Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s particular ethnic group is superior to all others and all other ethnic groups are to be subjectively measured in relation to one’s own. It is a system of belief that leads to extreme pride and lack of concern for others. Since race is often a part of ethnicity, ethnocentrism is usually related to racism, which has been a plague on humanity for centuries. There is no place among God’s people for the ethnocentric attitudes that lead to racism. Such attitudes are contrary to Scripture and displeasing to God.
Biblically, ethnocentrism is sin. All men and women are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27; 9:6), although that image is corrupted by sin. God does not show partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34). Jesus did not lay down His life for a particular race, culture, or tribe, but by His death He “purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). The Scriptures tell us that Jesus came to save the world, both Jews and Gentiles. Paul bears this out by saying, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) and “There is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11).
Jesus superseded all barriers of race, culture, and ethnicity with His death on the cross. Paul wrote of the uniting of Jew and Gentile in Ephesians 2:14: “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Ethnocentrism, whether based on historical grudges, erroneous assumptions, or overt human pride, is wholly contrary to God’s Word. We are commanded to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34), and such a command precludes any discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or culture.