race. (The fact is, our skin color is a barely perceptible difference if you look at it in terms of science.) We also have biblical examples of interracial marriage. Moses married outside of his race. Zipporah was likely a black African possibly from Ethiopia. Moses was not. (Numbers 12:1-3)

But that’s not really what I want to say to you today about racism and marriage. Stick with me: racism is a strike at the heart of God’s intention for marriage.

Here’s what I wrote in the margins of my book the day I took up my sword to fight racial division.

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SATAN HATES DISTINCT BIOLOGICAL SEX…because in biological sex, we see God’s image. His picture. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) While we are offered many God-like traits, no others are isolated and esteemed the way that biological sex is in the Genesis account. It’s what makes the lost world see him. For this reason, I embrace the fullness of my womanhood and reject anything that seeks to willfully diminish it.

SATAN HATES PURE, MARITAL UNION…because it is a picture of God’s love. His invitation. The mystery. “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I’m speaking of Christ and the Church.” (Ephesians 5:31,32) Marriage—and the sexual union that bonds it— is meant to mysteriously display the unbreakable, covenant love of Christ for the Church which will culminate at the wedding feast of the lamb. For this reason, I receive the gift of marriage and my pure, holy marriage bed; and rebuke anything that seeks to willfully defile it.

But we can’t stop there. If the purpose of marriage is to be a picture of Christ’s love for his Bride, you must consider what that love looks like. And that takes you to the wedding feast of the lamb where it is culminated, for we are only tasting of the deposit of such love in this Church age. That’s why we must also declare this:

SATAN HATES RACIAL UNITY...because at the wedding feast of the lamb, we are ONE BRIDE! Every tribe. Every nation. Every tongue. We must worship him in unity as ONE BRIDE. “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You [, Lamb of God,] to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10) For this reason, I embrace the oneness and unity of the Bride of Christ; and rise up against anything that willfully seeks to dis-unify her.

Satan cannot destroy God, but he can destroy God’s image and the pictures of his love that draw a lost world to him. When we fail to confront racism and disunity, we are cooperating with the plans of the enemy to dismantle humanity’s ability to see God.

Can a black woman marry a white man? Absolutely. And I’ll dance a little harder at those weddings. You see, without over-stating my case, I believe a bi-racial marriage just might be a more perfect and powerful picture of the marriage supper of the lamb than a same-race marriage. What are we doing to understand and prepare for that depth of unity?

Don’t think too hard. Don’t strategize. Bring it down to a personal level. How are YOU moving forward in building the unity of the Bride? Tell me. Encourage one another with ideas. Leave them below in a comment.

The pursuit of diversity can sometimes seem daunting…pastors come up with all these plans and committee groups…but all you really need to do is love your neighbor as yourself. Open your door and invite someone in. The Lord can use small things. Don’t despise the day of small beginnings.” –Trillia Newbell

Trillia Newbell: The Pursuit of Diversity from Igniting Women on Vimeo.

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24 Comments

    • If traveling outside one’s region and country opens our eyes to other people’s realities, helps us understand and respect each other, heightens our understanding of God’s world…If institutions of higher learning around the world go out of their way to hire researchers and bring prospective doctoral students from other universities and regions to improve and enrich their “brain pool”…How do we think that staying inside our cultural, racial, and ethnic “bubble” at all times will help us grow as human beings and Christians?
      Mingle, please!

  • I agree with everything you’ve said here. The only thing I differ on is Moses’ wife in this scripture. This was probably not Zipporah, a Midianite (Exodus 2:21). In this scripture he is indeed married to a Cushite, which is Ethiopian. Her name is not mentioned.

  • Hi Dannah

    Yes I believe exactly what you say because it is biblical….. I am a white woman and I was in a interracial marriage and relationships in my past…. I am a very different person… I can explain later..my testimony is deep….. But I must say in the u. S. It is very hard because of racism, prejudices, and discrimination…. I have biracial children and grand children… I love them no matter what…….

    Bottom line we are to represent Christ…… As Christians we need to be intentional about building relationships with other races….. It starts with us one person, one family, one block at a time……

    I get frustrated and upset in the christian community or resources that display people from the Bible even Jesus as white or even light skin,,,,,, If God made us in His image it cannot be so……. We are many colors in the World….
    I
    In answer to your question yes they can marry because it is biblical and God does not care as long as you are equally yoked in Christ and are willing to love eacother…. But in reality it is hard…. But then again isn’t life….

  • I agree wholeheartedly. Your comment about Moses and Zipporah, it was clear that God was displeased with Miriam for speaking against Moses and his marriage. Zipporah was not only foreign, as some would like to say this passage is all about but, she was an African from Ethiopia. Miriam was punished (leprosy) for her blatant disrespect and racist comments.

    Those who have a problem with color should search the lineage/genealogy of Jesus. #rehabtheharlot, #ruth, #boaz, #solomon, and the beat goes on.

