#S3:034: How to Overcome Racism in the Church [Podcast]

Overcoming the Spirit of Division

In the 1960’s the church deacon board mobilized lookout squads, and on Sundays, these took turns patrolling the entrances lest any black “troublemakers” try to integrate us. I still have one of the cards the deacons printed up to give to any civil rights demonstrators who might appear: Believing the motives of your group to be ulterior and foreign to the teaching of God’s word, we cannot extend a welcome to you and respectfully request you to leave the premises quietly. Scripture does NOT teach “the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God.” He is the Creator of all, but only the Father of those who have been regenerated. If any one of you is here with a sincere desire to know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, we shall be glad to deal individually with you from the Word of God. (Unanimous Statement of Pastor and Deacons, August 1960) When Congress passed the Civil Rights Acts, our church founded a private school as a haven for whites, expressly barring all black students. A few “liberal” members left the church in protest when the kindergarten turned down the daughter of a black Bible professor, but most of us approved of the decision. A year later the church board rejected a Carver Bible Institute student for membership (his name was Tony Evans).1. What is racism and how can we overcome it? We’ll be taking a look at this in this new series.

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Accept the Challenge

Each week’s podcast contains a call to action. The Word of God will not produce in your life unless you put into operation.
This week’s call is:

Racism, strife, and division are evil works of the enemy which have  no place in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Recognizing the enemy, pulling him out of the shadows into the light is one key to overcoming it.

Join the Conversation

Each week’s podcast also contains a question designed to encourage testimony. Testimony is vital to a believer’s life. We overcome by it (Rev. 12:11).
This week’s question is:

Question: How has the spirit of division impacted those around you? Did you recognize it? How did you overcome it? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About Emery

Emery committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ over 40 years ago and has served as both a full-time pastor and an itinerant minister. Both he and his wife Sharon of 35 years emphasize personal growth and development through the Word of God. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is both the focus and the hallmark of their mission. Read more about them here.

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Podcast Notes

  • Racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
  • That’s the definition of racism from an English dictionary.
  • It’s a definition based on the natural realm.
  • Spiritually racism looks a bit different.
  • Spiritually, racism is a demonic spirit of division who’s aim is to magnify the God created difference between people.
  • Racism is a spirit of strife.
  • Racism is hatred.

1 Corinthians 3:3 (NKJV) 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

  • The Greek word ‘strife’ in this verse means a bitter disagreement between conflicting facts or claims or opinions.
  • There are nine verses in the New Testament with this exact Greek word.
  • As we read some of these verses, take note of the words that strife is grouped with.
  • Look at the company that strife keeps.
  • In our opening verse, we have divisions and envy.

Romans 1:29 (ESV) They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

  • Now add to the list, the words unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, deceit, maliciousness.
  • Maliciousness or malice is one word out of this list that should be defined for understanding.
  • It’s the character trait that feels a need to see others suffer.

Romans 13:13 (ESV) Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

  • Now add to that list, sex sins including orgies, sexual immorality, sensuality along with drunkenness and jealousy.
  • Sensuality is sinful abandonment. It’s indulgence in sensual pleasure unrestrained by convention or morality.
  • How many of you know that that’s not good.

2 Corinthians 12:20 (LEB) 20 For I am afraid lest somehow when I arrive, I will not find you as I want, and I may be found by you as you do not want. I am afraid lest somehow there will be strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, pride, disorder.

  • The list expands with anger, hostility, gossip, conceit, and disorder.
  • Disorder, what does this mean?
  • Disorder in the Greek means an upheaval. It’s a state of violent group disturbance especially as in politics or social conditions generally.
  • So, all the rioting we are seeing in the country today over various politically related areas is what this refers to.
  • It’s all ungodliness according to the Bible.

1 Timothy 6:4 (ESV) 4 He is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

  • Couple all of what you’ve heard with slander, with an unhealthy craving for controversy, and with evil suspicions.
  • Evil suspicions are conjecture in the Greek. It’s a reasoning that involves the formation of conclusions from incomplete evidence.
  • Because there’s incomplete evidence the door opens to strife and dissension and quarreling.
  • We’re not done yet.

Titus 3:9 (ESV) But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

  • Now, add foolish controversies, to the list of companions associated with strife.
  • Controversies is a dispute or disagreement or argument about something important.
  • Lastly, we come to the great ‘sin list’ known as the works of the flesh in Galatians chapter five.

Galatians 5:19–21 (KJV) 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

  • Right smack in the middle of the most famous sin list in the Bible is strife.
  • Strife is bad.
  • It’s evil.
  • It’s morally bad, flat out wrong and spiritually not okay.
  • Again, racism is strife and strife comes from a bad neighborhood full of bad companions.

