Repost: Interracial Marriage and the Ordinary Means of Grace

This post was originally published in October of 2014 in the wake of the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent riots in Ferguson. As I recall those days, they were very dark and trying times for our nation. The heart of every true Christian was aching over the deep ethnic divide that was being revealed in the kingdom of man in which we sojourn. Of recent years this divide, and those who would push for worldly definitions of it and worldly solutions to it, have begun to infiltrate our churches.

Many pastors, with some alarm, are just beginning to take notice of the prevalence of this issue. Others seem to think it just a passing fad. We assure you it is not just a fad. At some point very soon, every church in America will have to deal with this issue. Not only is it not going away, but it is picking up steam. Soon, every pastor in America will start to have members and visitors in their pews using terms like “racial reconciliation,” “white privilege,” and “systemic racism” in their articulation of the gospel. You will be made to care. That said, please consider the following thoughts.


This past week, I had the privilege of teaching the 9-12 year old class at my church. We are going through the Bible, piece by piece, and discussing each section. This week our discussion was on Genesis 6-11. Now, I understand that there are multiple orthodox views on who the sons of God were in Genesis 6. I exposed the kids to three, but only argued for the one I think to be best supported by the text: the godly line of Seth view.

When holding to this view, the question naturally arises, “What was the big deal with the sons of God marrying daughters of men?” A little context goes a long way in understanding how this is a problem. When Moses wrote the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), the people of Israel were on the plains of interracial-marriageMoab awaiting their conquest of the land of Canaan (Numbers 22:1). There, God commanded them through Moses not to intermarry with the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).

I recall one time at a training exercise in the Army being asked by a guy where the Bible forbids interracial marriage. He wanted to know so that he could discourage his daughter from marrying outside her race. In fact, the Bible nowhere forbids interracial marriage for the sake of keeping people of different skin colors from joining together in matrimony. What it did forbid in Deuteronomy 7:3-4 was interfaith marriage. The Israelites were forbidden from taking foreign wives because they would entice them to follow after false gods.

In my estimation, the best understanding of the sons of God intermarrying with the daughters of men in Genesis 6 is that they were being led away from God by these women. What is interesting is that, when I asked the kids if the Bible anywhere explicitly forbids interracial marriage, they unanimously agreed that it does not. When I asked them why God forbid people in the Bible from marrying foreigners, they agreed that it was because they would entice them to follow false gods.

I bring all this up not to brag on how smart our children are at my church. Rather, I wanted to highlight the fact that the ordinary means of grace are sufficient for helping our churches, and even our the children in our churches, deal with the major issues that the church will face in our culture. The church does not have to resort to conducting a complete reset of its worship service or starting up a multi-culturalist project in order to be the church.

These children came to a right understanding of this deeply important cultural issue by partaking of the ordinary means of grace. They have sat under the preached word week-in and week-out, they have sung psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that promote biblical truth, and we as a church have regularly prayed over their souls for the better part of their lives. What the church needs is to commit itself to the ordinary means of grace and expect that this will be the medium through which God will perform His extraordinary, transformative work in the lives of believers both personally and corporately. What the church does not need is a multi-culturalist agenda pushing for extra-biblical traditions to be added to the means God has ordained for the dispensing of His grace.

Teaching Obedience to Christ’s Commands (Defining Evangelism)

You can listen to the audio lesson here.

You can also find the “Working Definition of Evangelism” here.





Lesson Three: Teaching Obedience to Christ’s Commands

 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [a]always, even to the end of the age,’” (Matthew 28:20; NASB).


Defining a disciple. What is it to be a disciple. Discipleship means learning. That’s what the term in the Greek means: “to learn.” Christian disciples are first and foremost disciples of Christ. They will have to answer directly to Him on the day of judgment. However, they will not be the only ones answering for their souls. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews was very clear that teachers, too, will have to give an account for every soul they have been commissioned to teach.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you,” (Hebrews 13:17; NASB).