  • You are very much on point with this publication. I from the Caribbean, I is a Christian and I am (black) to those who choose to see that. Bible says that in Chris there is no Jew or Greek etc but every time I walk into church I feel like i’am out of place……

  • Thank you for posting this! As a black woman [and yes I say it’s ok to call me black-eyed though I’m brown- amd not African American because I’m not “African american” I’ve never when been to Africa] married to a white man, it’s not easy. In 2014 – nearly 2015- the stares are palpable, and people look are you quit disdain
    You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who “whisper” under their breath loudly enough for you to hear their opinions on your relationship. Or who stare at you like “what is that black woman doing with that screaming white child [as my family is mixed and she seems to have inherited 100% of the genes from my Portuguese great grandparents amd my husband and looks nothing like me]? Should I call the police?” It’s awful amd that’s just the beginning of it. I often tell people that race is a construct of the enemy. That we are all one race and related to Noah, just a few generations removed. I think when God’s people are united and living in harmony the demons in hell panic.
    Anyway
    Thank you again, blessings on your day
    IN Christ,
    Steph

  • So glad you penned this pressing God given message. It’s courageous and very necessary to tackle these “still but shouldn’t be” taboo issues within the body of Christ. Thanks Dannah!!!

  • I agree with your article, the Bible references and all of that – but their children suffer. I know a few people who are bi-racial and hearing about what they have experienced is heartbreaking. I used to work with a woman whose mother was white and her biological father was black. Her parents divorced when she was a baby and her mother remarried a white doctor. Her and her older brother grew up with the doctor as the only father they ever knew. They both looked more black than white – and lived in an upper-class white community. They had no friends in school – people were polite but not friends with them. She grew up to be a strikingly beautiful woman and had problems with all relationships. She had a black boyfriend who was a professional basketball player – he was traded to another team and never told her, he just left with no goodbye. She didn’t understand that she was a groupie. Then, she had a white boyfriend who wouldn’t introduce her to his family. I lost touch with her but my heart just broke for her.
    I have met other bi-racial who have similar problems. We live in a racist world and the children suffer.

  • Hi, thanks for doing this and standing up for what sounds like such a terrible wrong issue! I personally haven’t seen the stares or whispers round here much, but then I’m in the UK and here I don’t honestly see loads of coloured (sorry for that expression, I don’t mean to be rude!) people around! So, I am sorry to hear about this and see no reason why people should be so judgemental – I personally think children who are from both a white and a coloured parent are adorable, because they seem to always look just the cutest! And I see nothing wrong with it, cos as you said, we are all one in God’s sight! Bless you sister, for stating your views and what the Bible says so clearly! x

    • Jessie…I think your heart is in the right place but some of your words might not be the best choice. I waited a long time to moderate your comment because part of me wanted to protect both you (from what could be construed as hateful reactions) and those who have to read this (from your insensitivity). I find it inappropriate to use the word “coloured”. You even said “Sorry for that expression, I don’t mean to be rude!” Let me suggest that the fact that you wrote that sentence is evidence that you knew the word was inappropriate. The next time you should self-monitor and use a better word. Something like “I don’t honestly see a lot of racial diversity in my culture.” I hope this helps you move forward because it seems like your heart is sweet as pie. Just be wise with your words.

  • We are human and our flesh causes us to judge others no matter how much we want to follow God’s will. It is a constant struggle. We are Caucasian, lived in Hawaii, my kids were born there, when your Kindergartner comes home saying ‘I wish my skin was brown so other kids would play with me’ you realize how ingrained it is in our sin nature.

  • I am from Argentina… My hearth breaks when I hear the news of what is happening in the USA… Really your post is beautifull!! Praying!!

  • Well said. I have also not had the usual course. I was the only white male who openly dated a Black girl in college. I challenged anyone who would dare say anything negative about it. Oddly enough, most of my Black American friends stood by my decision and preference…. Even those who professed a disdain for white folks.

    However, it was three Black guys who nearly killed me over it. The back of my head still bears the scars where the bottle was smashed across my head. My forearm was fractured…. Yet I have not waivered. My parents resented that I stood fast in my beliefs and was so outspoken about it.

    I have since lived in South America, the Caribbean, and Africa. What I have learned is that America has a unique brand of race division. Because we are multi ethnic and multi cultural, we will always find pockets of resistence where disinformation and mis information reign supreme. My Lutheran Church, while mostly white, has a significant Hispanic and African presence. Even more so because the associate pastor is Hispanic and recites parts of the service in Spanish. I feel sorry for those who feel out of place in their predominantly white churches when I see first hand how it could be as it is in mine.

    The problem in the US is that the race question is deeply rooted in political power and social class. Whites who fear a loss of power or sense of losing social status resort to race (and culture) baiting to build up their power base. Black demogogues (see Al Sharpton) do the same. If we all viewed ourselves as one, then both such power mongers would lose their support. They only keep it by reinforcing our divisions.

    In Africa, I did not see any of this…. but tribal divisions replaced race divisions in America. Same underlying reasons for division, just along a different set of groups. (Replace race with tribe) How do we remedy this? One person at a time and by standing up to it at every turn.

    • Your story is so sad. I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through. Your experience is also very unique and I wonder how God could use you to turn this tide! How do we remedy this? One heart at at time. Politics can’t do it. Hearts have to.

    • whats messed up about that is as much drama ive had in my relationships those dudes. how dare they as many black women are single and black men date white and other races how dare they begrudge your happiness if unwilling to step up to the plate.just my opinion.

  • I really love this post, I am 21 years old and have been told by family that I can’t marry a Caucasian male because there is to many cultural and racial differences. I believe that if he is a man of God sent from God then there could be no more perfect match. God doesn’t look at our skin color but at our hearts and he sends the one that is truly for us.

    Thank you so much for this article it truly touched my heart and opened my eyes.

    • The wonderful, but difficult thing about your situation is that the Lord still calls you to honor your father and mother. Walk in respect but follow God first and foremost. I have watched him dramatically change the hearts of mothers and fathers when you walk in humility.

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