I am facing a dilemma in the congregation with which I worship. We are in the process of searching for a minister, and are not under the guidance of an eldership. We have interviewed several candidates and have found one in particular that interests us. He has preached and taught for us on several occasions and has delivered scripturally sound and beneficial messages at each opportunity. The majority of the congregation is strongly interested in this candidate, but a very small minority has reservations. These reservations stem from the fact that this candidate has a white Caucasian fiancÚ and he is half Puerto Rican and half Sicilian and is mildly dark complected. There has been debate within the search committee regarding this issue. I Corinthians 10 has been used to dissuade his hiring, with the point being we have weaker brethren who may be turned off by his relationship and be caused to stumble. I have trouble accepting this argument because I see the origin of the reluctance to accept him steeped in hate and racial superiority, not just simple ignorance. We have several members who are married outside their race, but the thought of a black man with a white woman is too much for some to stomach. Part of me wants to tell this candidate to look elsewhere because of potential problems. My question or you is this, is this a valid usage of this scripture, or is it misapplied? I certainly don't want to cause any brethren to stumble, but also don't want to allow my brethren to continue with hate dictating their actions, which could also be seen as a stumbling block itself. I would appreciate your opinion, as I strongly agree with many of your lessons, and truth be known have been guilty of using them as models for my own devotionals, classes and sermons. Any advice would be helpful.
You have brethren who are violating one of the fundamental principles of Christianity.
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:20-21).
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
"For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Ephesians 2:14-16).
"And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:10-11).
This is not an option to be coddled. Just imagine that the church in Corinth made it a requirement that only Gentile Christians could preach there so as to not offend the community! Or that they insisted on a Jewish Christian because so many there came out of Judaism! To true Christians there is no race, nationality, or skin color that divides people.
Thank you, brother.