The KKK and AMOS 3:3


In Amos 3:3 God said to the Israelite people, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Of course, the meaning of this verse is very clear. God was telling the Israelites that He could not walk with them because of their sins. There was always a solution to that problem: the Israelites only needed to repent of their sins and turn to the Lord. The issue of how to continue to walk in fellowship with the Lord is an important issue even in our age, and the principle is the same. Sin separates us from the Savior. Forgiveness of sin reunites us with Him as far as our daily walk with Jesus is concerned. It says in First John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


Amos 3:3 is a good example of how a Bible verse can be misused and misinterpreted. It says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” I can speak with some first-hand knowledge on how this Bible verse was used in a horrible fashion for at least two hundred years in America. When I was first saved in 1968, I went to a small church in California for six months. The pastor of that church was originally from Texas, and had some very definite influences from the deep south. This pastor was very much in favor of the racial segregation policies of the Southern portion of the United States. He practiced racial segregation as best he could there in the San Francisco Bay area. For example, he told me that he would never allow any black person to join his church because he was certain that God wanted the races to be separated, and if any black person ever wanted to join his church it would only be because that person was a trouble maker and wanted to make trouble in the church. But to counter such talk, I was very fortunate in that I was raised in a liberal home and had a liberal education in the public schools in California. And Willie Mays was my childhood hero. Also, I had a life-forming experience when I was a child that forever molded my own real thoughts about racial issues even before I became a Christian. I had an uncle (my mother’s brother) who would make outlandish racial slurs against black people. I remember my mother rebuking him one day and telling him how wrong he was. I thought about the difference between those two people and realized that my mother was right and my uncle was wrong and that I would never be like him. Down into my soul forever placed was an understanding that all humans beings would be viewed as equals, and I would never think, speak, or treat any human being differently or negatively based upon race. What I have seen in my own life as I grew and became an adult is that if you really believe in equality, it will be reflected in what you say and do without even thinking about it.


There were two Bible passages that the pastor showed me to “prove” that he was right about his segregationist ideas. By the way, these Bible passages were used for two hundred years in America to justify slavery and then to justify segregation. The KKK also used these verses. It shows the danger of not knowing the Bible well, but wishing that you did. When someone opens the  Bible, and takes a verse or a passage from it, and tells you what they think it means, watch out. They might be wrong. And then if you believe what they say, you are also wrong.  


I did not have to think about what this pastor was trying to tell me. I knew he was wrong, and told him so even though I could not give my ideas from the standpoint of Biblical references because I did not know the Bible well enough at that time. I attended that church for six months, then joined the Navy and never moved back to California. I did visit that church about thirty years later and there were some black people in the church by that time, and they were very dear people too, as you would expect. On that visit the pastor remembered what he told me so long ago. He came up to me and said that he did not believe the way he used to. 


I did not compromise my gut feelings with that pastor back when I was a very young man and he tried to indoctrinate me with segregationist ideas. I let him know very clearly how opposed I was to what he was saying. Now I have a much better understanding of the Bible, and I am able to easily show that the Bible is totally against everything he was saying. This pastor loved Amos 3:3,Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The pastor said that this verse means that the two races cannot be united and must stay separate from one another. Of course, we have already seen that in the context, this verse has nothing to do with race and is clearly about the fact that a human being cannot walk with God unless that person agrees with the Lord about that person’s sin problem and gets right with God, in other words comes into agreement with God about the sin problem that person has.


Why did so many people in the Southern United States accept these false teachings? They probably did so for many reasons. It was easier to go along with what was popular than to fight against such ideas that had become imbedded within the culture. By using the Bible to try and justify segregation, it gave Christians an excuse to overlook their conscience. One more passage of scripture that was used by this pastor to try and explain his views on segregation had to do with a situation in the book of Genesis right after the flood during the time of Noah. It says in Genesis 9:24-27, “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.[27] God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” The racists explain this verse by saying such things as: “Look here at this curse and you see that the people who descended from Canaan were destined to become servants of the other peoples of the earth. That means segregation is God’s will. They are servants because they are not as capable as others. They are lacking intellectually and other ways and can only be servants. By the way, the black people of Africa are the ones being written about in these verses.” That is what that pastor told me. Once again this passage was used wrongly to support segregation and to support a negative view of anyone with an ancestry from Africa. It seems unbelievable, but that is exactly what the segregationists tried to do and exactly how they tried to twist the Bible.


It is easy to demonstrate, of course, that the racists were wrong on the meaning of the passage in Genesis chapter nine. When we read through Genesis chapter ten we see that the people of Africa did not come through Canaan’s lineage, but through the other sons of Ham. It says in Genesis 10:6, “And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.” The curse was only on Canaan and not on the other sons of Ham. And then if you read further in Genesis 10, you see that all of the people that descended from Canaan lived in ancient Canaan, which is modern-day Palestine. This is seen very clearly in Genesis 10:15-19. This whole passage about Canaan in the Bible is God telling very clearly that He will take the land of Canaan away from the Canaanites and give it to others. God gave that land to the descendents of Abraham. The passage in Genesis 9:24-27 was a prophecy of what was going to happen to the land of Canaan. The prophecy was fulfilled when the Israelites were delivered from Egypt and entered into the land of Canaan. It has absolutely nothing to do with black people in Africa or anywhere else. Notice what was said regarding Abraham and the land of Canaan in Genesis 12:1-7, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:[2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:[3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.[4] So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.[5] And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.[6] And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.[7] And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” And so if you look at the whole context about what happened to Canaan from Genesis chapter 9 through Genesis chapter 12, it is very clear that it has nothing to do with black people in Africa, but is all about the promised-land and why that land of Canaan was promised to Abraham.


The Bible does not in any way encourage or support racism of any kind. As a matter of fact the major themes of the Bible make it the greatest book on equality that has ever been written. If people want to look at the book of Genesis to see from where various races can trace their descendents, then they need to simply go back to the beginning of the book of Genesis and they will see that every person of every race has the exact same lineage according to the Bible. We are all equally descended from Adam and Eve. As a matter of fact the Bible emphasizes our common ancestry from Adam, and the common problem that it gives us all: we are all sinners. It says in First Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” God loves us all equally. When it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” it is obvious that God loves every person equally no matter what is their race. Notice how this great equality is expressed in Romans 3:22-23, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Notice the use of the word “all” in these verses. Phrases like this are found all through the New Testament describing the common spiritual need of all human beings and the common solution. Everyone gets saved the same way: by believing in Jesus. Notice the phrase, “there is no difference” in Romans 3:23. It means there is no difference between people. All are the same. We all get saved the same way too. It says in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And then after we are saved, we are all equally brothers and sisters in Christ: members of one great family. Notice how believers are described in Colossians 3:10-11, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:[11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Christians are spoken of repeatedly in the Bible as “brothers,” members of one family, having the same Father. This teaches equality in its ultimate possibility. The Bible does not teach or support racism or segregation of any kind. The opposite is true. Jesus said in Matthew 22:39, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” It says in Romans 13:8, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” The concepts of segregation do not promote love. They promote hard feelings, misunderstanding, division, and ill-will. You should never evaluate anyone based upon their race, but only based upon their character or actions. That is what God does, and He offers His great love through Christ to all.



Copyright; 2014 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved