Kathy Keller has an excellent article about why a Christian should not marry a non-Christian. Let this blog post and her article be a prompt to remind your children of this command from Scripture.
Before we get to what she has to say, let’s start with the Scriptural references. Scripture commands that Christians can only marry “in the Lord” that is to say, to another Christian (1 Corinthians 7:39). We are not to be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). In the Old Testament we see that intermarriage was forbidden because the hearts of the people would be stolen away from God. See Deuteronomy 7:3-4,6; Joshua 23:12-13; 1 Kings 11:1-8; Ezra 9, particularly 12-14).
Now Kathy’s very practical words:
There are really only three outcomes of being unequally yoked:
- In order to be more in sync with your spouse, the Christian will have to push Christ to the margins of his or her life. This may not involve actually repudiating the faith, but in matters such as devotional life, hospitality to believers (small group meetings, emergency hosting of people in need), missionary support, tithing, raising children in the faith, fellowship with other believers—those things will have to be minimized or avoided in order to preserve peace in the home.
- Alternatively, if the believer in the marriage holds on to a robust Christian life and practice, the non-believing PARTNER will have to be marginalized. If he or she can’t understand the point of Bible study and prayer, or missions trips, or hospitality, then he or she can’t or won’t participate alongside the believing spouse in those activities. The deep unity and oneness of a marriage cannot flourish when one partner cannot fully participate in the other person’s most important commitments.
- So either the marriage experiences stress and breaks up; or it experiences stress and stays together, achieving some kind of truce that involves one spouse or the other capitulating in some areas, but which leaves both parties feeling lonely and unhappy.
Does this sound like the kind of marriage you want? One that strangles your growth in Christ or strangles your growth as a couple, or does both? Think back to that off-cited passage in 2 Corinthians 6:14 about being “unequally yoked.” Most of us no longer live in an agrarian culture, but try to visualize what would happen if a farmer yoked together, say, an ox and a donkey. The heavy wooden yoke, designed to harness the strength of the team, would be askew, as the animals are of different heights, weights, walk at different speeds and with different gaits. The yoke, instead of harnessing the power of the team to complete the task, would rub and chafe BOTH animals, since the load would be distributed unequally. An unequal marriage is not just unwise for the Christian, it is also unfair to the non-Christian, and will end up being a trial for them both.
And then a final devastating line:“If you think you are lonely before you get married, it’s nothing compared to how lonely you can be AFTER you are married!”
Talk with your older children about this today. Read the whole article.