One Blood One Sacrifice

Acts 17:26–27 (KJV) 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

Acts 17:26–27 (NIV) 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

Heb. 2:14 (NKJV) 14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,**

  • Racism is religious at its roots if you really drill down into it and take a close look.
  • It comes from the assertion that God made a mistake when He brought certain beings into existence.
  • God made no mistake.
  • He never has and He never will.
  • The only beings that He brought into existence were Adam and Eve.
  • If God only brought two people into existence, then all people groups on the planet have their origins in these two people.
  • All people are related and descendants of two people.
  • That means everybody is somebody’s cousin.
  • In Adam and Eve, were all the genes of humanity.

The Shem, Ham and Japheth Connection

  • The flood came and destroyed all the seed of Adam and Eve.
  • The seed of Adam and Eve sprouted from 33 sons and 23 daughters according to Josephus.
  • The sons of Adam married the daughters of Adam.
  • Their genetics were pure.
  • They had no malformed children.
  • You’ve heard that people closely related shouldn’t marry because of the chance of genetic abnormality.
  • God didn’t put genetic defects into people.
  • It came because of the Fall, because of Adam’s sin.
  • The defects began to be passed onto the children until there were so many defects that God told the people at Sinai not to marry close relatives.
  • Sin became so rampant in the earth at one point.

Genesis 6:5–8 (KJV) 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

  • God destroyed all the seed of Adam except eight people; Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their wives.
  • The entire population was narrowed down to Noah’s line.
  • When Noah got off the boat, he went back to the earth, to what he was, a farmer.

Genesis 9:18–26 (KJV) 18 And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. 19 These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread. 20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. 24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. 25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. 26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; And Canaan shall be his servant.

  • There’s a tremendously damaging false teaching which still exists in the world today concerning Ham.
  • Some have tried to bring this teaching into the church that Ham was the father of the African race, that all black people trace their lineage to Ham.
  • This false teaching about Ham was used to justify slavery and prejudice.
  • No, every human person goes through Adam.
  • Don’t be concern yourselves with the sons’ of Noah.
  • The sons of Noah had Adam in their genes.

Let’s Get Skin Deep

  • The Bible does not even use the word race to describe people groups.
  • It uses the word nation or in the Greek ‘ethnos’.

Matthew 24:7 (KJV) 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

  • Per the Greek, a nation is a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions, nation, or people 2
  • The word ‘race’, from a Bible perspective, should be abandoned because it is a meaningless term.
  • It is meaningless because we all come from one set of parents, Adam and Eve.
  • There really aren’t different races.
  • God doesn’t see them.
  • It’s all a man made thing.
  • There is only one race from one blood.
  • God said He made of one blood all nations, all ethnos.
  • There is only one race and only one sacrifice for that race.
  • If you desire to Biblically technical, there are three classes of people among the nations.

1 Corinthians 10:32 (KJV) 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

  • There is Jew.
  • There is Gentile.
  • There is the church of God.
  • More exactly, there is unsaved Jew.
  • Unsaved Gentile and saved Jew and Gentile because that’s what the church is.
  • Two out of the three people groups don’t know the Lord because if they did they automatically move to the third group, the church of God.
  • These are the only groups of people that heaven recognizes, Jew, Gentile, and church of God.
  • Some people think that there must be different races of people because there is so much difference between people.
  • What are some of those differences?
  • Some of them are physical differences.
  • Skin color
  • Eye shape
  • Did you know that these so-called racial differences are really only minor variations among people?
  • Scientists have proven that if you take any two people from anywhere on the planet and compare there genetic makeup, you will find only .2% difference between them.
  • That means all the people on the planet everywhere are 99.8% the same genetically speaking.
  • They are the same because they were created from one blood.
  • Since there was only one blood, there is only one sacrifice.

Skin Color

  • It is easy to think that since different people groups have different skin color, brown, red, yellow, pale like me, that this difference is brought about by a different genetic code. This is incorrect.
  • Every human person on the planet has the same coloring pigment in the skin.
  • It is called Melanin.
  • The difference between people groups is how much you have.
  • If you have less of it, you’re lighter.
  • If you have more of it, you’re darker in your complexion.
  • If you have somewhere in between, you have all the other colors.
  • It’s the same gene in everybody.
  • Melanin protects you from ultraviolet light of the sun.
  • The more you are exposed to the sun, the more melanin you produce.
  • Adam was created with the best possible combination of genes, a combination that would produce all colors genetically.
  • What color were Adam’s children?
  • My guess, all different colors.
  • Adams children were all shades of color.
  • Some of Adam’s children were darker some were lighter.
  • As they married each other, they produced all of the other shades.
  • It’s an erroneous assumption to assume that Adam and Eve were lily white people.

Genesis 2:7 (KJV) 7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

  • The Hebrew word ‘dust’ as in the dust of the ground means ‘soil’.
  • Dust is soil or that part of the earth’s surface consisting of humus and disintegrated rock.
  • God made man out of dirt.
  • What color is dirt?
  • Have you ever seen white dirt?
  • No, God took dark earth and made all colors of men.
  • It’s been proven that the entire array of human skin colors can be produced in one generation of people.
  • So, the difference between people is not color.
  • The main difference between people is culture not color.


  1. Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Zondervan, 1977, p. 131
  2. William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 276.