J Daniel Hays, in his book “From Every People and Nation” expounds on the theological significance of race in the Bible. In one of his chapters he makes a remarkable observation about the movement of God’s salvation plan.
In Gen 10, this is a basic list of nations based off of various cognate family lines present during that time.
In Gen 12, is the famous promise given to Abraham by God for 1) land 2) nation 3) and the blessing of the families of the earth to be done through him.
Now connecting Gen 10 and Gen 12, Hays makes this comment:
Part of God’s redemptive plan as revealed in Genesis is to save and bless individuals from all peoples of the earth and to reunite them as the people of God. Racialization or racial division in the Church thwarts the plan of God and is in direct disobedience to this central biblical theme. Racial segregation within the Church is a disobedient movement backwards towards Gen 10, rather than an obedient movement forward toward the fulfillment of Gen 12.
Daniel Hays, in From Every People and Nation
What an observation!
He’s basically saying that the movement of God from the beginning of his salvation plan was to redeem the divisiveness of the people groups by putting them together in unity as the people of God. This salvation plan is still pointed in this direction.
I think this is a great starting observation for understanding church, ethnicities, and mission.