This was the practice of the early church. They gave themselves regularly to the teaching of the apostles (Acts 2:42). Teaching was so paramount in the early church that the apostles even requested that men be set aside from the church to aid in the administrative matters of the church so that they could more fervently devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:1-5). This is a vital role within the church. Deacons are necessary for the freeing up of elders for prayer and the ministry of the word, and as the word is preached, new disciples find their place in the economy of Christ as true, teachable disciples.

When Christ makes disciples, He does not leave them as orphans. Rather, He gives them the Holy Spirit as a Helper, a Comforter, and an Advocate. When Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, He sent the Spirit to us to guide us into all truth (John 14:16-26; 16:5-15). This same Spirit gives gifts to the church that are necessary for her unity in the faith (Romans 12:3-8).

Christ told His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed that it was for their benefit that He go. Why? In the giving of His Spirit, He was also giving godly men to the church for their preservation in the unity of the faith. He was giving them, and all subsequent teachers, to the church for her edification, refreshment, admonition, exhortation, and sanctification. The Spirit of God does His work primarily through the teaching ministry of the church.

7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it says,

‘When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men.’

9(Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) 11And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” (Ephesians 4:7-13; NASB).

If a disciple is one who learns, then what is a disciple of Christ? What kind of disciples are we to be seeking to “make”? A disciple of Christ is one who submits to the teachings of Christ in His present teaching ministry, and Christ presently teaches through the teachers He has given the church through the Spirit.

What are disciples to be taught? Disciples are those who are to be taught to obey all that Christ commanded. They are not mere converts left to their own devices with no expectation of growth in holiness. They are meant to be brought into the church and taught the statutes of Christ. It is through the preaching and teaching ministry of the church, then, that we come under subjection to Christ. Outside the auspices of the local church, then, growth in godliness is not to be expected.

 “The bottom line is that God has designed the church to be the context in which we move from sinfulness to holiness. Attempting to grow in Christ outside of the church is like trying to learn to swim without ever getting into the pool!” (Mack and Swavely, Life in the Father’s House, pg. 29).

Consider then what a horrible thing it is to assure someone of his or her salvation outside of regular attendance to the preaching and teaching of the church. To offer a person such assurance is like assuring a blind man that he is in no danger as he walks toward a 500-foot cliff. Such assurance would be terribly unloving. Yet, this type of assurance is offered regularly by well-meaning Christians in the name of evangelism.

Disciples, then, are to be taught two main things:

“what man ought to believe concerning God, and what duty God requireth of man,” (The Baptist Catechism of 1693, Q.6).

This means that the disciple is to be trained thoroughly both in right doctrine and in right practice, orthodoxy and orthopraxy. We are to believe what God has said about Himself and, at the same time, walk in accordance with that belief. The word of God has given us sufficient testimony to both. As such, the role of the church in the life of the new disciple is to be one of pointing him or her to the word of God.

This is not just the job of the pastor in the pulpit. Other Christians are to be committed to the task of training up the new disciple in what we ought to believe concerning God and what He requires of us. The pastor cannot be everywhere at once. The whole church is required for the teaching of new disciples.

A further requirement for disciples is that they be teachable. After all, that is what a disciple is: a learner. The moment a disciples ceases to learn in accordance with Christ’s ordained means, he ceases to be a disciple of Christ. We must labor, then, to remain teachable at every turn of our Christian lives.

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: April 19

Leviticus 23 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Psalm 30 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Ecclesiastes 6 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

2Timothy 2 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: April 18

Leviticus 22 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

open-biblePsalm 28-29 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Ecclesiastes 5 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

2Timothy 1 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: April 17

Leviticus 21 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

couple-lake-biblePsalm 26-27 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Ecclesiastes 4 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

1Timothy 6 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: April 16

Leviticus 20 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Psalm 25 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Ecclesiastes 3 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

1Timothy 5 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: April 15

Leviticus 19 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

46f1a1ed!h_300,id_1999,m_fill,wPsalm 23-24 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Ecclesiastes 2 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

1Timothy 4 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: April 14

Leviticus 18 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Psalm 22 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Ecclesiastes 1 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

1Timothy 3 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: April 13

Leviticus 17 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

biblical_worldview_groupsPsalm 20-21 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

Proverbs 31 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)

1Timothy 2 (NASB, ESV, KJV, HCSB)