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Should a Christian Marry Outside the Faith?

Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:06 pm
by will
Found this today. Don't always agree with Wayne Jackson , but I found this an amazing coincidence of thinking. Thought it might be helpful to study. ... _the_faith

[BOL] Believers Marrying Unbelievers

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:40 pm
by will
Here is a question raised about believers marrying unbelievers:

-----Original Message-----
To: BOL <>
Sent: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 7:08 pm
Subject: [BOL] Believers Marrying Unbelievers


I preached a sermon yesterday on believers marrying non-believers and the arguments that some use to say that it is a sin. For example please consider...

First, there is an Old Testament argument that is sometimes used and the argument is that the Law of Moses forbade Israel from marrying pagan nations (5). Since the Law of Moses forbade Israel from marrying pagan nations they like to assume that this is still in effect today and that it is wrong for Christians to marry unbelievers just as it was wrong for Israel of old to marry from those pagan nations.

Second, there is also a new testament argument used and it is from 2 Cor. 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" Those that believe that it is a sin for a believer to marry an unbeliever often use what Paul said about not being "unequally yoked" with an unbeliever. Their argument is that verse 14 forbids marriage from occurring with unbelievers.

Third, there is an emotional argument that is often used. The argument is that there are many known cases of Christians that were pulled away from the church because of their marriage to unbelievers, but this argument isn't authority.

With those three arguments being pointed out I would like to get feedback as to what others understand on this subject. Through my studies and discussions with other brethren I find that Scripture strongly discourages a believer not to marry an unbeliever, but does not give an absolute prohibition of the marriage. I understand many try to take 2 Cor. 6 and relate it to strictly just marriage, but we do not see marriage, husband, wife or spouse mentioned anywhere in the context of the entire chapter. However, I do believe that marriage is included in the "unequal yoke" as well as business partnerships and friendships, if you are not going to be the dominating influence in those relationships. I pointed out in my sermon that 1 Pet. 2 and 3 would be a better fit for someone discussing the marriage to unbelievers and seeing exactly what we are to do.

After preaching this sermon I had an individual approach me and tell me that the "unequal yoke" means to "lie down with" in the Hebrew and that there isn't any closer relationship than marriage in order for that term to be used. I haven't been able to find this in any commentary... "Barnes", "Henry" or "Gospel Advocate" or Vines. Therefore they were saying 2 Cor. 6 was and is specific to marriage. Furthermore, they said that one must repent of their sin if they do marry an unbeliever, but what do you do in the event your spouse doesn't convert? Do you continue to live in sin staying married to them? Jesus said there is only one exception for divorce, sexual immorality, having an unbelieving wife or husband is not what He said. In fact Peter says just the opposite in 1 Pet. 3 and so does Paul in 1 Cor. 7 (stay with them).

So, I look at it like this: if God does not consider a couple to be married that scripturally can not be then why would He allow or accept union between a couple to be married if one is a believer and the other an unbeliever. Would He then be saying it is okay to marry in sin and continue in it? Would this mean that all the Christians that have married unbelievers to be not actually be married, but just "shacked up", possibly with a family until the unbeliever becomes a believer? What do they do then? Remarry, or should I say marry for the first time?

The question: is it a sin to marry an unbeliever? I believe it is strongly discouraged because of the consequences in ones marriage and the possibility of being pulled away from the church, not to mention the ramifications on the children and all other facets of marriage. I believe it is unwise, but is it a sin?

I look forward to the feedback.

Your servant in Christ

Ken Leach's response - matter of priorities, not marriage

Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:48 pm
by will
Thanks for your post. On the subject... from Ken Leach (Arizona).

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Ken Leach
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2010 8:50:15 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: Believers Marrying Unbelievers

Using a "why would God . . . ?" argument is not within the purview of a human. Why God does or doesn't do anything isn't important, all of his actions are perfect.

There are two separate issues important to understand when answering the question, "Is it sinful for a Christian to marry a non-Christian?". One, the thought process leading up to the marriage. It is difficult to understand how one can abide by Matthew 6:33 and proceed in the planning stages of marrying an alien sinner. If the kingdom is put first in one's life everything is subservient thereto. Could one plan to become a bartender and put the kingdom first in life? Thus the sin is the making plans that do not put the kingdom first. Who would say that marrying a non-Christian is putting the kingdom first? The second issue is the marrying in and of itself. The marriage is not sinful. There are no scriptures which would so teach. The sin associated with the whole question, as mentioned earlier, is a matter of priorities. When one who is married to a non-believer repents it will be for putting the kingdom somewhere other than first. He will receive forgiveness if and when he determines to put the kingdom first and lives by that system of priority.

I formerly held the position that marrying an alien sinner was sinful and used the same reasoning you outlined. After re-studying the position I found it indefensible. I still have dear friends who hold that position honestly and I respect their intellect. I just think they are wrong.